Thursday, October 21, 2010

Summer Trip; 15 July to 14 October, 2010

Alan and Cyane were in France, Switzerland, and Italy.

We biked from Champoly, Rhone-Alpes Region, France to Trieste, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia Province, Italy with a total distance of about 1,500 kilometers.
About a third was in France, a third in Switzerland, and a third in Italy - each 500 kilometers.
We started at about 350 meters above sea level and ended at sea level.
In between, the highest passes in Switzerland went to 2,400 meters and even above.
The map below is the route we biked, with markers showing each day's stage.
Nights were spent at youth hostels, camping, or with friends.

View Alan and Cyane Hike Around Mt Blanc in a larger map

The second map above shows the hike around Mt Blanc, which was about 180 kilometers long, starting at Chamonix in France and proceeding counter-clockwise to Courmayeur in Italy and Champex in Switzerland. Total elevation gain and loss was about 10,000 meters or 10 kilometers.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Saying Goodbye - to Venice, Italy, and Europe

Well, actually, our preparation for goodbye looked more like the scenes below rather than the scene above.

Last shots of Piazza San Marco and of Venice, along with its industrial port...

A Few Venice Scenes

On the vaporetto above, and below, as a large cruise ship slides by, obscuring the Stuckey hotel on the island of Giudeca.

Door bells above and an autumn patio below.

Venice Architecture

The caryatids above got no attention at all, whereas crowds throng St Marks Square below.
Is it the architecture, the people, or just the place to be?

The cathedral on the island of San Giorgio was the last building designed by Palladio, above.
The room below is at the head of the church and was designed for the monks and priests to sit.

The altar below obscures the paintings on the walls, largely by the Tintoretto family.


Trieste was an important seat of the Austrian Hungarian Empire until after the wars of the twentieth century. The architecture shows that it has been a seat of power going back to the Romans.

The central plaza, named for the independence of Italy, has the town hall above and also "palaces" of shipping insurance companies, below.

Montrupino, near Trieste, Italy

A limestone plateau rises abruptly to the east of Trieste.
The ancient church above at Montrupino was built into a limestone cliff.
The karst geology below leads to unique vegetation.

The American lady above was trying to get back into Trieste from the small town.

Below, looking north to the Dolomites and the Alps of Slovenia.

Natural Habitats and Native Plants near Triest

Woodland savannas above and below have native grasses and naturally occurring smoke bush, (Cotinus genus).

Dense woodland forest of hornbeams (Carpinus).

The limestone area is used for growing grapes in cultivated areas.

The Barcolana, and the Adriatic Coast of Trieste

The Barcolana happened as we arrived in Trieste; certainly one of the largest sailing events in the world with 1,500 sailboats.
The water and its changing colors and moods would have been entrancing, even without all the boats...

Grado, Old Roman Town on the Adriatic

This church has Byzantine frescoes, Venetian lions carved on the Moorish inspired pulpit, ancient mosaic floors below - and it is still actively used, second below.

Grado was a magnet resort for Romans - and it still is.
We cycled on, heading for the Italian east side of the Adriatic, bordered by the high limestone plateau of Slovenia, below.

The Roman Basilica of Aquileia

The mosaics above date to the third and fourth century. The altar carving below looks almost Celtic.

On the Road in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia

Alan admires the old Roman basilica in Aquileia above.
Coming into town below.

Pordenone Silent Movie Festival

'Le Giornate del Cinema Muto' (The Days of the Silent Film) is the biggest and most important silent movie event in the world. 2011 will be the thirtieth anniversary of the event, which is held in Pordenone (Friuli-Venezia-Giulia) Italy. It is about 100 kilometers north of Venice and takes place the first week of October.

Pordenone is very well equipped to handle the movie festival and does a wonderful job of providing a great venue.

Most of the films are screened in the modern Teatro Giuseppe Verdi, below.
They are accompanied by live musical performances.

There are also lectures and master classes. Jean Darling, below, is interviewed on stage by David Robinson, Director of the festival. Jean is still performing in her 90's, and was in the original 'Our Gang' movies.