St. Peter’s Basilica, Part Two Monday, Oct 1 2012 

The highlight of my visit to the Vatican was a discovery of a way to get up to the top of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. A barely visible sign pointed to a passage around the right side of the building. Seven euros later, you can get into an elevator that takes you to the roof of the basilica itself.

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica

That’s where the fun starts. I’m not sure if Michelangelo designed it that way, but the passageway to the top actually circles around the outside of the dome in a very narrow, rather steep stairway. It is definitely not recommended for anyone suffering from anxiety or claustrophobia.

The most interesting part of the trip up is the fact that the winding, circling stairway starts curving inwards as you get closer to the top, so you climb the last little while slanted.

View from the top

View from the top

But, then, a few steps later, you come out to the small observation deck and the view is nothing short of breathtaking. You pretty much see all of Rome from up there, and Piazza San Pietro is laid out perfectly in front of you.

I also snapped a few photos with my film camera, so look for those when I develop that roll.

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Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Spain Sunday, Sep 16 2012 

Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Spain

Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Spain

As you may have noticed, I started my “365” project a week ago, meaning that I will post a photo each day for a year. There are a lot of photos I haven’t posted, and I’m hoping to take a lot of new ones, so the exercise is mainly in discipline and preparation.

This week, I will post a photo a day from my trip to Spain back in March.

Plaza Mayor is a rectangular square in the middle of downtown Madrid, where you can buy any type of souvenir known to man. From figurines of bulls to Soviet military memorabilia, and everything in between, you’ll find it here. In the evening, the shops close, but the restaurants open, and the waiters entice you to sit at one of the many tables outside.

When I took this picture, I didn’t even notice that the facade is actually full of painted ladies in various stages of undress. Upon further review, there are even a few male nudes. I included a 100% crop of one of the windows, flanked on each side by a beautiful woman. The Europeans definitely think differently about nudity.

Ladies of Plaza Mayor

Ladies of Plaza Mayor, 100% crop

What do you think? Can you imagine something like this on a building in your town’s main square?

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