Eurotrip 2017 Part 2 – Turin, Italy

After our Paris trip, we headed for Turin, Italy for the next six days. We took the train and the neat thing about about the ride over was how comfortable and quiet it was. Even though the ride itself was about six hours, it certainly didn’t feel like it. Napping was easy and it was pretty spacious.

Just like the last post focused on Paris, this one will focus on Italy. Same as the last post, the pictures below are a compilation of pictures that everyone took during our awesome trip.  Continue reading “Eurotrip 2017 Part 2 – Turin, Italy”

Advertisements

Eurotrip 2017 Part 1 – Paris, France

We recently had an amazing vacation with our awesome friends from the U.S. Three couples and a 3.5 month-old baby came over across the pond for nearly two weeks. Each and every day was so much fun! We were so so happy to have them over here 🙂

The focus of the trip was Paris, France and Turin, Italy. This particular post will focus on the Paris portion only.  We were there for about 3 days. The post will be a keepsake to remember the fun we had and won’t necessarily have too many facts like the other blog posts do. If you do want to know more about some of the places we’ve visited in Paris, please visit our first trip to Paris, France, which was last December. One other note: the pictures here in this post are a compilation of ones that everyone took – thanks to everyone for letting me use them, especially the ones with crazy copyrights on them! :-p  Continue reading “Eurotrip 2017 Part 1 – Paris, France”

Pont-Saint-Martin, Bard, and Verres – Italy

This will be a more pleasant post, compared to the one before.

Sunday, 28 May 2017:

One of the great things about living here in Italy is the ability to visit nearby towns and discover something new and unique. We took a day trip to a few small towns the other weekend to visit their main attractions.

The three cities we visited were Pont-Saint-Martin, Bard, and Verres, which are all in the Aosta area in northern Italy. A little less than two hours away for us.  Continue reading “Pont-Saint-Martin, Bard, and Verres – Italy”

The Islands of Malta and Gozo

Malta is an island that I honestly never knew existed, which is a shame because it’s a beautiful and relaxing place to be. It is located between southern Italy and Northern Africa (see maps below). This sunny spot is actually where many movies and TV series have been filmed, including (but not limited) to Titanic, Captain Phillips, Troy, Popeye, and Game of Thrones.  Continue reading “The Islands of Malta and Gozo”

Il Museo Egizio & Basilica di Superga

Wow, it’s been a bit since I’ve posted something, sorry about that! I will be better this week!

Saturday, 5 March 2016:

Believe it or not, it snowed a bit in the morning and early afternoon on Saturday! It looked like a Winter Wonderland was forming!

20160305_084253.jpg

Luckily, though, it didn’t stick. When it cleared up a bit, we stuck with our original plan to go and see Il Museo Egizio (The Egyptian Museum). It is actually one of the largest museums that holds Egyptian art and artifacts. It comes second after the museum in Cairo, Egypt.

First, we stopped and bought these:

IMG_3349

These annual museum passes allow us to visit and explore several (actually, a ton of) museums, palaces, etc. in the Piedmont region for free. We were lucky to get them at a pretty good discount, too! The good thing for when guests come here is that there are also options for discounted passes that last a few days. If we go to enough museums, then it’ll definitely worth buying!

*Fun Fact* Did you know that in Italy, women rarely take their husband’s last name when they get married? When getting our museum passes, the person helping us thought we were siblings because we had the same last name!

We took some pictures inside the museum, but not a lot. We wanted to make sure that we enjoyed ourselves. Also, we don’t want to spoil the museum for when you come to visit, so we’ll only show you a few. 🙂

One of the first things we saw was a mummy. 20160305_145004.jpgI learned that towards the beginning of preserving a body for the afterlife, the Egyptians laid the bodies on their left side usually in the fetal position like the one in the picture. Here we see a natural mummy of an adult man and his funeral equipment (sandals, reed baskets, and arrows). Notice how there is still some skin on his body?

He was from the Predynastic Period, which was roughly 3500 BC! Can you believe that?

This natural mummy was preserved by purely the sand he was buried in (i.e. the ground). The makeup of the sand and the environment would naturally preserve the body. That makes the condition of the mummy after over 5500 years even more amazing!

I will admit I was left with an unsettling feeling for a few moments after this particular mummy. I really didn’t know how to take the fact that someone’s body is used as an exhibit. I was a little disturbed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fascinating that the Egyptians treated their deceased like this, I was just troubled for a bit.

Afterwards, we also saw some wrapped up mummies like this one:

20160305_155126.jpg

When the Egyptians began using caskets/tombs, they started using an artificial mummification process since the bodies were no longer buried in the sand. I’m not sure if you know the process of mummification, so I won’t go into too many details in case you do. However, here are some in case you’re not sure. If you’re not interested, feel free to skip the steps, since some are a bit graphic.

  1. First, the Egyptians would purify the body with water from the Nile River.
  2. Then, they would take some organs out (the brain would come out first, through the body’s nose, since this was seen as less important) and put to the side to be dried with natron (a type of salt that was used to dry out the body and organs during mummification). They would leave the heart in the body because they believed that this was the vital part of man, and he would need it for the afterlife.
  3. Next, the rest of the body would be dried out with natron. The dried out organs would then be wrapped up and returned to the body.
  4. After, the body is washed, then covered in oils.
  5. Finally, the body is wrapped in several layers linens for the final stages of mummification.

The Egyptians also began to draw a face on the mummy wrappings, making them the most interesting type in this museum. The reasoning behind this is unclear to us (or at least, I couldn’t find anything about it online), but it might have to do with making the person more lifelike and ready for the afterlife. You can see the face in the wrapped mummy above.

20160305_153728.jpg
Here is one version of a tomb/sarcophagus. As time went on in Egypt, the details on the coffin became more and more involved to make them more personalized.
20160305_152520.jpg
Here is one version of a Sphinx. There are many different versions and sizes, but I like this one the best. It is what I have pictured a Sphinx would look like since I was a kid.

We explored a little more, but believe it or not, we did not even make it halfway through the museum! There’s so much to explore and so much to learn that we will definitely have to go back!

Sunday, 6 March 2016:

On Sunday, we went to explore the Basilica di Superga, on Superga Hill, another beautiful church. Here it is on the outside:

IMG_3284

The inside is just as gorgeous. It still amazes me that the public is able to enter churches and take pictures of their beauty.

Here we have different versions/interpretations of the Holy Mary and Baby Jesus.

The Holy Mary and Baby Jesus statue on the bottom is a very special one. This is where people feel comfortable praying for their loved ones. Notice the various rosaries Mary and Baby Jesus are holding? It is common for people to place their rosaries in their hands or around them as an offering. So beautiful.

There is a chance to go up to the top of the church that would provide amazing views of the Alps. Unfortunately, this day was a bit hazy and we had a hard time seeing the Alps from where we were, so we are saving this trip to the top for a clearer day!

We ended our weekend with some relaxation and preparation for our Cultural Training we had the next day (Monday)!