"Holy Tchotchke!"

November 19, 2007

Portions originally written October 24, 2007.

It was one of the first things that ran through my mind in Rome. We’re staying near Vatican City, and the place is surrounded by junk shops and street vendors hawking pictures of the Pope, Jesus, and pretty much any other religious figure you can think of.

Everything in the city of Rome elicits a small “WOW” from me, followed by silence because I’m floored by the beauty of it. Toward the end of day one I figured this out, after seeing St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and Hall of Maps at the Vatican Museum, while enjoying a gelato in front of the Trevi Fountain. I know it’s all the tourist spots, but I’m not sure what isn’t in Rome. The entire city is like one big museum, only people live in and around every piece of art in it.

The mosaic work in St. Peter’s is amazing

The proportions of the buildings and the lighting add to that WOW-factor I believe. I’m a huge fan of the golden light, unfortunately, I only see it in the early morning here in the U.S. — and I’m not a morning person. It’s pretty much a golden hue through most of the day there, as you can see from the photos.

We also got to see the Pope this morning, not so much because we planned it, but because we were walking by and noticed the crowd. We decided seeing the Pope might be a once in a lifetime thing, so we stuck around.

Unfortunately I had left the longer lens at home, so you get to play “Find the Pope!”. Should be a good way to kill an hour of your Monday morning.

The entire popage-sighting was very spooky though. He was brought out in the pope-mobile and driven through the crowd, so it appeared he was floating in his white robes. Add to that some organ music, and the entire event seemed made for Halloween. Odd, interesting, unforgettable.


the Dutch don’t like us

November 16, 2007

Heineken, I’ve learned, is much better in other countries. I’m not sure what they do to it here, but I won’t drink it. However, in Dubai and Europe, it’s not a bad beer — not my first choice, but drinkable.

So I wonder, what did we ever do to the Dutch?



November 12, 2007

Lots of them. I took around 2700 pictures on this trip. Not sure how many I have posted, as I keep slowly editing and deleting in the albums. But, here are some quick links to the albums for each place we went (except New York, see last post):

At the Tourist Trap island in Singapore (but, it was fun)

Amul butter in India with fruity jam

Palm tree in the historic area of Sharjah

Raju enjoying an Arabic Coke before our desert safari in Dubai

Tchotch’s view of St. Peter’s Bascilica

Ceramic pig waits to be sliced ham at a kitchen appliance shop in Florence

Gondola ride in Venice

A gargoyle overlooks Paris from Notre Dame

Courtney enjoys a Cardinal bier in Zurich

The highlights album in the main area hasn’t been updated since Dubai — so if you’ve already seen it no need to peruse again until a later date.


We’re Home!

November 12, 2007

Though, most of you already know that. It’s back to work for me today — somewhere in Zurich it hit me that I did indeed have a job and didn’t travel for a living.

In Belur, this carving inspired me to pick up the feet pictures (like the one I took in Tahiti last year), especially since at the time I was barefoot and my feet were quite pretty covered in mehendi.

Courtney’s feet in Belur

Raju said one of the women there noticed what I was doing and was laughing at me. Since it was our honeymoon, I thought maybe we should capture our feet instead of just mine.

Raju and Courtney’s feet in Belur

As the trip went on, and we were in Dubai, I began to document the Mehendi wearing off, and then the feet pictures became a trend. Maybe I should take one in each place we stopped.

Courtney’s mehendi wearing off in the desert of Dubai, at sunset

Raju’s feet at the desert camp in Dubai

Courtney’s feet in Vatican City

Raju’s feet in the forum, Rome

In Florence I believe I may have forgotten my feet. But, Raju was being a daredevil at the Campanile, wanting to get a picture through the grate to show the stories we had been on below, and he managed to capture his feet in the process.

Raju’s feet at the Campanile, Florence

In Venice, as we relaxed on a gondola ride, we went back to photographing the feet together which became a trend the rest of the trip.

Our feet not on land in Venice

Huddled together for warmth on the Eiffel Tower’s second level in Paris

In Old Town, Zurich

Then we made it back to the States and I put the camera away permanently. Not a single picture of the days we spent in New York.

It’s good to be home, but I’m sure I’ll be ready to do this again sooner than our wallets will be.


I am Courtnez!!! Hear me roar!!!

November 5, 2007

The keys are only slightly amiss here in Zurich. The Z and the Y key are switched, which is messing with me every time I want to type my name (and I’ve never noticed how many y’s one types in a sentence until just now).

Zurich is wonderful — I wish we had spent more time here. As earlier, no photos — too long to upload and I have too many things to do in my 30 minutes of internet time.

I’ll soon be home and even sooner back to the real world. Still enjoying the love of doggies in Europe, still enjoying stacks of food in the window-fronts of eateries. Pictures, pictures everywhere when I get back. In the meantime I can share more pics with you from the mehendi party. These are from Bhanu: Bhanu’s pics on Picassa.