August 04, 2011 GMT


We decided to stay in a chateau for the night. It was very nice and quiet. We used it as a base to visit Montendre, France.


Renee and I spent our youth in Montendre. It was 1956. Dad was in the service at Bussac, France. Bussac is now a French prison. Montendre has changed some. We didn't have a problem recognizing it. We found the old fort we use to play at.


The little theater had a seating compacity of 2500.


The town was on top of a hill and very small.


As we drove down the hill, we spotted our home - 39. It hadn't changed in 55 years. A young man greated us. He spoke excellent English. His mother knew us. Her parents rented the home to us. She was 14 at the time. He and his wife were visiting from China. His wife is employed there. We all had a great conversation. They were kind enough to show us around. Everything was the same. I walked out into the yard and found the old pond where I use to catch frogs.





It is time to move on. Our next stop is Carcassonne, France. It is August 4 and we are actually in Sanremo, Italy. I am just behind. I should catch up soon.

Posted by Joe Weatherby at 06:40 PM GMT
August 12, 2011 GMT


Well, it is time to catch up. We have traveled through France and we are in Italy.
Our last stop was Carcassonne, France. It is a restored medieval city from the 12th century.




We then drove through Monaco, Nice, France, to San Remo, Italy. It was a beautiful Italian coastal city.



We then went to Dona's in Pisa, Italy. She use to work for Renee. She hosted us for 4 days. We visited Cinque Terre, Pisa, and Florence.




What can you say about David. I bet he never expected to be admired by millions of people for 100s of years.



The lines for David and the Cathedral took hours. Don't come in August!
Cinque Terre is composed of 5 villages clinging to cliffs. We walked and enjoyed a nice lunch.




One village required a climb of almost 400 stairs. Renee and Dona said - NO! So, mom and I made the climb. As we came down, Renee and Dona were coming up. They just couldn't face us, if they hadn't done it. We left Dona's for Rome. So, now I am only one stop behind. However, we are currently in Assisi.

Posted by Joe Weatherby at 03:57 PM GMT
August 13, 2011 GMT


What can you say about Rome. It was a power for over 1000 years. From some small mountains and a swamp, it conquered and established an empire that surrounded the Mediterranean. Before entering the Forum, the conquered got to see the place that they may have to perform to their death - The Coliseum.



The famous Roman warriors marched through the Forum to the Capitol to present the conquered and the booty to the existing leadership.





We walked to Vatican City and visited the Cathedral, the Sistine Chapel, and went underground to the original Cathedral. the underground tour was limited to just a few people and must be reserved months in adavance. They have excavated a number of Christian and pagan tomb sites. The Vatican is satisfied that they have located Saint Peter's original burial site. It serves as the foundation for the new Cathedral.



You cannot photograph inside the Chapel. At least the Weatherby's couldn't. Everyone else did.


It is all protected by the Swiss guard.

Posted by Joe Weatherby at 04:24 PM GMT
August 17, 2011 GMT


I didn't know what to expect at Assisi. As we approached Mt. Subasio in the Umbria region, you could see the walled town of Assisi.


It sets on the side of the mountains. The huge fort at the top saw several major bloody battles.


The Basilica di Santa Francesco is two basilicas built on top of each other. They both honor Saint Francis of Assisi, born in ll82, and buried there at the age of 44.



He was disinherited by his father when he rejected their wealth. He uniquely integrated Man, nature, and the animals into his religious beliefs. He preached during a very violent era. His message to Christians and Muslims, during the Crusades, was peaceful coexistence. His clothing, shoes, and other personal items are housed in San Maria della Rose. He is buried at the Basilica. This is a very steep and hilly area. We walked for miles - uphill.



Driving was difficult considering the size of the streets. It required patience and cooperation.


Posted by Joe Weatherby at 08:20 PM GMT


We made it to Venice. We are staying in a villa. We have been to Venice before, however, for Renee this was her first time.


We made the traditional trip through Saint Marks.



Then the traditional walk around the canals.




We are now in Fussen, Austria, near Germany. We have really enjoyed Germany and Austria. Everyone is just happy.


Posted by Joe Weatherby at 08:50 PM GMT

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