So! In lieu of a novella, I'm going to post 2 photos and their accompanying tales from each city. S'il vous plait, profitez-vous!
NANTES & MARSEILLES (stop-over cities)
Okay, I know I promised only two pictures per city, but I couldn't pick for Nice. Instead of telling a story, here are three photos: Roman ruins, Veille Ville (Old Town), and the beach. Click to enlarge.
CAGLIARI, SARDEGNA (Sardinia, Italy)
WorldEuropeCountriesMap Please note Belgium. Please note Cagliari, on the large pink island, and its proximity to Tunisia. Try, if you can, to imagine that Brussels, Belgium was much, much warmer and had 4 times the sunshine. As such, we had to amuse ourself with indoor, cultural activities. Luckily, it was Holy Week, and the Sardinians take Holy Week very, very seriously, with services and processionals every single day, sometimes multiple times a day, in traditional dress or liturgical costume. Here's a shot of a Good Friday processional during the afternoon::: Nikki and I attended an Easter Sunday Mass in Cagliari, and if I thought Catholic Mass in France was out of my element, I had much to be dissorted by in Cagliari's cathedral. It was lovely, though, and I wouldn't trade the experience.
AHHHHHHHHHHHH DREAM COME TRUE. I love, and have always loved, ancient history. I think it's probably the only childhood fascination that I haven't dropped as I've gotten older (lost contenders include dolphins, architecture, being marooned). As such, Rome was epic, despite the rain that followed us from Sardinia and deluged everyday promptly at 5:30. I already talked about my distressing (yet satisfying) incident in the Colosseum, so I won't go into that site, and I'll just say that the Roman Forum next door was full of neat surprises and much bigger remains that I could have hoped for.
I spent most of my time at the Vatican running around with my camera, breathlessly asking no-one in particular "They keep that here!?" I knew the Vatican had some sweet stuff in it, but there were so many surprises I had neglected to research! I was with Amy most of the time, and I'm sure she probably got exasperated with me saying "Woah, it's that! They keep that in the Vatican!" and frittering off in a new direction. Surprises inside: Laocoon and His Sons, School of Athens, and my all time favorite sculpture, La Pieta. Saw the Sistine Chapel, lots of other famousness, and St. Peter's Big, Beautiful Basilica. Was hoping to see more relics, maybe they keep those underground, like Dan Brown says.
Only 3 of us went to Belgium, and we were only there for two nights, but it ended up being my favorite city. It was the cleanest, the best laid-out, and the cheapest to eat in. The people were probably the nicest here, and it wasn't overly touristy, because, let's face it, a vegetable-named city isn't high on most people's bucket list. Pictured are all the Belgian specialties I ate; waffles with various toppings, frites, and delicious, delicious chocolates. Attentative (is that a francophone adjective?) readers will note that I have not listed Belgian beer, which is supposedly the best in the world, though we did go on a cheap brewery tour in the city. Each thing pictured cost about 2 euro. The chocolate on the far right was a violet-flavored concoction, delicieuse.
Ciao, for now!