italia: cinque terre + pisa + arrival in firenze

We arrive in Riomaggiore (first of the 5 towns) on Monday of our trip, and this was our immediate view:

We looked at each other in awe thinking, "is this place for real?"  It's so quaint, and quiet, and colorful and we just loved it.  After we climbed up the STEEPEST hill I've ever walked in my life (with all our luggage) to get to our hotel, we spent the rest of the night and watched the sunset at this little wine bar overlooking the water.  They had free wi-fi and delicious local wine!

The next day we were exploring all the towns, and enjoyed a nice breakfast at our hotel.  Loved the coffee there.  We walked the Via Dell'Amore aka "lovers hike" between Riomaggiore and Manarola.  Lovers have a chance to sign their names on the wall and place a padlock in between the two towns sealing their eternal love (oops, we forgot to get a lock!).  I absolutely loved this little walk between the towns, it was just so beautiful!

We went to the rest of the towns and explored each one (I won't bore you with a long explanation of each town), and then ate a late lunch on the beach in Monterosso (the last town).  It was a wonderful/relaxing/beautiful time in the five towns!

 so colorful!

 T loves waiting on trains

T called this Cinque Terre Wal-Mart


 We liked this guy's huge boom mic

 the beach in Monterosso

where we ate lunch

After lunch we meandered back to Riomaggiore, and walked through a few of the little shops on the way up the STEEP hill.  Cinque Terre was so beautiful and colorful and we loved the chill factor that came with it.

The train schedule showed us that any train we took from La Spezia to Firenze would stop in Pisa, so we decided to head there a little earlier to leave time to see the leaning tower.  And that tower is for SURE leaning.  I think it looks more leaning in person than in these photos we took of it.  Crazy!  We finally figured out the bus situation with getting to the tower, and with our bags in tow, we found it.
baptistry, church, bell tower (leaning)

 there she is

 typical tourists...

you can see all the people down the street doing the typical pose with the leaning tower :)

Finally time to train to Firenze to see our friends!!!  Waiting in Pisa Centrale....

Reunited! Some of the best days we've all spent together are ahead!

We were so excited to see our friends and to explore their home.  The bus to their apartment was right down from the train station, so we hopped on, and arrived at their cute, homey apartment!  Laura has become Giada since moving to Firenze, so she whipped up some peas and panchetta pasta for dinner that night, and we spent hours catching up and laughing.  Next up, our days in Firenze....


italia: travel day + rome

Tdud and I left Memphis on a Saturday morning (not too early) headed to Charlotte to catch our flight to Rome.  We got to Charlotte around lunch with about 4 hours to kill.  Lunch was overpriced airport food, then we walked around stretching our legs before the 9 hour flight we were about to board.  We enjoyed people watching from rocking chairs, and were almost tempted to get free flight vouchers to re-route our flight to Paris, then Rome (and would have arrived at the same time), but we didn't end up doing it.... we should have. :)

T was keeping his fingers crossed for TV's in the back of the headrests, and sure enough we had them!  He of course forgot his headphones, so he had to buy overpriced cheap headphones courtesy of our airlines... but $5 well worth it for 9 hours of entertainment!

We arrived in Rome on Sunday morning, exhausted, and knew we had to stay awake alllllll day.  Well it ended up taking until about 1:30 to get to our hotel (trains, buses, etc), and we wanted to hit up the sights!  The grizzlies were in the midst of round 2 when we left, and T wanted to snap a photo in his grit grind shirt for Chris Vernon at the "original grindhouse" (what T referred to it as.. aka, the Colosseum).  :)

In preparation of this trip, he kept saying, "I can look at a photo of the Colosseum and appreciate it for the rest of my life."  I think he ate his words when he was actually standing inside it.  I knew it!

We walked around the Roman Forum, too, and then through the big capital building to make our way towards the Trevi Fountain (my favorite spot).

It was PACKED over there, and we had to fight through stubborn tourists to make our way down to the front to throw in our lucky coin...

Traveling just the two of us means we have a lot of photos of each other... but I always tried to scope out the crowd to find someone who might not mind taking a photo of us.  I wasn't as successful in front of Trevi, but you can't always expect the best.

At this point we had been wandering around Rome taking in the sights, but we were getting to be very tired so we walked back towards our hotel, which was close to Piazza Navona and the Pantheon.  When I went to Italy in college, the Pantheon wasn't open, so I got to see inside this time.  Very cool!  T thought so too.

It was time to eat food and gelato, so we found a little restaurant in Piazza Navona, and I'm sure the waiter was curious about the zombie-like people that sat down at his table... pure exhaustion.  We somehow managed to stay awake until 8:00pm, but of course I woke up wide awake at 6 am.

Monday we were headed to Cinque Terre in the afternoon, so we wanted to do Vatican on Monday morning... well unfortunately we missed all the early morning tours to see the Sistine Chapel.  Another visit to Rome and I still haven't seen that beautiful thing with my own two eyes.  Some of our exploration of Vatican City...

T took this photo to tweet A. Snow "the Pope picks the Grizz in 6." Wish it had been true....

We headed back to our hotel to grab our bags so we could head to the train station to catch a train to Cinque Terre.  By the time we got there, we had missed the earlier train, so we had about an hour and a half before our train would leave... So we found a pizza place to grab a late lunch (huge backpacks in tow).  And then we had to wait for them to post our bin number.... See how cute T is with his travel gear?!

On the train to La Spezia (a nice 4-hr ride), we sat near some very interesting characters... One pod of Italian men were playing poker, and another pod was listening to their music (with headphones) blaring and chatting very loud in Italian, Portuguese and maybe some Spanish??  I [tried to] read The Help on my mom's kindle....

While T played Angry Birds.  We got to La Spezia just in time to catch our next train to Riomaggiore, the first town of Cinque Terre.... which I will go into detail about later!  We loved our time in Rome, but were glad to get out of the hustle and bustle of the big city!


we're back

and we had the best time!!  Dudley loved experiencing Europe, and we both loved getting to make some awesome memories with our best buds, Laura & Ryan.  I do want to share more detail about what fun we had, but I'll leave you with my favorite photo, well my favorite photo today...


we're floating here

I have never seen this much rain in my life in this city.  It has been going non-stop.  April showers bring May flowers, and I hope the April showers are done so we can enjoy the beautiful flowers and all the colors of spring.  Until then, we will be floating here in Memphis.  All joking aside, it is very serious for the city and many people are having to evacuate their homes.  Let's keep these families in our thoughts and hope for the least amount of flood damage.

Longing for a break from the rain, T and I will be traveling in Italia starting this Saturday!  Here's the forecast for next week in Florence.  Looks like absolute perfection.

Wednesday of next week, we will be bike riding through the Tuscan hillside.  And I'm holding on to hope that T will be wearing a non-camo hat.  Regardless, he will be wearing a hat.  Wind and his hair (apparently) don't mix.  I've seen him with a wind-blown look, and I personally think he looks awesome.... Oh look, here's a photo of it!

See!  Lookin' good with the wind-blown look!  We will see what happens... It's a mystery when it comes to T and his curls.  But I do love his curls.

Oh yeah, I bet you might be looking for a May desktop calendar.  I didn't forget... just got side-tracked with my husbands curls.

Anyone else have big plans during May?

May 1024 x 768
May 1600 x 1200
May 1680 x 1050