Friday, June 3, 2011


Hi friends and family,

Mom and I made it safely home to the states after, again, many long hours of travel.  I thought I would do one last post to sum up the last stop of our journey... Montepulciano in the rolling hills of Tuscany.

Our arrival to Montepulciano was quite interesting.  We took a bus from Florence, which of course dropped us off at the bus station in Montepulciano.  We then took a smaller bus to the main plaza in town.  From there, we were sure we could grab a bite to eat before having someone call us one of the two taxis in town to take us to our farm house just a few miles outside of town. We hadn't eaten since breakfast, and it was around 5:00 at that point, so we were hungry gals, to say the least!  However, this little town apparently takes siesta time VERY seriously, and no restaurants were open.  On top of that, none of the shops in that area would call us a taxi, and we were sure if we tried calling ourselves it would be a hot mess of language barriers.  SO, a very nice lady that happened to speak both English and Italian overheard our frazzledness, and offered to help us.  At the same time, one of the two town taxis pulled up into the plaza (ptl!) and she helped us negotiate a ride to the farm house.  We never got a bite to eat though, and our farm house only served breakfast.  Awesome!  When we arrived at the farm house, Cinzia (the farm B&B owner) just so happened to be taking a trip into town to the grocery store, so she graciously allowed us to go along with her (we paid her a pretty penny), and we bought groceries for the evening and the next day.  Our plan to spend the day in the town of Montepulciano crumbled when we realized how difficult it was to get back and forth.

So instead, we relaxed all day... we read, we laid by the pool, we swam a little, and this was our view.

That town on the top of the hill is Montepulciano.

After our grocery shopping trip, Cinzia took us to her brother-in-law's pecorino cheese farm, where they make fresh and delicious pecorino cheese.

Pretty flowers at the pecorino cheese farm.

Our little room with the most uncomfortable bed known to man.  I'm surprised I didn't end up with bruised bones from the springs.  I ended up putting towels down underneath me to try and soften the blow.  However, our view was so worth it!!

View from our window.

 Our breakfast served in the morning.

Scary kitty.  I literally spent 5 minutes trying to shoo this cat away and he ended up chasing me back into our room where I stood for 5 minutes trying to figure out how to get around him once I got outside.  He was either going to bite me or scratch me, I was sure of it.

My view all day while relaxing by the pool.

And mom spent the afternoon saving bugs from drowning.

Shady spot to cool off.

The front of the farm house.

I loved Tuscany... the rolling hills were breathtaking.  I could have stared out into them all day.  Oh, well, I guess I did!  It was the perfect end to our busy, on-the-go trip.  We both needed that relaxing day.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Hi all.

Our travels from the Cinque Terre were pretty smooth, aside from the fact that we didn't want to leave... everything was so beautiful there!  On our last day, I enjoyed sitting on a bench watching a little local boy play in the street.  He had the curliest mop top you've ever seen, and he had a long piece of string that he was cutting into littler pieces one by one and dropping them down into the stream below the city that runs out into the sea.  He was so dang cute, I probably could have watched him all afternoon.

We arrived in Florence on Thursday afternoon.  We spent our train ride from La Spezia to Florence talking to a retired New Zealand couple.  They were traveling all over Europe for 2 months together... Ry... I hope we get to do that together some day!  What a treat that would be.

Our B&B in Florence is adorable, as is the owner, who runs it along with her mom.  Upon our arrival at our B&B, we already knew Florence was much different from Rome... they actually have neighborhoods where there are separate houses and "gardens" as they call them... backyards.  We have a nice big room with seprte beds this time.  Mom treated me with the big one, so I feel like a queen with my giant headboard! 

The kitchen is adorable as well... picturesque country B&B style with hot tea and honey, or iced tea for us to enjoy whenever we'd like.  

We spent our first evening at San Miniato church, listening to the monks do chants.  Mom had wanted to do that all along, so I was glad we were able to experience that, even though it wasn't exactly what either of us were expecing.

We also found our way to the center, and walked along the Ponte Vecchio bridge.  Lots of expensive jewelry!  That's another big difference I've noticed between Rome and Florence... Florence is definitely full of stylish people.  I love it.

Our second day in Florence we saw the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia... The David of course was my favorite part... pictures do not do it justice.  It was pretty incredible to see it in person.  

We've had our fair share of gelato here, as well!  And of course we've shopped... love the leather here.  I may or may not have already purchased 3 leather pieces... whoops... sorry Ry!

We leave tomorrow morning for our last stop... Tuscany.

Outside Uffizi Gallery.

 The kitchen in our B&B.

My bed where I feel like a queen!

San Miniato Church, where we heard the monks chant.

View of Florence from San Miniato Church.

Jamie, aren't you in love with benches too?

Love the streets.

Ponte Vecchio bridge.

 View from Ponte Vecchio bridge.

At their grocery stores, you have to weigh your own produce.  That was interesting for mom and I to figure out!  Thankfully they had pictures of each fruit or veggie.

Ry, this one is for you my love!

Ciao friends.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Cinque Terre.

First things first, I LOVE THIS PLACE!!

I only have time for a short post, so I wanted to share a few pictures with you.  The Cinque Terre is amazing, so quaint, so beautiful, so picturesque, so fairy tale.  We spent a couple of full days here, and I'm so glad we did.
The view from our room.

Our town - Manarola.



They have slurpee straws!

Their version of a frappuccino.  Better than nothing I guess :)

On one of our hikes.

 View from our boat ride.. Monterosso.

View from our hike from Monterosso to Vernazza.  It was an intense hike, but so worth it!



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

still in Rome.

We had quite another busy day for our last day in Rome.
We started out at the weekly flea market in Trestevere... wow.  Blocks and blocks and blocks of tables and tables and tables just FULL of stuff to buy.  Some of it similar to everything else, some of it unique.  I bought a few things, of course.  This was the place to go to purchase cheap goodies!

Then we walked across the city to see the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish steps.  It was quite the walk, but all of it well worth it, of course.  We flipped a coin over our backs into Trevi Fountain, and walked up and down the Spanish steps ... felt the burn for sure!  We are getting great exercise here, which I love.

We spent our last night in Rome walking through the streets of our little town, people watching and enjoying the sounds of laughter and music.  We got lost again, of course.  I don't think we ever learned how to get our way back exactly... we always ended up just finding our way!


Throwing a coin into Trevi Fountain.  This calls for serious concentration, I guess.  I hope my wish comes true!!

 More of Trevi Fountain.  Can you believe these pieces of work actually exist places?

Purple man shorts.  Had to do it.

Pretty scenery.

I love bikes.

And more miniature cars.

That is all I have time for friends.  It's Cinque Terre next!