A Night at the Opera

One night we went to see The Barber of Seville at the famous la Fenice Opera House. It was, as expected, very beautiful and luxurious. Many people were really dressed up in long gowns and tuxedos. This being the Carnival season there were also many in costumes. The play is a silly one, a farce, but enjoyable even though opera is not my thing. The young maiden in the performance didn’t look that young to me, the old man had a wig on to make him look older than he was and everyone overacted like mad. It was fun.

The entrance.

The ceiling.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Not your usual seats.

At the end of the play this giant frame came down. I’m not sure why but it looked nice. To tell the truth I wasn’t that impressed with the stage setting as it seem very plain and simple. Maybe this is a play put on mainly for tourists and they don’t expend a lot of money for such productions. I still enjoyed it in my little critical fashion.

A Palazzo on the Grand Canal

The Grand Hotel of Venice is lined with huge mansions and you would love to see inside. With some of them this is possible as they have been made into museums. We visited one called Ca’Rezzonica and it was gorgeous as expected.

There were elegant stairs to the main level.

Sumptuous decorations although not much furniture remained. There were some chairs carved by a famous artist with slaves from Africa carved on the legs.

A red velvet throne against a red velvet wall should a Pope or royalty arrive. One of the Rezzonica family was in fact a pope.

I saw these two girls alone in one of rooms looking like it might have in the past.

I love this painting showing a couple ready for Carnival.

A view of a canal below from the third floor.

Worth Another Visit

I met a friend at Gare de Lyon and since we were there we decided to have tea at the gorgeous Train Bleu.

As you can see, they were set up for lunch.

There are paintings high above of locations which trains from Gare de Lyon go. This one was Cassis. I wouldn’t mind being on a train headed there. It really is beautiful.

Our tea. We had the chai tea and it came with milk in it.

A side room for dining.

These were for sale there. Maybe I need some opera glasses trimmed in rhinestones.

This and That in Porto

I have a ton of photos from Porto so I’m going to share them. Why not?

If you go down, down, down some hills you reach the Douro River and the interesting area called Ribeira. The famous Porto wine was stored here, and still is, and exported too. The day was mostly cloudy and rainy so I didn’t get any photos I liked but this gives you an idea of what it was like. There are still large buildings for storage and, of course, many places for tasting. Porto wine is sweet and I seldom drink it. I have occasionally dumped some in my spaghetti sauce which gives it a good flavour. We had a cocktail made with white Porto but I couldn’t really taste it.

This is one of the six bridges spanning the Douro near Porto. Two of them had Eiffel-as in Eiffel Tower-involved. He was a genius with metal sculpture and building. This is the Dom Luis I bridge.

We rode a tourist trolley that circled around Porto which was fun.

Isn’t this strange? I saw two of them in two churches in Porto. I asked a person working in one what it meant and he said it was the third eye, as in the one talked about in India. Apparently, this saint had visions. I couldn’t find out any more about it.

I couldn’t make this any lighter and it looks rather confusing. It was a sculpture in Sao Francisco showing the tree of Jessie which shows the ancestral history of Jesus. This church was once Franciscan which I believe was once an order with very plain, bare churches. The Portuguese later decorated it and everything inside is gilded in gold and in the Baroque style.

A close up view of just some of the gilding.

I passed an antique/used furniture store and this caught my eye. It made me wonder about the history and what it was worn to. A dance hall, a party, carnival, a parade? I’d love to know.

I love shops like this, stuffed with all sorts of food and drink items. Such great ambiance.

Another exterior, and interior, that I loved.

Train Station

I love old train stations. The one at la Rochelle is splendid and the one in Porto with its blue tile was fabulous.

Blue tile and some in different colours up above. The tile at the top tells a history of transport.

Another view.

The lower panels feature Portuguese history, and landscapes.

A closeup. It looks a bit like china from the Netherlands. The Dutch did indeed import their Delftware worldwide including into Portugal but soon local artists made their own. The tiling, by the way, was created by Jorge Colaço, a famous Portuguese azulejo artist.

Little trains here and there.

This was outside the train station, some people selling roasted chestnuts. As we approached the station, I thought something was on fire there was so much smoke.

Le Train Bleu

I joined a friend for lunch the other day at the Train Bleu, a luxurious restaurant found in the train station, Gare de Lyon. Trains from this station head towards the south of France and all of the paintings on the walls are of the various destinations most painted around 1900.




A train ready for departure. Train stations are always freezing cold in the winter as there are high roofs and large openings.

The stairs on either side leading up to le Train Bleu.

The bar. People were pouring in, many with suitcases and you needed a reservation for a table although I think there were some low tables near the bar available. They were turning people away. Most of the clients seemed like businessmen to me.

Just part of the stunning interior.

The view from my table.

If you like rum, the dessert of Baba Rhum is right up your alley. It’s sort of a pound cake which soaks up the rum. I read that it began when the exiled king of Poland was in France. The cake that was to be served for dessert was too dry so they poured rum on it.

I dropped into the nearby CitizenM hotel to look at their fun lobby. It’s a very lively place.