Page 2 of BRWesty Travel Blog Posts

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Barranco October 20th 2014

Geo: -12.143, -77.0186We started our day at the "self your serve" coffee and tea station. Mike reported that the coffee was strong but lacked flavor. I was pleased that the tea water was piping hot. The selection of teas included "uña de gato" which means "cat's claw." The ingredient list included both that and "horse tail." A brief check of an promising web site revealed that cat's claw is the friendly term for a South American vine that is good for digestive complaints and arthritis. I stuck with "te puro." It was a short night and I needed caffeine, not surprises. The hotel has five breakfast options: all include freshly squeezed OJ. I had a mixed fruit bowl that included a lot of papaya, some melon, strawberries and a small yellow, round fruit that we had ... read more
Rebar bird
Trumpet flowers
Ceviche at La Bonbonnaire

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome September 26th 2014

Geo: 41.8955, 12.4823Thanks to a meeting cancellation, L and I got one more day in Rome. We decided to start with a Rick Steve walking tour of Travestere that I downloaded from iTunes. I wish I had thought to look through those earlier because this one was great-- I'm sure his tour is better than the 5 E audio guide at the Colosseum.Before we really got started, I darted into the Keats Shelley Museum bookshop to pick up a gift for a friend. While we were there we noticed a map showing famous American and British writers who lived in Rome and where their homes were. Quite an all-star lineup.During the walk to Travestere, we passed Area Sacra di Largo which contains some of the oldest ruins in the city, dating back to circa 300BC. It ... read more
Presumably after getting married.  We judged the Maid of Honor for letting the veil drag on the street
If you look, you will see these set into the pavement in front of homes all over the city.  Very sad and a small, powerful reminder of war atrocities old and new
And a little Italian flag worked into the metal

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence September 25th 2014

Geo: 43.7687, 11.2569One of my favorite movies has long been "A Room with a View" from the novel by EM Forester. It stars an impossibly young Helena Bonham Carter as a British expat who falls in love in Florence. When we were in Italy in 1994, we never made it south of Siena so I had yet to see Florence.I checked online and found that a day trip there from Rome is pretty easy. We took the Metro to the train station early and got the high speed rail to Firenze, about 90 minutes away. We had about 8 hours, so I also looked up some suggestions for self-guided walking tours. We found one that let you visit many of the important areas/buildings and choose a few to spend a little extra time investigating.From the train ... read more
Marconi, inventor of the radio is one of many famous folks buried here
Santa Maria de Fiore
Florence library

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome September 24th 2014

Geo: 41.8955, 12.4823We started the day with a walk to the markets at Campo di Fiori. I wanted to pick up a few food items to take home and L needed to get a couple things for her surprise (work) trip to Paris on Friday. The open air market dominates the square and feels decidedly touristy, but it looked like locals were still stopping in for produce, if not for tri-color dried pasta. I was happy to find a scarf, some dried herbs, porcini and sun-dried tomatoes. The vendor suggested that I pack the tomatoes in oil when I get them home. Food for thought.L found a couple really cute handbags which she bought. I found really cute handbags too, but opted to leave them on the shelf. Really enticing leather goods here. It takes a ... read more
Arch of Constantine
Market Campo de Fiori

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome September 23rd 2014

Geo: 41.8955, 12.4823We booked a tour called "Pristine Sistine" in advance. The promise was that we would get to see the world-famous chapel when it was quiet, before it opened to the general public. We left before breakfast to catch the Metro and then walked about 5 streets to the meetup. Our tour alone included 6 groups of 12 people so I wouldn't say it was quiet, but we did feel like we got a bit of a jump on the crowds. Our German guide kept repeating how lucky we were to see iIaau everything "so quiet." She worked way too hard to sell us on something we had already bought.The Sistine Chapel was much smaller than I had imagined. It was also darker, to help protect the paint. It was wonderful to see the space, ... read more
Limber up your neck
Just another guy spitting water
Reminds me of a Rachel B snapchat

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome September 22nd 2014

Geo: 41.8955, 12.4823It would have been cool if something funny happened on the way to the forum, but no dice. We woke up on the late side and scooted down to catch the last bit of breakfast. The Hotel Manfredi does a very nice job. There were breakfast foods and beverage to suit any taste imaginable, including homemade yogurt. Most importantly, they new how to boil water and keep it coming, so there was plenty of tea.We were able to walk to the forum from the hotel. There are actually several. We started with Trajan's Column and Forum. The Column is really great for two reasons, in my mind. First, they didn't loot it from the Egyptians. Second, it has a frieze that spiral wraps all the way from the bottom to the top, illustrating the ... read more
View from the top of the war memorial
The Vittorio Emmanuel Memorial
Segment of Trajan's Column

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome September 21st 2014

Geo: 41.8955, 12.4823The alarm went off at 4:30 to grab our taxi to the airport and on to Rome. When we arrived, we had the option of trying to navigate buses or trains an subway for about 25 Euro or for 40E we could grab a shuttle that brought us straight to the hotel.  Easy choice after such a short night with suitcases in hand.  It was a little confusing when we first arrived at the hotel.  There is an ancient elevator right inside the door: the kind with the big gate that you open once the elevator arrives. We guessed we should go to floor 1 for check in.  Wrong.  Floor 1 is the front desk for another hotel entirely.  Our hotel has its lobby on the 3rd floor.  Why no one has made a sign ... read more
Church of Mary & Minerva
Possibly from Alice in Wonderland

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Giardini Naxos September 20th 2014

Geo: 37.8253, 15.2667We were a little worried that we would not make it to Mt Etna, which would have been a shame as it lays claim to being the largest active volcano in Europe. There is only one public bus a day that goes to Etna and the tours we looked at were all full. My Hail Mary pass was a couple emails to people who have private driving companies. It turned out to be a great call because we scored a nice rate on a car/driver for 4 hours for a very good price.Giovanni met us in front of the hotel after breakfast and drove us over. The language barrier prevented significant communication, but he was kind enough to pull over at good photo ops. When we got to the parking area about halfway up, ... read more
Mt Etna
Violent creation

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Giardini Naxos September 19th 2014

Geo: 37.8253, 15.2667I got a tolerable night's sleep that included a little wakeup around 3am local time so I ended up talking to Mike on Facetime-- kind of fun.  Apparently the rose bushes that I ordered several months ago decided to show up in time for someone else to have the fun of planting them. From what I understand, trying to unearth rosebushes from their nest of packing peanuts can be a painful process.So far, I'm not a huge fan of Italian bus drivers.  Generally when I travel, bus drivers seem to recognize that I'm clueless and could use a little help, specifically, a shove or a shout when my stop comes up. These guys are 0 for 2 so far.  They don't seem to care if I get off where I need to.  I got ... read more
View from near the top of Taormina
Our view from lunch
The Divine Miss L

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Catania September 18th 2014

Geo: 37.503, 15.0881The flights were blessedly uneventful. I'll throw in a plug for a documentary called "Tim's Vermeer" that I started watching just as we finished crossing the Atlantic.I muddled my way onto a bus and managed to get the right stop to find my room for the night. Peppe gave me some water and showed me around the flat. He also gave me a map with lots of places to go and not go marked. After a two-hour nap, I set out. I probably made it a good half hour before stopping for lemon granita.I walked the streets and went into the impressive 17th century churches to see the frescos. I can't help but wonder what Catania looked like in the late 1800s. It's a little the worse for wear these days. Litter and graffiti ... read more
Example of artistic use of igneous rocks
Let the vacanze begin!
Hope you are good at parallel parking

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