Thursday, June 30, 2016

Three Weeks

I took the top photo on June 5th and the bottom photo exactly three weeks later. The high river levels are most obvious on the walkways, but can also be noticed on the bridge on the left. There was so little clearance below the bridges that there was no way the fleet of tour boats could operate.I had never seen the Seine running so high and am glad I was able to return for a comparison shot.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Naked Swimming

Ah, the pure joy of swimming once again in Maui's warm ocean, especially after returning from the chilly Mediterranean. I felt almost naked, swimming in nothing more than goggles and board shorts - the time for wetsuits is gone. Hooray.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


Air France economy plus is well worth the extra two hundred dollars for a twelve hour flight: lots and lots of legroom, private side & overhead bins, noise cancelling headphones, gourmet meals, choice of 50 movies, lots of video games with a controller, and more... Our only complaint is that we're stuck on Delta from Los Angeles to Maui :-(

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Shoeless in the City

I noticed this sister checking out the babes today, or maybe she was simply envious of the skimpy dress in Rome's current heat wave. 

Idiots that we are, we visited one of the Eternal City's most sun-baked tourist attractions at noon today, but enjoyed ourselves nonetheless. 

Being built on seven major hills, wandering Rome means scaling numerous staircases every day, which translates to permission to eat even more gelatos. 

One excellent way to beat the heat is by taking off our shoes in any of the gazillions of churches which are all quite chilly. It really works. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Interesting Decor

One of the Capuchin monks got creative back in the day and decorated a series of chapels with the remains of his fellow monks. Each element of the decor is done with the same body part, some entirely of hip bones, others of ribs, jawbones, etc. 

There are even a few entire bodies thrown in, dressed in robes, some  standing around keeping an eye on things. 

Rome has been toasty hot so the Trevi Fountain was a great way to cool down. The shady interior of the Parthenon felt mighty good too. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Women with Big Cones

We found a church this morning which saved on construction costs by painting architectural features onto the ceiling rather than by building domes and such. 

We had lunch in a sculpture studio, which was interesting until I tripped on my way to the restroom and almost caused a chain cascade of statues. That was a close call. 

The thinnest women are always the ones with the largest gelato cones. 

I found the different interpretations of two artists intriguing. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dressing for Fun

The wind tried to blow Christine off the Turkish Steps two days ago, but fortunately did not succeed.

Yesterday evening we arrived in Rome and are staying in a huge, quiet home along the Tiber river. In fact, I still have yet to see all the rooms in this place. 

Italians really like to dress up, both the men and the women. I believe the men in the photo above were members of the same chess club and the women in the photo below were nurses or something (or why else would they all be wearing white). 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Lots of Dons

Ortegia's castle was our first destination of the day this morning. The castle itself was closed for ongoing renovations (apparently at a Maui pace, so it should reopen in the next five hundred years or so) but we were able to crawl and walk through the fortifications. 

But before that was our customary coffee and pastries at the local cafe with the former heads of the cosa nostra. 

I used to hear about the Mediterranean being dead, but I've been seeing lots of fish on my swims, and the market teems with fresh catch every day. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Best Birthday

The Sicily pod (temporarily) of the Maui Pink Cap swimmers did a cave exploration swim today. Unlike Maui there was almost no surge, so we boldly swam into narrow, low ceilinged, dark chambers; as well as lots of huge seaside caverns. 

Doug, the boldest of us all, also walked into some places we would never have otherwise considered entering. 

The jellyfish were less than friendly as evinced by the welts I now wear on my left arm. 

What a wonderful day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Gross Me Out

I turn 60 today and this is the first time in my life that I've had to deal with my own poop. I have obviously lived a very sheltered life. 

We are renting a lovely three story home in the oldest neighborhood of Syracuse on the island of Sicily. While there is running water and modern facilities, the sewage system cannot handle anything more than poop. That means ALL toilet paper has to go into plastic bags (notice pink bag next to toilet paper). [shudder]

I've gone camping where I've had to poop into a hole, but the paper went into that same hole, which then got covered up without really having to be dealt with. I'm sorry but this is really tripping me out. 

As I said, I've lived a sheltered life. 

Heat then Chill

Exploring the ancient ruins of Syracuse was hot and exhausting work but surprisingly spectacular, especially the Greek and Roman stone quarries. 

We each found our own cooling off strategies. Doug & Patti climbed into an ancient sacred fountain. Christine, Doug and Don went for a delightfully refreshing dip in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Back in the Water

Maui Pink Cap swimmers finally hit the water here in Syracuse this afternoon. 

The ocean was very clear (except where it wasn't) but a bit chilly.

Still, it felt amazing to be back in the water once again. 

And fresh water showers greeted everyone from the walls of the battlements. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Sicily at Last

The entire Maui pod has finally assembled here in Sicily. Here we are gathered in front of the home we are renting in the old town.

After some driving challenges we are relieved to be car free, especially in our current neighborhood. 

The market is two blocks over with all kinds of fresh produce, meat and fish. Some proprietors are more interested in posing than in making a sale. 

The fish is definitely fresh. We watched some fishermen bringing in the catch this morning. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Dancing in the Streets

We sadly trudged the steep road out of medieval Saint-Cirq-Lapopie this morning to catch a train to Toulouse.

Little did we know that our car would have a free foosball table. Doug soundly beat Don in a best out of five series. 

It seems that Spain must have beaten someone as well because men in all kinds of Spanish costumes were flooding the streets in celebration of something. 

We saw dancing in the streets as well, but without any kind of agenda.