Friday, July 27, 2012

July 27th - Croatia!

We caught our flight early this morning from Milan to Dubrovnik. We're in Croatia! :D

We had an excellent cab driver, best yet in my opinion, who drove us to our little part of the city. It looks like a fortress city on a hill with a wall along the edge of the coast. We're up towards the top of the city and in order to get down into the city we have to take a loooong flight of stairs down. Which isn't so bad. It's coming up that's not quite as much fun. But good exercise!

This is meant to be our little vacation from our vacation. Funny how much I feel like I need it. It's so nice to not feel the need to go out and do anything. And we can finally cook some more in our little kitchen rather than having to go out to eat! I like going out to eat, but I usually feel better when we eat in.

Lovely view. :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

July 26th - Milano!

This morning we caught the train to Milan, saying good bye to our beautiful Stresa.

Milan was fun. We found ourselves caught off guard a bit with a few different situations. Most memorable of the day occurred when we walked into the courtyard in front of the cathedral. There were hundreds of pigeons everywhere and we walked up to take pictures and to perhaps have Morgan run into the bunch to see if they'd fly up all at once. As Morgan started to walk into a large group of birds, a man came up to her, grabbed her hand, raising her arm out to shoulder level, and put some corn in her hand. It happened fast, but suddenly she was covered in pigeons. This continued for awhile, her  feeding pigeons and three of these men putting feed in her hands. They pushed me into the middle to do the same thing, taking my camera and a bag I'd just bought that day.

On the one hand, it was cool. And fun. But I was so paranoid that this man had just taken my camera and stuff, not to mention pressuring me into feeding the birds, that it was hard to appreciate it on some level. I don't like anyone forcing their business on me. I like to know what I'm getting into before I'm expected to pay anything. After we fed the birds a bit, they of course came at us for money, and we did give them some - probably more than we'd like to have.

Again, it was fun, but it put us on our guard for the rest of the day.

Incredible detail.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 24th and 25th - Stresa = Paradise

Stresa, where we're at, is incredible. If I were to move to Italy, I might want to move here. The lake, islands, mountains, green, and architecture are all just overwhelmingly beautiful.

July 23rd - Back to Italy!

This morning we got up and had breakfast at the hotel and then packed our bags and took them to the train station. After dropping them off we wandered for awhile in Geneva and then caught our train to Stresa.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22nd - Geneva!

We're in Geneva! :D

July 20th and 21st - Barcelona and Travel

We were still in Barcelona on Friday and Saturday until about midday when we caught a series of trains through Spain and France to Switzerland.

Our last full day in Barcelona we walked around and saw a few of the sites we'd been wanting to visit.

On our way to Switzerland we had a stop in Nimes and we got some ice cream. :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

July 19th - Barcelona


Today we got up late and then walked to the Market St. Josep and wandered around for a bit before finding some lunch.

After eating we wandered over to the Barcelona Cathedral (medieval) and took pictures and enjoyed the atmosphere for awhile. Very cool.

After that we wandered farther north to the Music Palace and then home for a break before heading up to the Guell Park to see the view of the city and to enjoy a few of Gaudi's creations.

Tapas for dinner!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 17th and 18th - The Vatican and the Ferry

We're finally heading in the direction of the Vatican this afternoon after a relaxing morning. Can't seem to get enough rest with all the walking around that we're doing!

The Vatican was pretty incredible. We didn't have a lot of time to spend there so we just went to St. Peter's and went up to the Cupula. St. Peter's is extraordinarily beautiful. I absolutely recommend it.

We had to rush home to check out of our apartment and grab our bags, but then it was off again to check out of our apartment, grab our bags, and race back to the terminal to catch the train to the coastal town where we'd be getting on our ferry to Spain.

We got to the train station, got on the right train, arrived on the coast, found a bus to take us to the dock, and ate dinner before getting on. 

I've never been on a cruise before. I've heard mixed reports. But I have to imagine that this large ferry is like a small version of what it is to be on a cruise. Gym. Spa. Pool. Casino. Lots of places to lounge and eat. A "disco". You know, all those kinds of things. And a lovely little room with a window and bunk beds. :)

We got on, found our room and dropped our bags off and then looked around for awhile before returning to our rooms to head off to bed. In the morning we slept in and then got some breakfast and made appointments for mom and me to get massages (and a pedicure for mom). Wonderful!

Barcelona! We've arrived!

With a little running around we finally met up with Sherrie and got the keys to our apartment. The internet wasn't working (oh, no!) so we went out and grabbed some dinner and came back to go to bed. Finally got internet around 11:00 p.m.!

Monday, July 16, 2012

July 16th - Pompei!

As we spend more time doing and less time with breaks at home I suddenly am more exhausted and have less time to write and post pictures! I'd like to catch this up at some point, but for now these will have to suffice.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

July 15th - Tour by Bus

Took a tour of Rome today! Lots to tell, but too tired to do it....

Gelato twice...

Running this morning....

Historic ghetto....

Other stuff...

Going to Pompeii tomorrow....

July 14th - Rome!

We packed our bags up this morning and headed out the door to catch the train to Rome! Sad to leave Florence, but exciting to head somewhere new!

The train ride went by without any mishaps (thank goodness!). Arrived in Rome and walked towards our apartment, grabbing a bite to eat on the way there. When we got there we realized that they had thought there were only two of us, but they quickly turned an unsuspecting little seat into a cot bed. Perfect. This is a darling little apartment just down the street from the Colosseum. Really. We can see it looking out our window.

Unpacked and refreshed after a nap we headed down to the Colosseum and wandered around. We finally broke the boring photo trend, deciding that from here on out we'd like to take more interesting photos....we'll see how that goes...

Dinner at a restaurant up the hill overlooking the Colosseum. There a bunch of men in these strange outfits...they seriously looked like a mixture of superhero/star trek/tron. Carabinieri. They definitely have a stylist and clothing designer who take their work seriously. I didn't have the guts to go ask them for a photo, and the couple I have aren't great, but they looked pretty awesome.

Friday, July 13, 2012

July 13th - Last Day in Florence!

I'm am quite sad to report that today is our last day here in Florence.

This morning we walked over to Santa Croce (two blocks away?) and walked around inside there. Not the most impressive church, but still very pretty. To make up for the mild interior however were the significant historical figures entombed there. Let's the top of my head I can recall Galileo, Michelangelo, and Dante. Not bad.

After that we grabbed some gelato at our favorite place and then headed North to the Galleria Accademia where the original David statue is kept. It was a smaller museum, but the combination of modern and traditional art made it pretty cool. 

Class. Last day of class. Sad. But good. We've learned so much in these four weeks of class. I'm still a little clueless about clothing construction, but I've got more of a clue now about clothing design.

Mostly packed and ready to head South tomorrow!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

July 12th - The Duomo

I finally got up to an hour this morning in my run and then came home to be pleasantly surprised by an opportunity to Skype with Brandon. :) Good morning.

Although we were out of milk and I had to scrounge for breakfast a bit to replace my usual bowl of cereal, we headed out the door earlier than usual and headed to the Duomo where we went inside and then climbed to the top of the tower just beside the main building. Very cool! Finally after all our time walking past the Duomo, we visited it at last!

July 11th - The Steins!

Lovely run this morning. I've been stuck in a rut running about thirty minutes every time I go out. The last few weeks when I've gone running I've mostly run with my mouth closed breathing out through my nose, so obviously at a comfortable pace. This being the case I finally bumped the time up to forty minutes today. I probably ought to run faster too...getting there...

I usually listen to Snap Judgement when I run.  I start at a new episode and it helps me to keep track of how long I've been running. That means I often have the last fifteen minutes or so of several episodes to listen to, but I don't really mind.

I've decided that I'm impressed with the building that we live in. It doesn't keep sound out very well from the outside, but the floors are amazing solid. We're on the first floor up (not the ground floor) and I feel like the floors are wonderfully quiet. It has the feeling of a ground floor - not at all like any of the homes I've been in in the states. Usually there's just enough softness to be able to tell that you're standing on several layers of boards and supports. Same with the apartment above us here. If there is anyone up there. I can never tell.

We'd planned on going to see the David statue today but we had some technical difficulties and ended up working on that over lunch.

Class and then off to meet with the Steins who are here visiting from Batesville. Lots of fun to see them!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 10th - Uffizi and Tickets

We went to the Uffizi Gallery this morning. It is one of the more touristy things we've done and, as one might expected, was packed with tourists. It was pretty cool to see all the famous paintings and sculptures, many of which were incredibly beautiful, but it also didn't take long before we all started to get a bit burned out. When you look at thirty paintings of Madonna from the same century, they all start to look the same. However, the paintings of Madonna are my favorite. Baby Christ tends to look weird (very strange faces for him), but Madonna mostly just looks beautiful and regal. It was also a funny mix of Christianity and Roman/Greek Mythology. We frequently had to check to see if we were looking at a painting of Minerva or a painting of Madonna. It wasn't always readily obvious. I happily recognized a number of the works of art - recognizing a sculpture of Minvera (one of my favorites) without having to look at the name. :)

Class and then we walked to the train station to pick up tickets to Rome on Saturday (we double and triple checked all of the ticket details before purchasing them). Dinner and the Gelato and home!

Morgan's remarks: "I look so pale next to Mom."

My remarks: "Mom is tanner than you are. Next time just take a photo with me. Then you'll look tan."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

July 8th and 9th - Venice and Back!

Owing to the fact that we were in Venice yesterday (the 8th) but only finally got back today (the 9th), these will be combined. Plus, I haven't taken any pictures today yet...

Yesterday. Venice.

We caught the train early in the morning and arrived two hours later in Venice. No problems. We walked around Venice for most of the day, enjoying the maze like streets and water. We took a little water bus and went up the tallest tower. Very fun. Venice is incredibly beautiful. I'd love to spend more time there.

Coming home was a bit of a nightmare. We'd originally wanted to go on Saturday but there hadn't been any tickets left for the early train Saturday when we tried for them on Friday, so we decided to switch our plans to Sunday.

If you recall, we made many many attempts before we finally understood and got our tickets out of the machine. Somehow, in the process we accidentally bought return tickets for Monday instead of Sunday. We only realized this when someone came and had the same seats as us and the attendant told us that the train was full and we'd have to wait. As the last train for Florence left we struggled for awhile trying to figure out what to do instead.

Let's just say that, in general, the people at the train stations have been very unhelpful. This was no exception. We finally decided to catch the last train to Bologna, stay the night there, and catch one of the early ones back this morning. Which we did. Home in Florence! We slept much of this morning, trying to catch up from our travels and then went to class this afternoon.