Panties and Bras

 

 

Sights I Have Seen in Europe

 

I visited Europe four times between 1971 and 1991, spending six months there in all.  I've been in all the countries of Western Europe, except 3  enclaves, but in Eastern Europe, I have visited only Greece and Hungary.  These visits were a little cursory for such an important center of culture as Europe, so I´ll just recount some of the major points of interest that I did get to see, instead of devoting a whole web page to each of 22 countries. 

For me, there is no place in Europe where it is warm enough, so I'd never consider living there, even if I could afford the outrageous prices that are charged for every little thing in some countries, like those of Scandinavia.  Still, it's really enjoyable to visit famous places like the Vatican, the Acropolis, the Louvre, the British Museum and so forth.

I visited the Vatican twice, in 1974 and 1991.  Undoubtedly, this is the most important cultural center in Europe.  Vatican City is completely contiguous with the city of Rome, but is an independent country, one of the smallest in the world area-wise.  Below is a picture of St. Peter's Square, with the Basilica itself in the background.

 

Image:Vatican StPeter Square.jpg

 

St. Peter's Square, Vatican City

(This picture and some others below are clickable.)

 

The Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum are full of magnificent works of art.  One of the most impressive is The School of Athens by Rafael (Raffaello Sanzio).  This is a very large piece, covering an entire wall.

 

File:Sanzio 01.jpg

 

Rafael's The School of Athens, in the Vatican

 

In the Basilica itself stands the world-famous statue entitled Pietà, attributed to Michelangelo, who, however, was only 23 when the work was completed.  So there is a doubt concerning his authorship.  It was damaged in 1972 by a terrorist.  I saw it on my first visit to the Vatican, when it was still in plain view.  Now it's supposed to be behind glass.

Imagem:Michelangelo's Pieta 5450 cropncleaned.jpg

 

Michelangelo's Pietà, St. Peter's

 

Another famous church in Italy is La Basilica di San Marco, the Cathedral of Venice.   It dominates Piazza San Marco, in the Rialto, right downtown.  Before the church there stood, and probably still stand, two bronze horses looted in Constantinople (Istanbul) during the Crusades.  At the time of the looting, Venice was a country, not just a city, and it extended around the Adriatic Sea as far as Dubrovnik (now in Croatia).  Venetians were energetic mariners and merchants.

 

Image:San Marco (evening view).jpg

 

La Basilica di San Marco, Venice, Italy

 

Important to Italians and to the world at large are the heirlooms of Roman antiquity.  One of the most noteworthy of Roman buildings is the Colosseum (Coliseum), which anyone who walks the streets of Rome will see sooner or later.  This stadium dates from 72 to 80 AD, constructed during the reigns of Emperors Vespasian and Titus.  I saw this on both of my visits to Rome.

 

Image:Colosseum in Rome, Italy - April 2007.jpg

 

The Colosseum (Coliseum), in Rome, Italy

 

In the Capitoline Museum, atop the Capitoline Hill in Rome, once can see the colossal head of Emperor Constantine, the man responsible for putting the Catholic Church in business:

 

 

Colossal Head of Emperor Constantine,

 

 in Rome

 

Here is the prologue to William Shakespeare's immortal play, Romeo and Juliet, which was set in fair Verona, in northern Italy, just west of Venice:

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whole misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

 

The house of Juliet Capulet, if she was a real person, still stands in Verona.  In the courtyard there's a statue of the famous heroine.

 

 

 

 Juliet Capulet's House, in Verona, Italy

 

I visited Paris four or five times, but never for more than a few days unfortunately.  You can bet, though, that the first thing I did was head for the Louvre.

 

Image:Musée du Louvre - from Jardin des Tuileres, Paris, France (26 April 2006).JPG

 

The Louvre, Paris, France

 

One of the most illustrious paintings in the Louvre is The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David.  This painting, in which the figures are at least life-size, is over 30 feet long and almost 20 feet tall.

 

Image:Jacques-Louis David 006.jpg

 

The Coronation of Napoleon,

 

by Jacques-Louis David

 

A real treasurehouse in the Louvre is the room devoted to the cycle of paintings by Peter Paul Rubens depicting the great events in the life of Marie de' Medici.  Below is The Exchange of the Princesses, one of about a dozen such superb paintings.

 

Image:Peter Paul Rubens 037.jpg

 

The Exchange of the Princesses,

 

by Peter Paul Rubens

 

Another spot near Paris that probably no one misses is Versailles Palace, built by Kings Louis XIII and Louis XIV in the eighteenth century.  This is where the famous Queen Marie Antoinette lived, and her boudoir and bedchamber, delightful rooms, can still be toured.  Below is pictured the Hall of Mirrors.  It mystifies me how workmen were able to fashion the buildings and their appointments in those days before motors, heavy equipment and electricity.

 

 

Versailles Palace, Versailles, France

 

In downtown Paris, on the Seine River, stands Notre Dame Cathedral.  Though I am not a religious person, I've always been a keen visitor of cathedrals, shrines and other pious landmarks.  I visited Notre Dame in the seventies, climbing the narrow spiral staircase to the roof, where the gargoyles lour out over the city of Paris.  The cathedral dates from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and represents an incredible accomplishment for those medieval times.

 

Image:Notre Dame de Paris by night time.jpg

 

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France

 

A famous church is the unfinished Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona, Spain.  The work, begun in 1882, is still unfinished.  I visited Barcelona twice briefly in 1991, and saw the church, which didn't even have a roof at the time.  I read later that, in preparation for the Olympics in Barcelona, in 1996, the local citizenry were planning to complete construction, but apparently those plans were not realized.  This church was designed by the Catalonian architect, Antoni Gaudí.

 

 

Image:Sagradafamilia-overview.jpg

 

La Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona, Spain

 

Dominating Vienna, Austria are the Art History Museum and the Natural History Museum, identical museums that stand facing each other on opposite sides of Maria Theresien Platz.  These are among the best museums that I have ever visited.

 

Image:KHM in Wien.jpg

 

The Art History Museum, Vienna, Austria

 

 

Frankfurt, Germany is an amazing city.  One can hardly believe that a town with a population of only 1,000,000 has the financial, commercial and cultural trappings that put it in a category with much larger cities, like London, Paris and New YorkBelow is a picture of Frankfurt's skyline.

 

Image:Skyline-sued-ffm003.jpg

 

Frankfurt am Main, Germany

 

 

The best thing to see in London, England is the British Museum, which is loaded with artifacts, heirlooms and souvenirs of the many lands that formed parts of the 14,000,000 square miles that were the British Empire.  In the museum, there are Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities, and countless other things, which you'll never see in their entirety, unless you have several days to spend there. 

 

Image:British Museum from NE 2.JPG

 

The British Museum, London, England

 

Here is a head of Pharaoh Ramses II, abstracted by the English from Egypt.

 

 Image:BM, AES Egyptian Sulpture ~ Colossal bust of Ramesses II, the 'Younger Memnon' (1250 BC) (Room 4).jpg

 

Pharaoh Ramses II, in the British Museum

 

A beautiful and prestigious church in London is the eleventh-century Westminster Abbey, where rest the remains of many of the luminaries and dignitaries of the realm.  This is the abbey where England's kings and queens are crowned and buried.  I visited Westminster Abbey in 1971, and cannot remember the names of all the illustrious people buried there.  I do recall John Milton, and, standing in a vertical tomb, Samuel Johnson.

 

Image:Westminster abbey west.jpg

 

Westminster Abbey, London, England

 

Another famous site in England is Stonehenge, whose construction, by an unknown people, went on for several centuries and ended in 1600 BC.  This archeological treasure is in the vicinity of Stratford-upon-Avon and Oxford, northwest of London.

 

Image:Stonehenge back wide.jpg

 

Stonehenge, England

 

In 1991, I passed back and forth over the Swiss and Austrian Alps, and in 1974, I spent a few days in the Italian Alps.  Very scenic, these mountains are much lower than some of the mountains I've seen in Asia and South America

 

Image:Grossglockner from SW.jpg

 

The Austrian Alps

 

Another famous European mountain that I saw was Gibraltar, in the South of Spain.  In 1991, I sailed the Straits of Gibraltar from Algeciras, Spain to Tangiers, Morocco.  From Tangiers I trained to ad-Dar al-Beyda (Casablanca) and back, and then sailed the straits again.

 

 

Gibraltar, near Algeciras, Spain

 

An even more famous rock is the Acropolis, in Athens, Greece.  I visited this fmous landmark in the summer of 1990, when I lived briefly in Greece.  I merely cycled downtown from the suburb of Voula, where I was staying in a government-run camping ground.

 

Image:AthensAcropolisDawnAdj06028.jpg

 

The Acropolis, in Athens, Greece

 

In 1974, I sailed the English Channel, on my way from London to Paris, and after a visit of a few days, I sailed back.  So in this way, I was able to see the white cliffs of Dover, famous the world around.

 

Image:White cliffs of dover 09 2004.jpg

 

The White Cliffs of Dover, England

 

Perched on a cliff in the manner of the Acropolis, and very imposing in its own way, is Edinburgh Castle, in Edinburgh, Scotland, nearly due north of London several hundred miles.  The castle has a museum of arms and armor, and the motto above the gates of the castle reads, "Nemo me impune lacessit," which means, "Nobody harasses me with impunity."  I visited the castle in the early seventies.

 

Sunset at Edinburgh Castle

 

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland

 

In 1990, I sailed the Oresund, the sound that separates Denmark from Sweden.  I rode aboard a train from Copenhagen to Stockholm.  The train rolled onto a ferry on the Danish side, on the island of Sjaelland, and rolled off in Malmö, Sweden, so that I did not have to detrain until we got to Stockholm.  Of course, I had to cross The Sound, as it is called in English, again on the way back.  Since then, a bridge has been built.

 

Image:Oresund from helsingborg.jpg

 

The Oresund, between Denmark and Sweden

 

 

 

European Itinerary

 

 

Photo Credits:

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Vatican_StPeter_Square.jpg

Rafael's The School of Athens, in the Vatican:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sanzio_01.jpg

Michelangelo's Pietá, St. Peter's:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Michelangelo%27s_Pieta_5450_cropncleaned.jpg

La Basilica di San Marco, Venice, Italy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:San_Marco_%28evening_view%29.jpg

The Colosseum (Coliseum), in Rome, Italy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Colosseum_in_Rome%2C_Italy_-_April_2007.jpg

Colossal Head of Emperor Constantine in Rome:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Constantine_Musei_Capitolini.jpg

Juliet Capulet's House, in Verona, Italy:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/repla9/429301382/

The Louvre, Paris, France:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mus%C3%A9e_du_Louvre_-_from_Jardin_des_Tuileres%2C_Paris%2C_France_%2826_April_2006%29.JPG

The Coronation of Napoleon, Jacque-Louis David:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Jacques-Louis_David_006.jpg

The Exchange of the Princesses, by Peter Paul Rubens:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Peter_Paul_Rubens_037.jpg

Versailles Palace, Versailles, France:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Hallofmirrors.jpg

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Notre_Dame_de_Paris_by_night_time.jpg

La Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona, Spain:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Sagradafamilia-overview.jpg

The Art History Museum, Vienna, Austria:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:KHM_in_Wien.jpg

Frankfurt am Main, Germany:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Skyline-sued-ffm003.jpg

The British Museum, London, England:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:British_Museum_from_NE_2.JPG

Pharaoh Ramses II, in the British Museum:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:BM%2C_AES_Egyptian_Sulpture_%7E_Colossal_bust_of_Ramesses_II%2C_the_%27Younger_Memnon%27_%281250_BC%29_%28Room_4%29.jpg

Westminster Abbey, London, England:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Westminster_abbey_west.jpg

Stonehenge, England:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Stonehenge_back_wide.jpg

The Austrian Alps:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Grossglockner_from_SW.jpg

Gibraltar, near Algeciras, Spain:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bittersweetchoc/143325391/

The Acropolis, in Athens, Greece:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:AthensAcropolisDawnAdj06028.jpg

The White Cliffs of Dover, England:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:White_cliffs_of_dover_09_2004.jpg

Edinburgh Castle: Edinburgh, Scotland:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hawkeye39/116213474/

The Oresund, between Denmark and Sweden:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Oresund_from_helsingborg.jpg


http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/europe/europe_pol_2004.jpg

St. Peter's Square, Vatican City:

Map of Europe: "Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin."