Since our son David and his family are living at Alconbury Air Force Base in England, they were not able to come to this year's family reunion, so we took advantage of the opportunity to visit them at their place once again prior to our leaving for our next missionary adventure. As David had served his mission in Italy and spoke Italian, we enlisted him to serve as our translator on a three day trip we took with him and Amy to see the cities of Pisa, Florence, and Venice. We came back on a transatlantic cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse, which had a great special inasmuch as they were repositioning the ship for the winter season in the Caribbean. Photos follow. Click on any of them to see a larger version.
David's and Amy's home at Alconbury
Close-up of the family
Ashley (age 16) running in cross country meet
Dallin (age 14) practicing his wrestling moves on his dad
Picturesque old restaurant in Fen Stanton, where we enjoyed lunch
Scene at Cambridge University
Don in front of King's College at Cambridge University
Luke with his name spelled in jig saw puzzle blocks
The famous leaning tower of Pisa (not to be confused with the mountains of pizza, which we also enjoyed)
Why the tower hasn't fallen over yet
Baptistry in Pisa (the world's largest)
Cathedral in Pisa (next to leaning tower)
Arno River in Pisa
|Pizza in Pisa (Actually, I think he's just buying water, but you can see pizza is advertised.)|
At the Pisa train station, waiting for our train to Florence (see Virginia with backpack.)
In front of the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most prestigious art museums in the western world. Photography is not permitted inside, but we've inserted three shots below that we found on the internet.
Shot of a ceiling in the Uffizi
One of several statue-lined hallways in the Uffizi
Da Vinci's "Annunciation" in the Uffizi
Cathedral in Florence (Florence is where the Renaissance is said to have begun.)
David and Amy in front of Florence cathedral
Florence cathedral, with a view of the dome--the largest masonry dome ever built and considerably higher than it looks in the photo
Florence baptistry, with famous bronze doors that Michelangelo said were fit to be the gates of paradise
Close up of detail of baptistry door
More baptistry door detail
More baptistry door detail
Climbing up many hundreds of steps to the top of the dome
View of the inside of the dome--scenes of heaven are at the top and depictions of hell, as envisioned by the artist, are at the bottom
Depictions of hell
More of the same
Mosaic window inside the cathedral
Shot of cathedral floor from up in the dome
View of Florence (and Don and Virginia) from outside the dome
View of Florence from the dome--looking down on a very tall tower
Another view of Florence from the cathedral dome. The flat building on the left in the center is the train station, and our hotel was a couple of blocks from it.
Inspiring shot of tourists enjoying local gelato in Florence
Venice--where there are no cars (at least in the main downtown area), and all transportation is by boat or on foot. We were glad to have our carry on backpacks, which made getting to the hotel from the train station much easier.
Romantic scene in Venice, with moon above
Another romantic scene
Shot of the Doge's Palace in Venice. The Doge was the supreme authority of the Republic of Venice, and since 1923 it has served as a museum. Very large and very ornate inside.
Another view of a portion of the Doge's Palace
David and Amy in front of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice
View of the same from the side
Close up of detail over basilica doors
Items in the treasury of St. Mark's Basilica
More from the treasury
Tower in St. Mark's Square
View of St. Mark's Square (Venice)
Pretty posies (and one weed) in Venice
David and Amy enhancing the beauty of the scenery
Venice street scene
Another romantic scene in Venice
Don and Virginia in a slightly less romantic pose
David and Amy in Venice
Same scene with younger subjects. The next several shots are all in Venice.
Good little restaurant near our Venice hotel
Lovely tourist poses for photo in Venice
Berries on evergreen that we thought were pretty in Venice
Complete orchestra made out of glass in store window in Venice
Glass winged lions (the symbol of Venice) in store window
Leaving Southampton on our cruise homeward. Not quite as warm as it would be in Florida!
Bundled beauty on cruise ship
We stopped at Le Havre, France, but it was a Sunday and cold enough that we opted not to even go ashore.
Virginia at Le Havre
We also stayed on the ship the next day when it docked at Cherbourg, France. Regular shore excursions were expensive, and not speaking the language, and with the cold weather, we decided we'd be at least as happy on the ship.
Virginia at Cherbourg
View of our stateroom
A highlight of the cruise was a series of presentations by Jim Kennedy, former director of the Kennedy Space Center, on various aspects of space exploration. We even got to meet him, get a NASA pin from him, and buy a DVD with some of his presentations.
The International Space Station--subject of one of Jim Kennedy's presentations
Ponta Delgada, the Azores (Portuguese possession). We did enjoy going ashore here.
Scene we enjoyed in cemetery in Ponta Delgada
Beautiful vegetation in Ponta Delgada (in November)
Large tree in park in Ponta Delgada
Pretty scenery in park in Ponta Delgada (The vegetation was nice, too.)
Large evergreen in park
Large roots on large tree
Presumably important and official looking building in Ponta Delgada
Note cobble stones and horse-drawn carriage in Ponta Delgada
Plaza near pier in Ponta Delgada
Our ship--the Celebrity Eclipse
Scene in Ponta Delgada--as are the next several shots.
Proof that we made it!