Saturday, August 20, 2005

Mosaic Photos

I have added a lot more photos of just mosaics from the trip to a separate blog called Mosaic Photos. I have a Mosaics Website, but since Google owns Blogspot and it is free server space, and big photos take up a lot of room, I am putting these photos there that I know the mosaic artists here in the States would enjoy seeing cause I can do it for free !!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

On our trip, everywhere we went people kept approaching me to ask about my cool front closure, magnetic reading glasses. See them on my neck in Lucca here. Sooooooooooooo I came home and made a little web site to facilitate them being able to order them online, as I did. They are actually quite a bargain. Originally, I ordered one pair, liked them so much that I ordered two more in other colors. I took a spare pair in my suitcase, but never needed it. The lens fold at the hinge both inside and out almost 360 degrees, so that combined with the springiness of the acrylic of the frames, means no breakage. The lens don't seem to scratch either and I never use a case.
The new site is so it is easy to remember.....some strengths are available as sunglasses too and that is great for poolside reading. They say you can have prescription lens put in these inexpensive cool frames.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Lundy's New Blog

I have made a new blog to post great stuff that I find and share good stuff that I learn about that has nothing to do with this trip. The web address is I couldn't get just plain 'Lundy' so I used a name some friends used to call me. Pretty easy to remember. Just think of it as my Italian name!

Harry Potter's Train

Sara had complete coniption fits when she saw the London King's Cross Station Platform 9 3/4 which is the location of the train that Harry Potter takes (she tells me). Sara is a librarian, for any who don't a school, so she is all tuned in to what children are reading. And it seems that Harry Potter is a big deal and that this photo is a big deal. So here it is !

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Fashion Report

This photo is from a very exclusive shop window in St. Tropez. Obviously a fall outfit. Sara and I loved the shoes.

Well, I know all female readers are on the edge of their seats waiting on a first hand European fashion report, since everyone knows that trends usually start there and migrate over to the States in due time. Well, it appears that modern telecommunications and FedEx's delivery of print media may have speeded-up 'due time'.

In years gone by, like in the Beatle Era, I found the London Look to be at least a year, and in some cases, 2 years in reaching us at the shopping center level. Then about 5 yrs ago, it seemed we had about a 6 month or one season lag, but not so anymore.

Just about every look we saw overseas, we have seen here as well, with one big, no make that skinny, exception. SKINNY is IN----no one is fat in Europe. Maybe one person could stand to drop a few lbs (like maybe only 10 lbs) per city block. If we saw a very overweight person, they were a tourist, usually from the States, occasionally from Germany or some cold place. Some middle age Asian's are a bit thick in the middle, you know middle age spread, but not the French, the Italians, Spanish, least the ones that are out and about that we saw.

To help keep them skinny, Europe assists in providing as many stairs as possible. Handicapped access is limited, stairs are in. Make that flights of stairs are in. Buildings are built so that you might go up a bunch of stairs to go in the front only to go down stairs to the main or reception floor....that sorts of thing. One would almost think that I had specified 'Third Floor Please' on my reservation forms, and keep in mind that what we call the first floor, they usually call "0".

My observation, in Italy, street dress is becoming more casual. Fewer working women in little black dress and heels, more in tight jeans with wide turned up cuffs. Midriff/tummy exposure is way in. (see skinny notes above) Skirts and worn way low, jeans are worn low and tops stop just above belly button. This is acceptable dress for bank tellers as well as travelers. We were surprised by this. Bras, if you must wear them are to have tiny clear plastic straps. These straps are pretty skimpy and stretchy so you can easily get the jiggly no-bra look with this type of undergarment. Otherwise, bras have colorful straps fully exposed. Camisoles are big. Cleavage is IN, all ages. (Trim and fit bods, remember.)

Heels with jeans are big, and this includes walking on slippery cobblestones and up and down hundreds of stairs. The shoes are mostly strappy heels and mules with embellishments. All ages. No panyhose--what are those anyway--do they still make 'em?

In the shop windows, women's shoes either had verrrrrry pointy toes or very rounded blunt toes if they were not open toe.

In Italy, saw more color and less black slacks/white blouses than I did 5 years ago. The women are wearing the same voile batik made-in-India skirts that W-M is selling here. Wear them slung low (see note above, then see skinny)

Jeans have goofy torn and stitched places and those odd bleached places same as the ones in our mall jeans shops on men and women. Most women's jeans have wide turned up cuffs about mid-calf.

Men are wearing lots of variations on Nike type shoes. Pull ons, no laces, wierd laces, straps, all sorts of odd driving shoe looking sneakers. Men wear sandals too, all types.

Young men with longish hair often wear stretchy headbands , the type that you'd only see on girls in the States, plus I saw some longish haired men wearing the rigid plastic headband things w/ tiny teeth that we called 'bandeaus' as children. iPods and earbuds are in w/ the subway set.

Asymetric hemlines are all the rage. Hems cut every-which-a-way and often unsewn and frayed. In fact, frayed edges are big on everything, pocket edges, etc... new stuff is sold that way.

All variations of Lime Green are much seen, deep avacado-ish lime is popular, as is tourquoise. But then, we were in the resort type areas a lot. Large and long necklaces with chunky beads spaced between sections of skinny cord or tigertail are IN.

Full skirts are everywhere. Very,very sheer skirts are very in. sometimes opaque fabric skirts have sheer layers that hang a few inches underneath. This looks odd when it is a taylored twill skirt with a chiffon frayed tattered layer hanging out the last few inches, errr..., make that centimeters.. Get out those sewing machines girls, this is a way easy look to come by DIY.

Another popular look in skirts is the taffata or poplin fabric skirt with volumous amounts of fabric and tabs and buckles in various places that bunch it up here and there for no particular reason. This is a fun look for the really skinny minnies only.....anyone with any bulk instantly looks like a truck tarpolane train wreck or a bundle of damage goods with a human body trapped inside.

And in England girls are wearing those droopy long hangy-down scarves around the neck. In fact, on the Underground, we saw girls in 85 degree stuffy traincars dripping with perspiration still sporting a droopy hot scarf wrapped 2 or 3 times around her little adolescent neck. Didn't see that silliness much outside England.

Overall the guys in Europe dress pretty much like our guys, mostly t-shirts (tight over fit bods) just way fewer polo shirts, more variety in shoes and in England, where bankers and such still wear suits, they tend to wear more beautiful suits than is typical here and they are taylored to actually fit the wear's particular back, shoulders, arm length etc..they fit better.

European mens' woven shirts show a fair amount of vatiety in things like diagonal stripes instead of the usual vertical. They tend to be cut rather trim fitting, like the trim fit on rodeo shirts.

We did see a lot of tatoos and body piercings amongst the young general population. Not too many of the over-the-top downright scarry types, but lots of 20's and younger people, men and women with one nose thing, eyebrow thing, etc...of course, one is 'too many' to me.

If I think of anything else to add, I will. Lundy

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Adding Photos

Lots of photos added now from Gulf Shores--scroll down or go to page 2 if the necessary--click image to see larger version of the pix. I am in Memphis and have transfered my photos from SD cards to disk. I have added a few to the Venice, Rome, St Tropez, PortoFino, Nice, Corsica, Monte Carlo, Montpellier, Florence & Livorno posts so scroll way down to see the Butterfly Museum, Sara's favorite place. The newly added comments are in purple. Click on the photos if you want to see a larger image. Here in Memphis, I have an older Win 98 computer and the version of Photoshop LE on it does not do batch resizing or batch anything and my connection is dial-up (slowish), so since I am driving to Gulf Shores on Monday morning, I will add most photos from there where I can quickly make them small enuf to upload to Blogger and do the uploads fast on the high speed connection.

For those of you who don't know, the photos I put on here from Europe are not mine, they are actually hot-linked from other websites and from their servers, which is verrrrrry rude and bad practice. I want to remove the 'borrowed' photos asap and put my own on before i start getting those nasty C & D letters.


Friday, July 29, 2005

Flying Out- Memphis

Arrived late last night Memphis time, middle of night my
mental time, slept till mid morning here. To look at the
flight schedule on paper it looked like we had a nice
comfortable layover in each place to explore and read and
catch breath, Ha!....We made all 3 connections by the skin of
our teeth,just barely, by running thru miles of corridors,
w/ jeans totally saturated w/ sweat (ladylike huh?) and
joints in elbows and shoulders about to pull from sockets
dealing w/ luggage check-ins, check-outs, over ramps,
stairs,check-ins, check-outs, lifts, tubes, check-ins,
check-outs, cobblestones, check-ins, check-outs, and w/ a
heavy Venetian chandelier in pieces in a cardboard box
slung around my neck by a spare luggage strap i brought in
case any zippers failed. What a sight !! And when I finally
flopped down in a seat on one flight and the stewardess
offered drinks, I asked for some coke and she put 1 inch in
a plastic cup from a can and I politely asked please for
the rest of the can and she replied, "oh were there not any
drinks for sale in the airport?" the friendly
Another example of 'tourist' class vs. Biz class.

We had Biz class going over and tourist class coming home.
As different as Night and Day.

I will try to get a camera cable or a SD card reader at a shop here so I can post some of my own photos tonight. My own cable is in Gulf Shores, where I will be heading this weekend.

I will also posty a summary of travel tips I found most helpful.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Leaving Venice :o(

This moring we are sharing a water taxi to the airport with a lady from Calif. She is a writer who has been here a month working on a book. We are glad to share the cost of the boat taxi as it is pretty high and easily accommodates several people. She is happy about it too.
Sara and I had a wonderful waterside dinner last night of sea bass, salad, and Sara had a special white fish with olives dish of Venice.
One of the interesting things here is that in any cafe or restaurant you can just order a "beer", no brand specified, and the waiter tells the person behind the bar "one beer" (in Italian of course) and you get the great house choice of a light lager type. They do not bug you to name a brand, or waste time asking what brands they serve, etc...

We are sad to be leaving, as we have only scratched the surface of everywhere we have been. The progression from place to place has been a good one with each place getting better than the last. Sara will have to do a post about what surprised her most about the different places we went.

I will post photos here as Google owns blogspot and I will get free server space for them. We fly out at noon today. I was able to print the boarding passes here from the hotel online. I predict that a small laptop and wireless will be the way to go on the next trip to Europe. Then it is just amatter of choosing hotels that have wireless and checking to be sure the cost is reasonable or free. Or locating wireless hotspots in public places before you leave.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

last day-Sara

Today we went to Murano and watched the glass blowing and shopped. We have made our way around with vaporettas, the metro of the waterway. They hook up with one another on lines just as the metros do and one is herded like cattle on and off. It is interesting and not unpleasant at all, but it does remind one of a herd of animals.
The glass is beautiful.Venice is beautiful. The temperature seems like home.Last night we were in Lido, I think that island is kept for the Venicians. It is not on the tourist map, but on the real map. They had a spinning exercise class at a beach area, really gorgeous men calling out the instructions and leading the class. All the exercisers were women. The area had a place to rent beach houses, just like the early movies. All ages were there, young and old. It was clean. People took showers before they went home and dressed the children in pajamas or street clothes. There was an attendant.The sand is darker than Destin, but it is a great beach. The prices for food were reasonable.
Today at Murano I got charged a couper,or something like that. I asked what it was-it was for the use of a knife and fork ,. The other day on the square we were charged to sit in the chairs while drinking our dollar coffee at St. Marks squre. The range is wide and part of the experience.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Venice ! w/ edits

We had a wonderful lunch in Venice the first day. Sara had a fresh fish which the waiter is removing from the bones here. I ordered Salad Marco Polo since I had often fixed Julia Child's recipe for Sphagetti March Polo that she prepared on Mr. Roger's Neighborhood once upon a time, an easy one for children to fix. And sure enuf, they were quite similar, both good.

Saint Mark's Cathedrial on St Mark's Square is just about the number one tourist 'hot spot' in Venice so I had warned Sara that it would be over-run with human beings, pickpockets & pigeons since it was July. All the bus loads of tourist groups go there for sure. It was just about unbearable for us, so we followed some advice in a 5 yr old book I had that said one particular sidewalk cafe was the only one that would let you sit around and enjoy the good live music and have a drink with out it costing you a week's wages. So, we found this particular spot, ordered coffee and were super glad to get off our feet. The waiter was friendly and imensely interested in the short piece about the cafe in the guidebook, he borrowed it twice to show the manager, etc....then he slapped us with a $20 tab for our two itty bitty coffees. He should have comped them to us for all the bother about borrowing our book, etc...and we had no idea that he'd be adding a 2.50 Euro each 'sitting fee' plus a 'service fee' for the water he put on the tray w/ the coffee, ( and for the spoon to stir it with I suppose) the menu didn't mention these add ons. Live and learn....& avoid St. Marks square cafes altogether is my advice. But, don't avoid Venice :o)

Notice the large cruise ship going thru a canal in Venice very close to St. Marks Square. You can see it behind the crowds. It looked so weird, like a ship on a city street.

The water in Venice is this incredible shade of opaque tourquoise that I have never seen any place else. It is totally different from the aqua waters of places like the Caribbean or Key West, etc....and because there is usually a soft mist in the air, the reflected light is so unusual. Venice really is a fairy-land looking place.

Sara commented that it was a shame that age and decay wasn't as attractive a characteristic in humans as it is in architecture in Venice.

The view from our hotel windows. We were at the Hotel American on a side canal. It is a nice place, that is reasonable priced in a city known for outrageous priced hotels. I booked it thru my (click here)-own hotel booking site and got the best price available, I ck'd the other popular booking engines and my site uses the same one that Sam's Club uses and it usually has the best prices. I also read a lot of reviews before I booked it. The staff was great and the mini bar beers were just 2 Euros, not a rip-off like most mini bars. This was good because Venice is not a town with a grocery on every block like most.
It was a nice quiet 'street' and we only noticed later that our bathroom was partly constructed in a box that hung off the side of the building. You couldn't tell it from the inside. It was very nice, even tho it was on the third floor (no elevator). The hotel is named the Hotel American but is not 'American' in any way, so they are changing the name back to the original name of many years back, Hotel Dinesen, since they said the Hotel American name had hurt them in the Asian tourist market who wanted a real Italian experience and thought theirs might be like a Holiday Inn or something. I spoke with the young man who is in charge of their website and he was a super nice guy and very knowledgable ( a wonderful change after most of my computer experiences on the trip)

The front of our hotel had the traditional wooden striped poles in front that boats could tie up to.

We were soooooooooooooo glad that we got up and on a train that actually left the station this morning. It was over sold and some people had to stand for part of theway, not us tho. We got 3 hrs sleep in Rome last night, but that was OK, the hotel was so sweet they brought us tiny, itty bitty expressos so strong that you could fix flat tires with them at 5 am and knocked softly on the door to wake us up. We arrived in Venice about 11:30 am.
My suitcase wheel has broken from intense over use. Up and down a bazillion stairs, in underground systems, train stations, etc....boom, boom, boom, even tho I have carried them a lot rather than use the wheels. But this one I had consoladated the papers stuff and books, etc so that I didnàt have to open it again----wrong, I will have to reorganize and redistribute the weight between my two little bags. I am just not going to buy a new wheeled one in the worlds most expensive city on the last day.

This hotel has free internet in the lobby, one computer, so if someone starts waiting, i might have to give it up. The keyboard is weird, and the curser disappears, but it works pretty well.

Venice is a fairy land , like a dream land, but it has too many tourists in July. As expected, St. Marks Sq was way too crowded and we got to the cathedrial just after it closed. Sooooooooooo ,We went to the Lido where most US tourists do not know about and sure enuf, it was lovely. We went out into the Med Sea and waded around (didnàt have on swim suits) and took photos and rode the vaporettas around. Lots of fun.

Monday, July 25, 2005

2nd post-Sara

Well,last night I wrote for about 30 minutes and it disappeared, so now I will publish and edit instead. Today we went to St. Peter s today, magnificent! It was the most beautiful place ever. We climbed to the top of the Basilica, well, took the lift and then climbed 320 stairs. The entire top is made of mosaics, some smaller than your fingernail. It makes one giddy to look down it is so far down. This is the third time I have written this it keeps diaappearing.We visited two churches today and the train station. On every corner there are these exquisite churches. We listened to the Rosary, an exposition, and a benediction in either Latin or Italian in this tiny church by an ancient Roman Bridge.


The dome is 138 ft across, I read on the web.

These photos of St. Peters in Rome hopefully will give you some idea of the magnitude of this structure and how high we climbed.

On the front of the building note the row of standing statues on the first horizonal plane, then look at them on the roof-top photos I took on our way to the dome interior and cupola outside catwalk. Also note the tall vertical oblisk thing out front of St Peters and then again in the photo that I took from the cupola.

The whole circular area that is basically empty in my photo is the space that is filled with folding or stacking chairs on Sundays and when the Roman Catholic Pope addresses the crowds. That is a LOT of chairs.

The smaller culopas that you can see on the roof in my photo but they are just the bright white spots on the interior shot of the mini-domes that are covered in mosaics in the inside. They are about the size of a dome on a 'regular' cathedrial.

There are about 6 or 8 of these on the side wings of the cathedral's interior space. The big, ultra gigantic center dome rim is shown in one photos and if you look just above the mosaic writing, you can see the other people who were up there when we were. Look for a person in a blue shirt/white pants on the right on the catwalk.

There is nothing else like it in the world. This is the 'Mother of all Cathedrals' !!

In one photo, Sara is standing by a group of figures carved from what looks like a single piece of marble and this is just one 'statue' on a side wall of a pass-thru between one of the many , many different parts of the interior. There are numerous such statues in St. Peters. The floors in the cathedral are fantastic marble inlay.

The photo that shows the crest shaped inlay in the marble floor shows a part of the foyer area.

We went to the Trevi Fountain at night--glorious,..... we were just sorry we couldn't spend more time that evening

Surely Rome deserves about 5 posts to the blog but that will not be we discovered today when we wisely went first thing to Termini , the train station to buy our train tickets for tmorrow to Venice, ITALY IS HAVING A RAIL STRIKE !
But, we did find out, after standing in long lines and take a number information boots, that if we ere able to get out of town before 9 am we could maybe get a ticket, so we leave the hotel at quarter of 6 in the morning for the train we catch at 6 something to Venice that we were lucky enuf toget confirmed seats on.

After we left the train station we hopped on the underground and rode to the sation nearest St.Peters. There were a lot of people in lines, we joined them, we thought that we were in the line to go into the Bascilia but as time went on, we finally figured out that we might be on our way to something else, and we were. In fact, we ended up among the select few who went to the tip top of the dome of St. Peters, so we can truthfully say that we saw ALL of Rome today.

It was SOME CLIMB I can tell you. Unbelievable and when we got up near but not all the way, we were able to go out on a catwalk around the inside rim of the interior of the main dome of St.Peters. It was mindblowing. We were so tiny up there in the crown of mosiacs that the people on the floor couldnt even really see us r notice us.They would have needed binoculars.

I have been lightening my load at every stop. I brought stuff I am not using. One of my friends told me to leave my hair curles at home.I should have listened. I should have left the hair dryer there too. It is a little travel folding one thank goodnss. I left the coffee maker on the Wind Surf. I finally got it working, but slowly.

Rome is absolutely unbelievable. Sara and I think every child in the States should be brought here as part of a general education. She has said over and over, "You just DON"T UNDERSTAND UNTIL YOU SEE ROME FOR YOURSELF"

She says funny stuff too. I have been telling her that when she talks to someone with limited English to mke her first sentence, or three or four words count because they will be focusing and thinking hard on those words as you ramble on with other words. She was buying a gift for a male friend and she wanted to be sure it was not feminime looking and she asked this Italian woman "Does this look like a man?" as she held up an item that obviously did not n any way resemble a man. I laughed and laughed on and off all day.

When we went up all those steps to the top of the dome at St Peters I mentioned that the number of steps was similar to the number of steps taken in a step aerobics class, and she replied, in all sincerity, "But this is worse becaue we have to come back down too"

Or Rome hotel is ultra fabo. The decor is so Italian it is off the scale. Total marble bathroom with back and gold designs on walls ad diamond designs on the floor. Custom bath hardware, very vary fancy, the room has a curved tray ceiling with gold leaf, the walls are upholstered witha trapundo looking taupe fabric. The furniture is Empire style. The lamps exquisite. The carpeting is custom with a double border. We even have a tiny entrance all with a mosaic marble floor. I took lots of photos and will add them when I get home to a real computer. Meanwhile I will try to add an internet photo I found.--nope, cant, this webtvthing wont let me.

We spend a lot of the day laughing and truely have not had even one dissagreement or gotten crabby with each other. We are good traveing companions.

Sara says she now wants to save every cent in the future for travel.. .

Rome-2, Flea Market

Our hotel is a wonderful place and if Rome itself were not a more wonderful place, it would be tempting to hang out here all day just admiring this decor. We are on the north side of town, north even of the Borghese Villa and park area but there is a bus line near. We have been using the bus to leave and a taxi to return when we are too tired to move a muscle. Worth every penny at tht point.
We were fortunate to arrive in Rome on Sunday which is the day of the flea market in Trastevere which is a fascnating experience. I bought some old post cards from a dealer on old stamps and old correspondence. I will use them to make a scrapbook paper background for a European
travel set for my site. People have been asking for a travel set for a long time.

The "Smart Car", in red here, is very popular all over Europe. Other cars tend to be small size as well. They plan to sell them in the USA--click here to see the Smart USA site. The Smart Car is made by DaimlerChrysler in Europe.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


The River Chateau Hotel is fabulous----absolutely---and I booked it online thru my website at a great price. I am putting a link to it here for anyone traveling to Rome so they can read all about it and book online. Our room included a fancy, full breakfast in a lovely dining room on the first floor. This is one instance were the online photos were not in the least misleading and the staff was wonderfully helpful. It is a little out of the center of things, being so far north in Rome, but a terrific value we thought.

Now we will have to tell you about today and Rome.and Sara just had written a big post here in this wonderful hotle, but their internet sysem is an Italian variation of bizzzzzarr WebTV.....s , wouldnt you know it, after a few minutes of typing, with out warning, the screen defaulted tothe hotel log-in and she lost the whole thing. When we found out at the fron des that we ad free in room internet access, we thought we were in Internet Heaven, but alas, it is Inernet Purgatory. Fitting for Rome, more later. L.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Freaking out/ Corsica

I have realized, that probably due to the difficulty of getting online on the trip, I didn't mention that we went to Corsica. It is a small island off the coast of Italy. Long interesting history. I think it is owned by France still. We docked in Porto Vecchio. Sara and I rode a bus to the old town of Sartene, an ancient walled city. There was an open air market in the center plaza area selling pastry, cheese, clothes, shoes, herbs, etc......

We got to see a lot of Corsican countryside on the bus ride. It is a rather hilly place, and has very distinct wet/dry seasons. We were told that besides tourism, the country's income comes mostly from goverment subsidies. Sad state of affairs in our minds. Sara and I felt we could certainly change that should the people of Corsica decide to elect US to public office !! Or make us Queens.

I am totally besice myself--the internet is totally messed up and i am getting gipped out of about 60 bucks, sooooooooooo mad. L.
EDIT ADDED next day
Well,i had to spend some time, like almost an hour total explaining how the ships (apostrophies are am impossibility on many foreign keyboards as I cannot locate them for the life of me) internet computers incmpatibilities with AOL, which I do not use but which the guest right before me had used, and which locked up the so called computer on MY account minutes on HIS AOL account was not an AOL problem as the "technician was stating" but was a WINDSTAR problem as I saw it and therefore I expected them to handle it with fairness to me. When the girl in charge of the internet room showed up wthe keys to physically unlock the wooden boxes encasing the machines and reboot after i had yanked out the plugs from the wall in her absense, she informed me that the computer room was closing early as it was the last night and my last chance to use the computers was over, and taped on a sheet of printed plastic, a sign I had not noticed,. I had about 55 minutes left on my "contract".....I was furious.
So I went to the reception desk to insist on getting credit for unused portion, but they wanted to credit me the my package and then charge me the higher per minute rate as if I had bought the one minute at a time rate, so I ad to bring them to a understanding that they needed only charge me at the lower package rate per minute for theminutes of the block I had used, since using a package block was my intention and I tried to, but that it was THEIR idiotic equipment that screwed up. So finally they argeed.after continuous and careful and logical explaination on my part.
Traveling is full of the unexpected.and boy do I dislike AOL anyway......

Friday, July 22, 2005

Livorno the Port / Lucca

Look who is playing in Lucca at the Summer Music Festival ?? (Along with Crosby, Stills & Nash and Van Morrison)

The Lucca visit included a morning of riding bikes on the ancient city wall that is flat and 90 ft across on top. The wall is brick faced on both sides but filled with soil that is held in place mostly by tree roots. The top of the wall is a type of botanic garden with different types of trees planted in groups that change as you travel along. Parts of the tree system have been killed off by blights that only attack certain type trees, so those areas are sunny as the young replacement trees grow, other areas, under the old, tall trees are very cool and shady. At one time, a moat circled the outer walls of the town next to the wall.

Lucca has an oval piazza at it's center and the streets of the old town are laid out circling the piazza. The town has so much charm that several movies have been filmed there. One of the most recent is one I have not seen yet, called "Poitrait of a Lady" that was filmed in the mansion behind where I am standing. If anyone wonders what that lump is in the center of my chest, it is my credit card zippered wallet that I kept on a chain around my neck and tucked in my 'undergarments'.


The Lighthouse in Livorno at dusk.

From a bridge, Sara and I watched this Livorno fisherman mend his nets for quite a while. He looked up at us and seemed mildly amused that we were watching and taking pictures.

The Wind Surf, with sails down, in the Port of Livorno, Italy.

We have been two days in Livorno and it is a HUGE port. Biggest that i have ever seen. One Italian said it is the biggest container port in Italy and biggest on the Med. Sea. I have never seen such ships and cranes everywhere. They also ship in and out paper products, newsprint, and bundled paper for recycling so you see huge open sided warehouses of that. The rolls of newsprint are just stacked in the open like haystack rolls.
Livorno had humongous ferries also that go off to the vacation islands that all of Italy takes holiday on. The ferries are painted in brilliant colors w/ creative paint job designs and the docks are decorated to match. All very colorful and in contrast to the ancient ruins all still here and there in the port. In general, Italy is a very clean place, so even tho this is an industrial area, it is a beautiful area. There are flowers and statues and sidewalk cafes amongst the industrial docks.

This morning I bicycled in Lucca, the charming ancient town that has been used in many movies. It has an oval open plaza in the town center. Sara went to the gym and had a consult with the personal trainer. She is getting the followup exercise machine training w/ him right now for about 30 min then we plan to go ashore for an hour or so before the boat pulls
out this afternoon.
Yesterday we went to Florence and Pisa, lots of walking.

Fabulous weather every day.
Millie, I have gotten charms for my charm braclet in most places we have visited. Tower Bridge in London, Pisa's Tower, a Fleur de Leis for Florence, a Sun for Cote de Azul, etc...lots of fun and will be a great souvenir.