Thursday, June 30, 2016

Firenze Is Awesome

We loved Florence.  An awesome, amazing, ancient and artful city that truly competes as the best city  in Europe.  With so many places to see we could only visit some of the highlights in our four days in the city.  We walked 5-7 miles per day and still could have spent many more days there.

Here we go with lots of photos.

Two guys.... Russ and Leonardo

We really enjoyed our time here, next up is Venice exploration.  We have arrived at our AirBnB in Venice.  It is an absolutely amazing place for us to stay for the next 4 days.  Venezia is going to compete well with Florence for the best city in Europe.

T loves R.... lucky guy.
Life is good.... really good.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Moving North - Assisi & Firenze

We've been on the move and I haven't had time to write.  It's really turned into Summer here in Italy.  The last few days have been in the 90's.  Between climbing a mountain and scrambling for trains life has been exciting!

Famous Russ Quote, "Life is one big pizza pie."
You wouldn't believe how many different pizzas we have eaten in the last month.  At times it seems like that is the only food available.  Some are great, others not so good.  It's just like life.

So before we left Sorrento/Piano we took a train to Pompei so we could climb to the top of Mount Vesuvius.  We went as far as we could riding in a van and then it was time to hike.  We covered over 7 miles that day and a portion was definitely uphill.

Looking down into the crater at Mt. Vesuvius
The next morning we started a train adventure going North to get to Assisi.  Our train out of Naples was delayed and that meant we would be missing our connection in Rome.  We scrambled and found another later train that would get us to Assisi.  It threw us off by two hours, but we made it.

The view from our balcony in Assisi.  It was another nice AirBnB.
The front of the same church.
Evening mass was just beginning so we went in.  The pipe organ music and choir were amazing.  We didn't understand a word that was said but we still enjoyed the experience.

We caught a train to Florence this morning.  It was a "no transfer day" so we made it fine and arrived before noon.  If you are Italian the city is called Firenze.  We are here for three days and we love what we have seen so far.

Someone asked us the other day what our favorite city has been.  My reply was, "Where ever I am at."  So today I can say Firenze is my favorite city.  And it may well be.

Don't ask me what they are, I don't know.
The Rangers are doing fine.  Life is good.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Taking It Easy in Piano

We are enjoying our time in the small town of Piano which is near Sorrento, Italy.  It has been warm and sunny here but not so hot that we can't do our usual walking.  Instead of taking the train into Sorrento the other day we walked the crooked road that followed the coast line.  We walked 7.5 miles.  The views out to the Med were beautiful and the homes and lemon groves made the walk a cultural hike.

Sorrento is a busy and bustling tourist town, Piano is a laid back "watch the world go by" place.  We have spent each evening in the town square having our dinner and people watching.  The later it gets the more the locals turn out.  Kids, teenagers, families and old men line the streets and square.  Everyone is talking loud and fast, arms and hands are waving in all directions.  I think if you tied an Italians' hands behind their back they would be unable to speak.

Yesterday we walked to the harbor in Piano.  There were lots of boats to look at so I was in heaven.

Some little boats, some big boats..
We had lunch on the boardwalk in the marina.  It was good people watching as usual.

Terri is happy after lunch.
Too many good lunches for me, I won't fit in this Fiat.
This week is feeling like our vacation in the middle of our vacation.  We have been relaxing and reading everyday.  The deck here is the "right place" to watch a sunset.

Life is good.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Arrived in Sorrento, Italy

So how wide are the streets?
After five days in Rome we were ready to head for a small village near Sorrento.  Three train rides and we were there.  It was a short walk from the train station to the AirBnB but we still managed to get lost.  The directions from our host were good but we could not see the streets actually being as small as they were so that threw us off.

I started off with the picture above so you could understand our problem.  We wandered and wove our way in streets that I could touch both sides as I walked.  We finally arrived at "Via Santa Mergherita 44" and we were home.

As you can see there is a miniture Italian car parked that
had managed to find its' way down the street.
I'm glad we will be here for 7 days.  This is the best AirBnB we have found.  Here are a few photos to help you understand.  First I'll start with our bedroom chandelier.  It is an antique piece of art.

Just lovely!!!

Nicely furnished with antiques.... we fit right in.
Our hosts are a young couple, Claudia and Luiggi.  He is a chef and on our first night here he prepared an amazing three course dinner.

Pasta for the first course.
Fish and vegetables for the second course
We were so full from the first two courses that we had to decline the third course.  This is a true Bed  & Breakfast so we are waiting to see what happens for breakfast.  I've read that he does amazing crepes.

The deck facing North and South.
We dined on the outdoor deck and will be spending most of our time sitting out here listening and watching life in the neighborhood.  There is a church steeple about a block down, so I will enjoy the ringing of its' bells.  But if I need to we have our own bell in an arch just off the deck.

I can ring my own bell now.
We already love this place.  We wandered a small section of the square and it will be fun to eat at the cafes that surround the area.  There is a small lemon and lime groove below our deck.  Time for some lemonade.

A panorama from our deck.
Life is good for the Rangers.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Roaming Around Rome

I don't have much to say today.  You will have make do with a few of our photos.

Life is good.

Mr. Gelato

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

At Home In Rome

We're in a comfortable AirBnB in Rome that is a few minutes walk from the Vatican.  Yesterday we walked 5 miles around the outer walls of Vatican City.  It being a sovereign country that meant that in one afternoon we circled a whole country.  Not bad for old people.

The fountain in the center of St. Peters Square at the Vatican.

Today we really put on our walking shoes and covered 9.6 miles.  Terri had purchased tickets to the Vatican Museum so we had a timed entry first thing in the morning.  We were up at 7:00am getting ready for a busy day.

The galleries seemed to go for miles with hundreds of paintings on the ceilings.

Amazing artwork in the floors.

My favorite stained glass of our trip.  Stunning colors.
Even the stairway leaving was amazing.
After seeing the museum we continued our walking.  The Pope was in St. Peters Square this morning so things we very busy around there.  We caught a bus to the Coliseum and the ruins that surround that area.

Selfie to prove "We were there".
The beginning of our walk around the ruins. 

We still have two full days to go here in Rome so there is time for many more miles.  We are both enjoying the sights and the nice warm weather.

Twenty three years ago my sister and I did a trip to Europe.  As we were on the bus today I saw the place we stayed while in Rome.  It was a very authentic place to stay, the rooms had not been painted or changed in several centuries.  (Sara - do you remember this place?)

Our Rick Steve's recommended place.  

The best part of that place twenty three years ago was the ruins across the street.  It is now a museum.

This old man says..... Life is good.