Jul 14, 2014

Pompei, a city that was buried under volcanic ash!

Temple of Jupiter Pompeii Italy
Ruins of Temple of Jupiter and Mt Vesuvius in the backdrop

9KM from the busy city of Naples stands high is the Mt Vesuvius volcano! The most popular to have buried the Roman city of Pompeii in AD 79. It seems it spewed 1.5 milion tons of volcanish ash and molten rock per second releasing unthinkable amount of thermal energy killing 16,000 people! Well, even now it is considered to be one of the most dangerous volcano looking at the busy city Naples in the shadow it.

Jul 11, 2014

Assisi- Feel the peace here!

Panorama Assisi Comune Italy
Assisi comune

Well, another destination in Italy ... After 8 hectic days I reached Assisi in the afternoon and was amazed to feel the peace. It felt like in a soundproof town with plenty of fresh air. Assisi is a medieval sacred town in central Italy, around 90 miles north of Rome. It is the birthplace of St Francis and is popular for the Basilica of San Francesco.

Jun 30, 2014

Venice, The Queen of Adriatic

Piazza di San Marco and St Mark's Basilica Venice Italy
St Mark's Basilica

Historic city of Venice is described by many as Queen of the Ardiatic, City os Islands, City of masks, Floating city, City of bridges and City of canals ... and when you visit Venice everything seems right! For me it looked like a unique city with so many bridges across those islands!  It seems there are more than a hundred islands separated by more than hundred canals and  they are connected by around 400 bridges! With the unique cityscapes, art and cultural heritage tourism is a major part of livelihood for venetians. The tour of Venice was fun though everything I saw was touristy! Venice is considered to be a living museum and IMO it is also a tourist trap! 

Jun 17, 2014

Video- Working with glass in Murano!

Well, package tours have some advantages. Our guide took us to some places where we could have demos on how it is made etc ... In Florence, a leather shop gave us an elaborate display of all their products and also a fashion show with some of our package-mates being models! In Venice, at glass factory of Murano we had a demo on how the glass artifacts are made. I liked it very much and took a video of the same! Have a look you will be amazed!

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Related articles-
Duomo di Orvieto- A medieval architectural splendor!
Rome- A photo tour
Musei Vaticani
The Grandeur of St Peter's Basiclica
Postcards from Italy

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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Jun 15, 2014

Florence, The cradle of renaissance

River Arno Florence Italy
River Arno and the city of Florence

Capital city of Tuscany now, popular those days as "Athens of Middle Ages" Florence or Firenze or Florentine is one fascinating city! The birthplace of renaissance, Florence has few world famous museums and IMO the Piazza della Signoria itself is an open air museum! The full-size replica of Michelangelo's David in its original position attracts the visitors most. The river Arno passes through Florence and flows into Tyrrhenian sea.

Jun 12, 2014

Leaning tower of Pisa

Leaning tower of Pisa Italy
Our guide started our day with- Today we are going to a place where thousands of tourists go everyday to make sure the tower is still leaning! Yes, to Leaning tower of Pisa! Ture! It is still leaning!

It is a freestanding bell tower behind cathedral in Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) which started leaning durning its construction itself due to the soft ground on one side. It tilted more during the 196 years of its construction until it was stabilized and then the tilt was corrected to some extent during later centuries! Its initial world popular tilt was more than 5 degrees it seems now it is corrected up to little less than 4 degrees. It has around 300 steps to reach the top floor from where one could get a sweeping views of the surroundings.

The Piazza del Duomo or popularly nick named as Piazza dei Miracoli, was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987. The square includes the cathedral, a baptistry, the bell tower and the cathedral. The three structures whiter than white those days stand majestically on the green grass. The tower is one of the seven medieval wonders of the world! There were thousands of tourists even early in the morning. I saw many youngsters  trying for that touristy picture of "supporting the leaning tower" :) 

Jun 8, 2014

Duomo di Orvieto, A medieval architectural splendor!

Facade Orvieto CathedralItaly
Massive structure with gothic facade, walls depicting the stories from testaments, decoration by glittering mosaics and massive bronze doors, is the Duomo di Orvieto, construction which continued for three centuries! The cathedral dedicated to Assumption of Mary was designed by many master designers over the centuries changing it from Romanesque to Gothic structure. The gothic facade of the duomo is one of the masterpieces of the time while the side walls are very plain with no art work.

Well, after a hectic a day at Rome I visited this peaceful place of cathedral and cutlery! Do you believe the Comune di Orvieto is located on a hill top and that hill actually is an ancient volcano? And the cathedral stands right atop a volcanic plug? Amazing facts huh?

I took the funicolare for the first time here to reach the hilltop! Funicolare is a short electrically run cable railway or cliff railway! Two tram like vehicles on rails are connected to a cable which move up and down the steep slope. I have used cable cars in India but cable railway was first experience!

Jun 6, 2014

Photo Tour- Rome, As I saw it!

Roman Colosseum Rome Italy

As I said in the earlier post on Rome- it is an eternal city! There is so much to see and know. The guide provided by the package tour was quite good enough to open as many windows to the city of Rome in that short time, I mean a day and a half, that includes Vatican City too. Well, I do not have some glamourous night shots of this fancy city! I visited during the bright day light though I have seen the city in the night with some monuments decorated with lights, well from a moving bus!

Jun 1, 2014

Rome- The eternal city!

Colosseum Rome Italy
Roman Colosseum

The capital city of Italy today and the capital city of Roman empire then ... Rome was considered an empire without end! It is one of the largest cities then known to the world. With the package tour schedule and anxiety I did scratch a bit of the surface of the destination- Rome! I was amazed to see that ancient city buried underground, partly exposed and another part waiting to be excavated! The still standing monuments are the symbols of wealth and power of Imperial Rome!

May 22, 2014

Musei Vaticani in Vatican City

Gorgeous ceiling Vatican Museum
Gallery of Maps- Vatican Museum

In the previous post I had mentioned about grandeur of the St Peter's Basilica. Next to the basilica is the Museum. Well, I remember saying "my neck hurts" many times! You know why? Ceilings are more grand and artistic than whatever is displayed on the walls and statues! The paintings, the gilding work, the frames and so on ... just breathtaking ...

May 21, 2014

Experiences and Thoughts on Package Tours

The whole theme of my blog is about traveling SOLO to venture out the world alone and a sense of adventure. But, few times when traveling with family I have tried personalized package tours in Rajasthan where everything was arranged for us by a tour operator per our taste. We didn't have to do a single thing! When I visited Italy I took a first class package tour. I was tired of driving long distances, camping, budget accommodation and simple food. And thought of enjoying some luxury of a first class trip.

May 19, 2014

Vatican City- The grandeur of St Peter's Basilica

St Peter's Basilica Vatican City
St Peter's Basilica Vatican City

Vatican City is one interesting place. There are many things we do not know about this place with the architectural wonders of the world! Did you know Vatican City is the smallest country in the world and ruled by the Bishop of Rome?! I was surprised to know that the postage stamp of Italy is invalid here in this church complex! And its post box is painted Yellow! This independent state comprises of St Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum. This article is all about the awe inspiring grandeur of the Basilica!

May 15, 2014

Postcards from Italy- A photo essay!

Musei Vaticani Vatican City
Feasting on art in Vatican City

I had been to Italy some time ago and never got a chance to write about the trip at all! The lingering taste of the place, art and food never seems to fade away! Thought of putting together all my dearest memories of Italy for you in pictures. I will post about each place in detail soon. I was tired of backpacking and thought of taking a first class package tour for 11 days to cover most of the popular places in Italia. The tour was good for an introduction to Italy!

May 10, 2014

Travel Souvenirs!

Souvenirs from travel
Fridge magnets my favorite souvenirs

From my grand trip to Italy not only I remember the grandeur of the Basilicas but also remember- a family who were with me in the package tour for 12 days. Two sisters and their two teen age daughters. As much as I enjoyed the art and architecture in Italy I enjoyed watching this family shop! Pasta, sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, red wine in Tuscany. Very expensive Murano glass wine serving set, Murano glass bead jewelry and a women's top embellished with fine Murano glass beads in Venice. An exquisite dining table set and few other living room furniture in Sorrento. And what more god only knows! Well, everything was shipped to USA for them. While another retired teacher, who was part of the same package tour with his wife, bought a map of medieval Italy printed on white cloth for 3 euros and was happy that the map had names of all the places he visited. There was another mother-daughter duo who bought whatever looked very cheap as gifts for family and friends back home.

May 6, 2014

Ajwa Nimeta Fountain Gardens near Vadodara

Ajwa-Nimeta is a fountain garden near the city of Vadodara-Gujarat. It is a popular tourist attraction in the city of Vadodara. Built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in early 20th century the dam and the gardens are a delight for the tourists delight.

May 4, 2014

The assets that really matter in life!

This post is a tribute to my Father who had been a guide, guard and god in my life. He was a noble man and a great father. He was the rock in my life. Today I do whatever I like to do because of him. It was him who let me chose the life I wanted to live. He made me realize honesty without compassion is hostility (quote by Rose N Franzblau).

He left us on 21st of April with his family around him. On his last journey I saw him lay motionless with a peaceful divine smile on his face. Today is the 14th day and as per Hindu rites we have arranged a feast(?) in his honor. I pray to God to protect my father's soul in his palms until I see my father again. I see hundreds of family and friends attending the feast, saying very good things about him.

Apr 21, 2014

Some Facts- 'True' and 'False' fruits of Cashew nuts!

Cashew nuts are so tasty huh? I love them! During my childhood days I used to walk through these cashew farms, pluck the cashew apples, try to open the shells to get the cashew nut out, and in the process burn my skin only to get my Mother scold me :) Burn- not in true sense, the skin turns black and peels away after few days with no pain but quite a bit of irritation. The hands used to look ugly with the scars left by the nasty juice of that hard shell. At times I got my cheeks burnt too! All these memories flashed back during my recent family trip to my own coastal Karnataka- on a pilgrimage and to visit family.

Apr 18, 2014

A Tree from Dead Horse Point State Park

Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah is a very interesting place. With beautiful scenery and sad history. Well, hiking here was a delight. On the way, I saw many interesting rock formations and twisted trees. This was one of them.

Apr 15, 2014

Random Pictures- Hungry Cats!

Just back from a trip to Goa and Coastal Karnataka with family. Loads of fun and interesting pictures from streets of India. I love the expressions of children and animals. So unpretentious! My niece who is also into the same hobby pointed her finger to these two cats!

Apr 7, 2014

Natural Wonder- Salton Sea, an accidental lake!

Largest lake in California or call it strangest backwaters, Salton Sea is a shallow rift lake located right on the San Andreas fault. This terminal lake with saline water is considered as a crown jewel of biodiversity! It is a major resting stop on the Pacific Flyway. The sea/lake was accidentally created by the flooding Colorado river when an irrigation canal broke. The current surface of the lake is 227ft below the sea level! Within 150-miles from popular cities Los Angeles and San Diego, Salton Sea is one of the lowest points on Earth!