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Tucson, Arizona

February 25 – March 2, 2017 – Tucson, AZ, USA

2017 Southern Arizona & Astronomy

After spending a week with my astronomy buddies in the high desert of the Dragoon Mountain Ranch area east of Tucson, I take five more days to explore the Tucson area before returning home. I have some time to drive around Tucson to experience the city and the sights by taking day trips from where I’m staying in the Oro Valley (20 minutes drive north of the city). I go to see the Desert Museum, Sabino Canyon Park and Catalina State Park, Biosphere 2, as well as the aircraft bone yard. As I drive around Tucson, I can appreciate why this city is so popular with Snowbirds, since at this time of year the sky is clear and sunny, and yet the temperatures are moderate. It would be a wonderful place to spend some time to escape the winter for those of us who live in more northerly climates.

February 25, 2017 – Carrabba’s Italian Grill

I walk up the street from my hotel to have dinner at Carrabba’s Italian Grill. Since I am there early it is Happy Hour, so I order a $3 martini and have an Italian salad and Cioppino main course later. The Cioppino is a bit watery, but very tasty, so I use the bread to soak up the juice. Cost is only US$24 include tax and tip! I return on my last night in Tucson to enjoy another Happy Hour Martini and have their Proscuitto-wrapped shrimp with broccoli. JoeTourist recommended!

February 26, 2017 – Saffron Indian Bistro

I walk up the street from my hotel to the Saffron Indian Bistro for dinner, which is located in the same mall as the Italian restaurant I went to last night. I have vegetable Pakoras with Tamarind sauce to start, and Chicken Biryani for my main course. The rice with the chicken is very fragrant, and of course, I can always make a meal of Pakoras when there is Tamarind sauce to dip them into! I bring half of the Chicken Biryani back to my hotel, since it is too much for me. JoeTourist recommended!

The above two restaurants are located in the Oracle Crossing Shopping Center in the Oro Valley, a half hour drive north of Tucson. Urban art sculptures by David Voisard are featured in the mall’s outside spaces, which I find to be quite creative and fun!

JoeTourist: Tucson &emdash; Street art: 'Sharing A Meal' a man and his dog, by David Voisard

February 26, 2017 – Houses in the desert hills

When I drive out to the Arizona-Sedona Desert Museum southwest of the city, the route takes me through some areas where houses are on larger lots than in the city, and their property has beautiful cactus and other desert foliage surrounding their houses. Since this is my first time in southern Arizona, these areas seem to fulfill my preconceived notions of what living in the desert should look like!

JoeTourist: Tucson &emdash; Houses and cactus in Sundance Estates

March 2, 2017 – Tucson Train Station & Old Tucson

The Tucson train station is located in the older part of the city (as most train stations are), however this area is well worth a visit in any case. Many of the classic hotels in the area are upgraded, there are brew pubs, fine restaurants, entertainment venues, and the Presidio showcasing old Tucson’s culture and history. The train station also is the location for the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, Maynard’s Market restaurant, and other interesting shops. The station itself is classic architecture – worth a look even if you aren’t taking the Amtrak train.

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Rome

September 11, 2014 – Thursday – Rome walking tour, Italy

Rick Steves Best of Europe in 21 Days tour

Upon our arrival in Rome, our driver Sylvain has to maneuver through some pretty challenging turns and narrow streets to get us to the drop off point in the city at Repubblica Square. Driving a vehicle that large in Rome is a real challenge! Once we are parked, we schlepp our bags the few blocks to Hotel Nardizzi Americana in sprinkling rain. A bunch of us have lunch on our own at a nearby salad bar deli. I have a delicious prosciutto panino (we say Panini in North America, which is actually the plural form of panino in Italian).

Group photo in front of the Roman Forum
Group photo in front of the Roman Forum

We go on an extensive walking tour of Rome this afternoon with a local guide who succeeds in bringing the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, and the Pantheon alive for us all. Several of us are tired after all the walking this afternoon, so we return to the hotel on our own using the Rome subway. Jennifer taught us well earlier in the day when we started our tour by taking the subway, so we have no problem reversing the route.

Three of us have dinner at Ristorante Esperia, which is a trattoria only a couple of blocks away from our hotel. I have Spaghetti Carbonara, which is very rich and tasty. We all enjoy our meals, although the wine is a bit expensive.

Rome
45 photos
The Colliseum and the Arch of Titus
The Colliseum and the Arch of Titus
The Colliseum being restored
The Colliseum being restored
Detail on the Colliseum exterior
Detail on the Colliseum exterior
The Colosseum arena showing the hypogeum's partially restored floor
The Colosseum arena showing the hypogeum’s partially restored floor
The Hypogeum's passageways under the former floor
The Hypogeum’s passageways under the former floor
The Colosseum arena showing the hypogeum
The Colosseum arena showing the hypogeum
Colliseum raked seating area
Colliseum raked seating area
Arch of Titus
Arch of Titus
Roman Forum and the Via Sacra Roman road in front of the Palatine Hill
Roman Forum and the Via Sacra Roman road in front of the Palatine Hill
Jennifer and our group inside the Colliseum
Jennifer and our group inside the Colliseum
Roman arches made of bricks
Roman arches made of bricks
The hypogeum walls detail
The hypogeum walls detail
The back of the Colliseum from the Arch of Constantine
The back of the Colliseum from the Arch of Constantine
Original cobblestones on the Via Sacra Roman road
Original cobblestones on the Via Sacra Roman road
Arch of Titus
Arch of Titus
Arch of Titus central soffit coffers
Arch of Titus central soffit coffers
Arch of Titus reliefs
Arch of Titus reliefs
Santa Francesca Romana Basilica
Santa Francesca Romana Basilica
Santi Cosma e Damiano
Santi Cosma e Damiano
Columns in front of the Santi Cosma e Damiano
Columns in front of the Santi Cosma e Damiano
Antoninus and Faustina Temple
Antoninus and Faustina Temple
The Roman Forum is a busy place...even today!
The Roman Forum is a busy place…even today!
Temple of Saturn with anti-crepuscular rays behind
Temple of Saturn with anti-crepuscular rays behind
Temple of Saturn
Temple of Saturn
Carved piece of a Roman column
Carved piece of a Roman column
Septimius Severus Arch
Septimius Severus Arch
Temple of Saturn
Temple of Saturn
Group photo in front of the Roman Forum
Group photo in front of the Roman Forum
Septimius Severus Arch, Roman Forum and Temple of Saturn
Septimius Severus Arch, Roman Forum and Temple of Saturn
Statutory embedded in a wall of the Capitoline Museum
Statutory embedded in a wall of the Capitoline Museum
Fashion shoot beside a statue of Zeus/Poseidon
Fashion shoot beside a statue of Zeus/Poseidon
Window detail in the Musei Capitolini
Window detail in the Musei Capitolini
A copy of the David in the Musei Capitolini
A copy of the David in the Musei Capitolini
Cordonata descending from the Piazza del Campidoglio
Cordonata descending from the Piazza del Campidoglio
Elephant and Obelisk in the Piazza della Minerva
Elephant and Obelisk in the Piazza della Minerva
Rear view of the Pantheon where the old Roman wall is located
Rear view of the Pantheon where the old Roman wall is located
Front entrance to the Pantheon
Front entrance to the Pantheon
The Pantheon interior
The Pantheon interior
The Pantheon interior dome
The Pantheon interior dome
The Pantheon interior
The Pantheon interior
Our group using the Rome metro on our own
Our group using the Rome metro on our own
National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II
National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II
Castel Sant'Angelo on the Tiber River
Castel Sant’Angelo on the Tiber River
Joggers run beside the Tiber River
Joggers run beside the Tiber River
View of the ancient city from the Piazza del Campidoglio
View of the ancient city from the Piazza del Campidoglio