Travel Report to the Northern and Southern Parts of Italy and Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia From April 8,2014 to April 23,2014

  1. On April 8, 2014 I together with Ash, Don, Lennie, Danelle, Drei, Derek, Migs. Danda, Lulu and Enzo representing the First(1st) Batch of the Bufon family availed of the 1910 flight under EY 423 leaving Manila at 1910 and arriving at Abu Dhabi  2355 or a total of eight(8) hour and forty five (45) minutes of flying time;

 

  1. On April 9,2014 the First Batch availed of EY 81 leaving Abu Dhabi at 0225 and arriving at Milan at 2355 or a total of six(6) hours and forty(40) minutes of flying time;

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B.1 Through my availment of the wheelchair I and Ash were ahead to be welcomed by the transport group and Travel Coordinator Cristina;

B.2 The rest of the members of the First Group after a few minutes arrived together with the Second(2nd) Batch comprising of Ochie,Jeanne,Sunday,Michelle,Juan,Jun,Tessie and Precious;

B.3 At the bus  Cristina  expressed apprehension whether the Bufon families would be able to visit the Last Supper considering that Cristina was not aware of another booking previously made which also practically covered the highlights which Cristina’s group would be covering as per itinerary prepared by Agatha from Manila;

B.3.1 Upon verification by Cristina from the travel group that would be visiting the Last Supper,we were told that we had a good chance to visit the Last Supper and that we had to hurry up in order for us to catch them  at the La Scala Theatre before going to the Cathedral to view  the Last Supper;

B.3.2 At the La Scala Theatre we were told just to view the opera house and immediately leave as the members of the travel group were waiting;

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B.3.3 We thereafter proceeded with the members of the travel group where we felt uneasy as all of them were using audio device wherein they could hear the explanation of the guide despite lengthy distance;

B.3.3.1 We proceeded to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuel II,which according to the Lonely Planet is:

“Framed by an immense archway it opens off the Piazza del Duomo’s northern flank.  The glass- and-steel-roof shopping arcade is shaped like a crucifix,and is home to elegant boutiques,cafes,and unfortunately a McDonald’s. Moreimportantly,it’s also home to the world’s second-only seven star hotel,the Townhouse Galleria(www.townhouseit/gallery).”

GuiseppeMengoni designed the Galleria as a show place of modern Milan.  Tragically, he plummetedto his death from scaffolding just weeks before his 14 year tour de force was completed in 1877.

Long- standing Milanese tradition claims you can avoid Mengoni’s bad luck by grinding your heel into the testicles of the mosaic bull on the floor(just to the left of the central cross when you’re facing north.)”;

B.4 Thereafter we proceeded to have a photo of the “Duomo”;

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B.4.1 Allow me to quote at the outset the Lonely Planet for   a description of the “Duomo” as follow:

“A frenzy of flying buttresses ,135 spires and a staggering 3200 statues,MilanGothis Cuomo is the world largest of its kind, and the third largest in any style in Europe.  The vision of pink-tinged Candoglia marble was commissioned in 1386 by GianGaleazzoVisconti, and has a capacity of 40000(Milan’s population  at the time).

The logistic of transporting the vast stone slabs through this narrow city streets was solved by Leonardo Da Vinci,whose canal locked mechanism raised water levels one section at a time,allowing their passage to the city center.

Centuries (from east to west) finally saw it completed in 1812.  Crowning this Gothic splendor is a gilded copper statue of the Madonna (lLittle Madonna),the city’s traditional protector,though curiously it has no bell tower.

History left has left it scars-the brass doors at the front bear the marks of bombs that fell nearby during World War II.

The cathedral’s echoing interior is equally awe-spiring,with 146 stained-glass windows and intricately carved pillars.

Although the ceiling appears carved,it is a trompe l’oiled-painted optical illusion.  High above the Altar is a nail said to have been the one that impaled Christ’s right hand on the cross.”;

B.5 After the short time allotment at the Duomo we proceeded to the  CastleSforesco for a quick visit of the exteriors;

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B.5.1 Again allow me to quote the Lonely Planet for a description of Castle Sforzesco as follow:

“Originally a Visconti fortress, this immense red-brick castle was later home to Sforzesco that ruled renaissance Milan.  The castle’s defenses were designedby talented Da Vinci; Napoleon later drained the moat and removed it.”

B.5.2 During my previous visit to Milan courtesy of Ferrostal through Ronnie I had the privileged of witnessing Michelangelo’s lastunfinished work,the PietaRondanini;

B.6 After the brief visit we were hurriedly brought to the site of the Last Supper;

B.6.1It was unfortunate that in view of the presence of only eighteen(18)tickets(on the belief that infant like Juan is not obliged to pay) with Nineteen(19) members of the Bufon family interested to visit the Last Supper,  one(1) Bufon Member would not be allowed to see the Last  Supper;

B.6.2This development prompted Sunday to volunteer that both him and Juan would not join prompting also spouse Michelle not to join;

B.6.2.1 It was explained that the reason for the rigidity is that per visit  the number of visitors should not go beyond the specified limit of twenty five(25) per visit  to maintain the desired humidity in order not to damage the Last Suffer;

B.6.2.2 I expressed  to  the group   my feeling of guilt for not allowing Sunday and Juan  including Michelle for not witnessing the Last Supper considering that I did have the privilege of witnessing it during my earlier visit;

B.6.3. Allow me to quote once more the Lonely Planet for a clearer understanding of the Last Supper:

“The famous Last Supper is hidden away on one wall of the CenacoloVinciano,the refectory adjoining Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie.

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 Restoration of the Last Supper began 1977 and was completed in 1999.  The work was a lamentable state after centuries of damage and decay.

Da Vinci himself is partly to be blamed: his experimental mix of oil and tempera was applied between 1495 and 1498, rather than one week or so as is typical of fresco techniques.

The Dominican did not help matters in 1652 by raising the refectory floor hacking off a lower section of the scene, including Jesus’ feet.

The most damage was caused by the methods used by the restorers in the 19thcentury,whose alcohol and cotton-wool technique removed an entire layer.

The mural narrowly escaped destruction in World War II.  Despite the 22-year restoration effort, 80% of the original color has been lost.”

B.7 After the Last Supper we decided to have our sandwich luncheon near the Sforteza Palace in order to catch up with the 1300 commencement of city tour this time under Cristina’s schedule where we would meet with another guide to supplement the brief hurried explanation of the earlier city tour;

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B.7.1 After the luncheon Cristina introduced our new city tour guide named Grace;

B.7.2 Grace inquired on what parts of the earlier city tour need further explanation;

B.7.3 The Bufon family decided to request for further explanation on the La Scala as well as to repeat the highlights by explaining  the important edifices of  the city center as the tour bus cruises on the way to the Hub Hotel;

B.7.3.1 At the La Scala Grace successfully explained the highlights of the La Scala including the secret love relationship between Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis;

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B.7.3.2 Maria Callas reportedly ate a certain kind of worm likened to that being used by Marlyn Monroe to bring down stoutness;

B.7.4 Upon arriving at the Hotel we took a little rest and thereafter at 1830 proceeded to the bar to partake a glass of wine;

B.7.4.1 Notwithstanding that we ordered only one glass of wine, we were given plenty of appetizers;
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B.7.4.2 We learned from the guide book as affirmed by Cristina that it is the practice in Milan and the whole of Italy that during “happy hour” from 1700 to 2000 plenty of snacks(aperativo) would be provided;

B.7.5 A 1900 the Bufon members who partook dinner who were mostly suffering from jet lag complained that the meal serving was snail-paced;

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C. On April 10, 2014 we partook breakfast at a separate room although we heard that the restaurant where we ate dinner during the preceding night had greater food offerings like the Japanese food such as sashimi,sushi, etc.’

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C.1 After breakfast Don inquired from Cristina whether or not we would proceed as scheduled with the itinerary;
C.1.1 Cristina stated that both her schedule and that of the driver do not include Busetto coupled with the explanation that it would be impossible to adhere to the same because of the many places to be visited thus allowing calmness to prevail upon both I and Don;
C.2 In the morning Grace brought us to the inside of the Duomo as she explained the highlights of Duomo likened to that cited above;

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C.3 After the Duomo tour the Bufon members were given opportunity to visit the nearby areas and that at 1100 they were requested to  congregate at the back of Duomo for them to collectively proceed to the bus  for the trip to Parma;

C.4 On the way to Parma we stopped at the Auto Grill House to partake our luncheon;

C.4.1I requested to buy a pig souvenir similar to what she was holding;

C.4.2 I and Ash ate chicken and vegetables;

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C.5 Upon arrival at Parma we firstly stop at the meeting place where we would meet with our local guide;

C.5.1 I bought a necklace from a vendor who or his ascendants appear to have come from Africa where I was able to reduce the price from five (5) euros to two(2) euros;

C.5.2 Thereafter the guide arrived and firstly brought us to the Palazzo dellaPilota;

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C.5.2.1 Allow me to quote the Lonely Planet for a clearer description of the Palazzo:

“Looming over Piazza della Pace’s manicured lawns and modern fountains, the monumental PallazzodellaPilota is hard to miss.

Supposedly named after the Spanish game of pelota that was originally played within its walls,it was originally built for the Farnese family  between 1583 and 1622.   Heavily bombed in World War, it was rebuilt to house several museums.”;

C.6 We thereafter passed through the streets with the guide pointing the MuseoDeocesano before entering the 16th century Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista which according to the Lonely Planet ”is noted for its magnificent frescoed dome,with the work of Corregio,and a series of frescoes by Parmigian.”;

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C.7 We thereafter proceeded to Parma’s Duomo;

C.7.1 According to the Lonely Planet ” AssunzionedellaVergine(Assumption of the Virgin) is akaleidoscopic whirls of cherubins and whirling angels, while down in southern transept,BenedettoAntelame’swDepozione(Descent from the Consecrated in 1106,is classic Lombard Romanesque  Inside, the gross  gilded pulpit all scream baroque bombast.  But there are some genuine treasures among the ecclesiastical bling: up in the dome, AntonioCorregio’sross 1178) relief is considered the best of its type.”;

C.7.2 The guide pointed to us also the fossilized images of shells in the red marbles used as flooring by the Duomo;

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C.7.3 According to the Lonely Planet “Antelami was also responsible for the octagonal pink marble of the battisteroon the south side of the piazza;

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Combining Romanesque and Gothic styles,it features Antelami’s best work,including the celebrated set of figures representing the months,seasons and signs of the zodiac.

Work was done at the baptistery in 1196 but wasn’t completed until 1307 thanks to several interruptions ,most notably when the supply of pink Verona marble ran out.”;

C.8 We thereafter visited the farm where parmigianoreggiano;

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C.8.1 From the Lonely Planet which jives with the lectures of our local guide:”The king of Italianos cheeses,parmigianoreggiano has been produced in the area around Parma for more than 700 years.

It is made from skimmed evening milk and full cream morning milk which is poured into copper vats, cultured,heated  and then stirred by a giant paddle.

When the curd is ready,it is heaved out into a cheesecloth. Each lump is shaped into a wheel form And left in to brine for more than a month before being aged for at least one, and often two or more, years.”;

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C.8.2 After the lecture of the  guide, most of the Bufon Members   bought slices of parmianoreggiano while I bought additionally other knickknacks related to the place;

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C.9 Thereafter we were brought by the bus to the Hotel which is named Palace Maria Luigia;

C.9.1 We found difficulty bringing our bags to our room as the same could not be accommodated on the  extremely small space of the elevator not to mention its snail-paced upward movement prompting Jun to assist me to carry  my big baggage to the first(1st) floor where our room is situated;

C.9.2 After resting we went at the bar where plentiful snacks were displayed to avail of the “aperetivo” or “happy hour”offering   once more;

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C.9.3 At 1900 the Bufon family together with Cristina went to the restaurant near the place we earlier visited;

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C.9.3.1 I ordered Tortilini and a form of pasta to be shared with Ash;

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C.9.4 After the meal I was requested to pay what I ordered which would include the share per family on the food of Cristina and Driver Joseph or Guissepe which added to a total of forty(40) euros;

C.9.5 Thereafter we walked back to the Hotel to sleep;

D.On April 11,2014 I performed my early walk and I was surprised to learn that the place we visited during the preceding night which I felt was at a far distance could be visited after a walk of ten(10) minutes on my part;

D.1 At 0730 we partook breakfast and that the Bufon members were told to eat at the far corner of the breakfast room under the Gulliver tag name where we said that our travel was not handled by the name “Gulliver”to which the waiter replied that it was OK;

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D.2 At 0800 we left for Modena and upon arrival met local guide at the front door of PallazoDucale where we had photoops;

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D.2.1 Thereafter we saw the Cathedral which is a UNESCO Declared World Heritage site;

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D.2.1.1 According to the Lonely Planet which jives with what the local guide said “Dominating Piazza Roma the heavy baroque edifice is home to Italy’s top military academies.  It was started in 1634 and was the Este family residencefor two centuries.”

D.2.1.2According to the Lonely Planet,  the Cathedral is “One of the finest Romanesque churches in Italy.  The Cathedral is an example of 12th century architecture.

Dedicated to the city’s patron,St.Geminianus,it was consecrated in 1184; 85 years after construction had begun.

The façade is dominated by a huge Gothic rose window,actually a 13th century addition,under which stand the main portal to the sides, a series of vivid bas reliefs depict scenes from the Genesis.”;

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These are the works for the 14th century of the 12th century sculptor Wilgelmo,who actually autographed his work (see the panel to the left of the main door), as did the building’s architect Lanfranco(signing off in the main apse).

Among Wilgelmo’s many vigorous carvings,both sacred and singular,are typical medieval themes depicting the months and agricultural scenes?

 

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Inside,highlights include elaborate rood screen decorated by AnselmoCampioneand,in the crypt,GuidoMazzoni’s Madonna dellapapa,a group of five painted terra cotta figures.”

D.2.1.3 Inside the crypt are terra cota sculptures indicative of a  group of people  helping a distressed person;

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D.3Cristina told us that we would have a free time and that we would leave at 1300 to visit Maranello,the site of Ferrari’s display area and work place;

D.3.1 According to the Lonely Planet which substantially jives with the pronouncements of the local guide”Voted Europe’s best workplace (2007) by the Financial Times,the near mythical Maranello factory was established by Enzo Ferrari in 1943,14 years after he had founded the company that bears his name.

Four years later, in 1947, the 1255 became the first Ferrari road car to roll off the production line.

More than 60 years on,Ferrari has become the world’s ultimate status symbol,its prancing black horse logo(taken from an emblem used by Italian WWI ace are Francesco Barracal a modern motoring icon,Ferrari has also become the most successful racing team of all time-as of 2007 it had won 14 Formula One Constructors Championships,14 Drivers’ Championships, 9 24 Le Mans races and eight mile Miglia races.

On Sunday in April and May,you can watch the latest Ferrari models on Modenna’s Piazza Grande. More venerable versions get an extending during May’s Mille Migila(www.millemigila.it) a vintage car-race that roars through the streets of Ferrara and Modena, then on the checkered flag in Brecia.

May also sees the Modena Centro Ore, a four-day event for historic cars that starts and finishes inModena.”;

D.4 At the newly renovated Museum we learned that early in the morning the Museum was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Italy;

D.4.1Below are some noteworthy photos of the display together with the life-sized reproduction of Enzo Ferrari at work(wherein one visitor harshly commented whether or not it is illegal for a dead man to be placed on display);

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D.5 We then visited Balsamic vinegar factory;

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D.5.1 I bought small size bottle containing twenty five(25) year old balsamic vinegar;

D.6 Upon getting back at the Palace Maria Luigia we availed once more the happy hour food offering this time in a lessened quantity;

D.7 We stepped out and found a store selling some antique objects;

D.7.1 I was not able to buy the Victorian silver lace costing Four Hundred (400) Euros;

D.7.2 I, however, bought some objects used for name stamping which the seller said emanates from Germany costing thirty (30) euros;

D.8 At 1900 I,Don,Lennie,Danelle,Drei and Derek and Ash were accompanied by Cristina to a pizzeria beside the Garibaldi statue;

 

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D.8.1I and Ash ordered a vegetarian pizza and a fish with the thought that the latter would  cost only four(4) euro  for a certain milligram as provided in the menu only to find out later  that  the weight would   far exceed the specified milligram;

D.8.2 After dinner we walked back and retired;

  1. On April 12,2014 Ash predominantly brought down our heavy bags through the slow moving elevator to the lobby to be placed by Joseph at the bus;

E.1 We firstly had our breakfast and then we departed at 0800;

E.2 On our way to Lucca, we made a stopover where I bought an image of a dwarf wearing chaleco;

E.3 We arrived at Lucca around 1000 where we met by a local guide Gabriele;

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E.3.1To quote the Lonely Planet which substantially jives with what Gabriele said: “Lovely Lucca is gorgeous, a beautiful city that smacks of love at first sight with its rich history,handsome churches and excellent restaurants.

Hidden behind the imposing Renaissance walls,it is essential in any Tuscan tour and a charming base for exploration on the Apuane Alps and Garfagana.

Founded by the Estruscans,Lucca became a Roman colony in 180 BC and a free commune(self governing city) during the 12th century which enjoyed a period of prosperity based on the silk trade. In 1314 it briefly fell under the control of Pisa but under the leadership of local adventurer,CastruccioCastracanidegliAntelminelli,the city regained its freedom and remained an independent republic for almost 500 years.

Napoleon ended all thius in 1805, when he created the principality of Lucca and placed one of the seemingly countless members of his family who needed an Italian fiefdom (this time his sister Elisa) in control. 

Twelve years later the city became a Bourbon dutchy,before being incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy.

Lucca remains a strong agricultural centre.  The long periods of peace it has enjoyed explain the almost perfect preservation of the city walls,which were rarely put to test.”

E.3.2Gabrieli explained to us that the around five (5) kilometer wall could be walked around or biked and that antiques as per my inquiry could be bought within the area;

E.3.3 Aswe walked through the walls Gabrielifirstly pointed from a distance the Palazzo Pfanner which the Lonely Planet states as a “A wonderful retreat from Lucca excess of churches and Renaissance splendor is the Palazzo Pfanner where parts of the Portrait of a Lady starring Nicole Kidman and John Malkovich were filmed.”;

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E.3.4 We firstly visited the Basilica di San Frediano wherein Gabrieli’s explanation jives that of the Lonely Planet’s explanation as follow: “The Basilica of San Frediano has a unique (and much restored) 13th century mosaic in a markedly Byzantine style.

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But that is not only the anomalous feature:  unlike just about every other church this side of Jerusalem, the apse faces west, away from the Holy City.

The main feature of the beautiful basilica’s interior is the Fontana Lustrale, a 12th century baptismal font decorated with sculpted reliefs,just to the right of you enter.

Note to the fine capitals, many recycled from the Roman amphitheatre.”

E.3.4.1 When we stepped outside of the Basilica, Michelle (as per  recent information she  acquired)told the group that inside the Basilica is likewise the remains of St. Zita(patron saint of domestic workers) prompting Gabrieli to invite the group to go back to witness the remains;

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E.3.4.2 Thereafter we walked through a space where children were playing traditional toys of Italy prompting Don to try one;

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E.3.5 Thereafter we commenced with our walk to a busy street called Via Fillungo wherein the Lonely Planet explains similar to that explained by Gabrieli that it “threads its way through the medieval heart of the old city.  It is a fascinating mix of smart boutiques,restaurants and buildings of great charm and antiquity-often occupying the same space;”;

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E.3.5.1 Within ViaFillungo, Gabrieli pointed to us a tower where tree is uniquely grown;

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E.3.6 Gabrieli,a mild mannered man, would often pose and converse with the children in the group   and then express  his versatility not only in conveying well his thoughts but in singing as well to give  realistic retrospect to then situation in Lucca;

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E.3.6.1 He admited that though there was a time when he left Lucca he thereafter realized he could not find any other place likened to Lucca and thus he returned to perform further services to his place of origin which is his true love;

E.3.7 As we continued our walking, we reached Piazza Anfiteatro wherein the Lonely Planet states which jive t with what Gabrieli said that “It is a huge oval just east of Via Fillungo.  The houses,raised upon the foundations of the one-time Roman amphiteathre retain the shape of the distant original.

 

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Nowadays,pavement cafes and restaurants jostle to accommodate one another around the edges of the square-or rather,eclipse.”;

E.3.8 We thereafter proceeded to Chiesa Di San Michele which as described by Lonely Planet and which jives with that of Gabriele’s pronouncements is as follow:”Equally dazzling is the Romanesque Church built on the site of the 8th century over a period of nearly 300 years,beginning in the 11th century.

The exquisite wedding-cake façade is topped by a figure of the Archangel Michael slaying a dragon.”

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E.3.9 At 1200,without going to the inside of the church anymore, Gabrielibidded goodbye to the group;

E.3.9.1 Gabrieli thereafter accompanied us together with Cristina to the venue where antique shops are being sold;

E.3.9.1.1 After visiting several shops I bought an alabaster watch décor and Italian writings about Napoleon who at one point in time ruled Lucca;

E.3.9.2 Thereafter I,Ash and Cristina proceeded back to the venue where the group would be found;

E.3.9.3 Luckily we all found them at  a corner  Pizzeria  partaking lunch  but  I was informed that the whereabout of Jun  was unknown until that point in time;

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E.3.9.4 While we were considering the whereabout of Jun,  I,Ash and Cristina nevertheless proceeded to partake lunch with I choosing wild boar as my exotic meal,Cristina rabbit and Ash a simple pasta;

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E.4 After everybody has partaken lunch, Don suggested to divide the group until several subgroupings to look for Jun;

E.4.1 It would not take long before Don’s group would be able to find Jun who was left off at the place where the city walking tour commenced as he was engrossed taking pictures;

E.4.2 Based on the facial experience it was indeed a big relief considering that he was without a cell phone, without any clue which hotel we would  be staying for the night, prolonged time has lapsed when he was left off by the group;

E.5 Thereafter the bus brought the group to Eurostar Hotel situated at the back of McDonalds;

E.6 After a slight siesta at the Hotel we returned to Lucca’s old town where I and Ash availed of a twin bicycle where both of us would pedal;

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E.6.1 We decided to go to San Martino Cathedral where we learned that the cross reportedly hand carved by Nicodemus could be found;

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E.6.1.1 It was a difficult ride due to faulty brake system and that upon arrival at the Cathedral I told Ash that both of us could not enter as no one would guard the bicycle prompting me to hurriedly visit the Cathedral and take photo of the above-cited cross;

E.6.1.2 Allow me to quote what is provided by the Lonely Planet about the cathedral to supplement the hurried visit:

“Lucca’s mainlyRomanesqueCattedrale di San Martino dedicated to San Martino dates back to the 11th century.  The exquisite façade was constructed in the prevailing Lucca-Pisan style and design to accommodate thepre-existing companile.

Each of the multitudes of columns in its part is different.  The reliefs over the left doorway of the portico are believed to be by Nicola Pisano.

The interior was rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries with a gothic flourish.  Lucca-born sculptor and architect MatteoCivitali designed both the pulpit and the 15th century tgempietto(small temple) in the north aisle that contains the Volto Santo.

Legend has it that this simply fashioned image of a life-sized Christ on a wooden crucifix, in fact dated 11thcentury,was carved by Nicodemus,who witnessed the Crucifixion.

A major object of pilgrimage, it is carried in procession through the streets each year at dusk in 13 September at dusk during the Luminaria di Santa Croce.”;

E.7 Due to the two-fold difficulty cited under E.6.1.1 we returned the twin bicycle to the Bicycle Office and paid 5 euros;

E.8 Devoid this time of bicycle we walked though once more Via Falunga in the hope that we could find the Museum of Torture;

E.8.1 It was unfortunate that when we were able to finally locate the place at 1900 we were not allowed  entry because the closing time was 1830;

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E.9 We decided to go to our meeting place but again we were ahead of schedule by 30 minutes thus to kill time I partook of cup of coffee at one of the alfresco restaurants in order to avail of their seat as well as to use the toilet and suggested to Ash to put something on her bare shoulder;

E.10 At 2000 the group was completed thus we proceeded to a Trattoria called “La Boca” to partake our dinner with a view of eating the Florentine steak which is the well accepted delicacy in the area;

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E.10.1 I and Ash shared the Florentine steak and the Octopus meal which again were not totally consumed due to unknown reasons ranging from lack of appetite,etc.;

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E.10.2 After the meals we proceeded back to the Hotel and retired;

  1. On April 13,2014 we left Lucca for the Region of Liguria;

F.1 We passed through the Carrara Mountain which is the source of fine white marbles of Italy;

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F.2 We arrived at La Spezia which is beside the Mediterranean Sea with a population of around 94,200;

F.2.1 Allow me to quote once more a description of La Spezia:”The big bustling working city of La Spezia is a complete contrast to the surrounding coastal villages and rural hinterland.

Situated 100 kilometers southeast of Genoa,the city sits at the head of the Gulf of Spezia-also referred to as the Gulf of Poets after Byron,Dante,DHLawrence,Shelley,GeorgeSand and others who sought inspiration along the Gulf shores.

In the mid-19thcentury,the construction of Italy’s largest naval base here introduced here the large street grid and venerable public building that define the city today, as well as a-still significant naval presence.

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As the provincial capital,La Spezia has a lot of museums including a renowned fine arts museum.”;

F.2.2 Before traversing the mountains of La Spezia  to witness the Unesco World HeritageSite “Cinque Terre”we fetched our local guide;

F.2.2.1 The local guide made some pronouncements likened to that stated in the Lonely Planet as follow: “Strung along 18 km of serrated cliffs between Levanto and La Spezia,the Cinque Terre is one of Italy’s treasurers.

These five higgledy-piggedly villages-Min terossa,Vernazza,Corniglia,Manarola and Riomaggiorre-are cut off by mountains choked with olive groves and dry-stone-walled vineyards,where farmers have eked out a living over the centuries.

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The Cinque Terre became a Unesco World Heritage site in 1997, which includes a protected marine marine area, and became a national park (Parco Nazionalledelle Cinque Terre) in 1999.

Wine growers still use the monorail mechanism to ferry themselves up and the grapes down these unique islands, and in some cases have to harvest by boat.  If the terraced hillsides are not worked,they will quite literally slide to the sea.

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National park status has spared the area from propagation of T-shirt shops and tacky souvenir stands, and saved it from environmental destruction.  Cars and motorbikes are not i-willowed in the villages, which are connected by train(each 5minutes apart, mostly through tunnels.

In the villages,electric buses scale the streets.  Park authorities close walking paths when numbers b ecome too great,soit’s best to arrive in the cool  and relatively calm in the morning.

The creation of the national park has also protected the Cinque Terre’s villagers’ wellbeing,providing them with free health screening,natural medicine,subsidized child care and free shopping service for the elderly.;

A co-op has been set for farmers to profitably grown basil,garlic,pine nuts to produce local pesto.  You can taste it in village restaurants,along with area’s white wines,freshly caught fish and lemons.

Numerous villagers have rooms to rent: look for signs reading “camera” (rooms) or affirtacamere(rooms for rent).  Accommodation booking offices in Riomaggiore can help you organize a room ahead of time.”;

F.3 The bus firstly brought us to Manarola where we bought Palm Sunday “Palaspas” and had photo shots of the place;

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F.3.1 We then proceeded by ferry boat which took ten(10) minutes to Riomaggioriore where we had a stopover of thirty (30) minutes;

F.3.1.1 InManarola there is a so called a Lovers’Lane which connects Manarola to Riomaggiore;

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F.3.2 Don was able to buy souvenirs which  include iron grills and an image of a troll handcrafted in the area   where I solicited that it be given to me to add to my Cavite collection to which he gladly yielded;

F.4 After Riomaggiorie we took the ferry boat that would bring us to Porto Venere;

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F.4.1 Along the way the guide explained the structures along the sloping terrain where the absence of the supply of waters are predominantly the concern;

F.5 We finally arrived at Porto Venere to partake our lunch;

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F.4.1 Along the way the guide explained the structures along the sloping terrain where the absence of the supply of waters are predominantly the concern;

F.5 We finally arrived at Porto Venere to partake our lunch;

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as a base en route from Gaul to Spain,and in later years,Byzantines,Lombards,the Genovese and Napoleon all passed through here.” 

F.6    Thereafter the bus brought us to Santa Margherita with approximately 10,600 inhabitants passing by Rapallo with approximately 30,300 inhabitants;

F.6.1 The Lonely Planet states the following: Elegant hotels with Liberty facades,palms and moored million dollar yachts line this fishing village-turned-retirement-spot-of-choice for wealthy Milanese.

Santa Margherita’s idyllic position in a sheltered bay on this tourquoise good base for” sea faring activities;

F.6.2 Upon arrival we stayed at the Lido Palace Hotel which is right at the waterfront in the centre of the town;

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F.6.2.1 It has the Liberty-designed architecture with protruding terraces;

F.6.3 Upon arrival the group agreed to attend the Holy Mass at the nearest church;

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F.6.4 After the church,I sought permission to deviate from the group in order for me to buy another suitcase to rationalize the allocation of the over burgeoning luggage loads to which I was lucky to secure one which is made in Italy which though expensive is not as expensive as the signature brands;

F.6.5 Thereafter we partook meals and thereafter slept at the Hotel;

G.On April 14,2014 early in the morning I made exploration of St. Margherita up to the farthest nook and cranny where I felt the feeling of being super rich,healthy and devoid of stress due to the extremely pleasant surroundings like the presence of luxurious yachts,turquoise waters,elegant residential palatial houses, bountiful decorative plants and turn of the century churches,etc.;

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G.1 At 0900 the group left for Portofino by cruising for 10 minutes through ferry along the Meditterean waters;

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G.1.1 At the ferry the guide broadcasted that Dolce and Gabanna has an existing rest house thereto;

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G.2 Upon arrival, we explored comparatively smaller area of Portofino reaching up to one of the houses of Georgio Armani beside the St. George Church whose backyard is a cemetery where photos of the dead are predominantly pasted on the graves including likewise a lady  sculpture with flowing clothing  depicting the deceased in the nearby grave;

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G.3 As we walked down we noticed from above the  statues situated likened to that of Barneys in parade which prompted Luigi to cry based on the joke upon him by Mother Danda of a Barney fan  as he would not want to be identified  anymore with Barney;

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G.4It was agreed by the group that they would be fetched at 1500 thus prompting the group to go on separate ways;

G.4.1 I and Ash proceeded to an alfresco area to have a taste of their local liquor;

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G.4.2 Like the aperetivo experience we were served liquor surrounded by bountiful “appetizers”;

G.5 As scheduled we proceeded back to St.Margerita;

G.5.1 Upon arrival I bought an antique silver decoration depicting octopus and a Morano crystal frog;

G.5.2 I likewise bought an orange long sleeved polo and matching beach belt to remind me of the relaxed and easy opulent place;

G.5.3 On our way back I bought miniature souvenirs of a small boat and a type of screw to add to my collection;

G.5.4 I and Ash decided not to partake dinner and in lieu thereof I just typed while Ash had a prolonged sleep;

  1. On April 15, 2014 after a sumptuous breakfast we started our bus ride to Turin via Asti;

H.1 We passed by Genoa which as mentioned is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus;

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H.2 Thereafter we arrived at at the Langhe area and finally at Asti;

H.2.1 The local guide told us of the prominent practice in the area which is called the Palliod’Asti which is a”bare-back horse race on the third Sunday of September commemorating a victorious battle against Alba during the Middle Ages which to day draws over a quarter of a million spectators from villages around.’’;

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H.3  While walking I noticed on display in one of the toy stores varying images of trolls which threesome,foursome,etc. prompting me to tell Cristina to stop to go inside  thus creating a pandemonium for the kids to imitate me and respectively bought their own toys;

H.3.1 This unscheduled  activity somehow prejudiced our visit to the chocolate house thus depriving us of witnessing the process of manufacturing local nougat delicacy thus confining our activity to the tasting and purchasing of nougat delicacy including handmade torrone;

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H.4 After the tour we partook lunch where I ordered a pizza and an Asti Spumante to have a forestate of the same in preparation for the wine tasting in the afternoon;

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H.4.1 Allow me quote the Lonely Planet on the details about Asti Spumante:”Since the 1850s the grapes grown on the plains around Asti produced Italy’s top sparkling wine, Asti Pumante(often just referred to as Asti to avoid being lumped in with poorer quality spumante).

Made from white Muscat grapes,this sweet,pale-gold wine is best drunk young at a chilled 6Cto 8C,like its less-fizzy cousin Moscado0 d’ Asti.

There are numerous places to sample the two,either in town(which I did) or in the 9,120 hectares of vineyard in Asti;

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H.3.2 The guide firstly showed us the vast lands to which the grapes were grown;

H.3.3 The supervisor of the wine-processing plant thereafter showed to us the processing of the wines through big distilling machines;

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H.4 Thereafter we had wine tasting to the delight of the members of the family;

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H.4.1 We likewise requested Sunday to buy the 2 wines to be embided by the willing and able members of the consumption while I and Precious separately bought our respective bottles of Asti Spumante;

H.5 Thereafter we arrived at Turin,which is part of the Piedmont Region;

H.5.1 Allow me to quote the historical background of Turin by quoting its historical background through the Lonely Planet:

“Turin is magical.  It is Italy’s fourth largest city and has an illustrious past,resulting in elegant squares,world class museums andhistoriccafes,flanked by some  18 km of colonnaded walkways.

History hasn’t stood still here, however:  Turin has pioneered in host innovations,from Fiat cars to the first ever Slow Food supermarket (housed in an old Fiat factory).

Funky new bars spill onto to the cobblestone streets of Quadrelatero Romano during apertivi, and contemporary art installations graced its baroque buildings and the odd Roman ruin.

Turinis charm aren’t only manmade: to the east low lying hills rise above the Po River,while to its west are the mountains that hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Depending on what you believe,Turins’ charms are not only tangible,either.  Allegedly Turin forms part a “white triangle” of mystical ednergies along with Lyon and Prague,as well as black magic triangle withLondon and San Francisco.

Turin also sits at the confluence of two mighty rivers, the Po and the Dora,believed to possess the male and female powers of the sun and the moon.

And the city’s cathedral is home to the enigmatic Holy Shroud,attracted millions of Catholic pilgrims during its rare public unveilings.”;

Arrival at Turin, the group led by Don hurriedly proceeded to the busy area where supposedly branded stores would be found;

H.5.1 I, accompanied by Ash, begged  from the rapid pace of walking being led by Don enabling me to buy Northern faced fatigue jacket to have the feeling of being on style and old CDs;

H.6 At dinner we requested Cristina to arrange a Chinese or oriental dinner to celebrate Tessie’s birthday and likewise Michelle for being a Philippine magazine as 1 of the 10 alluring women in the Philippines;

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H.6.1 The restaurant was given a free hand in the serving of fish,meat and vegetable viands which proved riotous as the restaurant could have excessively provided food thus creating abundant excesses which celebrant Tessie requested that they be placed in doggy bags for takeway;

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I. In the morning of April 16,2014 I walked through the road adjacent to the Hotel where display areas of Prada,Armani and the like;

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I.1 It is the place where the Egypt museum which approximates the one in Cairo,Egypt is likewise situated which I intend to visit later in the day;

I.1.1 I passed by a bookstore where it was displaying a children book with pop-up illustrations thus providing with the imaginary itenerary on where to go after the morning tour, including the Egyptian Museum;

I.1.2 At the end of the road is the Piazza Castelo;

I.1.2.1 The Lonely Planet states the following:”Turin’s central square shelters a wealth of museums,theatres and cafes.  Essentially baroque the grand piazza was laid out from the 14th century to serve as the seat of dynastic power in the House of Savoy.

The Piazza is dominated by PalezzoMadma, a part-medieval,partbarouquecastle,built in the 13th century on the site of the old Roman gate.

It was named after the MadamaReale Madam Cristina,the widow of the VitorrioAmadeo I, who lived in the 17th century.

Today part of the palaces houses the MusecoCivica d Arte Antica….. In the northeastern corner of thesquare is the baroque Chiesa di San Lorenzo designed by GuarinoGuarini.  The church’s richly complex interior compensates for the spare façade.

Statues to the mythical twins Castor and Pollux guard the entrance to Plaza Reale and according to local legend,also watch over the border between the sacred(white magic) and diabolical(black magic) halves of the city.

Built for Carlo Emmanuele II around 1646,the lavishly decorated rooms house an assortment of furnishings,porcelain and other knicknacks.

The surrounding GuardinoReale,east of the palace,was designed in 1697 by Andre de Norte,who created aslo the gardens of Versailles.”

I.1.2.2 After breakfast our local guide toured us through the city pointing to us its highlights like the Po River,the numerous trees which are far greater than the number of inhabitants, the site of the alleged entrance to hell(which local legend cites) at the Fontana Angelica in response to my early query seeking explanation on the reported presence black magic in the locality etc.;

I.1.2.3 Thereafter we were brought to the Duomo Di San Giovanni which is Turin’s cathedral built between 1491 and 1498 on the site of three 14th century basilicas, which is the home of famous Shroud of Turin;

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I.1.2.4 The Lonely Planet provides the following:

“The Sindone(Holy Shroud) is Caholicism greatest icon of faith,drawing millions of pilgrims to Turin when it is displayed every so often. Only the pope and the bishop of Turin when the sacred cloth will next be hauled.  Its last public appearance is 2000 and the next isn’t slated until 2025.

For centuries expert s and fanatics have argued over the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin,said to be the burial cloth in which Jesus body was wrapped. Tests in 1981 uncovered traces of human blood (Type AB) and pollen from plants known to exist around Jerusalem.

Cynics claim the shroud is a medieval fake.  Carbon dating carried out 1988 seemed to confirm this,tying it out to the 13thcentury.  However, the white cloth – 4.37 long and 1.1 wide is generally to have been woven in the Middle East.

How the image of a crucified human body – including thorn wounds on the forehead and the wounds of both wrists and feet – formed on the cloth remains the biggest mystery.  Some have suggested that the shroud was in fact the first-ever attempt at photography (using a camera obscural), undertaken by Leonardo da Vinci.

The first mention came in AD 944, when such object was kept in Constantinople. This was,apparently looted during the sacking of that city by the Crusaders in 1204,and by 1453 it was in the hands of Duke Louis of Savoy in Chambery(now part of France).

The dye-style brown pattern visible on it today was caused by a fire in1532.  Safeguarded by Turin since 1578, the shroud is now laid out in vacuum-sealed box,which in turn is stored in controlled  atmosphere.

Since the death of former King Umberto II in 1983,the shroud has officially been the property of the Vatican.

Researchers were scandalized in 2002 when the shroud underwent “restoration” deswtroying forensic evidence of its origins.

The Museo has informative displays and artifacts such as the first camera to take the cloth in 1898.”

I.1.2.5 According to the local guide the Vatican does not either declare or deny the miraculous situation about the Shroud;

I.1.3 Below are photos of the images,crown of thorns,and other artifacts in the Museum;

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I.4 After the visit, we continued with the walking tour until we disbanded at Piazza Castelo at 1200 with Cristina telling us at 1630 the group would assemble at the Hotel for the visit to Mole Antonelliana;

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I.1.4.1 It gave Ash and Itime to purchase the popped up children’s book, to visit the Egypt Museum,to eat luncheon, to visit the Oriental Museum and to buy old writing instruments for the Book Museum during the intervening time cited above;

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I.5  At the bus at around 1630 the group told Cristina that in lieu of  the Italian food they would like to eat Middle East delicacy delicacy like Kebabs;

I.5.1 Although Cristina was initially reluctant citing reasons of a previous commitment to an Italian restaurant, failure to bring the laptop to thresh out things, the name and whereabout of the supposed restaurant serving kebab where Sunday had the opportunity to take lunch,the possibility of getting late to the schedule, the group through silence won over as she was prompted to get her laptop at her room in the Hotel;

I.6 With Cristina’s  admission that it would be her first time to see Mole Antonelliana she nevertheless informed us that the elevator would stop functioning at 1900 which is a warning that we should be back through the stairs if we failed to return at the deadline,we hurriedly proceeded to the site;

I.6.1 Allow me to quote the Lonely Planet which substantially narrates what we have seen and experienced:

“The symbol of Turin is the Mole Antonelliana.  This 167 m tower,with its distinctive aluminum spire, appears on the Italian two-cent coin.  It was originally intended as a synagogue when construction began in1862, but it was never used as a place of worship.

In 2000,the tower becomes home to the multiflooredMuzeoNazionale del Cinema which takes you to a fantastic tour through cinematic history-from the earliest magic lanterns,stereoscopes and other optical toys in the present day.

Movie memorabilia on display includes Marilyn Monroe’s black lace bustier,Peter O Toole’s robe in Lawrence of Arabia and the coffin used in BelaLogusi’s Dracula.

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At the heart of the museum, the vast Temple Hall is surrounded by 10 interactive chapels’ devoted to to various film genres.

The Mole’s glass Panoramic Lift whisks you 85 cm up through the center of the museum to the Mole’s roof terrace in 59 seconds.

Fair warning if you’re even slightly prone to vertigo: it suspended only by cables,so when you look out it’s as if you are free- floating in space.  The 360-degree views from the outdoor viewing deck are dazzling by day and night.”;

 

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I.6.2 We are thankful to Lennie for reminding us to experience the Panoramic Lift which is an important feature of the visit;

I.6.3 Mindful of the earlier pronouncement of Cristina about the need to descend as the elevator would cease operation at 1900 we developed misapprehension that we would use the long stairs as we were we still at the rooftop at around 1910 and we were at the back of the multitude people on cue awaiting the opening up of the elevator with a limited capacity which would approximately need 4 or 5 replenishments of people before us;

I.6.3.1 We were extremely happy when the elevator opened up for us to enter after the 4 replenishments of people;

I.6.3.2 When we were at the ground floor there was an announcement that the deadline was 2000 instead of 1900 to our further relief;

I.7We thereafter were brought to the hotel for at slight rest and thereafter proceeded to partake dinner at a Middle East food arranged by Cristina;

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I.7.1 Learning from the previous experience which brought about excessive supply of food this time everyone ordered his/her choiced meal;

I.8 After meal after seeking the direction from Cristina Ash, and I went to the Angelina Fontana which is the alleged site of the entrance to hell for picture taking to showcase to the world that I was in the area where local legend points as the site of the black magic;

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J.On April 17,2014 in the morning I walked through Via Roma which is the main street leading to the Piazza Castello allowing to experience a bigger perspective of the historical and commercial areas;52

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J.1 Thereafter we partook breakfast;

J.1.1 We requested our bags to be brought down for eventual deposit to the bus;

J.2At the bus the members of the Bufonfamily delivered their commentaries to the trip;

J.2.1 Luigi even cited me for influencing the family to see the beauty of the world depending on the confluence of time,money and health;

J.2.1 I cited that Don was the principal architect of the wonderful trip with the help of Lennie;

J.2.2 Everyone except Drei who was asleep and not feeling well gave a favorable description of the trip;

J.3 On our way to Milan we visited a northern part of Piedmont which is Vercelli;

J.3.1According to the Lonely Planet “The land around Vercelli and the west bank of Sesia river, is so flat and soggy that 100 varieties of rice are grown here.”;

J.4 We firstly visited a rice milling factory where through the use of Japanese made machines several varieties of polished rice are wholesaled and retailed;

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J.5 We therefore partook a lunch at a restaurant whose facilities appear to be geared for folk and disco dancing because of the wide dance floor and presence of multicolored balloons expressing expressing joys and happiness in dancing;

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J.5.1 We were thereafter served with a risotto lunch;

J.6. We checked in the Grand Visconte Palace which is likened to a Palace and has truly the ambience of old Italy;

J.7 After checking in our bags the bus brought us to La Scala as the starting point to the visit to the Duomo and the nearby branded shops;

J.7.1 It was here where we individually hugged Cristina and shook hands with Joseph as it was the last moment of the family’s togetherness with them;

J.8 As I could not go with the walking pace of Don and the group I begged off from joining them and just stayed within the periphery of the shopping mall partaking pizzas and drinking red wine;

J.8.1 Danda,Migs,Luigi and Enzo stayed likewise within the vicinity;

J.8.2 Danda and Migs bought me a Pinochio booklet and an intricately covered war book with an eyeglass to have better perpectives of the war pictures thereto;

J.9 We were told by Don when we met him and his immediate members of his family that Ochie Sunday,Michelle and Juani and Jun and Tessie that earlier for the Hotel;

J.10 The remaining Buhain families availed of the subway to reach the Hotel without sweat;

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J.11 Upon reaching the Hotel they petitioned to partake dinner at a nearby Chinese restaurant as pointed by the Filipino employee at the Hotel;

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J.11.1 Food servings by the Chinese waiters who had difficulty expressing themselves in English were not simultaneously thus creating confusion leaving out plenty of foods unconsumed once more;

J.12 While walking to  the Hotel we stopped by a store whose business name  is WASTE OF TIME which are selling Ratman instead of the usual Batman and other extraordinary objects;

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J.12.1 When the supposed Manager of the store  saw all the members of the Buhain families simultaneously peeping through the glass  display windows the Manager went hurriedly to the door and locked it;

J.12.2 We were surprised by this actuation thus Don suggested that the door instead of being locked could have been opened up;

J.12.3 When a family member tried to to verify it was found out that it was truly locked;

J.12.4 We thought that the occupant’s kind of thinking jives with the name of the store;

J.13 We thereafter bidded goodbye to one another as the Buhain and Carpio families would already be leaving for Manila the following day;

J.13.1 Drei was heard to have said”I do not want yet to go out of Italy.”

  1. On April 18,2014 I,Ash,Ochie,Sunday,Michelle and Juani took the easyJet flight via EZY 2836 at 0710 for Bari, Southern Italy and arriving thereto  0845 after the lapse of 1 hour and 35 minutes;

K.1 We were met by Jake which took us 3 hours San Giovanni Rotondo;

K.2 Allow me to give the details to be quoted from the Lonely Planet about Father Pio which is the purpose of our visit to the above-cited place:

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The smiling bearded man who pops up on walls everywhere is Padre Pio(1887-1968) who on 16 June 2002 took his place in the pantheon before a an estimated 300,000 devotees,the 457th saint to be canonized by Pope John Paul II.

The Vatican had undergone a remarkable volte-face.  Suspicious of his reputation,it had twice investigated Padre Pio for fraud,bugged his confessional and even banned him from saying Mass for 10 years.

But this was later forgiven and forgotten,in an appropriately Christian way.  Miracles were needed to support the canonization: first was an Italian womanwho had recovered from a burst lymph blood vessel after praying to Padre Pio.Then a seven year old boy recovered from meningitis in 2000 after seeing a vision of him.

Padre Pio found himself with stigmata around  1911.  The ailing Capuchin priest arrived in San Giovanni Rotondo,then a tiny,isolated medieval village in 1916.  As Pio’s fame grew,the town too underwent miraculous transformation.  These days,it is a mass of functional hotels and restaurants catering 8 million pilgrims a year.  Its all overlooked by the palatial Home for the Relief of Suffering,one of Italy’s premier hospitals established by Pio in 1947.

The Convent of the Minor Capuchin Friars includes Padre Pio’s cell, a simple roomcontaining mementos of his blood stained socks.  The old church where he used to Mass dates back from the 16th century.

The spectacular new church designed by Genovese Renzo Piano(who also designed the Paris’ Pompidou Center) holds a furture futuristic seashell,with an interior boney vaulting. 

Inside hold 7200(outside has a capacity of 30,000) but the design,owing more to a concert hall than a cathedral,is such that none of the seated congregation will feel distant.  Padre Pio’s body lies now in geometric perfection of the semicircular crypt.”;

K.2.1 We were privileged to visit all of the above through the indispensable help of the Sister Veronica sister friend of Michelle;

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K.3 While partaking lunch of pizzas and pastas in one of the restaurants  within the vicinity,we learned that Jake is connected with the Cojuangcos wherein one member is married to an Italian executive connected to Beneton as well as to the Aquino clan where President Aquino is a member;

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  1. After lunch we proceeded immediately to Bari where we hoped we could see the highlights of the place;

L.1 We arrived Bari around 1700;

L.2 I am hereby quoting the Lonely Planet which supplements what we superficially saw and experienced due to time constraint: “Bari Vecchia –the old town-is a medieval labyrinth opening onto graceful piazzas,and crams in 40 churches and more than 120 shrines.

It feels a small peninsula sheltering the new port to the west and the old port to the southeast.

—–Northwest past the small Chiesa di Santa Ana is the Basilica di San Nicola,— one of the south Norman churches’

It is a splendid example of PuglianRomanuesquestyle,and was built to house the relics of St. Nicholas(better known as Father Christmas) which were stolen from Turkey by the Baresi fishermen.

His remains are said to emanate a miraculous manna liquid with special powers.  For this reason – and because he is also the patron saint of prisoners and children-the basilica remains an important place of pilgrimage.

The interior is huge and simple, which is decorated with 17th century wooden ceiling.  The magnificent 13th century ciborium over the center of the altar is Puglia’s oldest.  The shrine in the crypt, lit by hanging lamps, is beautiful.

From here, a brief walk south along Via delleCrociate brings you to the exquisite4ly plain 11th-century Romanesque cathedral.—-Built over the original Byzantine church, the cathedral retains the basilica plan and the Eastern style copula.

The severely plain walls are punctuated with deep arcades and the eastern window is a tangle of plants and animal motifs.”;

L.3 The visit to the Basilica allowed me to buy image of St.Nicolas as a saint sculpted through   a container containing the Holy Water and his   image as Santa Clause;

L.3.1 I bought the tapestry portraying St. Nicolas;

L.3.1 On our way back to Jake’s car from the Cathedral I bought also a small Trulli house souvenir which would serve as a reminder  that I was able  to visit the Puglia Region for the second time;

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L.4 At 2205 we flew back to Milan on April 18, 2014;

  1. At 1310 we were welcomed by the transport company;

M.1.The Transport Company brought us with fast speed back (through heavy rains and intermittent pot holes) to our Hotel in Milan;

M.2 Upon arrival at the Hotel we bidded good bye and expressed congratulations for the successful trip and thereafter proceeded to our respective rooms to retire and sleep;

M.3 After few  hours of sleep   I walked at the surrounding peripheries of  the Hotel at least 3 times before partaking breakfast with Ash;

M.4We thereafter proceeded by taxi to the Ethnology Museum only to find that it was close considering that it was    “Glorious Saturday”;

M.4.1 I asked Ash on what we would be doing for the rest of the   day considering that we earlier booked to hold on the Hotel room until 1830 at an additional price of 60 euros;

M.5 When we saw however a member of the staff of the Hotel who is a Filipino (who hails from Tarlac which is my mother’s province) after mentioning the commonality of our roots  we requested him  to call the other museums whom we checked to visit;

M.6 We were happy to know that the St. Ambrose Museum and the Leonardo Da Vince Science and Technology Museum were both open;

M.6.1We firstly proceeded to the Basilica di Saint Ambrogio;

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M.6.2 The Lonely Planet provides the following details consistent with our superficial experience arising from the visit:

“St. Ambrose,Milan’s patron saint,is buried  in the crypt of the Romanesque Basilica di Saint Ambroglio which he founded on the 4th century.

 

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Since then the Church has been repaired,rebuilt and restored several times,resulting in mishmash of styles that-as with the city fashions-somehow work.

Another lasting legacy of Ambrose is the term “Ambrosian” which even today is often used as synonym for Milanese.”

M.7 After requesting an Italian to communicate by phone  to the taxicab office we finally were able to secure a taxi for the visit to  the MuseoNazionalledellaScienza  e dellaTecnica which we did not realize was only 5 minutes from where we took of;

M.7.1When we arrived we joined the long cue which took at least thirty minutes for us to be accommodated;67

 

The Lonely Planet provides the following details suppletory to our superficial experience arising from the visit:

“Exhibits range from models testing Da Vinci’s far-fetched designs to electricity.astronomy,or clock and guitar – making. There’s a 1940s submarine that can be toured if you book ahead.—-“

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M.8 After our visit we were able to get a taxi through the courtesy of another Filipina walking down the street and who comes from Oriental Mindoro thus establishing  commonality of origin once more;

M.8.1 Upon arrival  back to the Hotel we partook snacks to serve as our lunch at a modest Chinese run restaurant;

M.9We decided to go down to check out at 1700;

M.9.1 While waiting we met a Brazilian woman whose calling is that of an interior decorator  and that  she is  visiting Milan on account of the ongoing Milan Design Expo;

M.9.2Her facial experience is likened to that of Ming in view of the similarity of facial expression although the former is on the heavier side while the latter on the leaner side;

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M.10 We took the Etihad flight under EY 82 leaving Milan at 2155 and arriving Abu Dhabi at 0605 plus 1 on April 19,2014 ;
M.10.1 We thereafter took the Etihad flight under EY 428 leaving Abu Dhabi on April 20, 2014 and arriving at Manila at 2310 of April 20, 2014 ;
M.11 Upon arrival at Manila we immediately unloaded the items (with the help of Donaire) from the big luggage and knapsack at the car to be replaced by the items which we would bring for the trip to Kuala Lumpur;
M.11.1 Upon arrival we availed of the shower facilities at Wensha Spa to renew our freshness for another travel to Kuala Lumpur;
N. On April 21, 2014 I,Ash and Atty.Dascil took the Hong Kong flight via CX 912 leaving at 0835 and arriving thereto at 1045;
N.1 We thereafter took the Kuala Lumpur flight via CX 725 at 1250 and arriving thereto at 1640;
O. On April 22, 2014 the ASEAN Book Publishers’ Association(ABPA)Exco Meeting was held which resolved numerous things including the holding of the AGM at Myanmar on November, 2014;

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O.1 During nighttime we met the Officers of the Malaysia Printers’ Association which is reportedly the biggest printing association comprising predominantly of printers with Chinese origin at the coffee shop of the Seri Pacific Hotel where we were booked;

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O.1.1 After explaining the objective of the ASEAN Printing Association which was commenced through the initiative of PPTF they manifested their intention to join the Association;

O.1.2 They are likewise joining  the envisioned ASEAN Printing Exhibit  and Forum where  the topic “Meeting the Challenges of the ASEAN Integrated Community from the ASEAN Perspective”  would be held  on September,2014 in Jakarta to be hosted by the Indonesian Printing Association;

O.1.3 Below is a photo depicting the mutuality of interests of PPTF and the Malaysian Printers’ Association to pursue successfully the challenges of the ASEAN Integrated Community;

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P. On April 23, 2014 we took the Hongkong flight via CX 722 leaving Kuala Lumpur at 1330 and arriving Hongkong at 1725;
P.1 Thereafter we took the flight via CX 913 leaving Hong Kong at 2025 and arriving Manila on April 23, 2014 at 2235;
P.2 Thank you Lord once more for allowing us to complete these journeys and for providing us with opportunity to see the places where saints had lived coupled with the miracles they had performed.

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