The Energizer Cowboys who kept things humming at the reunion

The Energizer Cowboys who kept things humming at the reunion
These kids know how to have fun!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back to Venice for our Final Water Excursions

This map shows several of the places we went: Milan, Venice, Croatia, and Greece.

Our Hotel in Venice...we got there by boat!

The Doges Palace adjacent to the Grand Canal

Tower on the Island of Murano, which is famous of lace

Lace maker at work.  Some table loths have as many as 18-20 different kinds of lace
each made by a different artist who specializes in particular ones.
Close-up of her handiwork

I loved the beautiful linens and art on this island.  Wish I'd had more time.  We also found a delicious pastry shop and tried several different kinds of goodies.

Next we headed for the Island of Burano, famous for beautiful handmade glass art. At the factory where we visited, they have made the glass chandeliers for the Bellaggio in Las Vegas.  They are very expensive.

This artist was making a horse which
stood on it's back legs.

We arose early the next morning to be boated to the bus which we travelled on to Milan.  Everything went smoothly and the green truck with all our luggage was there waiting for us.  Only had a few hitches getting through NYC, and then flew home where Autumn and the kids picked us up.  It is wonderful to go on a trip, but always great to get home as well.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Crossing over to Croatia Oct. 17

We'd hardly heard of Croatia, except when Steve and Adelle Lovell went there as missionaries.  It isn't as remote and scary as it sounded, now that we've been there.  It's "just" across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, so has much of the same feel and flavor in the culture.
Our destination in Split--Diocletian's Palace

Our first view of Split, Croatia was with a double rainbow arching I can't find that photo.  They have a shallow harbor so we had to take "tenders" or shuttle boats into the dock and back to the ship.  We only had one day there.

We had a most charming young man as our tour guide.  He had been raised in Australia, but had family ties in Croatia.  He was a new father; the baby having just been born.

Janet, KC and Ethel standing on the dock of the bay

Greek settled in Split in the 3rd and 4th centuries.   The Romans control Split from 300-600 AD, then it was conquered by the Venetians in 1420.  
Walking to the Palace along Split's beautiful harbor. 
During the rule of the Venetians there was a extensive wall built around Split,  This is a scale model of the city at the time.
Our guide was especially good at orienting us to direction and time, and reminding us often!
The City had many street musicians. We heard two wonderful Acapella men's groups singing in the palace.

Diocletian who became Roman Emperor after he had his main opponent assinated.  This palace was built as his retirement home and finished in 295 AD.  He built the palace for his retirement.  It provided for two large sections in the front for him, his wife and one child.  The back half quartered 200 soldiers on one side, and 200 servants on the other side.  Who says political excess is a new thing?  He lived from 255 AD to 316 AD. 

In later centuries the palace eventually contained a small city.

With the fall of the Roman Empire, the palace eventually was rehabited by locals, who built a small city within the palace.  As walls were changed, and rubble accumulated, they simply, dug holes in the floor, and let everything fall into the basement. Holes in the ceiling of the basement can still be seen today.

The Romans built both water and sewer lines throughout the palace, as verified by excavations conducted in the basement.  

You may remember the Sunday School lesson introducing the Book of Mormon and how it is considered the "key stone" of our religion.  This allusion refers to the Roman Arch shown here, where the center stone, or key stone, is set so that the entire arch bears equal weight, unlike straight thresholds which eventually crumble. There were literally hundreds of fine examples of these arches throughout the palace.  This change in making sturdy doorways was critical to the longevity of Roman Architecture, which is proven by these Roman arches which have stood for 1700 years, even as basement doorways!


Today the palace looks like this inside, though there are many little shops and houses in tact.  A large church and tower were bullt in the center plaza.

While we were in the plaza many vendors and lace makers were out selling tableclothes.  I wish I would have bought more. I loved their work.

One of the more interesting landmarks we saw in the old city was St. Dominius, the patron saint of Split, and we along with many others rubbed his lucky toe!

Our guide took us to the Roman temple of Jupiter, the Roman God.  Ironically when the Crusaders came in later years, even though they beheaded the pagan sphinxes or destroyed them, they did not tear down the pagan temple of Jupiter.  Instead, the Catholic Church converted it into a Christian baptistry.  There is one sphinx that was saved, and it is evidently buried somewhere in the town plaza.

 Catholic church was doing baptisms by immersion, hence the deep font in the shape of a cross.
The outside of the baptistery is carved with bas relief designs and a modern statue of John the Baptism establishes the purpose of the room.
We had about an hour or so to visit the markets on the edge of the old city.  Here are some of the things we saw....again, never enough time to shop. 

Everything sold was weighed with an old-fashioned scale.  I bought almonds.
Their flower market was equal to anything I've seen in our country.  Very beautiful!  Maybe they sell to the ocean liners?  When it was time to leave, we walked back to the dock, and waited for the last tender back to the ship.  It was a wonderful day!  Though our egg and veggie pizza wasn't so hot!

This painting of the completed palace shows how resplendent and excessive it was. The entire size and structure on ground level, was repeated below, with a large basement area the same size as above. It was not discovered until many centuries later, as people on the main level used the basement as a garbage dump. It has not yet be totally excavated.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Glory that was Greece--Oct. 15

The are hundreds of  miles of beautiful shore line in Greece, full of boats of all kinds.  We docked at Piraeus and were bussed into Athens. Piraeus has been the port of Athens for 2500 years.  We found out about 3 days before arriving that the Bells would not be at the mission home that day, but in Cyprus for a youth conference, so we ended up buying the tour after all.  Good thing I have a "rich" husband.  We saw everyone at the mission home, except them!

Note:  In the print version of this Blog, the captions are grouped together and don't travel with the photos, so you'll have to find the ID for each photo, if you want to learn something about the picture.

Olympic stadium built of white marble for the 1898 Olympics
Street vendors selling caps and postcards were much nicer than the Egyptians

The Panathenaic stadium hosted the first International Olympics
Our guide for the day

The changing of the guard at the Legislature

Athens is a beautiful city full of great architecture, statues, and columns

The non-descript entrance to the LDS Mission Home
Hiking to the Acropolis--our goal for the morning.
The Dionysus theater seated 14,000 people.  It is being reconstructed.  

Though it wasn't a strenuous hike it was all up hill.  There were lots of wonderful things to look at. We wore headphones and our guide kept us informed of what we were seeing.

We weren't sure we'd be able to even go up to the Acropolis, as the day before there were protesters and they closed the gates; however, we went to the south gate, instead of the main gate and we were able to enter.

 The smaller Odeon of Herodes Atticus built in 161 in honor of his wife. This is where Yanni had his big concert in 1998.

The famous Mars Hill where the Apostle Paul gave his sermon in 54 AD and accused the Athenians of worshiping false Gods. "Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious."

The entrance or Propylaea  to the Acropolis.  Notice the stacked columns.  This was the method used in building the Parthenon as well.
It was hard to get a good shot of the Parthenon from this side, 
as there were so many people out on this beautiful day.

Construction is going on in the center and south side of Parthenon

An important sign to recognize = Water Closet or bathroom!

 Most sacred site on the Acropolis the Erechtheion, and Caryatid Porch, or porch of the Maidens.  Originally there were six maidens.  One of the Caryatids was removed by Lord Elgin in order to decorate his Scottish mansion and was later sold to the British Museum (along with the pedimental and frieze sculpture plundered from the Parthenon.  Nowadays the five original Caryatids are displayed in helium-filled glass cases in the Acropolis Museum and are replaced in situ by exact replicas. 

 "Ancient Ruins"  from San Juan visiting Ancient Ruins of Greece.  The Parthenon in the background was build as a temple housing Athena, the patron goddess of Athens.  She was selected after defeating Poseidon in a contest.  The colums are Ionic.

 The mesa or mount of the Acropolis measures 500 ft. wide and 1,150 feet long.  At one time there was a little city there, with homes adjacent to the temples.

  Getting ready to go down the main trail.  This entrance is quite steep and made entirely of white marble from Mt. Pentelicus.  Notice Mars Hill in the background, named after the Roman God of War.
Mt. Pentelicus, 10 miles north of the city. The first great work on the Acropolis was the Parthenon, begun in 447 bc and finished, except for some details, in 438 bc.
The Nelsons became friends on this trip.  They have served 3 missions for the church.

 By the time we descended through the main entrance, police were stationed there, perhaps anticipating further protesters.
 Front view of the Odeon of Herodes...reminding of the many doors that have been opened to us on this trip.

 There are healthy well fed and tired dogs throughout the city
 Steve buys his Greek sailors cap.
 Hadian's Arch built by the great Roman builder.  Taken from the LDS mission home.  What a view!
 Steve, KC and Ethel across the street from the Arch
 The pedestrian plaza was where the bus let us off and picked us up.  It is directly in front of the LDS mission home.  Great location.
 Steve, the Langagers and Nelsons waiting for the bus
The Acropolis at night...what a sight, and to think we hiked up there!  Can't believe all we saw today!