In September 2012 I went for a trip to Sicily and Southern Italy with friends. On the way there I had also a chance to visit Milano. I already posted some of these impressions on this blog but thought it would be nice to cramp them all into one entry. Also as I mentioned there are some new pictures as well 🙂
A view over the Bay of Naples.
The world famous cathedral of Milano. A beautiful piece of Gothic architecture in black and white.
Catania is an amazing city. Build on the foot of a massive volcano (Etna) it was destroyed and rebuild a couple of times. A fitting alternative name for the city would be Phoenix, as it has risen from the ashes like the legendary bird. In Catania the streets and many buildings are made out of lavastone (basalt) and it may happen very well, that you end in the cellar of a bar in which there are still traces of old lava flows under your table (Agora Hostel Bar). If you are on the main square (Piazza del Duomo) be sure to visit the Cathedral and enjoy this magnificent view from the rooftop.
Actually this shot is not from 2012. But it fit’s quite well so here it be 🙂 Personally I adore Vespas. And a beautiful turquoise Vespa in Rome must be a win, no?
The train station was build by the Fascists under Mussolini. It is colossal in size and displays various sceneries of Italian life and culture. Today large commercial ads dominate. It is still a fascinating piece of 20th century architecture and a prominent showcase for totalitarian gigantism.
It was the beginning of a warm day in late summer, sailing on board of a ferry into the natural Bay of Naples. As we came on deck we had the privilege to witness this beautiful sunrise over the Vesuvio volcano. The view was stunning and we watched with a humbled AAW. Although we didn’t sleep much on the ferry this night and we had a long program ahead of us in Naples, this sunrise was enough to carry us through the day.
In the midst of Austrian winter I embarked on a week long journey to a warm and friendly place at the most western point of Europe. Portugal was amazing and I would like to share with you my impressions in a series of posts. Here we go with the first one..
Striking and very interesting was the difference between Porto and Lisboa. One being the name giver of the country, the other the actual capital. While Lisboa is undenyingly an European metropole there is also a provincial charme about it. Being in the Baixa (downtown) you would think you are in an old 30.00+ town, but when you go up to one of the many (I say again many) viewpoints you will discover that you are indeed in a pulsing capital. Porto just screams life. There are these narrow streets full of history, churches out of pure gold (which will take your breath away), superb restaurants and lovely people. And portwine 😉
This statue stands in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belém, Lisboa. Laying a little bit outside of the city core Belém is an important cultural area. We slept in Belém for the first nights and it was perfect to discover the sights here, like the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos (a beautiful monastery of the 16th century and World Heritage – see down below – ) and the Torre de Belem (tower from the same century and symbol of the city).
A birdview of Belém. You see the mentioned monastry. Once Belém was situated outside of the city and after the earthquake of 1755 there were ideas of rebuilding the destroyed Lisboa in Belém, which did not suffer as much from the catastrophy.
One must love these precious yellow trams. Especially the ones going from the lower parts of the city to the higher parts. The view is amazing, the atmosphere unique. Basically the center of Lisboa can be diveded into a valley (Baixa) laying between two hills (Bairro Alto – seen here – and Alfama), the trams connecting them. A line crossing all these neighborhoods is Number 28.
In the background you see the bridge of 25 de Abril, connecting the independent city of Alamada with Lisboa. It is a suspension bridge and often compared to the Golden Gate bridge. In fact it was build by the same company and constructed in a similar style because of the thread of earthquakes both cities are constantly facing.
While the earthquake of 1755 could be felt in Porto too the city was not destroyed and so are the houses much older. But besides of that the buildings of the city seem narrower and have an own charme different of Lisboa.
One of the most beautiful churches I have seen in my life for sure.