Rome is a 24 hour a day, non-stop street carnival with graffiti everywhere, trash strew about, thousands of tourists, gelato shops on every block and palm trees. There are street vendors of many stripes: some have stalls, some lay their goods on the ground and wait for tourists to approach and some aggressively engage tourists as they walk and talk and shove trinkets into unsuspecting hands.
The boys and I went to Rome over Easter weekend. The flight is about 3.5 hours from Helsinki but it is a world away from Finland. We walked around in shirt sleeves. We toured the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon and visited the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. We battled the crowds at the Vatican museum and saw the School of Athens by Raphael, the Sistine Chapel and the Greek sculpture of Laocoon and his sons dating from 26 AD. I was drawn to the mosaic tile floors which illustrated animals, people and geometric patterns with detail and shading. We saw masterpieces by Caravaggio and Michelangelo in neighborhood churches that were blissfully empty of tourists. We found a little sandwich shop in Trastevere and Angus declared they made the best sandwich he has ever eaten. A successful trip!
Our first day skiing in Chamonix, France. Varying visibility: clear at the top for a time and thick pea soup in the middle: disorienting and scary when you don't know the terrain. Grateful to have 5 more days to explore this stunningly beautiful place. We are hoping for sun! The boys and I went into town to explore while Kyle slept off the jetlag.
Aguille Du Midi and Mer de Glace. We were treated to brilliant blue sky, sun and an amazing adventure riding up the cable car (truly an engineering marvel), observing from the station and skiing from the Aguille Du Midi (the Midday Needle) to the Mer de Glace and back to Chamonix. Our guide, Jean-Louis was tres sympathique and gave us lots of background info on the area: the construction of the cable car system and the station, how the glacier has receded since he became a guide in 1983, and his experiences as a mountain guide and work with Chamonix mountain rescue. He took some of the pictures in the most scenic spots. Hard to describe how beautiful and rugged the mountains are.
I am a high school art teacher from Boulder Valley School District in Colorado studying craft education in Jyvaskyla, Finland. I am in Finland through a grant from the Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching program and the Fulbright Finland Foundation.