Ailsa’s travel theme this week at Where’s My Backpack? celebrates the subtle side of life, asking that we look at things that are pale. I will spare you all pictures of my pasty white skin that burns to a cinder without adequate sunscreen. You’re welcome.
The Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, in Rome, is more well-known for its portico, which is home to the Bocca Della Verita (the “Mouth of Truth”), made famous because Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck were charming while standing right next to it in the film Roman Holiday. Everyone who visits sticks a hand in the Mouth, feigns relief that a mythical river god didn’t bite his or her lying hand off, and leaves. The Basilica, however, is lovely, and because everyone thinks the good touristy stuff is on the outside they leave after seeing the Mouth. Consequently, it’s one of the few quiet places in Rome. Along the upper walls of the Basilica you can see frescoes that have been dated back to at least the 12th century, but some of the paintings could go as far back as the 8th. No wonder they’ve faded, but when you really think about it…for a 1200 year old paint job, these frescoes look pretty good.
The faded frescoes at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome.
When George and I went to Keuka Lake a while back, we had a wonderful time, but it was rainy. Quite gray, actually, and foggy. Every. Day. Though you can rest assured that the weather did not for a second deter us from our wine tour. Anyway. While mucking around with my camera I took a bunch of pictures just to see how they’d turn out–out the open window, through the screen, through the clear glass with the screen pushed away. Blah blah entertain myself entertain myself. And so, that was how I ended up with the following picture of the soft-focus leaves and the misty trees on the opposite shore in the background.
Keuka in the rain.
Boston, my beloved city. My penchant for wintertime northerly vacations pretty much determines that when I’m up there, I’m looking for things that involve being inside a structure with a working heating system (though to be fair, you could also say in the summer that my disdain for the heat, especially if it’s a humid heat, also drives me indoors. Never happy, I guess). Their Museum of Fine Arts is fantastic and fits almost any seasonal bill. Huge! There’s always something new to see. And it covers everything from textiles to modern art. In their ancients section, they have a repaired alabaster statue (part of it is missing and I assume is lost forever) of Egyptian King Menkaure, who built the last (and the smallest) of the Giza pyramids. I love the cool almost-translucence of the stone.
When in Tours, do what any self-respecting tourist would do and get to their cathedral. The Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de Tours is a gorgeous place to spend a day. It’s absolutely true (though I didn’t think so at first) that you most certainly can overdose on frilly architecture when you’re in France, but the Tours cathedral is worth toughing it out. It’s got some crazy-awesome vaulting and gorgeous stained glass (bring binoculars to feast your eyes on the best of it). It also had this solemn little nook lit by a single candle, which had a line of luminous marble plaques attached to the wall, all asking for some kind of saintly help or protection for their families.
Ummm, a little help over here?
And finally. The Outer Banks in North Carolina are gorgeous. They’re a series of barrier islands so there’s something wonderfully unmanageable and massive about being right at the edge of the deep blue sea. Being on the beach at sunrise is about as easterly-facing as you can get, so you can feast your eyes on some pretty amazing early morning sights. Especially if it’s a little bit cloudy and you’re there just before the sun actually comes up. It helps if the universe provides you with a guy who’s surf fishing, for added photographic interest. I adore this picture, how there’s only a little bit of the strong pinks of sunrise poking out, and everything is pale and calm and surprisingly serene looking. Until you remember that waves store tremendous energy; an average 4-foot, 10-second wave striking a coast puts out more than 35,000 horsepower per mile of coast. That’s a lot of wallop. Glad the colors here can help us relax.
Stop on over and check out the rest of the travel themes on Ailsa’s blog. But this is it for me, we’ve reached the end of my “pale” travel theme.
Oh yeah, one more thing, because I am a giant nerd. A trailer, for Pale Rider, one of the greatest Clint Eastwood movie ever (just sayin’).
Thanks for stopping by!