This year Microsoft’s World Wide Partner conference was held at New Orleans from July 13th-16th. We had never been to New Orleans and we did not want to loose the opportunity to visit the place. It was busy week at New Orleans but we were able to find some time on weekend to go out in the city.
I just have to say there is not place like New Orleans for food. Have Jambalaya & Gumbo and top that with Beignet and a cup of coffee from Cafe Du Monte, that is heaven. Music was in every corner of the city. You can spend hours on Bourbon street with non stop music and fun.
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We reached Venice in the afternoon and taken away by its charm instantly. This place had a mysterious charm to it cant describe in words. Its situated on an island and the lagoon waters take place of roads in this city. We saw this place thru gondolas, water bus and on foot. As we walked the streets over Rialto bridge and there were shops laden with the famous masks. The Piazza del San Marco and the Rialto bridge are structures which are replicate din Vegas casinos. And u come here and see the true beauty this original has. Truly astounding drawing crowds from all over the world. Loved travelling thru the canals on gondolas. The black lagoon which surrounds Venice is supposed to be the savior of this place. An interesting fact I learned Venice, built around Fifth century was under Austria, France and now owned by Italy. No wonder its unlike roman cities and has an eclectic flare to it.
We devoted this day to just exploring Florence visiting the Duomo, Ponte vechhio, Boboli gardens, Galleria academia. Florence has its own charm as a small place depicting renaissance architecture was packed with tourists at this time. The Duomo which is the huge red dome, the landmark here and visible from almost every corner of the city. Walking thru the ponte vechhio which is a bridge over water and lined with miles of jewelry shops, good place for buying Italian leather. The small gold shops lined on both sides of the street was an amazing sight. The galleria de Academia is a small museum which houses Michelangelo’s David. David’s statue was at the end of the hallway and truly mesmerizing even to Sudhir who is totally not interested in any museum.
As our train leaves for Florence, we come outside the huge city hustle bustle and move on to more simple life with fields and vineyards stretched far.Calm and relaxing country side with green fields and mountains.Its late winter and spring is about to arrive. Can see the greenery about to peek in the plains. Florence is a small place and has its own charm. We went to see the Leaning tower of Pisa, which is an hour and half train journey out from Florence.The regional trains giving an insight of local Italian life.The leaning tower is almost 25 mins walk from Pisa centrale station. As we arrived the site it was great to see this leaning tower and learn about the history. Truly one of the seven wonder’s of the world. That completes 2 of the seven wonders in one year. First the Golden Gate bridge and now this leaning tower of pisa. Wo hooo!!!!
Today we visited Vatican city, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican museum. Vatican is a nation by itself. They say many structures built here have taken their building materials from Ancient roman structures. There are gaping holes in the walls of Colosseum which are living evidences. As we entered the St. Peter’s piazza and stand in front of the Basilica, only one word to describe this, Symmetry in Architecture. Perfectly symmetric piazza with massive colonnades on each side. Central obelisk flanked by water fountains on each side. St. Peters basilica is an excellent example of Gothic Architecture in its full glory.Have not seen anything else like this in my life. There is something divine about this place , truly the holiest of all places. Am not a christian myself but this place convinced me that there is a mighty power watching all over us. We visited the Vatican museum and especially Michelangelo’s Sistine chapel. The world famous painting on the dome ceiling which draws millions every year. We had to go thru a lot of hallways and exhibits before we get to see this masterpiece waiting in anticipation. But truly worth it once we set eyes on it. As I came out of this museum covering only 25% of it, was in total awe of such talent packed in this one structure. Roman cities built in ancient times are still true to the test of time.The public squares adorned by water fountains are such great places for social gatherings and intermingling of people from all walks of life.
Italy is like no other place on this planet. How much ever you read and view it on travel channel , you have to visit to get the real feel. Here is our travelogue on our seven day trip to this enchanting country.
Day 1- Rome
As our flight approached the Flumicino airport in Rome I got a perfect bird’s eye view of of a spectacular terrain of green grasslands and small hilltops and towns sprawled around.Exiting FCO airport reminded Me and Sudhir of going back home to Mumbai where as soon as you exit the airport there are cabbies and tourist guides waiting to take you around for a ride. Travelling in Italy is all about trains, this country is connected very well by its train network. We take a train to Rome ie Roma Termini. We meet my cousin sis who also accompanied us in our trip. Our hotel was a train hop from Rome station. As we got out of the train station and started walking towards our hotel, I was so happy to finally get to walk to places. Europe is great in this context of building walkable cities. We visited the Trevi fountain and did the ritual of throwing a penny into it:) which guarantees a visit back here, score!!!Next we walked towards the Pantheon, was amazed by the massive scale of this structure. We started walking towards the Spanish steps and could not imagine the sea of people. I wondered if this is what March looks like, then in summer there wont be any place to walk!!!