Monthly Archives: May 2006

Firenze

May 31st, 2005
We got up way early (too early to have our great breakfast delivered to us) and got on a train to Florence, or in Italian – Firenze. I have a really funny story about the ride on the subway to the Termini (the train station I got pooped on), but I don’t know if I can really write about it. I’ll tell it to you sometime if you want.I’ve always wanted to see Tuscany, so I was really excited about this day. Even though we were on a train, we got to see some wonderful Tuscan countryside. In Florence, among many things, we ate gelato and saw David.

Well, we actually didn’t see the REAL David as he is in the Accademia Gallery which had steep prices and long lines for those without reservations. David used to be in front of the Pallazzo Vecchio (Old Palace), but the rain was too acidic on him, so they moved him inside and built a replica. We saw the replica. Again, the “Poor Man’s Version” – probably not even close to the same thing, but I felt OK about it (Please, if you’re an art connoisseur, don’t take offense at that. We really do appreciate art, it’s just ticket prices and time were a big factor in the decision). He’s HUGE and I’ve heard that you get a better picture of that when he’s inside the Accademia.

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Tuscany, from the window of a fast-moving train.

 

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David. We have some better shots of him, but…well…he is naked and we want to keep this site family friendly =o)

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Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge).

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Firenze, from above.

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Us, with the city of Florence in the background.

Catching up on Life

As I mentioned in the Europe post, we had a great 3-day weekend. We took advantage of the nice weather to do things outside and took advantage of our extra time to get things done around the house.Highlights of the weekend:

Wild Wilderness Safari in Gentry…yes, Gentry – We went with Emma Claire and her parents, Jay and Caroline. We were actually very impressed with the variety of animals. Favorites for me: monkeys, baby tiger, and the giraffe…oh, the camels were great, too. I didn’t pet anything even though that was an option. All 4 of us adults are very germ-conscious, which could be a spoiler at a petting safari. Oh well, we saw them and took pictures…

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“Hey…Hey…why you closing the window…wait…I smell food…”

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“?”

Fabric – Goal: We went shopping for fabric to recover the chairs in the kitchen and to make cushions for the bare chairs in the dining room. We also shopped for window treatments.
Results: We found fabric for all the chairs and covered them. We found some window treatments (bathroom, office, and dining room) but still have 3 rooms to go (master bedroom, guest room, and living room). The dining room windows are complete, but the others need some sewing still.

Barbeque – We had lunch with Caroline, Jay, Emma Claire, Colleen, Frank and Brinley. We had a great lunch, the guys played washers, and we all had fun watching the girls have fun in the pool.

Catching up on Europe

TIP: This post is REALLY long because I waited too long to post =o), so just skip to the next posts for pictures if you want…no hurt feelings, I promise (besides, I’ll never know…)

Wowzers…the weekend sure did fly by. I thought since it was a three day weekend I would have plenty of time to keep up with the blog. As you can tell, that didn’t go so well. We had a fun, productive weekend, but I’ll post about that later.

Catching up on Europe: here we go, 4 days in 1 post…I’ll do separate posts for pictures since this one is already long.

May 27th, 2005
Our second day in Paris. We went to the Louvre and the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Louvre – beautiful building, tons of art, too many people…=o) And yes, we saw La Jaconda (Mona Lisa). Interesting thing: I thought she was was going to be bigger than she was and Mark thought she was bigger than he thought she would be. Interesting how different expectations and preconceived ideas can be.

That evening, we got on a plane for Venice. I have an interesting story about the airport in Paris, but it’s too lengthy and too embarassing to go into at this point.

We had a hard time finding our hotel when we got to Venice that night. It doesn’t take long to get a grasp of where things are because Venice is not that big. However, trying to find a hotel on a small backstreet at 11pm at night is quite the challenge.

May 28th, 2005
First day in Venice. We did quite a bit this day, so I’ll just give a list:

– Breakfast at our Bed & Breakfast.
– Vaporetto ride (it’s a boat bus) down the Great Canal.
– Piazza de San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) with the Palazzo Ducale and San Marco’s Church & Basilica
– Dinner at Casin Dei Nobili, recommended by my parents’ friend and Rick Steves
– Coffee and Concerto at an outdoor cafe in Piazza de San Marco (also funny story, also too lenghty to tell – sorry, that’s what I get for procrastinating on the blog).
– Oh, and gelato, of course.

May 29th, 2005
Second day in Venice. We saw most of the main things the day before, so we explored mainly backstreets this day. We did some touristy shopping and ate more gelato, of course. We also took a nap on the wall of a canal. That was really nice.

Highlight of the day: crossing the canal in a gondola (well, a traghetto, or what I like to call “The Poor Man’s Gondola”). We crossed the canal in a gondola with a gondolier in a striped shirt for about 50 cents (short ride, several people, no seats). Definitely beats the $100 to ride one down the canal (longer ride, personal ride, cushy velvety seats).

That evening – flight to Rome. Now, here’s probably the funniest story of our whole time, so I will take the time and space to tell it.

Background to story: our flight got in late at night, we got to the train station and saw that subway was under construction so it closed earlier than my trusty research had told me, nothing was open to buy a bus ticket, so we had to take a taxi.

OK, so it’s 11:30pm and we’re waiting in a HUGE line for a taxi (because everybody else is in the same situation we were in). There’s a 50 ft (?) covered part, but the line extended beyond that and we were towards the back of the line – uncovered (that’s the key to this story). There’s a covered area right next to us, but with a railing in between.

Anyway, we’re standing out in the open Roman air, when we hear this noise from overhead. We look up and see HUNDREDS of seagulls come flying off the train station towards us. Then….we hear the sound….p-l-o-c-k, p-l-o-c-k, plock, plock, plock. I’m paralyzed by the fact that there are so many and that they are dropping bombs. I do nothing but just stand there laughing histerically at the situation, trying to at least get my head underneath the covered area next to us, bending over the railing. Mark, MR. 6’2″, contorts his whole body AND his pack underneath the railing into safety (how? I have NO clue!). So yeah, they fly off and we all inspect the damage. I was victim of not one, but TWO droppings (one actually made contact with skin!).

We all start speculating that some guy is standing on top of the train station, ready to scare the seagulls off the building and over the poor, unsuspecting tourist. I had a nice little Japanese lady who was right before us in line give me some wipes and some advice: “This Good Luck. You buy lotto ticket!” =o)

May 30th, 2005
Rome. Places we saw and things we did this day:
– Awesome breakfast at our AMAZING Bed and Breakfast. We would definitely stay there again, which we can’t say for any of our other accomodations on our trip…
– Vatican: the museum and the Sistine Chapel – again, tons of people, but WAY cool experience.
– St. Peter’s Church and Basilica. ENORMOUS.
– Colosseum – very interesting and very thought provoking.
– Old Forum
– Fountain walk – Rome is the City of Fountains so we decided to take a self-guided walk of the main ones, including Fontana de Trevi (huge and famous).
– Spanish Steps – unfortunately the church at the top of the stairs was being restored, so we missed out on seeing that.
– Night pictures of Colosseum, Spanish Steps and Fountain of Trevi.

Wow, if you made it this far, good for you…