Twitter Follow me | Instagram Follow me | Pinterest Follow/Repin me | Facebook (The Weekend Traveler) Like me | Facebook (Alice Teh) Like me

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Alice Travels: Castel del Monte, Andria, Puglia (iPhone Edition)

Castel del Monte is awesome and its geometric design was unique. It lies in the comune of Andria, built on top of a hill where you can see a good part of the Puglia region, and the cities of the coast with a beautiful landscape. Shaped as an octagonal prism with an octagonal tower at each corner, the castle is described by the Enciclopedia Italiana as "the most fascinating castle built by Frederick II", and the site is protected as a World Heritage Site. It also appears on the Italian version of the one-cent euro coin.

Guided visits to the castle starts at 10:15 AM and I do suggest that arrive early in the day with a pro loco guide. There are many external guides available ranging from 1.5 hours to 2.0 hours visits which will cost around US$20 or more. Usually, such guided visits do NOT include the entrance ticket, shuttle bus service and parking ticket. Secondo me (in my opinion), a visit with the pro loco guide is much more affordable and equally good (if not better). For more information about the castle, ticket prices and how to reach, please go to Associazione Turistica Pro Loco Andria website at http://www.proloco.andria.ba.it/eng/casteldelmonte.php.

My total cost for the one-hour visit is €15, which comprised of the entrance ticket of €10 and contribution to the guide of €5. For the contribution, you can choose to pay any amount you like. After the guided tour, you are free to roam around. If you choose not to have a guide right from the beginning, that is OK too (but I strongly suggest you opt for a guide because without one, you won't be able to enjoy the significance of the castle). All photos in this post is taken using my iPhone5.


This was our pro loco guide. Maria Zingaro speaks English but I joined the Italian session which was about one hour. Please feel free to contact her at +39 347 6939234 when you're planning a visit to Castel del Monte. She's great!


Do take note of the mini trulli (plural for trullo) on the ground!

The magnificent Castel del Monte, ladies and gentlemen!

And for now, let's take a look of some of snapshots inside the castle... It was later turned into a prison, used as a refuge during a plague, and finally fell into disrepair. It originally had marble walls and columns, but were stripped by vandals or re-used in constructions nearby. What a pity! Apparently vandalism is quite common in historical sites in Italy.






This is how the ancient toilet looks like. To do your business, you sit on right side where the arch is...
Some of the remaining original marble panels in the castle.

This looks like a face that is surprised!
Walking down the very narrow staircases; probably not good for people who are claustrophobic...
Every time you will pass through a small window while scaling the stairs.
Our pro loco guide explaining details of the various parts of the castle and their significance.

WIKIPEDIA: More about the Castel del Monte here.

WIKIPEDIA: In Italy, Pro Loco (the term is both singular and plural) are grass-roots organizations that seek to promote some particular place, almost always a town and its immediate area; pro loco is a Latin phrase that may be roughly translated "in favor of the place". Usually the town is a full-fledged comune, but not always: frazioni and other small places with a high level of civic pride may have their own Pro Loco. [More details here]

***

P/S: For more updates, LIKE me on my Facebook pages at Alice Teh and The Weekend Traveler, OR FOLLOW me on Twitter and Instagram. See you there!

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Winner of To Sleep...Pe​rchance to Die, by Donald R. Grippo

I'm sorry for the late announcement, but here it is: The winner of the Donald R. Grippo's new novel, To Sleep…Perchance to Die is... TRAVELER! Congratulations! Your email has been sent to the publisher and they will be getting in touch with you.



BOOK SYNOPSIS
Eurasian beauty Mai Faca plots to marry Jake Warden, a successful oral surgeon forbidden to her because of family honor. In an unheard-of scheme, fellow oral surgeon, Bret Manley, falls victim to Mai's seduction as she and Jake play a cruel trick to be together. Jake acts with surgical precision to clear the path to Mai's happiness, threatening lives including his own. In a wake of turmoil and destruction, Bret's uncle and well-known criminal attorney, Hubie Santos, attempts to find out if a surgeon would use his knowledge to kill.



RELATED POSTS
***
 
P/S: For more updates, LIKE me on my Facebook pages at Alice Teh and The Weekend Traveler, OR FOLLOW me on Twitter and Instagram. See you there!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

While I Am Flying... Stopping at Frankfurt, then Milan

I'm currently up and away tens of thousands of feet up in the sky, and thought I'd schedule this post ahead of time and let it pop while I fly. I'll be transiting at Frankfurt, Germany, before arriving in Milan, Italy today. This is my second trip to the beautiful country; the first was last year in November making Rome my base to Naples, Pisa, Florence and other beautiful medieval villages.

There will be lots of things to keep me busy while I travel. I have my iPad with me that is already installed with Kindle and Zinio. Kindle will handle all my bookish needs and it's loaded with language books, novels and non-fictions. Zinio takes care of all my magazine needs and it's loaded with English and foreign language mags in Italian (of course!) and French. I'll be adding Spanish to the collection soon. I wrote a Zinio-related post on Reading Foreign Magazines to Learn a Language, and thought I'd share it with you again. Now, all I have to ensure is my devices are fully charged to survive the journey!

Meanwhile... I strongly encourage you to participate in a Book Giveaway I'm currently hosting for author Donald R. Grippo for his book To Sleep...Perchance to Die. Check out the giveaway and author interview here. It's open internationally until Sunday, 29 June 2014 23:59 Eastern time. Please leave your email and state book preference (e-book or print copy) in the Comments section in the post and you will be entered for the draw. I will be announcing the winner on Monday, 30 June 2014 while I'm in Italy. The publisher will then get in touch with the winner to send the book. In bocca al lupo! Good luck!

Lastly, catch my travel updates and Italian adventures using the links down below.

***

P/S: For more updates, LIKE me on my Facebook pages at Alice Teh and The Weekend Traveler, OR FOLLOW me on Twitter and Instagram. See you there!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Off I go to Italy!

Buon viaggio! Bon voyage!

Follow my trip on the links below #theweekendtravelergoestoitalyAGAIN
My post about the photo above.

P/S: For more updates, LIKE me on my Facebook pages at Alice Teh and The Weekend Traveler, OR FOLLOW me on Twitter and Instagram. See you there!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Off to Italy in... 1 More Day!

Just before I leave for my anticipated trip to Italy, I'd like to share again an old post from my blog in November last year: When traveling, read Psalms 121. I'm going to reproduce the verses here.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

I'm ready for my trip! Sono pronta per la mia vacanza!


Follow my trip on the links below #theweekendtravelergoestoitalyAGAIN
My post about the photo above.

P/S: For more updates, LIKE me on my Facebook pages at Alice Teh and The Weekend Traveler, OR FOLLOW me on Twitter and Instagram. See you there!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Off to Italy in... 2 More Days!

Some time earlier this year, in February, I wrote a post on Why I Love Italy. I will be leaving for Italy in 48 hours (!!) and revisiting that post makes me happy. For this trip, Milan is where I will be landing.

Milan: I've already bought the ticket (€8 without guide) to the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie to view the Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper (Cenacolo Vinciano). Another highlight for Milan is the Duomo; I definitely want to climb the stairs to the terraces (€7 on foot—my option, €12 by lift). I haven't heard from its Chapter Library about my intended visit, so I suppose that is not going to happen. I've also studied all the Metropolitana linea (M1, M2, M3, M5) and would love to try to take as many rides as possible. To do this without breaking the bank (each ride is €1.50 valid for 90 minutes across networks), I intend to buy the Milano Card which will allow me to take the Metros, buses and trams for free for up to three days!

Follow my trip on the links below #theweekendtravelergoestoitalyAGAIN
My post about the photo above.

P/S: For more updates, LIKE me on my Facebook pages at Alice Teh and The Weekend Traveler, OR FOLLOW me on Twitter and Instagram. See you there!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Off to Italy in... 3 More Days!

The story behind the picture: I took this photo at the Vatican Museums in Rome last year. The ceilings are so full of beautiful paintings such as this one. I asked one of my Italian friends about this painting because I was very curious and fascinated by it. The lady, surrounded by angels, held a sword in her right hand and a scale in her left.

Lucky for me, my friend Gianluca P. managed to find out for me. The painting's called Justice from the Stanza della Segnatura, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican. It was painted by Raphael (start: 1509, end: 1511).

I'll be going to Italy again very, very soon. Am so excited!

Follow my trip on the links below #theweekendtravelergoestoitalyAGAIN

P/S: For more updates, LIKE me on my Facebook pages at Alice Teh and The Weekend Traveler, OR FOLLOW me on Twitter and Instagram. See you there!