Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dare I say it..... my new favorite!

On our way to Morocco, we did a quick two-day stop over in Seville!  Brilliant!

Spain has a tendency to nag at you, whispering deep into your soul saying, "I'm the best".  I think I just might be succumbing to the pressure; don’t tell Susan!

With only two nights and one day to explore, we didn't have much time to find the hidden food and cultural gems of Seville, but we managed to find some.

Cathedral of Seville

Entrance to the Alcazar Castle

She keeps staring at me!

Tapas, of course, rule the roost in Spain!  Megs and I found an amazing tapas bar to gorge ourselves; actually we did the same tapas bar both nights!  During the day we wandered the maze of streets exploring, and in the evening, we set out to find Flamenco dancing (which I thought was flamingo dancing), oops. 

quail egg over sausage and toasted french bread

Serrano ham

BBQ steak and potatoes with Chile Relleno

finish with an espresso

We settled into the hidden bar about an hour early to land front row seats and snag some sangria.  About 11pm, the party started with singing, guitars, and two passionate Flamenco dancers.  We found our Spanish culture that night…..

they danced with such passion

As we rolled out of town towards our ferry in Tarifa, we stopped for a bus (smoke and potty) break where we found Megan's final prize!  Fresh squeezed orange juice.  Yuuuum!

Off to Morocco..........   

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Ave Caesar (Hail, Emperor, those who are about to die salute you) was the customary salutation at the time when the Caesars were around; it’s a shame they didn’t salute me in this traditional way.  Oh well!

We spent three full days in Rome, all of which were saturated in ancient history.  

My favorite was the Colosseum (Amphitheatrum Flavium, after the Flavian dynasty), which was started under the emperor Vespasian in the early 70's, and finished in 80 under Titus.  It had the ability to hold 50,000 eager spectators gathered to watch gladiator contests, public spectacles, and animal hunts.  During the inaugural games, which lasted 100 days, there were 9000 animal deaths, and around 2000 gladiator deaths.  Early on, there was a 100 ft gold statue of the recently-deceased Emperor Nero.

Arch of Titus to commemorate the sack of Jerusalem in AD 70

There was a wooden floor covered with sand over the many pathways seen above and below where the gladiators and wild beasts would wait for their battles.

The Colosseum was built  in part with the spoils from the sack of Jerusalem (the Temple) in 70 AD.

Fast forward a bit into the future and we arrive at the Vatican (which is its own country).  St. Peters Cathedral is maybe just as colossal as the actual Colosseum.  Once inside, the sheer magnitude of the pillars, statues, text, and so on is so large that it's hard to imagine, and we needed Rick Steve's guide book to enlighten us on its hugeness.  From the front door to the back (dove) stain glass window, it stretches two football fields, and the yellow letters near the top looks small, but each letter is seven feet tall.  Look at the people in the photos to give you a good indicator at the size if this beast!

Just inside the front entrance 

Just under this is where Peter is supposedly buried over 900 years ago.

Dove stain glass at the back of Cathedral

We even saw a REAL (waxed over) dead Pope!!!!

St. Peters Square

I think this is what happens when they choose a new Pope!

Spanish Steps

Ceasar Augustus's (Octavian) Home with original frescos; some of the earliest that remain of the ancient Roman world.  Discovered only 50 years ago.

Ruins everywhere!

The Roman Pantheon

That's my Boy!  The River god

I don't remember who this is!

The Roman Forum

Arch of Constantine

Trevi fountain

Gelato of course!


Off to Spain for a few days before we venture to Morocco!