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Monday, December 31, 2012


We will take a break from the Rome trip to present a few photos of our annual Christmas Window Tour in Manhattan.  We didn't take as many photos this year beacause A) it was snowing/raining during our whole walk, B) a number of neat effects were all digital that were fun to watch but deadly to photograph, C) a lot of the windows were about merchandise or sales and D) did I mention that there was a freezing rain/snow coming down?  So it was not an inspiring year. Still here are a few shots.
Bergdorf's again

Closeup of her headress

The most eye-catching building decoration was Bulgari's sparkling snake that also had chasing lights on it.  Don got a great photo with little glare.
Harry Winston

The Lego Store

Lord & Taylor

Lord & Taylor

He's a little shaggy, but here is a beagle for my parents to enjoy.

More Lord & Taylor

So that's it for the Christmas windows.  I hope you enjoyed the short tour and best wishes to all for the new year.


Sunday, December 30, 2012


On Monday, we flew from London to Rome, arriving in the afternoon and heading straight to the Hotel Maryelen & Giovy.  The hotel is situated  in a hotel district just a few minutes walk from the Termini.  Our room was on Floor 5 so we were just up above the top of this photo. 

Part of our room.


The hotel room was perfectly fine but the keys were a real treat. The small key opened the regular-sized door to our room.  The large key opened this door:

The heavy wooden door to the wing containing our room; the metal bar came in handy when pushing the door open.

We took this photo to show everyone how we spent a lot of time in Rome; yes, Don caught my cold.

On Tuesday, we bought Roma passes before we set out for a day exploring ancient Rome.   The Roma passes give you free entry to the first 2 museums/sites, discount admissions on others, free public transportation, and--the best part--permission to skip to the front of the lines.  Why is that important?  Well, look at the Colosseum, our first stop.

The Colosseum.  See all of those people?  Well, except for that group on the far right, that is the line to buy admission.
..and the line continues inside the Colosseum.  We got to skip all of that and save ourselves at least an hour. 

A view of the arena and structures below

The brick work was so interesting.

You thought graffiti was a modern problem?  It goes back centuries with men leaving their marks on the Colosseum walls.

A view from one of the openings in the structure.  Notice the umbrella pines that are found all over the city.

One of the public water fountains that are also found all over the city.  The water is fine and these spouts are very handy for filling your water bottle.

I am very pleased with this shot because I managed to photograph (for free) some of the men who dress as gladiators and cajole people to have their photos taken with a gladiator--for a stiff price, of course.

It is hard to find a place to eat right around the Colosseum but we wandered a few blocks away and stumbled on the Hostaria de Nerone, a restaurant next door to a cafe for students.  We sat outside and had antipasti plates and coffee for lunch.  The coffee in Rome is so good.

Fortified by lunch, we walked through the Roman Forum.

Wandering through the Forum

These impressive arches are only one-third of the original Basilica of Constantine, a hall of justice.
The ceiling in one of the arches

Heard of the Vestal Virgins?  This was their residence and garden.

     After the Forum, it was up to the Palatine Hill.

What is left of a huge palace on the hill that housed emperors for 3 centuries.

This is part of the Museo Palatino, which contains statues and frescoes that help you imagine the luxury of the imperial structures on the hill.
Portion of a marble floor displayed in the museum.

After immersing ourselves in ancient Rome, we decided to do some people watching by following Rick Steves' Dolce Vita Stroll through the city.  We got into the strolling and eating part so well that it took us 3 evenings to finish the walk.

Outside eating area for the Osteria da Mario

We chose to eat at the Osteria da Mario, a mom-and-pop restaurant near the Pantheon and even got a table in the outdoor seating located in an old, Roman square.  After that we stopped for gelato and continued walking.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


     We took the train back to London on Friday and had dinner with friends that night.  Saturday was a day for sightseeing but I woke up with a cold, not surprising since everybody in England seemed to be sniffling or sneezing.  I soldiered on.
 Our first stop was the Churchill War Rooms, the wartime bunker that sheltered Churchill and his government during the Blitz, and the accompanying Churchill Museum.  Below are 2 photos of individual rooms. 
one of the Churchill war rooms

another room

After that, we wandered along the Thames Embankment to the modern reconstruction of the Globe Theatre.

one of the decorative lamp posts

a closeup of the bottom

I soldiered on as best I could, but Don caught one of my Little Miss Grumpypants moments:

the modern reconstruction of the Globe Theatre

     On the way back, we ran into a number of performers along the Embankment but this was our favorite.  Yes, he is playing a tuba that spouts fire.

     After a fish and chips dinner, we took ourselves to the Criterion Theatre to see The 39 Steps.

     Sunday was the Bead Fair, held by the Bead Society of Great Britain, at Uxbridge College where I had agreed to demonstrate bead crochet.

Here is the Bead Society's table with information about the group.

Two enthusiastic members taking their turn at the table.

My table was next to that of Anna Feher, a talented bead artist from Hungary, who was selling her felt, embroidered, and beaded items.

Anna Feher

Some of Anna's beadwork

A lovely pair of felt, embroidery, and beadwork earrings that I bought

To see more of Anna's work, you can visit Fannabead.
I was pleasantsly surprised to see Nadia Mewton, one of my star students in the London class, bring me her almost finished snake from class.

Nadia's snake

Nadia's initials on the belly

After we returned home to Brooklyn, Toni Fine, another student in the London class, sent me a photo of a necklace-length snake that she had made using the Turkish POW bead crochet stitch from class.

Toni's snake

While I was busy at the Bead Show, Don visited the Natural History Museum in London.

National History Museum

the museum's courtyard

more wildlife

After the show, we returned to the hotel and packed because we were off to Italy the next morning.  Next stop, Rome.