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UR MOTHER IS AN ASTRONAUT
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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Day 13

30 Ottobre 2007 - Firenze delicious, romantic, pain
After having breakfast at Hotel Axial we walked over to the Westin Excelsior to check-in. The room had a great view of the Arno River.
We were a couple of blocks from the Ponte Vecchio. Most of the shoppes on the Ponte Vecchio still have their original narrow doors. Then there are some that have doors that are no longer in use, but you have to wonder how humans actually used the door in the first place. We then headed over to see the Palazzo Pitti & Boboli Gardens, but there was a long line so we decided to come back on another day. The Palazzo is just massive to put it simply. The area in front was filled with people enjoying the sun-drench piazza as the sun peaked through the clouds after a bit of rain.
We headed back across the Ponte Vecchio toward the Uffizi and Duomo. In between sightseeing we attempted to find some leather purses for our mothers, aunts and sisters. As you walk down the street the smell of leather emanates from the many shoppes, along with the smell of bread and pastry. The first time we see the Duomo I stand there in just shear awe of its beauty and size. The enormity cannot be done justice in words. I used a wide angle lens and could not get it all in one shot. It is covered in terracotta and marble.

Pictures:
1. Ang outisde Westin at the edge of Arno River
2. Palazzo Spini-Ferroni. Ferragamo is now located here
3. top of Palazzo Spini-Ferroni
4. top of Palazzo Spini-Ferroni in black & white
5. one of the four seasons statues on the four corners of the Ponte Santa Trinita. black & white
6. San Frediano in Cestello from Ponte Santa Trinita. Ang took with her camera.
7. San Frediano in Cestello from Ponte Santa Trinita. Ang took with her camera. Not sure how she got this effect. I think she finally figured out the white balance.
8. San Frediano in Cestello from Ponte Santa Trinita. Ang took with her camera. black & white
9. View along Arno River down Lungarno Amerigo Vespucci from the Ponte Santa Trinita. The Westin is the building with the green awnings. Ang took with her camera.
10. look back across Arno River at the Westin. The space btw the Westin Hotels is the Piazza d'Ognissanti. Ang took with her camera.
11. Ponte Vecchio black & white
12. Ponte Vecchio
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
More pics day 13

1. I could not help taking pics of the micro cars.
2. It took a 10 minutes to get this shot. I almost got hit by an ambulance and Angie got tired of waiting. She left me to go explore the Ponte Vecchio. But the patience paid off in my opinion.
3. This was a pottery set outside one of the shoppes. Each brush is individual.
4. Alongside the Palazzo Pitti
5. This is one of those pictures that took a life of it's own. My original intent was to catch the water drops dripping down the stone. That was not so successful, but then this lady walked in front of the camera and I decide to see how it would work.
6-7. Palazzo Vecchio. This the building Ang and I mistook for the Uffizi. Don't ask me how we just did. Turns out the Uffizi was the building next to it.
8. Entrance to Palazzo Vecchio playing with the white balance. Replica of David on the left and Hercules & Cacus on the right.
9. Entrance to Palazzo Vecchio playing with the white balance. Replica of David on the left and Hercules & Cacus on the right.
10. Neptune fountain in the Piazza della Signoria.
11. looking down Via dei Calzaiuoli.
12. top of the Campanile of the Duomo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 · (Edited)
More pics day 13

1. Pictures do not do the Duomo justice. It is massive. I could not get it in one shot. This is just after dusk.
2. Entrance to Duomo
3. Side of Duomo looking at the Chapels at the East End and the main dome.
4. Duomo dome
5. side of Duomo
6. Yes that is a license plate you see on the back of a golf cart. Don't hate...it gets them from A to B.:rofl:
7. Another small car. It kind of looks like a Jeep in the front.
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Day 14

31 Ottobre 2007 - More deliciousness, romance and pain
After having breakfast at a small café we visited the Ognissanti, but were not able to view the portrait of the Last Supper in the refectory. No matter how many cathedrals you tour, they will not get old. My biggest observation was how the old rustic wooden pews contrast the frescoes and altar.
We then headed back over to the Duomo by way of Via de' Tornabuoni. This is where most of the high end shopping is located.Still in awe of its size we made our way inside. The baptistery was close, but I was able to see the replica of the solid gold doors with the biblical stories. After giving serious discussion to climbing the 400+ steps to the top of the Duomo, we figured that we had enough of climbing steps and all the walking up and down the hills.
The Uffizi or what we thought was the Uffizi, turned out we were in the Palazzo Vecchio, was a bit confusing as we could not find the exhibits. After going through security and walking around a bit we gave up. We then headed over to the Boboli Gardens. You have a great vantage point of the city from the gardens. You should be forewarned that your legs will definitely get a work out.
When you enter the Gardens you enter the Amphitheatre. In the center of the Amphitheatre there is a huge granite tub and a replica of the Egyptian Obelisk. At the rear are terraced steps, although truthfully I am not sure they can be called steps. They do however give you a great burn in your legs. You will come to a statue of Neptune. On another level was the Statue of Abundance. We then made our way to another level of the garden that gives you beautiful breathtaking views of the outside walls of the city.
As the evening got a head start on us by the time we left the gardens we walked around the city a bit more before deciding to find a place to eat and go to the laundromat not far from the hotel. Yes, we needed to do laundry. Only two loads and it took about 90 minutes.

Pictures:
1. Ognissanti Church. The Westin is to the left and right. Same hotel chain, two Westins across from one another...OK. The Ognissanti is also where the portrait of the Last Supper is located in the refectory. It was closed when we were there.
2. 180 degrees from the Ognissanti. View of Hercules & the lion stature and San Frediano in Cestello across the Arno.
3. Frescoe on the ceiling of the Ognissanti.
4. Statue near altar in Ognissanti.
5. looking from one of the chapels to the other at the front of the Ognissanti. Ang took with her camera.
6. I forgot whom this was. Ang took with her camera.
7. Frescoe in Ognissanti. Ang took with her camera.
8. Ognissanti altar
9. Frescoe above Ognissanti altar. Ang took with her camera.
10. view of Ognissanti.
11. Duomo right side
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
More pics day 14

1. Duomo, Campanile and Baptistry.
2. Duomo and Campanile
3. Duomo and Baptistry. Ang took with her camera.
4. East End Chapel on the left side.
5. Interior of Duomo.
6. Interior of Duomo using different white balance.
7. clock on rear wall with portrait of four prophets.
8. candlebra in Duomo. Took about 15 minutes to get this shot w/o people lighting a candle.
9. Part of the Last Judgment frescoe above altar.
10. Wooden doors inside Duomo.
11. Exterior main doors to Duomo
12. Ang in front of Duomo. Gives you an idea of the door size.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
More pics day 14

1. Ang in front of Duomo
2. Santa Maria del Fiore statue outside Duomo
3. Close-up of Santa Maria del Fiore outside Duomo
4. Baptistry across from Duomo. This is the crowd at the end of October. Imagine what it is like in the summer. Ang took with her camera.
5. Replica of the famous solid gold doors. Ang took with her camera.
6. Each panel tells a biblical story, starting from the left panel going down: Adam and Eve cast from Eden, Drunk Noah & his sacrifice, Esau & Jacob, Moses is give the Ten Commandments, Philistine battle (it is unseen here below the gate). The right panel going down: Abel is killed by his brother Cain, Abraham sacrifices Isaac, Joseph sold into slavery, The fall of Jericho, Solomon and Queen Sheba (unseen below the gate)
7. This horse attracted a small crowd. People came up to take a picture next to him, pat his head, but he was undaunted by all the commotion he just kept eating.
8. Perseus, Medusa statue in front of the Loggia dei Lanzi.
9. Hercules & Cacus in front of Palazzo Vecchio
10. Hercules & Cacus in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in black & white
11. entrance of Palazzo Vecchio in black & white
12. entrance of Palazzo Vecchio. This is when Ang and I thought we were going into the Uffizi. We're inside searching for artwork and the such.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
More pics day 14

1. Cortile & Putto statue in Palazzo Vecchio.
2. Taken as the sun peeked through the clouds behind me while the sky was still cloudy over the Palazzo Pitti. I like the effect it gives the picture
3. Palazzo Pitti black & white. Ang took with her camera.
4. Ang was able to catch a similar shot, but got some shadow which added to the life of the picture. Ang took with her camera.
5. Tanya this picture is for you. Ang took with her camera.
6. We only visited the Boboli Gardens in the Palazzo Pitti. This is the inner court that leads to the gardens. Ang took with her camera.
7. Palazzo Pitti inner court
8. inner court Palazzo Pitti. Ang took with her camera.
9. Fountain on wall in the inner court.
10. Part of the Boboli Gardens Amphitheatre. Ang took with her camera.
11. Art work on display
12. Ang refused to put her arm around the statue. It freaked her out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
More pics day 14

1. Her photographing me photographing the Florence skyline. Why? I have no idea.
2. Artwork in Boboli Gardens & Florence skyline.
3. Duomo, Campanile, Palazzo Vecchio.
4. Fiesole from Boboli Gardens
5. Amphithteatre. To give you perspective of the size of the granite tub, look at the people walking by.
6. Part of the Amphitheatre.
7. Fountain over the inner court
8. lower garden
9. A look towards the top of the Boboli Gardens with the granite tub and obelisk in the foreground. Ang took with her camera.
10. Look to top of Boboli Gardens. Ang took with her camera.
11. Neptune fountain at the top of the Boboli Gardens
12. bottom of Neptune fountain
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
More pics day 14

1. View from top of Boboli Gardens to the rear of Palazzo Pitti. Ang took with her camera.
2. View of Florence from top of Boboli Gardens over the Palazzo Pitti. Ang took with her camera.
3. View of Florence from top of Boboli Gardens over the Palazzo Pitti. Black & white
4. View of Florence from top of Boboli Gardens over the Palazzo Pitti.
5. The remote at wotk again. Me & Ang in Boboli Gardens
6. Statue of Abundance in Boboli Gardens.
7. Black & white statue of Abundance.
8. Random pic of Boboli Gardens. black & white. Ang took with her camera.
9. Random pic in Boboli Gardens
10. Black & white random pic in Boboli Gardens
11. What you see from the rear of Boboli Gardens outside the Florence walls.
12. More of outside the Florence walls from the Boboli Gardens. Ang took with her camera.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
More pics day 14

1. Not sure of the castle name. Outside walls of Florence. Balck & white.
2. Not sure of the castle name. Outside walls of Florence.
3. Ang in Boboli Gardens. Outside Florence walls behind her.
4. Me & Ang rear of Boboli Gardens.
5. Ang in Boboli Gardens.
6. Outiside the Florence walls from the Boboli Gardens. Ang took with her camera.
7. Florence from Boboli Gardens. Ang took with her camera.
8. Black & white Florence from Boboli Gardens. Ang took with her camera.
9. Porcelain Museum at the top of Boboli Gardens. I like the how the sky came out against the sun drenched museum.
10. Porcelain Museum at the top of Boboli Gardens in black & white.
11. I am not sure how she got this effect. Cool isn't it. Ang took with her camera.
12. Why she kept taking pics of me taking picture is beyond me. But, it is a cool looking pic. Interpret how you want. Ang took with her camera. Black & white
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
More pics day 14

1. Set-up my next shot. Ang took with her camera. Black & white.
2. Tuscan sunset from Boboli Gardens
3. Tuscan sunset in black & white from Boboli Gardens.
4. Sunset over Tuscany
5. Random shot locked gate I thought would look nice as a black & white.
6. Random shot those concrete railing in Boboli Gardens that I thought would look cool as a black & white.
7. I forgot to turn on the vibration reduction on my lense and this is the effect I got. Even mistakes can come out cool. Random shot in Boboli Gardens
8. One of my favorite shot. The is the sunset through one of the paths in Boboli Gardens
9. Ang posing with the artwork in Boboli Gardens that freaked her out.
10. Artwork in Boboli Gardens in black & white.
11. Duomo and Campanile just before sunset.
12. Facade of grotto in Boboli Gardens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
More pics day 14

1. Hercules in inner court of Palazzo Pitti.
2. Frescoe on ceiling of grotto of Moses in Palazzo Pitti inner court.
3. Grotto of Moses in Palazzo Pitti in black & white
4. Grotto of Moses in Palazzo Pitti
5. left wing of Palazzo Pitti
6. Palazzo Pitti center
7. Palazzo Pitti right ring
8. Shot of Ponte Santa Trinita from Ponte Vecchio playing with white balance.
9. Shot of Ponte Santa Trinita from Ponte Vecchio playing with white balance.
10. Shot of Ponte Santa Trinita from Ponte Vecchio in black & white.
11. Shot of Ponte Alle Grazie from the Ponte Vecchio playing with white balance
12. Ponte Vecchio from Ponte Santa Trinita
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 · (Edited)
More pics day 14

1. Ponte Vecchio from Ponte Santa Trinita in black & white.
2. Ang in front of Ponte Vecchio. She's a little out of focus because I set the camera on the wrong focal point.
3. See right what had happened was. This is what happens when you have a long shutter and move before the shutter closes. I'm an ass.
4. I got it right in this pic. Me & Ang on Ponte Santa Trinita with Ponte Vecchio behind us. A little info about this pic. We were trying to take this pic on the bridge with a narrow sidewalk and cars whizzing by behind the camera. Can you say idiot move?
5. Me & Ang on Ponte Santa Trinita with Ponte Vecchio in background. Another one of my bright idea ways to get a picture. Trying to get a wider shot I put the camera and tripod on the opposite side of the bridge, then had to wait for traffic to stop to get back across street. Then we had people walking by near the camera that would stop to give use a chance to take the picture, but we had to time the shutter with traffic. Which explains the slight blur of a car in the lower left. That remote came in handy.
6. View from Westin Excelsior room to the left
7. View from Westin Excelsior room straight ahead
8. View from Westin Excelsior room to the right
9. Seriously I know how to act, but sometimes I can't help myself. Ang took with her camera.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Day 15

01 Novembre 2007 - Please insert disc; It's holiday…thaaat's riiight; It is going to fall
Up again at the butt crack of dawn, do the breakfast café thing again and off to the Monaco, via the designer outlets, a romp through Tuscany in search of Chianti and olive oil and Pisa. Not…quite. The nav disc Joern gave me seems to have problems reading the info on the disc that covers anything south of Deutschland. The disc freezes and gives an error. So there have been a few times we had to take out the disc and do the usual blow and wipe. Then there are times when we can't get the disc out and will have to get out of the car, lock it, wait a minute, get back in and only then will we get the disc back.
So on this day before we get going it happens again and so we repeat the above. After driving a few blocks we realize that the message on the screen says "Please insert disc". Huh? The disc is inserted. After pressing the eject button a few hundred times I decide we need to find a BMW dealer. We pull over to a gas station to ask for directions. After getting through the language barrier and a few hand gestures, off we go. Somehow we must have missed a turn because we end up at the same gas station on the opposite side. These guys had a good laugh as we pulled in. So we tried it again. This time we saw the sign for BMW dealer, but at the next fork in the road there were signs for Porsche, Alfa, and Mercedes, but no BMW. So I use my internal compass and figured that BMW had to be near these dealers.
While we are trying to find the dealer, my girlfriend is still trying to get the disc out. We see every automaker known to man, but no BMW and no one is open. It is after 0830, but every business seems to be closed on a Monday. I eventually see this small sign for BMW. It is back off the main drag in a little neighborhood. The dealer is also closed. I do not understand why everything is closed. Then it hits me, it is the first of Novembre and we are in Italía. YOU IDIOT…it is All Saints Day.
I park on the side of the road and continue to try to eject the disc. My girlfriend started using her Crackberry to find the outlet stores. After wasting at least a good two hours between trying to get directions, find the dealer and getting the disc out a little voice says hit the eject button for the CD player. Here you have two people with three degrees between us and neither one thought of hitting the CD button.
The outlets are less than an hour outside of Firenze. They do have all the major designer outlet stores here. Most of the merchandise is last season or the season that is ending. Don't expect big savings here, but worth the trip.
I then charted a route for the Chiantigiana Route (actual route name) on Via Chiantigiana in search of Chianti and olive oil. The road is well signed and there are plenty of places to stop and buy. For the drivers among us there are great roads along this route. After driving for what seemed like forever we finally came upon a vineyard that was open. We purchased four bottles of Chianti and ten bottles of olive oil. They also had grappa, which is made from the skin of the grape and it is has a kick like a mule. We decided that this was not for us.
After finding our way out of Tuscany, we made it to Pisa in about 2.5 hours. Not much to do here but see the Duomo, Baptistry, and the Leaning Tower. The tower leans a lot farther than I thought. If it leans any farther it will become "the Felled Tower of Pisa". After stopping for a quick bite, we were on our way to Monaco.
The drive to Monaco was around 4-5 hours. I fell in with a group of Alfas and Porsches and pretty much ran with them for ¾ of the trip. We averaged around 120 for much of the trip. After checking-in at the Marriott Riviera in Cap d' Ail we found a French restaurant on the side of the casino. There is not much to see in Monaco other than the casino, hot cars and yachts.

Pictures:
1. Our last morning in Florence from the room balcony.
2. Tuscan field on our way to find Chianti and olive oil. You could spend all day on Tuscany and never tire of it's beauty.
3. Some people just don't know what to do with themselves when left alone with a camera.
4. Tuscan field
5. Tuscan field in black & white
6. Tuscan valley
7. Tuscan village
8. Vineyard we found that was open on All Saints Day for Chianti and olive oil
9. Wine vats
10. Ang at Tuscan vineyard.
11. Copper waiting patiently to leave.
12. Piazza dei Miracoli
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
More pics day 15

1. Cathedral in Pisa using the white balance for effect
2. Cathedral in Pisa using the white balance for effect
3. Cathedral in Pisa in black & white
4. Tower of Pisa & Cathedral black & white in Pisa
5. Cathedral & Tower in Pisa
6. Me & Ang in front of Tower of Pisa & Cathedral
7. Cathedral in Pisa
8. Top of the Tower of Pisa
9. Front of Cathedral in Pisa
10. Frescoe above altar in Cathedral in Pisa
11. Cathedral in Pisa ceiling
12. Cathedral in Pisa interior
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 · (Edited)
More pics day 15

1. Tower of Pisa from below
2. Tower of Pisa from below black & white
3. Prince's Palace of Monaco
4. Port & Palace in distance
5. Monte Carlo Casino
6. Monte Carlo Casino
 

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Dude, you have to get the award for perhaps the most comprehensive report ever!!!! KUDOS!!! Even though your trip got off to a rough start, you still seem to have had a great time....KILLER images and your low light shots are great!!!!

Thanks for the effort and it is nice to know that there is at least one fellow Nikonian!!!

Cheers,
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
Day 16

02 Novembre 2007 - Beautiful Mediterranean; they really lie out on rocks
The following morning we drove around for a while, but could not tour the palace as the Prince was home. We then headed to Nice along the coast with the windows down and sunroof open as the weather finally reached over 70 degrees. The way that I planned out the trip was to have the last few days as "cool down" days. We were not rushing around trying to see much. They only thing I really wanted to see in Nice was the Matisse museum, but it was closed. We basically spent most of the day on the beach and walking along Promenade des Anglais.

Pictures:
1. View from our hotel in Cap d'Ail
2-3. View from our hotel in Cap d'Ail. Ang took with her camera.
4. View from our hotel in Cap d'Ail.
5-6. View from our hotel in Cap d'Ail. Ang took with her camera.
7. A stop off point on our way to Nice. Ang took with her camera.
8. A stop off point on our way to Nice. Ang took with her camera in black & white.
9. A stop off point on our way to Nice. Ang took with her camera.
10. Ang getting happy with herself and the camera.
11. Ang shooting me on way to Nice. Ang took with her camera. black & white
12. Pic of boat racing across the Mediterranean on our way to Nice. Ang took with her camera.
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
More pics day 16

1. Ang at stop off on way to Nice. Ang took with her camera.
2. A stop off point on our way to Nice. Ang took with her camera.
3. Sun kissed Mediterranean Sea.
4. Check out the bird soar across the Mediterranean. Ang took with her camera.
5. Bird is still soaring. Ang took with her camera.
6. Mountain face on road to Nice. Ang took with her camera.
7. Cooper tucked away in her own spot beneath the hotel. No door dings.
8. Rent a SmartCar in Nice.
9. Playing with the camera. Palms trees in Nice.
10. Trying to see the level of detail I could get. Base of palm trees in Nice.
11. Down a random street in Nice.
12. Don't ask me why I took a pic of a parking garage sign.
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
More pics day 16

1. BMW convertible parked in front of hotel.
2. Water foaming on Nice beach.
3. Water breaking on beach.
4. sunset on Mediterranean
5. Looking down beach in Nice
6. Statue of Venus.
7. Sea breaking on beach
8. Sea breaking on Nice beach
9. Ang sitting on beach in Nice taking in some sun.
10. Black & white of Ang on Nice beach.
11. Black & white of sea breaking on beach in Nice
12. Nice beach
 

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