Browsing Tag


Art, Europe, Italy

A Visit to Monster Park!

August 4, 2015

Monster ParkThis is probably the best-kept secret in all of Italy! In the Lazio region of Italy near my friend’s house, is something called the Sacred Wood of Bomarzo or the Parco dei Mostri. The park contains a collection of strange and some frightening pieces of sculpture. The sculptures have been carved out of rock found in the wood. An Italian nobleman named Pier Francesco Orsini in memory of his wife, Giulia Farnese, built the garden in the 16th century. The brochure that was given to us states that the architect was Pirro Ligorio, who completed parts of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. However, some online research says that Michelangelo was the architect, and his student’s completed the work. Either way, this is a unique experience and is not to be missed.

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As you can see, the wooded area is also a beautiful place to visit. During the heat wave that happened that week, the park was a welcome relief being a few degrees cooler than everywhere else. They give you map to the sculptures, but it isn’t very good but does provide great information on the sculptures and the history of the park. Just follow the trails you and you shouldn’t have a problem finding all the sculptures. It took us about an hour to walk through all of it.

Monster Park is located just outside Bomarzo, Italy. You can get there from the A1 highway following the signs for Bomarzo. If you have an Italian GPS, it should get you there with no problems. Google maps directions seem also to be accurate. From April to October the park is open every day from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm and from November through March from 8:30 am to sunset. Adult tickets are €10, and kid tickets are €8. There is also a snack bar on site if you need a break before or after.

What is the strangest attraction you have seen on your travels?

Bahrain, Middle East, Museums, Travel

Exploring the Bahrain National Museum

May 11, 2015

In my quest to visit more of the Middle East this year, I decided to go to Bahrain over the weekend. It is a very short flight. The airline website says it is 55 minutes, but the flight back was about 20 minutes. I wasn’t keeping track on the flight over as I fell asleep! A friend of mine who is also interested in exploring the Middle East came with me.

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We had both been told about the Bahrain National Museum and how amazing it is. We were not disappointed. This isn’t to say it is the best museum in the world, but when you live in a country with few museums and almost no local artifacts on display, this was a treat. The Bahrain National Museum was opened in 1988. It is a mix of history, archaeology and modern art.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the giant aerial photograph of Bahrain that was on the ground of the main floor.  It was very cool to see the scale of Bahrain. My friend and I walked around trying to find our hotel, but we think it was underneath a model display. The first floor had two temporary exhibits. One was on folktales and the other movie costumes from a specific designer. I don’t know who the designer was as I missed the label and the museum doesn’t have a good website. The permanent exhibit spaces on the first floor contained artifacts of the Dilmun civilization, which encompassed Bahrain and other Middle Eastern countries. Many of the artifacts were very old, but in very good shape. There were seals, pottery, coins, scrolls, documents and metalwork on display. Upstairs there was a life-size Souq with dioramas. While dioramas are no longer the norm in museums, they were great even if some of the mannequins needed a facelift. Look in the photo gallery for the poorly taxidermied cat! I think the dioramas worked because you walked through them instead of them being faced out behind glass.  It felt very real. There were two other galleries that were being renovated that looked intriguing. I will have to pay a visit the next time I go to see what becomes of them.

Outside is sculpture garden. It starts on the entry side and goes around the back of the museum to the water side. Some of them were huge. I am not usually a fan of sculpture but these were very beautiful and done in a modern style and seem to tell a story. Unfortunately, it was too hot to stand outside looking at them for too long.

Interesting story, my friend and I walked in the entrance and we were already hot from the 50 yards or so we had to walk from the cab. We commented on how hot it was to the guards at the ticket desk. When we asked how much, they said nothing because it’s hot. We were like okay, sounds good to us! Unfortunately, when we were leaving they were charging a family 1 dinar each for adults! We aren’t really sure why they let us in for free and I am not sure I want to know. However, if you get to Bahrain, make the museum your first stop!

Next post, Bahrain food and nightlife! Have you been to Bahrain? What was your favorite spot?