Colorado scenery

Thought you’d like to see some of the beautiful scenery from Colorado!
These first ones are from the Garden of the Gods.  They are sandstone formations that rise out of the arid landscape, unfortunately we had a gray, overcast day, if the sky was bright blue, the contrast would have been spectacular with the red/orange rocks.

The Pikes Peak region has had three incarnations of the Rocky Mountains.  The oldest, Ancestral Rockies formed over 300 millions years ago.  They were formed of the same granite that makes up Pikes Peak today.  Pikes Peak has been dated at 1.6 billion years old.  The sediment from the Ancestral Rockies eroded down to create the conglomerate layer known as the Fountain formations.  The second incarnation of the Rocky Mountains was 70-80 million years ago.  They were also worn down by erosion.  
Pikes Peak was lifted by a third mountain building period about 10 million years ago.  The bowls on Pikes Peak were formed during the last great ice age 10,000 years ago. 
Thus, the Garden of the God is estimated to be 65-300 million years old.  Formations that erosion has uncovered for us to view, study and enjoy.  Dinosaurs also inhabited the area including a unique, nowhere else found, herbivore named Theiophytalia Kerri, which was found in the garden in 1886. 
The formation of the new Rockies caused the sedimentary layers to buckle and thus they formed into vertical shapes of the park.  Erosion has carved then carved them into these interesting shapes and forms.  

Kissing camels……

The balance rock…..

These next ones are wind sculptures that are placed in the artist’s front yard.  I believe they are made of aluminium and there were a number on the ground, ready to be erected.

Isn’t this bird so beautiful! 
Not sure what this one is – but it is cool!  Just noticed the dog in the photo didn’t even see him when I was taking the photo.
And a pelican!

Now the next ones are taken at Seven Falls……

Unfortunately we couldn’t go up these stairs as they were wet and icy due to the earlier snow fall!??!?!
What a view!
That’s the road below that we took to get up the mountain.
And yes that is a tunnel through the mountain that we are driving towards.

Garden of the Gods in the distance…..

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are a rare historical treasure.  They are preserved under a protective red sandstone overhang.  They are authentic Anasazi cliff dwellings, built more than 700 years ago. You can go inside, climb and touch these fascinating architectural remnants of an American Indian culture that lived here from 1200 B.C. to A.D. 1300.  

And at last, the view from the Broadmoor, looking over their man-made lake, with the golf course to the left.

Colorado Springs

Just back from Colorado Springs and it is such a beautiful place, even though it was so cold that we even had snow!

We stayed at the prestigious Broadmoor Hotel.  So much history and craftsmanship in one place!  Here’s some photos of the grounds and the interior.

Here’s the entrance – looking over the entrance courtyard! Sorry it’s a little dark.

Here’s a close up of this most beautiful chandelier!
And take a peek at all these gorgeous ceilings!
And another beautiful chandelier.  They were everywhere!

And this beautiful patio with stone fireplace was so inviting…even though it was raining!

Here’s our room….

and what a beautiful bathroom we had!

And we saw these beautiful teal, black & white birds all over the place….not sure what they are called but they were so pretty to watch.

Loved it all, what a wonderful place to spend some time!

Seaside break

Well, how about a little seaside break from the snow, ice, cold, not to mention, Christmas shopping, decorating, baking, wrapping and cooking!

I took these photos during our trip to Italy this past fall.  Specifically they were taken during our drive along the Amalfi Coast and visit to Positano.  Take my word for it, Positano is absolutely breathtaking!  I hope these pictures make you feel a little warmer…..

This is at the start of our drive along the coast line.




And upon arrival at our hotel in Positano, this view greeted us in our hotel room – it was so, so stunning!



The hotel we stayed at was built into the side of the mountain and the lobby is five floors below where you enter.  So, you come in and take the elevator down five floors to enter the lobby.  But that’s not the coolest part, this is the lobby and…


this is part of the rock that the hotel is built against.  Isn’t that the neatest thing!


The view that greeted us in the morning.  When I think of “my happy place”, this is it!

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The outdoor terrace where we had breakfast, nestled with some lemon and orange trees.

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If it had been warmer we would definitely have ended up here……


but it didn’t stop my hubby from taking a dip in the heated outdoor pool.


So instead, we walked down the many, many stairs to walk on the beach.


The beautiful little town of Positano.  Aren’t the pastel stucco exteriors gorgeous against the rugged mountain backdrop?





A lovely little terrace on our way back up.



Ah, I feel warmer already.  Hope you do too!


Ancient Rome

Another instalment of photos from my trip to Italy.   These first photos were taken from the top of the Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoia monument (shown below).
These photos show ancient Rome including the Colosseum, the Forum and Palatine Hill.
Yes, that’s the Colosseum in the distance.
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Arch of Titus
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An ancient overgrown fountain.
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A statue’s toe.
Hippodrome of Domitian

Coming up to the Colosseum.
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Hope you enjoyed this little visual visit!

The Sacred area and a few cats

Since I’m still on a little bit of a travelling high since I got back here’s some more photos from my trip.

This time from Ancient Rome – smack dab in the middle of the current modern Rome – it is quite strange to be just be walking around and then right in front of you is some ancient ruin.



And that is how we stumbled upon The Sacred Area of Largo Argentina.  As you can see it is alot lower than the current street level and hence it is fenced off.



It was discovered in 1926-1930 during the construction of a new building.  It is an ancient roman square with four temples that faced a courtyard.


The four temples are very different and they are known as Temples A, B, C & D now.  Temple A is the best preserved one of the four as it was incorporated into a medieval church, S. Nicolo dei Cesarini in 1132.  There were at least two earlier temples detected beneath this temple.

Temple B was the last one built and it’s foundation is even with the built up pavement of the others.  It is circular – you can see in the middle of the above photo. Six of its original 18 columns are still there.  There was a circular plinth that supported a large cult statute (the head, arm and foot are now displayed in the Capitoline museum).  It is thought to have been dedicated to the Goddess Fortuna “Good fortune for Today”.


Temple C is both the oldest and youngest of the temples on this site.  Its foundation predates the lowest level of Temple A but the floor and surviving structures date after 80 AD.  There was a large goddess head that was discovered nearby and it is thought that it was originally in this temple.

Temple D is the largest, however most of it is still hidden under the current street.

BUT THE BEST THING OF ALL IS THAT NOW IT IS A CAT SANCTUARY!  Anyone who knows me knows that I am a little cat crazy and I am thrilled when I find places like this.


How many cats can you find in this picture?

Street cats were attracted to the area when it was opened up during excavations in the 1920s.  I guess they felt safe being seven metres below the street level.  Unfortunately, then people started abandoning their cats here.  To the point that there are no feral cats they are all house cats that have been left there by their owners.

The sanctuary was founded in 1993 by two cat lovers who found that many of the cats were dying from disease and malnutrition.  Now international volunteers organize the medical treatment, sterilisations and adoptions of approximately one thousand cats, who come to live in this square every year.

After threats of eviction from the City of Rome there is now a special Roman law that protects this and other cat colonies and stray pets are deemed to be the property of the state and it is illegal to mistreat or move them.  This sanctuary relies solely on donations from tourists and visitors to buy food and medicine.

Here’s some more photos of the inhabitants….

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