Alright, I’m back in Colorado and can now continue posting photos. Here is the next batch, covering Southern France and Italy.

  SOUTHERN FRANCE
 The city of Avignon, which for a number of years was the temporary home of the Papacy. On the left you can see Avignon’s famous broken bridge over the Rhone River.
The Roman amphitheater in Arles.
The Roman arena in Arles. It is still in use to this day and sometimes hosts “bull games” where a group of daredevils try to grab a ribbon off the horns of a bull. Only humans get hurt in these games, so PETA need not complain.
The ancient Roman aqueduct crossing a river gorge at Pont du Gard.
MILAN
 The Milan Duomo. It is the second largest cathedral in the world after St Peter’s in Rome.
 Inside the Milan Duomo
Right next to the duomo is the world’s first shopping mall. The inside is full of expensive shops, with the interesting exception of a McDonald’s. You can also find, near the center on the floor, a small mosaic of a bull. People like to step on the bull’s testicles and spin around on them because it is supposed to bring you luck. I, on the other hand, jumped in the air, stomped on the bull’s testicles and then did an artsy spin, which ought to give me exponentially more luck than the normal method.
FLORENCE
Florence, birthplace of the Renaissance, as seen from the south side of the Arno River.
 The Florence Duomo with its distinctive white, green and pink marble facade.
 The dome of the duomo, as seen from the nearby belltower. The dome was considered an architectural marvel, and was the first great dome built in Europe since Roman times.
Michelangelo’s David statue, inside the Accademia Museum.
PISA
The Leaning Tower of Pisa; the only thing worth seeing in Pisa.
ROME
 The inside of the Colosseum. In the center you can see the lower levels which were below the stadium floor (further back you can see a platform which shows where the floor would be if it were still there).
 The outside of the Colosseum. Many years of neglect and cannibalization haven’t been kind to it, but the structure still retains some of the old grandeur.
 Right next to the Colosseum is the Roman Forum, which was the center of ancient Rome.
 The Spanish Steps, a popular gathering point in Rome.
 The street leading to Vatican City and St Peter’s Basilica.
Inside St Peter’s Basilica, the largest cathedral in the world.
A look at ancient Rome from atop the Victor Emmanuel Monument.
 Another view of Rome from atop the Victor Emmanuel Monument. You can see the dome of Pantheon on the left. If you could look further left, you would also be able to see Vatican City.
 The Victor Emmanuel Monument. The statue in the center (of King Victor Emmanuel, the first king of united Italy) is the largest of its type in the world. The king’s mustache is just over 5 feet long.
 Trevi Fountain. This place also looks really good at night.
The exterior of the Pantheon, the best preserved ancient building in Rome.
Inside the Pantheon, looking up at the dome. The Italian architect Brunelleschi studied the Pantheon’s dome when he was designing the dome that would go on top of the duomo in Florence.
 Looking around in side the Pantheon.
The Sacred Steps, imported from Jerusalem. Jesus Himself supposedly walked up these steps, and today many people climb it on their knees while reciting prayers.

 

VENICE
 A view of the Grand Canal of Venice, which cuts through the main islands.
San Marco Square, one of Europe’s most famous and scenic city squares. In the center is San Marco (St Mark’s) Basilica and next to it is the bell tower.
 The Doge’s (duke’s) Palace on San Marco Square. I highly recommend visiting this museum. The first half is kind of boring, but once you hit the Senate Chambers you’re admission fee will be more than justified.
The interior of San Marco Basilica.  It’s a little hard to tell, but the ceiling is one massive mosaic.
 A view of the main part of Venice from the nearby San Giorgio Island.
 San Giorgio Island. The previous photo was taken from the church bell tower on the left.
 San Marco Square at night. I think visiting San Marco Square at night is a quintessential Venice experience with the lights, dueling bands and romantic atmosphere. Even if you’ve got only one day in Venice you should try to go to San Marco Square after sunset.
Another view of the Grand Canal. Although this canal is the main thoroughfare for boats going through the city, there are actually dozens of smaller canals running through the city.
A gondola workshop along one of the canals.

More photos to come in the next few days. I’m thinking there will be two or three more batches; one or two covering Eastern Europe, and one covering the last leg of the trip from Berlin back to London.

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