Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas and European Trip Update

Merry Christmas, Friends! I hope you're having a fun time opening gifts and celebrating this wonderful day! We had Christmas dinner at an Italian restaurant. . .celebrating the Italian style. . .with lots of yummy Italian food and wine, singing, laughing and a lot of joy that's for sure, especially after some of the members of our tour group had a few wine. You know how that goes...

Well, we've been in Europe for 9 days and we've already visited London,drove through Belgium, visited Amsterdam, Germany, Austria, Venice and currently, we're in Rome. We have 2 more countries to visit (Switzerland and France) before we head back to the US.

I wanted to share a few photos with you of the different places we visited. I have a ton more photos to share but I'll share them when I get back to the US. So far it's been a wonderful trip. Unfortunately, time is very limited so I can't share much right now. We wake up very early in the morning and don't get back to our hotel room until almost 10:00 at night. It leaves very little time to post any updates. We were able to have a little down time today so I decided to take the opportunity to post a few photos.


We visited Munich and this building is a Gothic style building in a shopping square. I can't remember the building's name. When I return from my trip, I'll proviide accurate information of the pictures I'm posting. This square is a major shopping area surrounded by many department stores. During the holidays, the market is filled with various vendors selling Christmas products. It's very festive and you'll find lots of ornaments and Christmas figurines that you can buy. I bought several ornaments. . .I collect ornaments so it was nice to find many vendors selling beautiful ornaments. The department stores were busy with so many people. . .I guess doing some last minute shoppping.


This is a photo of a building near the entrace to the shopping market in Innsbruck, Austria. Innsbruck is a beautiful town and the mountains surrounding Innsbrook were covered with snow. It was beautiful. I'll post a few more photos when I get home. I need to resize all my photos before I post them because right now it takes a long time to upload the pictures due to the photo size. If I had to choose a country to visit again, I definitely would like to re-visit Austria. The mountains surrounding Austria are the most beautiful I've seen.


Here's a picture of St. Mark's Square with the St. Mark's Basilica in the background. Venice was flooded the previous day due to the rain but we were fortunate that there was no flooding when we visited Venice yesterday. It was wet and rained a little off and on but it was a fun experience anyway. The square was crazy busy even if it was Christmas Eve. I'll post a few more photos of the buildings during my boat ride to St. Mark's Square when I get home.



This photo is of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice. Wow, it's a beautiful building. I can't believe it was constructed in 828. That's a long, long time ago and I just can't imagine how they could build such a building during that period. It's a magnificent building. . .a work of art. Venice have many buildings that are amazing and it's unbelivable that the city was built on water. Our guide told us that the foundation is made of wood and has been deteriorating. Some of the buildings are tipping in different directions and when you walk around the surrounding area around St. Mark's Square, you'll see that some of the buildings are at an angle.



Towards the evening, it started to rain so I had to use my scarf over my head. It wasn't a fashion thing. LOL! Here we are pictured over a balcony in the shopping area in Venice. It was crazy busy but it was so much fun. There were so many shops. . .unfortunately, the American dollar is weaker than the Euro so the exchange rate was quite low. Ugggh! If you can buy it in the US. . .it's best to buy the stuff at home. We did purchase a few Murano glassware. . .we figured it was something worth spending on but otherwise, forget buying clothes and such. . .they are way too expensive.

It was raining while we were riding the gondola through the Venice. Not very romantic like you see in the movies but we just had to do it because we wanted to experience the ride. Honestly, it was smelly because you're basically riding through the sewer. LOL! Look at my husband looking absolutely miserable because it was raining and we didn't have an umbrella. It was a great experience nonetheless. . .viewing the buildings via the gondola is an experience you have to try once in your life. You just need to not breath in the sewer smell and you'll be fine. Too funny.

Earlier this evening we toured Rome and the Vatican by night. If you ever visit Rome, be sure to tour the city at night. The lights of the city just gives the city a beautiful illumination. We'll be touring the city and the Vatican tomorrow during the day. Our tour guide told us that Rome looks different during the day so he wanted to show us how it looked during the night. Well, I'm glad he did because the city is absolutely gorgeous at night. There is one thing that I found absolutely shocking when we first entered Rome . . there's numerous graffities everywhere. It's really sad that people actually deface the beautiful buildings around the city. The amount of graffities in Rome are astounding.

Honestly, I can't remember the name of this are. I guess I wasn't paying attention. I was too busy snapping photos. LOL! Isn't it beautiful at night? It's a major attraction in Rome. I'll be sure to ask our tour guide the name of this area and I'll let you know.

Before I go, I want to share a picture of St. Peter's Square with the St. Peter's Basilica in the background. Can you believe how empty the square is? Because it is Christmas day, many people are at home and because it was almost 10:00 at night, most of the visitors already left so we were able to take photos of the square without all the people in the way.

I'm sorry I can't give more detail of the attractions we visited. I'll tell you all about them when I'm back in the US. I have a lot of interesting stories to share. I have the good, the bad, the ugly, and the funny too. Well, I better end it here. . .I hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas. I hope your Christmas is fillled with lots of joy surrounded by family.

13 comments:

Linda said...

Merry Christmas Maria! Thanks so much for sharing these beautiful pictures! They are fantastic! Safe travels to you!

Terry Oulboub said...

Ohhhh Maria, what a wonderful scrapbook you're going to get to make! I love the pictures and thank you so much for sharing them with us! What a journey - I love seeing all of the buildings and your information about each city! Fantastic! I hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas! ;p

Sheila said...

Ohhhh Maria...I have enjoyed watching you va-ca across the pond. I was just wondering, did you plan the trip on your own or did you go through a trip ageny special? We would love to visit the same places this summer.

Sheila

Sheila said...

You can contact me through this e-mail addy s_pavelec@yahoo.com. Would love to know?

Thanks again, and enjoy the rest of your trip!

Sheila

Linda Beeson said...

Oh I want to go there! LOVE your photos and I'll be checking back for more.

Lori said...

Wow!! Looks like you are on a great tour of Europe. The pictures are fabulous...thanks for sharing. Wishing you safe travel home and a Happy and Healthy New Year!!

Sonya said...

Wow Maria I could of met up with you in Amsterdam! looks like you guys had a wonderful trip!

Andrea said...

Maria, I live in Munich/Germany. This building on the Marienplatz is the town hall (in German Rathaus) and is in the middle of the city.

PaperCrafty said...

Looks like an amazing trip Maria!! Have a very Happy New Year!!

Jodi said...

Merry Christmas Maria!! Wow!!! I am loving all of these beautiful pictures from Europe! I love all the architecture! Enjoy the rest of your holiday!!
Hugs
Jodi =)

Louisette passion retriever, cat, memory Katanga said...

Innsbrugis a nice place Autria , i love it.
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Karin said...

Such a cool trip, but we want more pictures!! also from the things you've seen in The Netherlands... I'm curious about what you think about where I live... :)

Luv,
Karin

Nenane said...

I'm so jealous and upset you didn't take me with you...:) Hope you had a great time! Can't wait to hear about your adventures!

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