Tada! - As soon as you step outside the train station you are confronted with the Grand Canal and gorgeous architecture. It literally took my breath away.
I had to sit on the steps for a few minutes to take it all in.
A bridge over a canal - This one speaks for itself.
Piazza San Marco - Our hotel was right around the corner from here. One afternoon while we were walking around we heard an orchestra for one of the cafes play a rendition of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." Very very very very very very very bizarre.
Birds! - Alfred Hitchcock, eat yer heart out. Pigeons in Venice have a scary intelligence. They can sense that you're about to buy pigeon feed before you even pull your money out of your pocket. Then they swarm you. But they ARE polite. Not one pooped on me.
The Ancient City - For some reason we took a bunch of pictures at night. Bad idea.
The Coliseum - At night. You can barely make it out behind my pose. My first view of the Coliseum was much like my first view of Venice. I stepped out of the subway and stopped dead in my tracks. Words cannot describe.
??? - Another part of the Ancient City. I was busy eating fresh coconut which vendors were selling on the street. I love Italy.
The Trevi Fountain - The infamous landmark. I knew there was a reason I was tossing coins into it.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The biggest church in the world. I was very impressed. One thing that I thought strange was the altar with the upside down crosses. I guess some old Christian guy was killed on an upside down cross. My first thought was "Hark! Italian Satanists!"
Me & Mary - The only reason I'm putting this picture up here is because of the eerie apparition in it. You can't see it as well on the small pic, but click here to see the large version. If you look on Mary's left side, near her chest & armpit you'll see what looks like a scary face resting on a scaly arm. It's probably just a weird picture... but who knows?
The Virgin Suzie - Look! I'm a martyr! Woohoo!
Climbing - Walking to the top of the Basilica was most fun. In this picture I'm standing up straight. The walls lean. More vertigo.
Dead monks - We made sure to visit the Crypt of the Capuchin monks. The place was the ultimate in strange; I had never seen anything like it. It's in the basement of an old church. There are 6 rooms filled with artwork created from the bones of dead Capuchin monks. Most of the rooms had dirt floors. There were dried up corpses sprinkled throughout. The air inside was very musty. A sign in the last room said something like "As you are, we once were. As we are, you will soon be." Cheery place. I kept thinking "What am I breathing??
Discoverer - Look! I found an ancient painting of a TRUCK! Just kidding. I don't remember what I was pointing at, really. But daaaamn, I look good. ;-)
Strike a pose - In front of a neat old wall. I don't remember what this building was called, damn me.
Amphitheatre - One of them, anyway. I did love being able to climb on all that ancient stuff.
Dogs - The cities of Italy all seem to be invaded with animals. In Rome there were cats EVERYWHERE. In Venice it was birds. Naples and Pompeii had dogs. Poor things were all mangy. But they were very friendly, too. I ended up feeding most of my lunch to them.
Naptime - I believe this area is called The Court of the Gladiators. The grass was very soft.
Apollo! - Talk about a perfect ass! Woohoo!
Vernazza - I look cranky because it was early in the morning. Cinque Terre was my favourite place in all of Europe. I would love to spend a solid month there, just hiking back & forth between the five cities. Eating bread & cheese & fresh fruit from the little grocery stores. Drinking the local wine. Watching the sunrise & sunset every day. If I ever disappear, you'll know where to find me.
Hiking - The paths were beautiful and so much fun to hike. On this morning a little old Italian man greeted me with a "Ciao Bella." I was immediately smitten.
Vernazza again - See that little tower waaaay behind me? That's the lovely town we stayed in. Isn't the water gorgeous?
Mermaid! - Here's a funny story. My friend Bobby & I were hiking when he spotted this rock out in the water & said "Gee, that sure would make a great picture if someone were to swim out to it." Meaning me, of course. I didn't bring a swimsuit with me, so I WAS going to say to hell with it & swim naked... but there was an old man standing on a bridge watching me. Yuck. So I instead stripped down to my underwear & jumped in. The water was COLD & kind of rough.
I swam out to that damn rock, though. The old man didn't leave until I swam back & got dressed again. Later that evening I was sitting on a bench on a hill in Vernazza watching the sunset next to an old lady. Her husband walked up & said "Oh! It's the mermaid!" His wife was like "Whaaaaaat?" You old pervert. Funny stuff.
Cemetery - I believe the name of this town is Manarol. The cemetery there was breathtaking. If I hadn't already decided to be cremated when I die, I'd like to be buried in a place like it.
Bathrooms - Even though I had been forewarned about this, it still came as a bit of a shock the first time I was confronted with a squat toilet. This particular one was in a restaurant. It's things like this that make me appreciate America.
What the hell? - Stepping out of the train station I found myself standing in front of a lush tropical forest. Then I realized I wasn't actually outside yet. I really liked the effect. Those tricky Spaniards.
The Royal Gardens - At least I think that was what it was. I am seen here with the patron saint of the trip, Robert. He is my friend's dad, a private pilot and a super guy.
I'm a statue - Robert told me to climb up on this headless statue & stand behind it for a neat-o picture opportunity. I complied because he's so nice and I like attracting the attention & disdain of the Spanish. "Stupido Americano."
Breakfast! - Potato chips & a coke. Notice my cool Bauhaus shirt. We saw them in Munich at a club, front row center, baybeee. Hellllllooooo Daniel Ash. *meow*
Drunk! - Robert took us to a business party in an old winery. I sampled the wine extensively. No pictures from there, damn me. But here is a lovely image of me sitting in the cockpit of his jet, randomly pushing buttons to see what they do. I was still drunk, of course.
The aqueducts - Very impressive history here. And cheap swords!
El Alcazar - We just wandered through it. A nice break from the guided tour.
The roof - "I am leaning against a piece of Spanish history. Is there a McDonald's in this town?" By this point in the trip I was getting pretty homesick. I loved Europe, but there is no place like Dallas, Texas. Yes, I am weird.