Saturday, December 27, 2008

Last Stop: Rome, Italy

Our final destination was Rome - a city FULL of history! We took a morning train and checked in to our hotel. The rain stopped for the afternoon so we took advantage of it and went to see the Colosseum and Roman Ruins. It was awesome to see it in person!

The next day, we took a morning tour of the city which took us to most of the main sites. It was helpful to have someone take us around and explain some of the sites. We saw many sights including the Pantheon and St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.

The rest of the day we walked around the city to see the other sites. We wanted to see the flooding of the Tiber River that we saw on the news. We had seen where some boats had crashed into bridges because the water was so high so we went to check it out (see below).

We finished our time there with sightseeing of Rome at night. It was awesome! We had a great dinner at a little cafe and went on to bed to catch our early morning flight back to the States.

Overall, our trip was AMAZING!! We had a great time together exploring these cities and reconnecting as a couple. This was such a splurge and we loved every minute of it! We hope you enjoy reading about our adventure!

Florence & Pisa, Italy

Our next destination was Florence. We took a morning train down from Venice and we got to see a lot of the countryside during this time. Tuscany is beautiful and everything I imagined it to be! We checked in to our hotel and then hit the sites while we had decent weather. We went and saw the statue of David at the Accademia Gallery. Then, we walked through a street market while eating Gelato (shocker, I know). Later, we went to dinner at a place my friend Claire recommended to us and it was fabulous! It was the nicest meal we had during this trip and well worth the money and experience. We wanted to walk around some more, but it started raining pretty hard so we called it a night.

The next morning, we took a train over to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. This was a quick visit because there is not much more to see than that. We had a beautiful day of weather to enjoy the short visit there.

Once we arrived back in Florence, we walked around more of the city to see sights recommended by Claire (she studied abroad during college there). This city was refreshing for us because we had been to such big, fast paced places and Florence was more calm and had a small town feel to it. We had great food here and really enjoyed our time in this city.

Venice, Italy

We took an afternoon train over to Venice to stay for 2 nights. We were a little nervous about going there because we had heard about the flooding of the city and were unsure if we could get around to see everything because of it. We got there when it was dark, took a boat taxi to St. Mark's Square and then found our hotel. We checked in and then went to find somewhere to eat. By the time we finished our dinner at a little pub, we realized that many of the streets that we had used before were flooded so Jesse was our navigator and eventually found us a way home without having to get wet.

The next day, we spent walking around the city. Even though it was rainy off and on all day, we really enjoyed exploring the island. The city was so unique and fascinating - surrounded by water with no cars on the island, it was amazing seeing how people live their lives there. It was definitely a place we'd love to spend time in when it is warmer and not flooded, but we still were able to see the city and enjoy it just as it is. And, of course we had gelato - how can you not when you see it in the store window (pic below)?!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Milan, Italy

Our next stop was Milan, Italy! We had another rainy day so we took an afternoon train to Milan and then got on the Metro to the Duomo stop where our hotel was located. We hoofed it in the rain over to our hotel and then dried off our clothes for a bit. We then went out to dinner at Ciao, a fast food pasta place, located in the Galleria that was pretty good! The rain let up for a bit so we walked around the city some and got a few night pictures of the Duomo. Of course, we had some Gelato while walking around!

The next morning, we had a tour pre-booked to see the main sites by bus. We are so glad we did this due to the rain! We had a witty and thorough tour guide named Esther who explained a lot of facts and history that we would not have heard on our own. We went to see the medieval Sfortza Castle, The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, the Scala Opera House, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and the Gothic Duomo cathedral. We really enjoyed it! This completed our visit to Milan after a yummy lunch at Pastarito's! On to the next destination!

Torino, Italy

We were pleasantly surprised with how much we liked Torino, Italy (a.k.a. Turin). We arrived by train by mid-afternoon and checked in right away to our hotel room. This was the start of our rainy days so we were happy to get out of the rain for a short rest. We got a map from our hotel and figured out where all we wanted to visit and headed out to see the National Cinema Museum. The building itself is beautiful and you can go up to the top of the dome for a view of the city - it was awesome! Afterwards, we walked around the museum and saw some amazing things, like the different cameras they have used over the years as well as old movie poster collections and movie sets recreated. They also had costumes used in different movies and stations where you could see how they did special effects (hence why I'm on a bike with a blank screen behind me). Afterwards, we went to dinner and walked around the city some more in the cold while eating Gelato.

The next morning, we woke up to snow (see below - view from hotel window) and slush everywhere. First, we went to see the Shroud of Turin in a cathedral there. Regardless if it is Jesus or not, this is a cool piece of history. The fact that they can make out details of the person (supposedly) from the cloths that they were buried in is a pretty cool thing. We really enjoyed this. Next, we decided to go see the Egyptian Museum - they have the 2nd most artifacts next to the Cairo, Egypt museum. It was neat to see these things, but it wasn't our cup of tea. Overall, we enjoyed Torino and we are glad we stopped there for an evening.


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