Restoration Reality and Makeover Madness in Italy

Each time the Agenzia del trasporto autoferrotranviario del Comune (ATAC) bus halted and then lurched forward, I gripped the safety loop hanging from the ceiling in the spirit of white knuckle riding.  I still, however, ended up plowing into the Roman commuters. They seemed to have their own root systems flourishing on the hot, crowded bus. Actually, it was appropriate to stand like statues in the country that hosts three separate cast figures of David, alone, and these public transportation troopers oscillated and absorbed the shock of potholes, ruptured asphalt, as well as stop and go traffic with ease.

While stuck in the urban crawl, the Roman riders, like any other big city commuters, appeared bored, tired and resigned to the haul. Fortunately, if I stood on my toes, pivoting slightly, I could look out the bus windows. The bastardized ballet stance was worth it since after turning a corner, there, right in the middle of Rome, in its massive ancient crumbling glory, stood the Colosseum.

Jerking my head from the familiar view of the eroding edifice, I scanned the reactions of my fellow bus mates. I focused on one woman, in particular, who sat nearby in a seat with her back to the window. Do I tell her to turn around? She’s going to miss it.

To my right, a couple debated a hot topic in loud Italian or perhaps they were just talking about what movie they would see later. I couldn’t really tell. Staring at them, I motioned my head slightly over my shoulder, indicating, “Over here, OVER here, don’t you see it?!

What about the person behind me? He was reading a newspaper and casually leaning against one of the safety poles. Glancing up, he looked at me and then right back down at his paper. What news story could possibly be better than the view before us? All right, buddy — it’s your loss.

I wanted to yell down the aisle — “Look at what we are driving by, people!” It’s freaking amazing — deteriorated yet distinguished! It’s an icon, for lord’s sake.” You know that Gladiators battled there, correct? I’m pretty sure against lions and other big cats. And, by the way, your emperors presided over various proceedings there for centuries.

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Travel Ahh….Rivers

© Stephanie Glaser 1989

© Stephanie Glaser 1989

Rivers are compelling — whether they’re slow and meandering or fast and furious. With a dual personality, rivers represent both nature and civilization. Regardless, they take you on a journey that metaphorical and literal. The above photo is the Amo River running through Florence, Italy.

© Stephanie Glaser 2006

© Stephanie Glaser 2006

The Danube River is particularly beautiful. In Visegrád, Hungary, its “S” curve is almost always in view.

© Stephanie Glaser 2006

© Stephanie Glaser 2006

The Danube, Budapest, Hungary.

© Stephanie Glaser 2006

© Stephanie Glaser 2006

The Dnieper, Kiev, Ukraine.

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Travel Oops: The Unfortunate Photo — The Fountain of Timbers

© Stephanie Glaser 1989

© Stephanie Glaser 1989

Rome, Italy. Anyone who’s traveled in Europe during the summer has seen this familiar sight: scaffolding. The Trevi Fountain or Fontana di Trevi in Rome was the victim when I traveled to Italy in 1989. Undeterred, I took a photo of my friends Amy and Leah anyway.
Here is what it normally looks like:
© Diliff

© Diliff

The Travel Ahh…Alleyways and Side Streets

© Stephanie Glaser 2010

© Stephanie Glaser 2010

Side streets and alleyways often exude mystery. What’s around the corner or what will I find? Danger? Intrigue? Side streets and alleys often have a negative, managing connotation and are associated with dodgy activities. Perhaps, that’s the appeal. The photo collection of alleyways and side streets here is not particularly threatening — especially since the photos were taken in the daytime. However, each alleyway and street offered something interesting.

The shot above and the following two pictures I took in Melbourne, Australia. I was lucky to be traveling with Amy, a dear friend of mine who is an excellent photographer, and she inspired me to appreciate beauty in even the smallest detail.

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser

© Stephanie Glaser 2010

© Stephanie Glaser 2010

I really like this shot above because you can see Federation Square — perhaps the opposite of an alleyway — A cheery meeting place with heaps of activity.

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The Travel Ahh…Meeting locals

© Stephanie Glaser 2003

© Stephanie Glaser 2003

Isn’t one of the reasons we travel to meet people from other cultures? It’s the best way to gain new perspectives and an appreciation of the world. Kurt and I met the woman above on a bus traveling to Marigot in St. Maarten. Friendly and helpful, she told us about a local market to visit and enlightened us on some Caribbean customs.

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The Travel Ahh…Rooftops

© Stephanie Glaser

Rooftops have always captured my attention like these in Florence, Italy (above). Maybe it’s the expression “a roof over your head.” Perhaps it’s that you know underneath is a home or business. A rooftop represents not only shelter, but people to me.

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The Travel Ahh….Boats

© Stephanie Glaser

There’s something about a boat (like the one above in Sanur, Bali.) Partly, I think it’s about water, imagining the waves sloshing and spraying against the sides, but, to me, it’s comforting to see boats — fishing boats especially. When traveling, I always try to get shots with boats displaying flags.

Again, scenes like this are part of a culture’s daily life that, really, would it be all that exciting if I saw this at home? Actually, I am just that snap happy, because, not even thinking about it, I took photos this summer of boats in my home state of Minnesota.

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