Monday, November 25, 2013

Italy 2013 - Part 2

I know I have not been a good blogger lately. I hope you bear with me. I'm trying to adjust to life after vacation that's been pretty busy. How about some more pretty pictures of our Italy vacation? After we visited Florence we headed south to Naples for one night and then on to Sorrento for 3 more. I loved Sorrento, it was really the perfect place to stay on the Amalfi Coast with easy access to Naples, Capri, and the coast towns.

We spent our first afternoon walking around Sorrento, visiting a local lemon grove, and taking in the views.

The view from our hotel's lounge.

The following day we headed to Capri. Rather than take the ferry over, we spent a little more to go on a private boat that took us all around the island. I highly recommend this option for those of you that love a good view.

This sweet gentleman was our tour guide.

When we arrived on the island we headed straight for Anacapri so we could take the chair left up to the top of Mt. Solaro for more beautiful views.

We took the island's bus system around. The streets were so narrow the buses barely squeaked by each other. The photo below is taken from the bus we were on, while passing another bus.

Lunch with a view.

That was probably an overload of boat and harbor pictures, but they're just so good! We can't wait to frame a few.

Look at that water! The most blue and clear water I've ever seen.

I mean - have you seen more beautiful water?! It was so clear, even when we were miles off the coast.

The next day we rented a scooter and headed down the Amalfi Coast. We really went back and forth on whether we should attempt the ride. The roads are very windy and narrow, and many folks warned us against it. Adrian is a very experienced driver though, and we decided to go for it. It was our favorite day of vacation, by far! The roads were much better than I had expected, and I never felt nervous or unsafe. It was such a fun way to enjoy the coast and take in the views.

We rode straight to Ravello and then stopped and spent time in Ravello, Amalfi, and Positano on the ride back.

The next several pictures were taken from the hill town of Ravello.

The cute main square in Ravello.

And then we made it back down to Amalfi.

And finally off to Positano.

My favorite town along the coast was Positano, I also loved Ravello. Amalfi was beautiful but much more crowded. This was such an amazing part of our trip that I'll never forget. The next morning we were off to Rome for the last leg of our vacation.

Stay tuned for part 3!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Italy 2013 - Part 1

Oh hey! You might be thinking, wow, that was a nice long vacation! Well, it was, but not as long I've been MIA from this blog. You see, as soon as we got home (the evening of Halloween) I dove right into a new work project that's been keeping me very busy. We also had guests this past weekend, so the blog has taken a backseat. I was finally able to go through the 2,500+ photos we took while in Italy last night. I'll be sharing a breakdown of our trip over multiple posts.

Before we dive in, let's back it up a few years, shall we?

I studied abroad in Florence, Italy in 2004. When I think about the fact that that was 9 nears ago, I feel very old. We met some study abroad students while we were on vacation and they were surprised (or acted so) to hear I was that old. Thanks kids! Italy and Florence have such a special place in my heart. It was truly the time of my life, and I met and made some of the best friendships I have while living there. Adrian, an avid traveller, has visited many European countries, but hasn't spent any time in Italy. Last year we decided we wanted to take a longer trip in 2013, and decided on Italy fairly quickly. We booked our flights and left the rest of the details to follow.

We knew a European vacation would not be nearly as relaxing as a beach vacation, but we wanted to try to avoid burning ourselves out. We decided on three cities, with one quick stop in a fourth. We settled on Florence, one night in Naples, then Sorrento, and Rome.

Here's a look into our five night stay in Florence....

We used to find a one bedroom apartment in the city. I highly recommend staying in an apartment during your travels, it was around the same price as an economy hotel and we had a full kitchen and a terrace with beautiful views.

Our days mostly consisted of walking around the city, taking in the views, people, and sights, with an occasional stop at one of the popular tourist attractions. And of course delicious meals and gelato stops too!

scooters galore!

Florence is known for one of the first duomos. It's so large it is very difficult to get a good picture.

We had the most amazing paninis in Italy. I'm not really a huge sandwich person, but give me freshly sliced Italian meats and mozzarella between fresh bread and I am a very happy girl.

The next two photos are throwbacks to my study abroad days. The door I'm standing in front of is the door to the school we studied at, Lorenzi di Medici. The second is taken on the street we lived on, Via Delle Ruote.

busy street market

relaxing on the terrace

We stopped for a drink at this rooftop restaurant & bar down the street from our apartment. It has beautiful views of the river and city (seen above).

Someone recommended the wine bar we went to, above. It was tiny, but so good. We had a delicious plate of cured meats and cheeses, and of course some great Italian wine!

One day we walked to Piazza Michelangelo across the river. It has a beautiful view of the city. Though it was a cloudy day, the views were still great.

Our last full day in Florence we visited inside the Duomo and hiked to the top...

Aaannd more paninis...

Not sure if we really worked off all the panini calories, but we also hiked the tower next to the duomo. We climbed over 1,000 steps that day!

And of course I couldn't forget the food pics and selfies from my iphone....

I'm going to try and list my top 5 highlights of each city. Clearly number one is spending time with my hubby, so I'll skip that one.

1. Revisiting my old "stomping grounds" from college days. It brought back SO many memories.
2. Relaxing on the terrace with a good book and a glass of wine. I read Defending Jacob while we were away.
3. Gelato at Perche No?
4. Lots of fresh pasta, especially at La Burrasca - our favorite local restaurant in Florence. Not fancy, but so good!
5. Taking in the views of Florence at the top of the duomo and tower.

And that's a Florence wrap! Next up is Pompeii & Sorrento.
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