Monday, July 25, 2011

Botanical Garden Sydney

one entrance to garden

have never seen such gigantic trees



lovely passageways

Creepy Bats!

great birds wandering all over

they grow 'em big!

some kind of scrub

Came out the back gate and viola' there's the opera house again

Just before leaving Sydney we took a stroll through the gorgeous botanical gardens. Besides incredible trees, birds, and bushes the view of the bay was amazing. Really lovely.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Festa del Redentore, Venice July 16-17th, 2011

 the Palladian Church of the Redentore on the island of Giudecca, Venice with a full moon rising
part of the spectacular fireworks display which started at 11.30 p.m.
canal was filled with boats 

Bridge was great fun to walk across and allowed for smaller boats to go under it
not a bad yacht to have docked in venice

a change from the usual black

the bridge linking venice to giudecca, high enough in the middle for  smaller boats to get through. The cruise ships and  Greek ferries cannot use the Giudecca Canal for the weekend.
lots of yachts docked on the Giudecca fondamento and ready for the festivities

the police checking out the bridge before opening it at 7 p.m. Sat.

an inviting picnic all set up

the perfect evening for the festa

was fun to walk from Giudecca to the Zattere in Venice

The festa of the Redentore takes place the third Saturday in July. It is a local Venetian tradition which  celebrates the end of the plague in the late1600's for which the church of the Redentore (Redeemer) was built. A bridge is built linking Venice to the Giudecca.   It allowed pilgrims (and hundreds of tourists) to reach the church to give thanks. The original bridge was built of gondolas all lined up next to each other. The modern bridge is built of wood on plantoons and is quite a feat, remaining up only from Saturday to midnight on Sunday. It was open for the public to cross from 7 pm Saturday till Sunday midnight, with the exception of the hour or so when the fireworks were going off in the canal.     People set up picnic tables and dine while waiting for the fireworks. It was a really fun weekend  with dear friends, along with perfect weather for a wonderful event.

Sydney Paddington area

Chocolates - echidna, koala,platypus,whale,frog, sheep 

great chocolate shop called Sweet William on William Street

cute shops in Paddington 

gingerbread houses

wonderful architecture

so pretty

and it really was fall

always ready to surf

houses came in many colors

We did a walking tour (on our own) of the Paddington area of Sydney one morning. It was full of wonderful homes, cute shops and lots of fun. would recommend it to anyone.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

More of Sydney

Scott and I walked across the Harbour Bridge before the rains and wind came up

Busy harbour view from bridge

our great b and B, our room was on top floor on side

hard to not keep taking photos of either bridge or opera house

Famous Doyle's (seafood) on the beach at Watson Bay, Sydney. We took the ferry (short ride) over here for lunch

other side of Bay from Doyle's. Pretty dramatic scenery of the Pacific Ocean

The terrible stormy weather didn't spoil our lunch with Scott's cousin, Penelope. We were happy to be inside at a nice cozy table with a fabulous view. Every now and then a view of the harbour bridge would appear and then disappear in the fog.

Monday, July 11, 2011

sydney May 24-26th, 2011

fabulous view from our b and b

other view from the b and b, great location in "The Rocks"

harbor bridge visible from almost everywhere; in the clouds

at night

we had the great fortune of watching the opera house change its look as they were practicing for an upcoming light show to be held a few days after we left. They were projecting different images on the sails.  Both nights we were there they did this after midnight which made for a late bedtime.  I couldn't stop taking photos.

the tulip design

Was fabulous to be in Sydney. We arrived on our 25th anniversary, what could be better?  Well, the weather could have been better. We had about an hour of sun upon arrival and another hour of sun just prior to departure, in between was lots of rain, wind, clouds and cool temps but it didn't slow us down. The harbor is even more beautiful than what you see in photos.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cinecitta' Rome

They lost their bases
Part of "Gangs of New York" set. It was filmed in Cinecitta'

In front of  "Gangs" set
The HBO "Rome" series was filmed at cinecitta' and most of the set remains

no details were spared
The Suburra neighborhood of old Rome, now what is Monti area

Christopher in front of Roman baths

The Egyptian part of the set for the Rome series

very realistic Egyptian columns

entrance to Cinecitta. From Fellini's Casanova

costume section, notice Pope outfit used in the recent film "Habemus Papum"

Very pretty grounds full of pine trees planted there in 1930's

guess these emperors found their bases

Had the recent fortune of touring the Cinecitta' studios in Rome, actually I have been 3 times in 2 months. The first time was with the U.N walking group and it was a fabulous tour as we were able to see quite a bit more than is offered on the normal tour, including the incredible digital, dubbing facilities, extremely impressive, looked like a fun place to work. On the first tour we were told "No Photos". Second and third time were with family members and what we were showed was more limited but we could take photos.

 Cinecitta  is the largest film studio in Italy. Founded in 1937 by B. Mussolini for propaganda purposes. Was built in the rationalist style  – functional, rational not decorative. It is a national monument so the color cannot be changed. The surrounding pine trees were a gift from the forest department.  Now it is a private company (an SPA in Italy) along with a sub company started in 2009 which deals with post production: sounds, dubbing, digital images, etc.
The scenery (scenografia) is only facades, buildings are empty, called “tubi innocente”. The state owns the buildings but the sets can be rented by anyone. Right now they are opening the area to tourists to celebrate the 150 years of Italian unification.
We got to see the set for the HBO series “Rome”. Was very, very cool. Great buildings made of fiberglass (resina). There was the Roman Forum, the arch of titus, basilica Julia, Roman street (which were made of only 6 molds and placed in different designs resulting in a  very authentic reproducation of the Via Sacra. There were curved corners to give more perspective. And there was even an Egyptian temple and huge statue that was also used in the Rome series for cleopatra episode.

Big American films like Ben Hur, Cleopatra, Gangs of New York were filmed here. And many classic Italian films: Satyricon, La Dolce Vita etc.

 When a production is filming only the production people can enter. Normally about 250 people work here.  It is on about 6 hectares

The 3 generation De Angelis family  create everything – Greek statues in plaster and fiberglass, they send scenery every where in the world. Had statues they had made for “Gladiator” movie. Huge fountains etc. There workshop is on the grounds, as is the famous Studio 5 of Federico Fellini

Very fun tour.