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Peace, Love, and Beaches

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  • John Gaudet
  • April 04, 2016 05:19:53 PM

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Looking into my life's challenges and changes at the positive ways I cope with the moments at hand.... A simple approach.....really hands on. Approaches worth trying for everyone and everything in life.

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The Roman Colosseum

The Roman Colosseum. We walked there….. And believe me, when this ancient building came into sight, a chill went up[...] The post The Roman Colosseum appeared first on Peace, Love, & Beaches.

The Roman Colosseum.

We walked there….. And believe me, when this ancient building came into sight, a chill went up my spine and I got goose bumps. I’m still having a WOW moment and it’s days past that I’m writing this.

Of course it’s under renovation and you’ll see that in some of the pictures a bit later.

Most like everything else that I visit I tend to look for and at the things the usual tourist don’t. I was in awe ( of everything, but…) of the pillars. Yeah, they hold up the building and people take them for granted but…..there were some ( a lot) that were just fallen and had been rolled to their resting place possibly to be restored and used. I like that sort of stuff. Look.

To the left is a limited view of the the fallen columns. If I sit on any of them my feet don’t touch the ground…as a matter of fact, they hang to about 3/4 of the way down! The center column is free standing in a blocked off area where statues, columns and such are being restored. That’s what the lady is doing there. I’m sure that whatever she is using wasn’t from Home Depot. and the far right one is a ‘huge’ support column (there’s 2 like this) in a large arched area looking out towards Palatine Hill where we’ll find the Roman Forum and Ceasar’s buriel area. If you scroll back up to the picture of the colosseum at the top….look to the left at the highest portion and the second floor (from the bottom) and that’s where this is at. Another thing about that picture to the right. You’ll notice the huge chunk that is broken off on the corner that faces me.

The Roman Colosseum was not all fun and games….

I have mixed feelings about this place. The history of it has me in awe….it’s still here, I touch the walls where ancient Roman’s hustled around for their day of entertainment. By the way, Roman citizen’s were admitted for free…. Not bad. But back to my mixed feelings. This was a horrible place!! Upwards to 400,000 people were killed here and 1,000,000 animals. During intermissions of entertainment an individual would be brought out naked and defenseless and executed by a wild animal. The spectators would watch as the animal would tear the body apart. Supposedly this was a bad person condemned to death. Supposedly.

The only way the killings of humans and animals was stopped wasn’t out of conscience but out of finances. It was costly for the capture and keep of the animals and early on the colosseum was deteriating so the cost of the upkeep was too much too. Thus, lives of humans and animals were sparred. BUT….there were other places around to share this sickening sport….for lack of any other word.

Now, the view you see here above is as a cuttaway version. There’s restoration work being done on the underlyings of the colosseum known as the hypogeum (which litarally means ‘underground’). This hypogeum was covered with wood and sand on top. This is where the gladiators fought and the animals feasted.

It consisted of a two-level subterranean network of tunnels and cages beneath the arena where gladiators and animals were held before contests began. Eighty vertical shafts provided instant access to the arena for caged animals and scenery pieces concealed underneath; larger hinged platforms, called hegmata, provided access for elephants and the like. It was restructured on numerous occasions; at least twelve different phases of construction can be seen. Thanks Wikipedia.

Roman Colosseum!!! Free admission!!!!

If you look to the opposite side you’ll see the flooring that made the colosseum floor (not this one, this is new, but you know what I mean) that covered the whole arena floor that was covered with sand.

Russel Crowe was nowhere to be found.

Here’s another unique aspect of the colosseum. Periodically it would be flooded and scaled down versions of battleships would be brought in to re-inact battles!!

In the bottom photo to the left about midway you’ll see a cross. It was to the left of that is where the Emperor would enjoy his entertainment surrounded by scantly clad women. And grapes….I think they fed him grapes and used a fan during the summer months to keep him cool.

Along the outer section walkway on the second floor is like a museum….

Should you visit Rome and the colosseum, here’s a word of advice. For the colosseum you get admission to the collosseum and The Palatine Hill. Get the ‘Super Ticket’. There’s a few sights at Palatine Hill that you’ll want to get access to. I didn’t get this and regretted it. Approach your visit like you’ll never get to see this stuff again and you can’t go wrong. The extra Euros are worth it.

Peace, love, and beaches,


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The Pantheon Basilica In Rome, Italy

The Pantheon. I didn’t know what to expect. Along with the fact that I was confusing it with the Parthenon[...] The post The Pantheon Basilica In Rome, Italy appeared first on Peace, Love, & Beaches.

The Pantheon. I didn’t know what to expect. Along with the fact that I was confusing it with the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.

Don’t laugh!!! Wikipedia addresses the possible confusion.

The confusion wasn’t a matter of geography, just the name. And I’d previously visited the replica in Nashville, Tenneessee.

But, the confusion was in that it didn’t look anything like The Parthenon and that it was a basilica. So, I had to take my hat off upon entering.

The temple was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus. So it’s kind of old. I was also expecting something a bit more isolated and larger. This is a place that you just wander down endless turns of alleys to arrive at. And because it’s a major tourist attraction (and a FREE one I might add) the alleys are lined with shops. It’s a ‘fine’ shopping district. Yes, there are some souvenir shops around…but when I say ‘fine’ shops I’m referring to clothing, jewelry, shoe, cosmetics, chocolate, etc.

The building stands alone with all the alleys leading to it as a central place which makes for triangular shaped buildings facing the front. Here the streets are lined with coffee and wine bar restaraunts. Very European.

Just a note here to get this out of the way….pizza. There’s plenty of pizza available in Rome and this area is no different. The biggest note that I can make about the pizzas are 2 things. First it’s not sliced, but you’re provided with a knife and fork. Secondly there’s no ‘red’ sauce!! But, they are good. But I’ve tasted better at in Brusly, Louisiana. Also of note there’s not the wide variety of pizzas that are available in the U.S.

Enough about Pizza

Pizza with chili sauce….it’s red, but.

The Pantheon is not short on beauty and regalia….but it is short on seating for their services as you can see. This takes up maybe, just maybe a tenth of the floor space.

I recently saw a very disappointing panoramic video of this beautiful basilica. It featured a young woman and the camera making her the central point of the video showing her just looking up in amazement as the videographer circles her. Well, the wonderment of this place isn’t in looking upward but rather visiting the circular wall at eye level!

The top of the rotunda is open…. so there’s nothing there. And only in one place do I recall seeing something that captured my awe.

So, it’s another basilica on my list. It’s not that I’m seeking these places out other than The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Spain. I just seem to happen upon these places. Yet, right in walking distance is St. Peter’s Basilica and I don’t visit it’s interior!!!

Wikipeidia…… Agrippa finished the construction of the building called the Pantheon. It has this name, perhaps because it received among the images which decorated it the statues of many gods, including Mars and Venus; but my own opinion of the name is that, because of its vaulted roof, it resembles the heavens.— Cassius Dio History of Rome 53.27.2

It’s not an oddity to see statues of Roman God’s in the places of worship…which I found confusingly interesting. I realized that I’d have to understand much more of the history and culture to get a minimal grasp of this aspect. I’d have to leave that for later.

I took the long way here….albeit an enjoyable walk down some interesting cobblestone alleyways which danced with my imagination to my great pleasure. At times it would be like I’d flashback to ancient times and envision the going abouts of daily life in this crowded neighborhood.

Personally, I find the dinginess charming. Many times, I’ll stop and touch these ancient walls and connect to the past. For me, it’s a very rewarding experience. Something I want more of!! Perhaps I should try to arrange an archeolagical excursion on my next visit….particularly in Pompeii.

One more thing….my good friend Reba has her on line shop opened now, here’s the link. http:// Please take a moment and visit….quality product for some great gifts!

What’s next? More Rome of course…I’m thinking the Colosseum next!

Peace, love, and beaches,


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When In Rome…

Rome!! Rome, Italy! A place I read about and others may visit. A distant place with plenty mystique as all[...] The post When In Rome… appeared first on Peace, Love, & Beaches.

Rome!! Rome, Italy!

A place I read about and others may visit. A distant place with plenty mystique as all of Italy has to me. I am in awe….the seat of the Roman Empire. All the history, religion, sensuality, art, power and romance….I’m in awe.

I’m also here!

A bit beside myself, I have to pinch myself and make sure this isn’t a dream. Or a dream within a dream. Even at that, it seems dreams come true.

As the taxi driver is driving us in from the airport he points out a portion of the wall that once fortrused the once powerful city. Unfortunately, I was ill-prepared to photograph the moment.

A glimpse of the Roman Wall…I don’t believe the decorative work is an original component of the wal

Finding the ‘hotel’ was a bit confusing and surprising. The taxi drop-off was 20 meters away from the hotel and it took me about 40 minutes to find it!!! WTF, you may be saying. But, a hotel doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a sole building with a reception area, nice couches, plenty of window area to look out or a dining area. Nope this hotel is located on the 2nd floor (that’s the 3rd floor in America). There’s an intercom at a wrought iron gate at the sidewalk that you must place a request for entrance at, and the door is electronically unlocked and then you enter and find the elevator.

Oh, by the way, there’s no signage to tell which floor is this particular hotel. Another thing of this experience is that I had to leave my room key at the desk each time I left the ‘hotel’. Retrieve it when I return.


That is a hotel. It’s not the Holiday Inn, Radisson, or Best Western. All the rooms are like walking into a floor room at IKEA. Nothing wrong with that….but IKEA does a great European business. I must check into their stock. It seems that a family bought the floor and subdivided it into rooms, with a business lounge/breakfast area on one far end and call it a hotel. Hotel 938 to be exact.

At the time, I didn’t think to take a picture of it but here’s a picture from my bedroom.

Early morning…

Too much to see in one week….once again it was a fine example of my poor planning, and I spent months!!!! I mean months planning this European trip! It might seem simple if you’re just looking at spending a week or so in just Rome for a whole trip….but this was part of a much larger trip than such a simple tourist jaunt.

I find the above photo confusing. I’m not sure which side is UP!!! Most of my time in Rome wasn’t confusing….it was very interesting.

I’d go to the Colosseum

I’d go the The Vatican

Visit the Pantheon

I went to this wishing fountain….The Trevi Fountain

I may look a bit isolated or alone….but I’m not!! It’s so friggin’ crowded I had to rush this at the steps leading down to it. I hope my wish is in the works of coming ‘true’.

Oh!!!! I can’t forget the Forum!!!!

I really can’t put this into words…. The experience over looking and walking the Forum was….well, I was dead tired and didn’t want to leave! It’s where Ceasar was originally buried and now there’s only a crypt for him. Extremely simple and unpretensive. Without a guide or a tad of Italian, I wouldn’t have known what I was experiencing. I could’ve come back for a second day…but I did 6 miles walking. Enough!

When In Rome…

I just wanted to give you a bit of a heads-up for what’s gonna be happening here shortly. So much to write about!!!

I did something I should not have done….it was actually an accident. Here it is below.

I had just finished talking with ‘security’ in the Sistine Chapel about the ‘No Photography’ rule. And I was observing all sorts of brave idiots video and photographing over the watchful eye of armed security and I thought….hmmmmm how about a selfie with the ceiling in the background. Damn ‘flash’ went off on my phone and I panicked and blended in with the crowd. At least I think I blended in, I didn’t get hauled off.

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But, my favorite thing I do everywhere I go is to go where the tourist don’t go….

Meeting people, eating local cuisine and generally experiencing day to day life discovering is what I call a great visit.

Yes, I’ll hit a few of the highlights….here will be the Pantheon, The Colosseum, The Forum, and The Vatican, St. Peter’s Square and Sistine Chapel. But, I won’t visit St. Peter’s Basilica. Why? Exhaustion.

I’ll be back!!!

Peace, love, and beaches,


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Nortre-Dame de le Garde

Nortre-Dame de le Garde, Marseille, France Notre-Dame de le Garde Basilica in Marseille was a surprise.  In more than one[...] The post Nortre-Dame de le Garde appeared first on Peace, Love, & Beaches.

Nortre-Dame de le Garde, Marseille, France

Notre-Dame de le Garde Basilica in Marseille was a surprise.  In more than one way.  First I didn’t expect another basilica, second it was perched on a hill overlooking Marseille right behind my apartment!!!  Even though it was in walking distance, managing the walk plus the hill was a bit too much for my body.

I took the tour bus. It’s a hop-on, hop-off bus that takes you by the important sites in the city where you can stop off and enjoy and then catch the next one about 30 minutes later moving on to the next site. This actually beats taking a taxi or a regular city bus, in that while it’s not cheaper than a city bus, there are multiple times I can get off and back on with no additional charge over a 24 hour period. Which really does make it cheaper than a city bus…getting off 3 times at no extra charge compared to using the city bus for such an adventure is cheaper.

It’s one of those open upper-deck buses. I love them, even in the cold weather because I love taking pictures and there’s plenty of variety and opportunity.

This was another surprising basilica visit. I’m still in awe of the Basilica de la Sagrada Famila in Barcelona and frankly am expecting much the same or even bigger since the one in Barcelona is still under construction. But, that’s not the case. But this is probably going to be the most unique basilica I will visit….but, yet…that’s not true although it does have its uniqueness.

Look at this photo…

Notice that there are some ropes with objects hang from them near to the right in the photo and in the center. That is BOATS. I’m telling you, they are hanging all throughout the church. Out of reach of course.

During the visit there was a service just beginning so, my picture taking was brief….but it was good. Looky here:

I know this isn’t the right way to say this…but these places have a bit of showmanship about them. Not only picturesque by also filled with drama.

While much smaller than Basilica de la Sagrada Famila in Barcelona, Spain it was a magnificent sight! Here’s a bit of info on this lovely basilica.

It was built on the foundations of an ancient fort at the highest natural point in Marseille, 489 ft limestone outcropping on the south side of the Old Port of Marseille. It really towers over the city majestically as if it’s the protector of all below.

The basilica consists of a lower church or crypt in the Romanesque style, carved from the rock, and an upper church of Neo-Byzantine style decorated with mosaics. Throughout Western Europe I was amazed at the use of mosaics thru the lineage of architecture. Something that is not found in America. I wouldn’t have thought that the candle smoke could damage the mosaic tile but it did and underwent an extensive period of restoration from 2001 to 2008. I didn’t notice any further damage I’m glad to report, perhaps they now wipe the tiles down on a regular schedule. Also restored was stonework that had been damaged by bullets during the Liberation of France in 1944. Personally, I wouldn’t have had that bullet damage repaired as it’s part of the history.

This church received its decree June 10, 1879 as a Minor Basilica (which has nothing to do with its size).

As I’m writing, I realize that there’s so much….well too much that needs to be said. Most won’t be able to just throw a pair of socks in the overnight bag, grab the next redeye across the Atlantic and visit and I can’t adaquately praise this place here….take a look around the internet for more info.

Next stop…Rome!

Peace, love, and beaches,


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A Few More Sites I Like In Marseille

I’m not sure most people would just want to walk around with me in a place they’ve never been and[...] The post A Few More Sites I Like In Marseille appeared first on Peace, Love, & Beaches.

I’m not sure most people would just want to walk around with me in a place they’ve never been and know little or nothing about.  And like most places I’ve been, it’s the same in Marseille.  Everything is old….with a bit of modernized indoors.

A lovely mall that doesn’t stand out of place with the old architecture.  It’s very creative in it’s inside design.  It’s 3 floors….but it has a mezzanine (if that the right choice of words) that is between the floors….it’s the food court!

Restrooms are available near by for 60 cents.  Pay for the poop!


I think I know why you have to pay for the restroom.  The sewer system is antiquated.  You can actually walk down some of the streets and smell the sewer gas on the sidewalks.  I’m not talking about the smell you experience after taking a dump….this is a gas.  No worry, it won’t render anyone unconscious or make anyone sick, it’s just a gas.  And it’s not overbearing.

But!!!!  This is a lovely place.

From above….

The place I called home during my stay was on this side of the Ferris Wheel (the mid lower left side of the photo).  

That’s not a carnival….it’s on the waterfront and there are vendors surrounding it.  Nor is it a regular Ferris Wheel that we see in the U.S. at the State Fairs, carnivals, etc.  Each seating compartment is enclosed!!!  And it’s large, at best guestimate the seating compartment is probably double the size most American’s are familiar with.   So, during the cold months it’s still a neat ride.  It must be pricey too…..they take credit cards.

I need a I Love Marseille bumper sticker….hehehehe

Absolutely ‘Magnificent’ views from above….way above. The portion in view I didn’t get to go visit. Gives me something to look forward to during my next visit! Yeah, I want to return. But, I’m thinking for a return during season to experience a different atomosphere.

One of the things that’s hard about visits such as this is that the airports are way out of the city vicinity area which makes it rather expensive to drive to by taxi. The trip from the airport in Marseille to my temporary home for 3 weeks was $60 U.S.!!!

We were very fortunate to stay in the old part of Marseille where the fishermen would bring in their catch…. But for me it was the boats that I would get to photograph.

My photography seemed to take a leap in the quality here, less touristy photos and a bit more character and artsy.

The sidewalk cafe’s were just so romantic. I’ve yet to visit Paris which I will a bit later briefly.

And of course there was the famous street artist… I’ve goose bumps, experiencing this was like out of a tour magazine from years gone by that touched me with its romanticism.

I’d really love to spend a year touring thru France….to experience its diversity and yet a single line of culture from food, wine to art.

Don’t pass up the chance to explore Marseille given the chance. Heck, don’t leave it to ‘chance’ make it on ‘purpose’.

I’ve a bit more….

Peace, love and beaches,


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Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille

The Major Cathedral of Saint Marie of Marseille. Why did I visit it?  Why have I visited any of these[...] The post Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille appeared first on Peace, Love, & Beaches.

The Major Cathedral of Saint Marie of Marseille.

Why did I visit it?  Why have I visited any of these old religious sites on my travel?  I love the architecture and the history they hold.

I’m not much on tradition, never have and been and it’s highly likely I never will.  I’m alright with that. But, it doesn’t mean I have no appreciation for these highly significant features.

Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille

In one way it reminds me of attending St. John The Baptist Church in Plaquemine, Louisiana in that it is very long and elegant and I might say practably usable.  And now that I’m thinking about it the stage area of the church in Plaquemine is more dynamic.  Some facilities aren’t as user friendly but this one seems suited for populous seating.

If that statement makes any sense.

Basically, I’ve been inside some ‘herculean’ churches that had very little seating.  The Pantheon in Rome comes first to mind, but there are others.

It is a National Monument of France and a basilica minor since 1896.  Meaning that Marseille has two Basilicas!  The other we will visit shortly.

 It is 469 ft long, and the main cupola is 231 ft  high. With a capacity of 3,000 seats, it is one of the largest cathedrals in France.

I didn’t know it was a minor basilica….

Built in the Byzantine-Roman Revival style from 1852 to 1896 on the site used for the cathedrals of Marseille…this is what I really find exciting and that’s the meshing of two styles.  This is done throughout history.  Partially, in my opinion because the construction took so long and outlived the primay architecture and then on the other hand frustration with the political aspect would lead to a new architecture.

The staging area in the center is surrounded by a semicircular area with small worship areas that have their own altars and such.   I have a hard time with the cathedral vs. basilica thing….all I know is that it has something to do with the Pope.  Maybe, I’ll try a chat with him and see where that takes me.  This cathedral is larger than the next basilica!!!

I did start doing some research on cathedral and basilicas for a possible future project but I’m thinking his Popeness interview might help a lot.

This facility is magnificent!!!  I didn’t know that I was visiting this place to be honest.  Out walking, and as usual….lets go a little bit further and rounding a curve with a massive wall that is an extension of one of the two forts at the mouth of the marina there the cathedral stood!!!  Inviting us in.  So we did!

One of the really good thing was that it was open to the public and another was that it was such an easy walk thru!  It wasn’t overly crowded and less than a handful of worshippers.  This time I voluntarily took off my hat (I usually forget and someone has to remind me).

It is a rather ‘LARGE’ cathedral as you can see.  I didn’t walk the fullness of the outside, the inside was to my satisfaction and besides, it was cold and windy outside.  Cold and Windy!!!

More of interesting Marseille coming up!!!

Peace, love, and beaches,


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