Posts Tagged ‘rome’

Taking It On The Chin

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

The Habsburgs were a crazy, out of control dynasty that ruled for over 600 years (a.k.a. Austro-Hungarian Empire) and were the most powerful European entity since Rome! They started out mostly a peaceful group and found that marrying their royals with other countries’ royals enlarged  their holdings without firing a shot. But this eventually resulted in a lot of in-marrying, and a slew of reasons that this was not a good idea for their gene pool (more in a minute on that).

The 19th Century was their time to shine with Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, and Strauss, Freud, Doppler and a host of others. At the turn of the century, Vienna was the world’s 5th largest city in the world and had managed to avoid all revolutions and revolts. Then came World War I, (which I could make a case for the greedy Habsburgs starting and losing) and their holdings were split asunder. Then Hitler took over in 1938 and that’s enough of a history lesson for now. I read tons about everyplace I visit.

After a few generations of sisters marrying brothers, uncles with nieces, you get the idea, a few quirky things started showing up in the family Christmas photo. We see hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and skeletal deformities such as smaller stature and the easiest to spot; ‘Habsburg chin’. This is a very pronounced chin (think Jay Leno x 10). Phillip II of Spain was so deformed he could not swallow or speak.. In this portion of a prominent statue in the city center, you see Leopold I (and Holy Roman Emperor) kneel in thanksgiving for the plague being over. He was married to his niece who was also a first cousin so they weren’t fast learners either.

Habsburg Chin

Habsburg Chin

Chasing Dan Brown

Monday, October 26th, 2009

WashingtonDC 039Today we ventured out and hit 3 Americon icons. First the Supreme Court, then the Capitol with its new visitors’ center, and then the Library of Congress (new to me).

The Supreme Court is awe inspiring, and not as great a room as you would expect, tho’ the edifice if humbling. There is a basketball court above the Court Chambers and a workout room, and THAT is the highest court in the land.

We were very lucky with a slow monday, as we were able to cross the street and get a Capitol tour without waiting. Very inspiring and also a clue from my book…..

Then the Library of Congress where we saw a Gutenberg Bible, the Jefferson Library and a couple more clues.

This silly book, The Lost Symbol, is a fun read and makes the capital have another dimension. If you read Angels and Demons, it was all about Rome and was fun to chase after when we were there.

Time for Goodbyes

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Arrivederci Montalcino,
Just like Goldie-locks and the 3 bears, we  found Montalcino to be “juuuuust right”!  Not too big, not too small, but filled with  new friends, unique experiences, lovely customs, enthralling history, good food, fine wine, and now memories to last a lifetime.

Coming back from Roma and climbing the hill to our walled-city, “Friends” by Michael W. Smith was playing.  It is an all time favorite of mine, but now phrases like  “packing up the dreams God planted” and “Tho’ it’s hard to let you go, in the Father’s hand we know” have new meaning to me as tears streamed down my cheeks from under my sunglasses .

Yep, it’s time to pack and think about moving on.computeronterrace

This vacation was so much more than items to check off a list of things to see; it became home to us and we made some beautiful memories, some forever- friends, and shared it with some special people.  And just like a special recipe, all the ingredients came together ….juuuuust right.

Football Fever

Friday, May 29th, 2009

soccerbanner2Barcelona 2, Manchester United 0

soccerfansJust us 6 in Rome and 1000,000 of our closest soccer fanatic friends for the European Champions League Final (think SuperBowl)!

Mobs of chanting fans filled every imaginable street and sight (‘ cept the Vatican)  and were really quite charming and friendly to us.  No alcohol was allowed to be sold the day of the game, so only unbridled loyalty to their team fueled their enthusiasm.  Andy and Lisa nearly scored last minute tickets, but ended watching it, like most of the world, on TV.

When In Roma

Friday, May 29th, 2009


When in Rome… fight traffic, heat and humidity, soccer fans, and take in incredible sights!

Jeane, Kathie, Andy, Lisa, and Steve and I occupied two apartments for several days seeing the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and much much more.  It was quite a contrast from our quiet little Montalcino, but to actually BE there and see so much history and beautiful art.  

Even saw the Pope on Vatican Tv and in person, did a Hop On-Hop off Bus, and alot of walking.  Cool evenings with a glass of wine and people watching.

Then it was seeing Andy and Lisa off to the airport and leaving Kath and J for one day on their own in the Big City before their departure.

We sooooo enjoyed sharing all of this with them!!!!


Roman Holiday

Monday, May 25th, 2009

chieftainThe clock is ticking on Montalcino and Italy.  We have been enjoying the company of Andy, Lisa, Jeane and Kathie in Florence, Siena, Montalcino of course, and now headed to Roma.

We have heard lots of horror stories about pick-pockets and gypsies so we go with some intrepidation. And to top it all off, the SuperBowl of Soccer is this week.  It has been so hard to find accomdations . 

We covet you prayers for our safety.  Did i mention we have a Heat Wave  90+ and humidity?

So we are off on another marvelous adventure!!!


Roaming To Rome

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Today we head down to see Rome and to visit with Andy and Lisa.

Andy And Lisa Depart Montalcino

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Andy And Lisa Depart Montalcino today and head to Rome.  We will see them in a couple of days.

Maundy Thursday Organist

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

The Duomo was  the site tonight of the inaugural playing by me of Catholic Liturgy!  I was suspended 3 stories above the altar area in front of the pipes of an organ from the year 1858 with bellows and all.  It was a very meaningful service: Father Piernino washed duomoorganthe feet of 12 men, then communion followed by a silent procession over to a narthex which was decorated like a garden to represent the Garden of Gethsemane

I played for about 8 different chants.  We seemed to be together, but the acoustics were really reverberating up to me.  I don’t get freedom to play any prelude or anything, it’s by the book .  Steve hung out with me in the balcony to keep me apprised of what  was happening down below as I had no visual.  There were no bats in the belfry, but I didn’t look to closely.  There is a huge dome above this photo.

This Saturday I play at 10 pm and somehow it involves fire (?) (“…He descended into hell…”).  Then again at 9am and 11 am on sunday.  It has been a little nervewracking, but an experience I will never forget.  Maybe Father Piernino will let the Pope know, and I can have and audience with Him when I get to Rome.