A Travellerspoint blog

Salzburg

snow 9 °C

Ive now been in Salzburg about three days and most of the time it has been incredibly cold and wet, often raining. Today though, I woke up and it was snowing...quite heavily. It was so nice, but so unbelievably cold that I decided to not to have another day in the city but to sit on a nice warm (free!!) train ...so I travelled up to Linz (where I walked around for a couple of hours), down to Selzthal and back to Salzburg and the snow on the pine trees travelling through the alps was just beautiful. The mountains seem to be endless and they are massive...it often feels like they are going to all come crashing down on you.

On my first day in Salzburg, I walked around the city and just loved the houses and buildings. They all look like life size doll houses, all painted different colours like pink, blue, green, yellow, orange and they have white window frames. I visited Mozarts guesthouse and residence and learned a lot- Mozart was born into a middle class family and they stuggled to get his talent noticed...but his father was a very educated man and realised the genious his son was. So together they travelled the known world. Mozart spent a third of his life travelling. He was one of 6 kids, only 2 of which survived childhood. Mozart loved mostly composing operas.

The sound of music tour was also really interesting...but I dont have any time left, so I have to say see ya later for now...

Posted by gouramanis 11:06 Archived in Austria Comments (1)

Venice

City of Magic

sunny 18 °C

Here is what I wrote in my diary on the way home from Venice...

"If I ever marry I would like to have my honeymoon in Venice, at the time of Carnivale. Venice was the most mysterious, magical and dreamy place I have ever been and I LOVED it. As I got out of the train station I couldnt believe my eyes, a river similar to the Southbank area, but alive with gorgeous gondolas, ferries and people.The Grande Canale has three bridges but through the hundreds of streets of water, there are about 400 bridges. The day was sunny but cool and the water was a gorgeous grey-green colour. To watch a gondola pass is like watching a graceful animal gliding through the water, except sometimes the men pushing the gondolas (all in stripy shirts) were singing some Italian romatic song at the top of their voices, as if someone had just broken their heart!!

There were streets filled with tourists and streets isolated. It was impossible not to get lost among the massive maze of tiny streets. It was so nice because you could find a quiet place to sit and watch the gondolas pass or you could walk throught he busier parts with restaurants and cafes and shops where they sold the most exquisite masks. There were hundreds of masks (for masquerade) each uniquely designed with awesome colours, glitter, shiny spray, with fabrics and with feathers. There were simple ones, elaborately decorated ones...I really had difficulty taking my eyes off them when I went into one of these shops. Sometimes they also had the costumes to go with the masks...big dresses and cloaks. There were matching ones for couples and strangely a lot of the masks for men had a beak-like structure. I really couldnt absorb enough of this magnificent city."

Posted by gouramanis 10:46 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Firenze

City of the Flower

rain 15 °C

Florence is a beautiful city absolutely FULL of renaissance history. It is very famous for a lovely bridge which crosses the river. Now there are other bridges but in the past is was the only bridge. The Medici family were one of the richest families of the renaissance time and while initally they had only(!!) one castel, they came to own a second one on the other side of the river. Because they had enemies (as all the rich of the time did) they didnt ever go outside, so they made a corridor for themselves going from one castel to the other and they used this bridge, building the corridor on top (as a second story to the bridge). At the time there were all kinds of shops on the bridge, including butchers and when this channel was made...the shops produced a smell that the medici family did not like, so they ordered that the only shops allowed on the bridge were to be goldsmiths...and to this day there are only jewellers on this bridge.

There are so many churches and architectural monuments of the renaissance time in Florence that it is hard to describe them all. But often they were decorated with dark green and white stone. I loved the Santa Maria Novella, which had a spherical ring like structure outside the front of the church, it was a scientific instrument used to measure the rotation of the earth. It is representing a time when the church was accepting some of the scientific discoveries...

Of course I went to the academic gallery and saw my good friend David. Before going, I really didnt think it was going to be anything special...just a big statue of a naked guy. But it really was special...the sheer size of the statue, (8 tonne), the smoothness of the body and the flawlessness of the body. It was perfect and it represented David when he killed Goliath. He looks young and innocent but proud, I can see why Florentines made it the symbol of their city. David asked me to say hi to you all.

The Uffitzi museum was just as interesting because it showed the evolution of Renaissance art. It really showed how it began with very little colour, depth and expression and it finished with very imaginitive artwork. Of course nearly all of the pieces were of Mary and Child though!! I dont know enough about art to appreciate the 'Birth of Venus' or the 'Announciation'.

I spent half a day at Pisa and was really surprised at how small and how white the Leaning tower is. I mean, my initial thought was that it was a model of the real thing!! It was so clean because it was being cleaned and I suppose it just looked small in comparison to the many other buildings I saw in Italy...it was still about 8 levels high. Going up the tower was weird, with a sensation of feeling sea sick (but not that bad) and from the top I got really excited because I could see the Pisa soccer team training...oh I have to go and watch a game of soccer!!

Posted by gouramanis 10:14 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Bari, Fasano, Alberobello

overcast 15 °C

I spent some time, Friday until Monday (10th) in a gorgeous little village on the foothills, just south of Bari, called Fasano. The mountains were beautiful and the place was right near the beach. Although it was too cold to swim (it is still winter here) it was warm enough to sit on the beach and enjoy the sun. The water was so blue and I wanted to jump in, but it was icy cold. So I spent Saturday enjoying the beach and Sunday I went to another little village called Alberobello. Here the entire village is made of these weird simple homes that have white plaster walls and stones for the roof. They are kind of built into the ground and are cylindrical in shape. The stones in the roof then come up like a cone. I cant imagine living in one of these, because they are not much more than a single room, but they are meant to be very warm in winter and cool in summer, because of their odd shape. The entire village is made up of these buildings and it is really lovely to walk around the streets...of course there are hundreds of tourists but it was still really nice. Anyway, Im running out of time, so Ill tell you about Florence and Pisa another time...Buongiorno...

Posted by gouramanis 13:14 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

Napoli

rain 13 °C

I have been in Napoli now for three days and the nicest thing about it is the coffee and sweets. The streets are full of garbage, the people have not been so nice and Ive had to walk through flooding water half way up my calf, but the sweets and the coffee are FABULOUS.

On the first day the weather was nice so I decided to go to the Island of Capri which apparently has some awesome sea caves. But after buying the ticket, I couldnt work out where to stand and no one could help me so I missed the ferry...instead I went to the island Iscia and on it I found a brilliant castel that I spent some time exploring.

The next day was raining heavily, but I was determined to get to pompeii. It took me about 2 hours to get there because I caught the train the the town Pompeii, not the historical site, and when I finally got there it was steadily raining. To walk around the ancient site was fabulous, the streets the houses and everything was small. But the sophistication was what shocked me the most. I walked down a row of what used to be shops and they apparently had sliding doors, so the stones in the ground had long narrow slits!! There were some plaster casts which had been taken from the volcanic rock of two people and a dog and that was quite amazing...they were in the shape as if being burned alive.

After going to the museum today I learned a little more about the ancient city. Throughout the city there were lots of frescoes and sculptures, mostly they were heavily influenced by the Greeks of the time, but often based on the Roman Gods. What I found most facinating was the Secret Cabinet. This was a collection of paintings and sculptures that had originally been kept in certain gardens of Pompeii and they were all quite erotic!! There were sculptures of men with MASSIVE erect penises, By massive I mean the penis was the length of their leg!!There were homo and heterosexual couples in all kinds of positions and even Hermes mounting a goat!!! There were also stone sculptures of simply the male genitalia, erect. Apparently if a man had been successful it was common to see this outside their house!! But I read something like they would use a lot of bells around the necks of children...so they could hear them coming...so Im not sure weather it was normal to expose these things to kids or not.

After the museum today I ate some FANTASTIC spaghetti bolognase and I think it is the best I have ever eaten. The other day I had pizza, which Napoli is famous for, but I didnt like it so much. The base was so thin and there was so much cheese that it was rather oilly and soggy. The coffees they give you here are very short and black and very strong and almost creamy, I LOVE THEM. The only other nice thing about Napoli is the sweets shops everywhere, where you can buy some really interesting sweets.

Anyway tomorrow I am off to Bari for a couple of nights. The heavy rain here has made my pants, jacket and shoes saturated and I am looking forward to a couple of relaxing days to wash my smelly clothes... talk to you soon...

Posted by gouramanis 10:32 Archived in Italy Comments (1)

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