Monday, January 30, 2012

Spain, Italy, France Oh My!

We are making preparations for May. Spring is quickly approaching and there is no time like the present to ensure that procrastination does not slip up and cause the savvy traveler to forget anything. So today is the day to check all of our documents to guarantee we have everything in order for our trip.

We are visiting Spain, Italy and France so the first check was to make sure that none of these European countries require the all important visa. Fortunately, they do not. These countries do, however, require passports that have to be valid at least 6 months after the date of travel. Check and check, no visas, up to date passports. So far so good.

Next we have to solidify our tours. One will be a trip to the Leaning Tower of Pisa as mentioned in Let the Count Down Begin. We also want to see the Sistine Chapel with its famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo (1508 & 1512) at the order of Pope Julius II. This chapel rests in the midst of the Vatican.  The most famous portion of the ceiling is the Creation of Adam sprawled across 9 scenes from Genesis, the first book of the Bible. The “Hand of God” scene has been duplicated hundreds of times by artists inspired by High Renaissance art. Interestingly, I once perceived one of these inspired pieces in an African Art store created with brown skin to depict God and Adam as members of the black race. It was beautiful and quite unique, but I cannot wait to lay eyes on the real thing.

Another highlight we hope to experience is a ride across the Millau Viaduct (Le Viaduc de Millau) a colossal bridge that connects Spain and France. This bridge is the longest and highest cable-stay bridge in the world. Though many criticized its development due to expense, since its completion in December 2004, it has saved 100 Km and 4 hrs in travel time from Clermont-Ferraud to Beziers. It also ended up a cheaper solution than tunneling through hill and over rivers.

We may go explore the site of the 1992 Barcelona summer Olympics and we may even see the Eiffel Tower. Hopefully we will shop and enjoy great food. Most of all I hope we get to rest…