Thursday, January 29, 2009

Our eleven days of Christmas

Our log of the trip to Italy is now finished. Someone was asking me where it is; I started it back a couple of weeks ago, soon after we got back. Becky and Claire have been working on it ever since but it's still stayed in the same place. You can get there by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New music for you

While looking up something for Buppy, I've just acquired a lovely new album of Christmas music from a Canadian girl (some songs are in French, some in Latin, most in English). She's chosen mostly older songs and sings in a medieval or so-called Celtic style with very simple musical accompaniment.

The original attraction was her lovely version of the Huron Carol. Then I noticed Come O Come Emmanuel (sung in Latin!) and a few other of my favorite Christmas songs. Take a look!

There are twelve songs and I suggest you read over her notes on each one before (or, as you) listen to them. The whole album has taken its place at our on line repository at mp3tunes.com -> Artists -> Easy Listening -> This Endris Night.

The name of the singer is Heather Dale and she says the word 'Endris' in the title of the album (as Raph knows full well) is an old way of saying 'Other'. Here's her notes on the album:

This Endris Night (an old term which means "the other night") looks at Medieval and Renaissance Christmas music, and contains 12 of Heather's original and inventive arrangements of pre-1700AD holiday songs. These lively renditions feature her versatility as both a vocalist and an instrumental performer; she performed everything you hear on the album, including all vocals, tin whistle, Irish and Middle Eastern percussion, and medieval-style folk instruments such as the bowed psaltery and hammered dulcimer. A truly unique and joyful exploration of medieval music!

I will attach her notes on each song. You can open it on your computer or print yourself out a copy. Or (Camille) ask me and I'll give you a printed copy for free. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Health issues

Can't think of a better title right now, sorry. I really must make an effort, though.

I went to the hospital in Le Mans this morning with Nat. She had to have her regular blood test done and I was doing the unthinkable (for me): going to an appointment with a surgeon that I had convened myself. We got out just before noon so went to a Turkish place for a simple lunch before coming home.

My problem is an inguinal hernia that I got fixed at its first apparition nearly ten years ago. It has come back with increasing regularity and severity such that we have considered that the only sensible option is to get it "looked at" again. The doctor who saw me this morning agrees, so our time together didn't take very long -- mostly a questioning of aligning our calendars.

I have to have a complete blood exam next week before taking it to the anesthetist to see who will OK me for the operation -- almost certainly to be done under general anesthetic.

I then book my room and be sure to show up the following week, the third of February, for an "intervention" the following day.

I deliberately keep posts like this short but I know several of you who would insist that I include them to keep you all in the know. Please pray for all of us, and for me. I am finding it difficult lately. Thank you!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

David and a new lamb

After one full week of snow, temperatures have returned to normal and our spirits with them. Today David went up to the sheep field with his daddy at noon to see the new lamb that was just born yesterday. Here they are!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Snow

I just had to give you a little update on the biggest news of the week around here: snow and ice. Snow was announced on Monday when I took Christopher to school though the streets were perfectly dry at the time. By noon it was snowing with a vengeance and it kept it up all afternoon.

Sarah and I went out to eat with Roo and Debbie that evening when they announced to us the results of their recent Doppler scan and the coming baby around July 19. We rejoiced with them over a real nice meal. When we went out the car was covered with newly-fallen snow though it was now letting up considerably. By the time we got home it had all but stopped.

But the ground being already so cold the snow has stuck. School was cancelled yesterday and today as well -- even though I took Christopher there he said he was the only one who had come! The thermometer registered -16° this morning and it has stayed below zero all day. This is the first time we've ever seen such cold and snow last for so long. It's nice but we're ill-prepared for it.

Gaza

It may sound trite and light and so obvious a thing to say but I want anyone reading this to know how my heart hurts for all those poor Palestinian people in the face of such terrible explosive metal we have provided to kill them with. This morning I heard on the news that there have been over 690 dead in the past ten days -- not counting the 40 or so children of that UN-run school in the north of the city.

Words fail me. When I hear things like this I just feel a heavy hurt inside because I have heard similar things all my adult life and I know nothing will change and no one will do anything about it because no one can. Might is right in this world and the wickedness of the devil's children (John 8:44) just seems to be unstoppable. We are sheep who can only take refuge in the ultimate retribution of final justice that we must believe in to remain sane.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Trip to Rome - part 3


Day Eight: Wednesday 31/12--We slept, had breakfast, got up, and left. Of course only Daddy and Mommy got up (to drive) and when we all woke up, we were back at Rome. We decided not to miss the Colosseum again, and be one of the first ones there. We knew it opened at eight-thirty so shot for being there by then (and we didn't forget the identity card), and soon were inside the 2000 year old arena. (We being me, Becky, Christopher, and Nathalie, because the others had left us as last time.) They had left us all day, to see the Sistine Chapel, the catacombs, Saint Peter's Basilica, and the Colosseum. Little did we know how rapidly we would "see" the Sistine Chapel!...

Many greetings! This is Becky taking over. We walked to the Colosseum and were allowed to skip the line because we took an "Audio Guide". It's a little Palm-like device that gives explanations about different areas in the Colosseum (we had used the same technological gimmick at Pompeii). We were given a little map of the place, and, by typing into the Audio guide certain numbers indicated on the map, we could listen to diverse commentaries.

First of all, about the name. The Colosseum, built by Vespasian and finished by his son Titus, between 70 and AD 80, was originally called the Flavian Amphitheater. It gained its name of Colosseum during the Dark Ages because of a very large statue of the Emperor Nero which had stood nearby. This statue was called the Colossus, meaning the giant. There is nothing left of it today except the marble base (which isn't there), although the place where it stood is still marked by a clump of trees. The real name of the Colosseum, Flavian Amphitheater, derives from both Vespasian and Titus' family name: Flavius.

The Colosseum was originally capable of seating about 80,000 spectators, an enormous number, considering that the average modern theater in Broadway can seat a mere 1,000 (see Wikipedia).

Once inside the Colosseum, we could see the different parts of it. Most of the seats are no longer visible (because they aren't there!). There were different levels of seats depending on the social status of the spectators. The senators were on the lowest level; each senator had his own personal seat, with his name engraved on the marble wall in front of him that separated him from the arena. The next level up was for other patricians (nobles). Then there was a place for the plebeians, and, last of all, way up at the top, a level for slaves and the like. Needless to say, the Emperor had his own lodge, as did the Vestal virgins (priestesses to Vesta).

The Colosseum had a whole underground complex which was called the "hypogeum". This contained cells where the prisoners (Christians, for example) and wild animals for the games were kept. There were also lifts, operated hydraulically, by means of which wild animals, actors or the like could be brought on stage suddenly, in the middle of the arena (through a trap door). It seemed like magic, and must have been most entertaining.

Today the wooden floor that covered the hypogeum and served as the stage (the arena) has decayed long since. Nothing is left it and the hypogeum is thus exposed to view. To give an idea of what it was like with the arena, however, part of it has now been rebuilt over the hypogeum.

It is an interesting fact that the word "arena"means "sand" in Latin. The stage—or central floor of the Colosseum, where the spectacles took place—was called this way simply because it was covered with sand.

The Colosseum had a wonderful water system, a sort of built-in aqueduct complex. By means of it water was brought to the cells of the wild animals and prisoners and (to our amusement) to the senators, seated in the lower areas. We supposed that the senators might get thirsty during the long hours of the games, or perhaps hot, and so they could refresh themselves if they pleased, without having to go to the bothersome effort of bringing along a gourd of water to the show.

Anyway, the water system also enabled the flooding of the arena (before the hypogeum was built) in record time. Once the arena was full of water, they liked to launch mock naval battles—often reenactments of famous historical ones.

The Romans, wonderful organizers as always, had each of the 50,000 (a modest estimate) seats in the Colosseum identified carefully. Entry "tickets"(often pieces of broken earthenware) indicated the general area, the row and the number of the seat allotted to the recipient. Thus places could be indicated with great precision, and managers could know when the place was full and they must stop admitting spectators. Entrances were numerous and spread out all over in useful places. This made it possible to evacuate all the spectators from the Colosseum in record time, in case of emergency for example. It also avoided long waiting lines and "traffic jams" of spectators trying to get to their places or out of the Colosseum at the start and ending of the performances.

After that, we (Nathalie, Christopher, Claire and I) decided to set out on foot to see what we could see of the catacombs, St Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. As it happened, we weren't to have much luck that day: it seemed that all public places of interest had agreed to a conspiracy along these lines: "When you see four people coming (three girls and one boy), all of them looking interested and in a hurry to get inside, be sure to do what you must to avoid their entry(require some ID they don't have, close suddenly for some unaccountable reason, etc.)." ;-)

Meanwhile, Daddy and Mommy went to a park with Christine and Olly, got them an ice cream, etc. On our way we all realized we were hungry, so we found a little grocery store and got a few things to eat. We then enjoyed an improvised lunch on a big bridge, in view of both St Peter's dome and the Pope's St Angelo fortress.

The first thing we found was St Peter's. It was really magnificent. The actual basilica is only part of it. In front of it there is a gigantic square, paved and surrounded by the two wings of the basilica: two long wings of columns with a statue at the top of each. In the background of the basilica, there is the dome, conceived by Michelangelo. Everything is of a sparkling white.

We didn't end up going inside the Basilica, because we thought it would be more worthwhile to see the inside of the Sistine Chapel which, we were told, was going to close soon. So we ran round the Vatican walls to the entrance marked "Cappella Sistina", and the first sight which greeted our eyes was a man standing in the entrance making large gestures with his hands and calling out: "Chiuso, chiuso!" (Closed!) Well, that was that, so we hurried back to St Peter's, only to find that that had closed too, in the meantime.

Oh well! we thought, never mind! We didn't come here only for that; we've seen St Peter's from the outside, and the inside of the Sistine chapel can be seen better on photos anyway, since the ceiling is so high up! We made the best of it and had a jolly good time anyway. :-)

We then resolved to do what we could to trick the catacombs ("i catacombe") into letting us in. ;-) The one problem was that they were a considerable distance from where we were. Everything went well, however. We took several buses and the underground and finally arrived at the Catacomb of St Sebastian, around 4 o'clock.

It was very interesting to walk around in there. You couldn't go down without a guide, but that's quite understandable since there are several miles and three floors of passageways and I expect you could easily get lost. The catacombs were simply the Christian graves. As you walk along the passages, you can see holes dug into the wall on either side of you. This is where they used to bury their dead. There is nothing macabre or gloomy about it at all; the corridors are lighted with torches and all the human remains have been removed to safety somewhere else.

Here's an excerpt from Claire's diary written that day: "It was a guided tour that lasted 20 minutes. We went down there with lots of other people. The rock on the walls (tuffa) was crumbly, and it would have been rather easy to dig some more tunnels. We saw the tomb of a little girl who died at three years and two days called Lucia, or was it Paula? There were inscriptions in Latin and Greek. Apparently, the catacombs of Rome only ever began in the Second Century."

The catacomb we visited was named after a martyr called Sebastian. The story goes that he was a young Roman soldier who became a Christian and was then killed by arrows by order of the Emperor Diocletian.

We had had a very good day and were getting tired. We found another bus and made our way back to the place of meeting agreed on with Mommy and Daddy that morning. In the camper, over a bowl of delicious food Mommy made for us, we told them of all our adventures. One specially fun thing about that day was that we had had to find our way and sort ourselves out all in Italian!

That evening we drove out onto the highway rest-stop as usual.

Day Nine: Thursday 01/01 — New year's day we drove and drove and drove, all the way from Rome to Serge's hotel (near St Maxime) in France! When we arrived at Serge's, we all went out together to a restaurant to make it special and to celebrate the new year and the successful trip. It was fun to be with Serge again. Daddy and I couldn't resist taking a buffalo steak, in memory of Raph, when we saw one on the menu!

Day Ten: Friday 02/01 — The last lap of driving had been very tiring for all the drivers, so next day we took it easier and simply drove from Serge's to the Hôtel des Volcans near Clermont-Ferrand. Next evening, when we arrived at the Hôtel des Volcans, Daddy took us all down to the restaurant there, also to celebrate. It was a very good restaurant and we all used our best behaviour. We had a very cozy evening . Thank you, Daddy!

Day Eleven: Saturday 03/01 — Next day we drove from Clermont-Ferrand to home. We arrived a little before lunch and so we ate with everybody, a very good lunch prepared by Camille. How good it felt to be home again; the old smells, the old sights and the people above all!


Monday, January 05, 2009

Trip to Rome - part 2

Day Five: Sunday 28/12 — Daddy had a very sensible idea: it was to get up early in the morning and leave while we were sleeping and when we woke up we had already been driving for a few hours, and thanks to this, we had breakfast 11 km from Pisa. We hurried into Pisa and saw the tower, the baptistery, and the"duomo". Every town in Italy has one of each of those things and the only reason Pisa is known is because of the complete failure at building the tower, or "campanile".

It has seven bells in it, one for each note in the scales. You can go into the tower, and up to the top of it, but we didn't. Now, as Becky wanted to very much, we went to Florence (Firenze). She's been reading a book about Michelangelo and wanted desperately to see the town where he lived. So off we went.

It had a lot of one-way streets, and a lot of tow-away trucks. This is rather surprising, considering that in Italy you can do almost anything without being stopped. In Florence, there is also a "duomo", a"baptistere" and a "campanile". The "duomo" is the centre of attention, it's made all out of marble: white, red, green... There are also some gates over there, made of gold, and on them is sculpted diverse scenes from the Bible. They were already there in Michelangelo's time, says Becky. When he saw them, he exclaimed: "these must be the gates of paradise!" They are still called that to this day. The next thing we saw at Florence was that great bridge with shops and houses all down it. When we were on it, we would have a hard time seeing the water.

After we had seen all we wanted to see at Florence, we went onto the "autostrada", and parked for the night at the first stop we came to heading to Rome. As there were showers in the shop, Becky and Nathalie took a shower. And although we all needed one, only they wanted to take one because of the terribly cold weather. We had completely forgotten to have lunch, and we did all the days that followed.

Day Six: Monday 29/12 — Daddy decided to do the same driving system as yesterday, and we had breakfast near Rome. It was exciting to think that we were at long last arriving to that long-awaited place, to see the Colosseum, Titus' arch, the Forum, the Circus Maximus, the diverse temples, the Palatine, the Catacombs...

The first thing we saw when we parked the car was to realize that we were in the right place: just next to the Forum, 500 meters from the Colosseum, etc... We started by seeing the Forum. It was all in ruins, but that isn't very surprising considering it's age. There is the temple of Castor and Pollux, of Saturn, and of Venus. Then we saw Titus' arch. You'll see it if you're standing in front of the Colosseum, looking north. You'll see a little hill called the"Via sacra"(it's a road), go up it and see Titus' arch.

If you go through the arch, which we didn't do, you will see the little frieze, of Titus becoming a god. It's quite surprising how many names a Roman emperor could have; these are Titus': Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, Augustus. The only reason we call him Titus is because we all agreed upon calling him that. All these names are on the arch.

Then we decided to visit the Colosseum, and although we had to pay, we thought it would be worth it. We got into the long line and when we got to the place to pay, the man asked for our identity card, which we did not have. This is what obliged us to go all the way back to the car. On the way back to the Colosseum (with the identity card) we passed through the Circus Maximums. It was nothing but a big field, oval shaped with one ruin in it. There weren't even gates around it. When we got back to the Colosseum, it was closed for admissions. It was quite a disappointment! We (Becky, Claire, Christopher, and Nathalie) then wandered into a chapel. Daddy, Mommy, Olly, and Christine had left us at the entrance of the Colosseum, thinking we would be having a lovely time! Well, we were having quite a lovely time, but not in the Colosseum.

So we were in that chapel and saw diverse and sundry things in it. When we finally arrived to our meeting place near the Colosseum, we told them the whole story. They were quite surprised but showed us what they were looking at: some birds; they were looking as if they were migrating but weren't getting anywhere. They were starlings and though quite far away they were moving in such unity that they looked like smoke. Apparently, Rome has a problem of excess of these birds. We couldn't quite imagine what they could be doing wrong, but it must have been something.

We then all went to a restaurant where they sold funny kinds of pizzas, that looked like 2 of them smashed onto each other, right sides together. We were very hungry and would have enjoyed it even if it hadn't been good, (but it was). That night, we drove, as was now our custom, onto the "autostrada", and parked for the night on the first service station stop, this time heading for Naples.

Day Seven: Tuesday 30/12 — As usual, Daddy and Mommy got up early to drive the camper and C4. And breakfast that day was at Pompei. There was the old Pompeii, and the new Pompeii. Of course, we were going to see the old one. This town suffered quite severely from an earthquake in 62 a.d. the people of that city were still working on fixing damages when mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 a.d. It was indeed a very terrible eruption. All of Pompeii was suddenly covered in ash, smoke, and lava. the only witness to this terrible catastrophe was Pliny the younger, who is called that to differentiate him from Pliny the elder, his uncle, who died trying to save something or somebody from the eruption. He wrote a book about it. More of the people who died there died because of the smoke and toxic gases they breathed than of people who died because of ash or lava. When the catastrophe occurred, different people had different reactions: some ran to the temples, and prayed to the "gods", some simply tried to run out of town (they didn't go fast enough), still more ran to their loved ones, crying for help. A writing has been found on a wall: "This must be the end of the world!" It reveals the surprise and distress they felt. But it's quite understandable: wouldn't you feel the same, if that happened to you?

I will continue the sad story of this little town; all the town was covered in a few meters of ash. the dead bodies of the victims were "buried" there, and decayed over the years. A couple hundred years ago, a French archaeologist was digging up the town and discovered these holes in the rock. (The ash had solidified into rock around each body, after the which it decomposed). So when he found these holes, he got the bright idea to pour wet plaster into them, and waited till they dried. When this had happened, he took it out of it's "mold". It was in the shapes of bodies! He did this on all the holes he found and thus formed quite a collection of people who had died almost two thousand years ago! There was a garden now called "the garden of the fugitives" in the which were found 13 "holes" inthe shapes of the 13 members of a family trying to get away. They didn't manage. There were babies, a Mommy and Daddy, grandparents, brothers and sisters, they all died to that fate. We could walk through a town that had existed so long ago, and see the houses in the which few things were harmed (although everything out of burnable material was destroyed), but there were ovens, and stoves. There was even an old restaurant. Apparently it was a kind of fast food place. But it was not at all like you may imagine! It was a kind of marble slab table in the form of a capital L, and in it were holes, likes flower pots. No tables were there but maybe there were some that got burnt. Or maybe there never were any. We guessed that they would put fire in it and pans over the top.

Apparently there was a baker taking bread out of his oven and a woman collecting her jewels, and a dog pulling at his leash, but we didn't see them. The town is huge! You could easily get lost in it. There were a good number of paintings on the walls, all of which had kept their colours perfectly. What was quite fun to see was what a zebra crossing was like on a road in79 a.d. The carriages could cause accidents just as cars cause them today. Well, they're like four, large stepping stones across the road. The pedestrians would just walk across the road on those stones, about 30 cm. above the road level - (about 1 foot). The sidewalks were also at that height above the roads so you wouldn't be stepping up at all to get onto the 'stepping stones'. As the wheels of the carriages that used to pass by were quite high, they could pass over these stones without difficulty.

The roads were made of big cobblestones and arranged so unevenly that we couldn't imagine carts and carriages rolling down it without breaking their wheels. We thought that maybe the lava had something to do with it. The town is built on a little hill so that all the roads are sloping. It's quite easy to imagine that lava could overthrow the neat little stones of a Roman road (known for being so straight!) Everything made out of marble is as good as before; there are also the marks of where there used to be the town gates.

The most impressive part of the town was the amphitheater. Apparently, during some sort of spectacle going on there, the spectators got into a fight about something or other and some people were killed. Because of this the governor of the area decided to close it for 10 years. But his wife didn't like the idea so the number of years was reduced after which it was opened. There were stairs at little intervals from each other to get in. And there are barriers put up to stop anyone from going there. But some person tore down one of the gates and lots of innocent people (including us) came in. It was delightful walking, standing, and sitting, where people sat so long ago. But all too soon the guard told us and all the others that we weren't allowed to do that, calling in Italian all sorts of things about coming down. So that's what we did.

But though we weren't allowed to go up where people used to sit, we were allowed to go inside where there were lions, and things like that. Some of the seats were still there, although not all. It was quite impressive. Near to this, there was an empty swimming pool that was for Roman young people, who didn't go to school but were highly encouraged to go to the gymnasium to do sport.

Everybody was tired of walking and had been for the last half hour. Again, lunch had been forgotten, and we decided to leave. Christine and Olly most of all. We knew that there was plenty we hadn't seen but knew also that we had seen Pompeii, and that was enough. Anyway, now we were going back to Rome for a second chance to see what we had missed!

Again, as was our habit, we went to the highway toward Rome, and stopped for the night at the first place we encountered.


Our log finishes at the next entry ...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Trip to Rome - part 1

OK, well, this may be long. But several of you have been asking me for an account of our recent trip to Rome (the long-awaited!) and some pictures, so here is our log, compiled mostly from Becky and Claire's notes taken on the spot and transcribed here for our collective log. The first marker on the map is home. The second is the Hôtel des volcans just north of Clermont-Ferrand and the third is Serge's hotel on the south coast, not far from Antibes (Ste Maxime is not marked on this scale map).

Day One: Wednesday 24/12 — We loaded up the two cars and left at about 16:30. We'd planned to leave earlier (of course) but...

We decided to take the C3 and the C4 since there were eight of us going and the new C8 never got here in time. Serge offered the use of his camper so we thought we'd leave the C3 with him for the week and proceed on with the camper and the C4.

We made this first leg of the trip in perfect timing and in three hours we were pulling into the Hotel des volcans in Champs — without even leaving the motorway. The restaurant was closed for the night, of course — no one but us would have even asked! So we got our two rooms (the girls in one: Nathalie, Rebecca, Claire, and Christine and Christopher and Olivier with Mum and I in the other) then we all got together upstairs at four tables and dined on all the goodies Claire and Nat had baked (quiches, rillons, and clementines, etc) for the occasion and had a great time!

Day Two: Thursday 25/12 — After wishing each other a merry Christmas and having a great breakfast at the hotel, we drove all day making it to Serge's hotel that evening. We went out for an evening meal together but found everything closed so in the end we picked up some take-away pizza in Draguignan and brought it home to eat together. That night we found he'd turned the heating a bit too high and we had to open the windows a crack to keep from roasting! Here's a cozy shot Nat took of us all together that evening.

Day Three: Friday 26/12 — Today we were determined to have lunch in Italy, we knew not where — our original plan being to sleep in Pisa tonight. After going over all the details of the camper it was past noon before we were able to push off. We left the C3 with Serge for his use while we continued on with the C4 (and its GPS) leading the way and the camper following along.

Winds were dangerously strong on the France-Italy motoway between Nice and Genova and we were constantly being warned that high-sided vehicles should take the next exit. So after getting as much distance as we could we finally came off at San Remo and drove painstakingly through the city on the coastal road which slowed us down enormously.

By the time we'd gotten to Imperia we were wondering how we'd spend the night and looking for a site we could park in as well as a place to eat. Just then we chanced to see a camper park down off to our left! We turned in and found a dozen other campers plugged in to electricity and enjoying their evening. We decided to do the same!

But this is not at all what happened! The camper would not get plugged in and though we got half a dozen Italians to help us it never worked. So we had to use the electricity of the camper being careful not to use it too much.

Day Four: Saturday 27/12 — The next morning Daddy, Mommy, and I (Claire) went to try and get some groceries in Imperia. We left without supposing that the whole town was almost only one-way streets... After much wearisome traveling we found a "paneteria"(bakery) where we got some bread...and milk! We also went to a bar and got a coffee for Daddy, a"cappuchino" for Mommy, and a hot chocolate for myself. The coffee was very small (about a sip of it), the "cappuchino" was nothing but foam, and the hot chocolate was so thick it could be eaten rather than drunk!

Anyway we hurried back to the camper and had a late breakfast before starting off toward Pisa. There was still a goodly amount of wind though not nearly as much as yesterday. For this reason we could not get on to the autoroute and kept on the coastal road all day. We barely got anywhere at all. We ended up only at Genova looking for a camp-site (which we never found).

Finally, we thought: we don't need to pay 10€ to park why don't we just park by the side of the road and sleep there? So that's what we did. We decided to find a restaurant with a decent parking lot nearby and a little past Genova we found a spot with a little restaurant across the road outside a town called Sori and decided that would do. Then we all got out of the cars and went to a restaurant. This restaurant was so Italian that it didn't even sell pizza!

This was why we had to order a whole bunch of things without knowing what it was. We later came to know they were called bruschette and were like two pizzas stuck face-down together. Luckily, everything was good! There was a sea turtle (tartaruga) there in an aquarium with some fish. We had a really good time. Below is a photo of us waiting for the food and not knowing quite what to expect...



Now, on to part 2 ...