So, I definitely didn’t keep up with this blog AT ALL while on my travels. I kept pretty busy while traveling and spotty wi-fi, limited time spent on the internet, and clunky technology made it a bit of a hassle. But enough with the litany of excuses. I think it will be fun to start from the beginning; a chance to relive the trip, maybe.
So we go back to Italy, where the trip started and look at some pretty locales. My camera has a kitschy, though convenient panoramic feature that makes for some fun photos. Here are summaries of most of the destinations Sara, Erika, and I visited while in Italy for about 1.5 weeks. CLICK on the pictures for larger versions, if you’d like.
ABOVE: Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy. We didn’t at all plan to visit here, but the buzz in our Florentine hostel was all about Cinque Terre and, in particular, a new friend showed us some amazing photos. It’s a protected national park serving as an isolated alternative to the better-known Riviera nearby. It’s made up of 5 villages, some of which you can hike between or go by train or ferry. WE HAD TO GO! So on a whim, we cancelled a night in Milan and the night prior booked one of the few places available within our budget at such late notice. Finding nothing available in the gateway village of Monterosso al Mare we decided it would be just fine to stay in the next village of Vernazza. This turned out to be great! Vernazza was still recovering from the October 2011 flood damage, so it didn’t have internet or even an ATM. Perfect! We arrived by train the next day and hiked up about 200 steps (only one main ‘road’ in the village) to the top-most set of houses that contained the flat we rented for the night. The couple who rented it out didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Italian, but we got settled in just fine and here is the view from our terrace. Pretty amazing – not just the view, but the fact that the unplanned turned out to be one of the most memorable and refreshing parts of our Italy visit.
ABOVE: Florence, Italy. The heart of our Italy trip… and it didn’t disappoint. It produced memories that maybe even topped my first visit here in 2006. Good food, old and new friends and A LOT of wandering/fleeing tourists made for good times. We stayed here 4 nights and used it as a base for an unplanned day trip around Tuscany… that i was conned into going on *wink*. Below are a couple Tuscany panoramas.
ABOVE: This is a little fortress in Tuscany, or “castle” for those modern day princesses out there, and is not much more than a little square surrounded by stone walls.
ABOVE: A main destination in Tuscany, this town is built around the clock tower and its sloped plaza. Seen here, in the center, is the cathedral’s black and white striped bell tower. Word is that the color “Sienna” is named for this town! Makes sense.
ABOVE: The view from a vineyard we visited in the Chianti region. As Sara commented, this is one of the rare places where it’s prettier in person than in the movies!
ABOVE: Elegant, as expected. If I recall correctly, this is from the town of Moltrasio looking toward Torno. A daytrip from Milan.