Posts Tagged With: Europe

Riga, Latvia- Graffiti

I just got back from Riga, Latvia, and am putting together my photographs.  But I’ve got a few I can show you quickly of interesting Rigan graffiti.

First is the graffiti in our apartment block.  We went Air BnB, and stayed in a real, creepy, Soviet era apartment.  The actual flat inside was fine but the corridor and stairs were a bit grungy.  Anyway, it was covered in ‘modern communication tactics’, you really can’t say they were ruining the wall.

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We headed out to Miera Ielas or Peace Street, so named because there is a cemetery at the end (and there used to be a hospital at the other so you started and ended your life on peace street).  Now it’s full of hipster bars, although only on one side of the street, the other side just seems quite derelict.  The gentrification of the area has not been lost on our street artist friends.

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On the side of a pizza place where we had lunch was some cute rainbow, liberal graffiti with messages of love and unicorns.  It made me think Riga must be some liberal bastion but then it’s more likely that this is a reaction to more common right-wing conservatism.  Well I dunno, I was there for four days…

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Top 5 Things About Rome

I really liked Rome, it’s a big bustly city with lots to see and do.  The buildings are beautiful, and there’s lots of history you can see just by wandering around.  The sunshine and yummy food didn’t hurt either.  Here’s my Rome top 5:

  1. Roman Forum and Colloseum
    I really liked the Roman Forum, I guess most people visiting Rome will head to the Colloseum which is worth a visit but the Roman Forum next door is an amazing example of the history of Rome.
  2. Gelato!!!
    Why is ice cream in the UK so lame compared to the Italian gelato?  Why can’t we do it how they do, I guess that, in a country where 23 degrees is cause for celebration there is less of an investment of time in ice cream technological development than in Italy, but still.  It’s worth going to Rome just for the gelato!
  3. Olympic Stadium
    The former Olympic stadium is a bit out of the way, but I enjoyed my visit.  A bit niche this one as it really for us Olympic nerds trying to collect stadiums but it was interesting to see all the old Mussolini propaganda in mosaic form.
  4. Rome Zoo
    We spent an enjoyable few hours wandering around the Rome zoo, where all the animals were hiding from the the hot mid-day sun.
  5. The Vatican
    It’s hard to avoid a trip to the Vatican, but the queues are pretty epic.  If you’re planning to visit bear that in mind, entry to the Basilica is free but we paid to jump the queue and got an audio tour.  The Basilica is very impressive inside but full of other tourists, and a few nuns being religious who almost seemed out of place in the tourist throng.

 

 

 

 

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Italian Food

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Mt Etna, Sicily

Not being able to drive, and not wanting to drop 150 euros each for the transfer we got the bus to the base camp at Refugio Sapienza about 1900m up Mt Etna. We got it from the bus stops outside the main train station in Catania, it leaves there at 8:15am (well its supposed to but was 15mins late) and we got to the base camp at 9:45am ish.
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Catania, Sicily

CataniaJust some views from around Catania in Sicily.  We spent a day wandering around here, and another exploring Mt Etna.  Continue reading

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Agrigento, Sicily- Valley of the Temples

From our accommodation in Agrigento we were able to walk to the Valley of Temples, which is basically the reason to go to Agrigento. Firstly it’s not a valley but line of temples sounds less sexy, but they do date from the 5th and 6th centuries BC.  You have to buy tickets, it was about 10 euros for entry, and we paid about 14euros to include the Giardino della Kolymbethra (garden). Agrigento

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Palermo, Sicily- Pickpockets

I don’t want to bring the party down or anything but I thought I should mention the annoying thing that happened to Boyfriend when we were on holiday.  We were traveling on the bus from our hotel in Palermo to the Palermo train station, looking like mega tourists with all of our luggage and pale skin.  The bus was super crowded and every one was bashing into everyone else, after a few stops I realised that I was an idiot and we had got on the wrong bus (d’oh). When we got off boyfriend realised that his wallet was missing. Continue reading

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Rome Olympic Stadium

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I have been collecting Olympic Stadiums, so forced boyfriend to trek out in the hot Rome sun to the old stadium from the 1960 Olympics.  The Stadium is now shared between AS Roma and SS Lazio football teams so now you can only see inside on match days (with a ticket of course).  But instead we looked around at the outside.

stadiumThe construction of the stadium began in 1927, as part of Foro Mussolini. Amazingly there are still mosaics from when the stadium was originally built in the 1930’s which are a mixture of sporty and pro-Mussolini (il duce or the leader).  He’s not exactly been super popular since then, but for the most part the mosaics were in tact.   The Stadium was renovated in the 1950’s in preparation for the Olympics and again in 1990 for the Fifa World Cup.

The other impressive feature we explored was a smaller arena with running track and pitches surrounded by ancient Greek style statues.  This is the Stadio dei Marmi or Stadium of Marbles and was designed in the 1920’s by the Academy of Physical Education.  But it was used for the field hockey preliminaries for the 1960 Olympics, so it counts in my book!

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Rome- Colleseum, Forum, Palatine Hill

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The Colosseum (or Coliseum) is one of the main tourist attractions in Rome, and its not surprising.  It’s from around AD80 and in pretty good nick, obviously changes have been made since then, in 1200 it was fortified as a castle, and in the C19th there were various restoration projects to spruce it up a bit. There was a major restoration from 1993 to 2000 which cost about 40 billion lire (20.6 million euros), so not surprisingly you have to pay to enter!  We paid 12 euros for a combine ticket to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. Continue reading

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Plans for Sicily

So we’re ‘on holiday’ for 10 days, alas two of those days are taken up by traveling which sucks.  So we get 2.5 days and 3 nights in Rome before heading to Sicily.

There seems to be so much to do there there would never be enough time!  But all the major tourist attractions like the Vatican, Colloseum, the Panthenon, and Trevi Fountain are all within walking distance of each other.  I’ve also convinced boyfriend, somehow, to go to the Rome Olympic Stadium.  You can’t go inside so it’ll be a quick visit, but it’s near the river and the Bioparca (zoo and park) so that’ll be nice. Continue reading

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