Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Christmas!

I just got back from visiting former Michigan teammate Barb and her family in Eindhoven, Netherlands (see previous Carnivale posts). Tucker and I took a road trip to have a good old Yankee Swap/White Elephant party with her and her friends. It took awhile before the French, English, Croatian, Dutch, Scottish and Peruvian guests caught on but then they participated admirably. While there, Barb's two daughters thoughtfully bought Tucker a Christmas present. At the pet store, this as considered a 'Large' dog hat. Yep, he's got a big head. But he's cute so you have to love him!

As for me, I'm leaving Tucker with several sets a friends (there are some interesting logistics for Christmas for him - maybe even a house sitter so no one should try to burglarize me while I'm gone) and I'm heading back to the homeland for the holidays. It hasn't been a full Hart family Christmas since 2008 so really looking forward to it. Truthfully, I'm just looking forward to winning the bowling trophy back, the rest is just gravy. Maybe more to come before the New Year, you never know when you are going back to Cali.......

Merry Happy Christmas!

St Peters Basillica - only 300 or so steps up

After seeing St Peters from the ground, we went early the next day to climb up to the top. I think this is a must see for any trip to Rome.

Just to remind you where we are. The view from the bottom.

Now from the roof. It was quite the climb and if you didn't like small spaces, well, let's just say there is a reason the one way system was implemented on these stairs.

Part of the Pope's residence in back of St Peters. I hope this helps with some perspective on how high up we are.
The view looking down over the Square. Again, the scale. The top of the basillica is really high up there!

People walking about on the roof. It was a very lovely place to be actually. I'm glad it wasn't warmer though. I was desperate for shade as it was.

The view from the back of the statues lining the top. See the earlier post from the ground view.

Pretty cool. By the way, these guys are wired. For electricity. Gotta keep the pigeons off the holy statues.

This would have been a very cool picture if people were in the seats. Pretty cool way to see mass.

Teeny tiny people in the piazza.

Now on the inside. A few from the top, as best you can do behind the grates. This looks across and should show that all the colors are actually individual tiles.

A great contrast to seeing it from ground level.

Looking up to the top. It is eerily like Close Encounters....

Detail of the tiling.

One last parting look. Magnificent!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

St Peters Basillica from the ground

We went to visit St Peters just before it was closing which ended up being a brilliant idea. We didn't have to queue (stand in line) at all, and were able to get our fill of gawking without waiting hours. Go us!

The sun is setting across the piazza, you can see the chairs in the distance set up for Sunday mass.

Closer look at the columns and the statues overlooking each of the pillars. Take note of these statues for later on......

Radhika smiles because there is no queue. Whoop! Whoop!

Here is the view from the pulpit (or the front door) if you were giving the service to the masses below.

Radhika's favorite - La Pieta.

Amazing marble columns, statues, colors everywhere

A little bit more impressive place for where you get the holy water. Makes the vessels at good old Holy Family church seem a little.. simple.

Something I learned on the tour is that keys are decorated throughout the Vatican museums and St Peters. This one in particular is a marble inlay on the floor. It is to represent when the keys of Heaven were given to St Peter from Jesus Christ. The keys to the entire kingdom.......

I'm almost done with Rome, only a few more sets of pictures. Maybe by then I'll have left the country again.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Bernini Bridge

Radhika and I went for a stroll and got a little sidetracked on our way to see St Peters Basillica in the evening. We diverted to cross over Pont Sant'Angelo which is lined with statues sculpted by Bernini.

Coming across the bridge, a view of the castle in the background.

A better shot of some of the statues.

A view of the Tiber river and St Peters in the background.

Not on the bridge but somehow this winged statue made this post. Probably because I don't want you to be overwhelmed in the 'Statues' post. I know, it is a bit of an obsession.

Radika checks out the bumblebees. I love how they aren't just content to put up a cement railing. It's got to be decorative.

A view from the castle down to the bridge. Now I wonder why they didn't build the bridge in Modesto to look like this?

A view of St Peters Basillica as the sun sets.

These pictures really don't convey the atmosphere but this is a little cafe on the top of the castle. It's a lovely little oasis with stunning views.

Why not relax here and gaze at St Peters? Exactly.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Champions of Cyclosport

Taking a little break from Rome, I thought I'd share some party party photos from a recent fundraiser I got to attend.

Good friends from the tri club - Julia, me, Jerry and Jane. Needless to say, I had been sick for a while and decided that alcohol kills germs so might have overdone it a bit on the champagne. Which means, I over do it on the lovin'. Here Jerry is the center of attention from the girls.

Next, I'm all smiles as I get a photo with Geraint Thomas. Did I mention that this fundraiser featured some pretty experienced cyclists? Yep, Tour de France and white jersey winner, he was nice enough to take a photo with us.

Not content to just take a photo with a man who rides with Lance Armstrong, I decide to give him some pointers on how to ride up a hill. Yep. I am clearly giving advice to a pro cyclist. I blame my fever for making me mental.

The BTS ladies were happy to show off their finery with none other than Mark Cavendish. Me, Jane, Katy ( who took off her shoes so she wouldn't be so tall), Julia and Christina get some quality time. For those of you who don't know who this man is, he won a record number of sprint stages at the Tour de France. Also know as the Manx Missile as he is from the Isle of Man but that is less interesting.

Since I have to rest my weary feet I take photo with Paul. Although it looks like all Jane and I did was chase celebs (not quite true, but very close), I also did rest. :o)  Big thanks to Paul for bringing me as his date as I wouldn't have been here if not for his spending his bonus money on some dress up fun.

Did I mention Jane and I were a bit celebrity chasing. Seriously this wasn't my intention at all! I just got a little carried away. And may have spilled a glass of champagne on David Millar's sister. Don't tell anyone though. (Although she was really nice about it. Really nice)

Did someone say David Millar?? Oh yeah, that's me and him. It was a little weird as I just read his book - which is very good by the way. How often do you meet someone and can say 'I read your book'? A little insider information, this was his first night away from his newborn boy. David's mom was called in to babysit for the new parents. See, I wasn't just star gazing. I was making conversation. Well, technically it was with his wife Nicole Millar but close enough. A fun night out and another brush with cycling greatness. It would be nice if it rubbed off on me now..

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rome on Foot

I thought I would continue with some sights around Rome. We certainly power walked throughout the city and captured some lovely photos.

Who needs a Stair Master when you have to walk up these? I had to stop and rest on the second step. Yes, I am THAT out of shape.

I couldn't resist this photo as we stopped for a beverage.

The Parthenon. I think it says 'Agrippa Slept Here'

Even the ancient Romans enjoyed skylights.

One of my favorite street views. Love, love, love these passage ways. Especially when you can stop and people watch with a glass of wine.

If there were cars instead of people down there it might remind you a bit of Clark Griswald.

Finally, one of my favorite reasons to be in Italy...gelato. The best gelato place ever. Yum Yum Yum. The atmosphere didn't hurt either.