September 24, 2011

Beverly left at 4am to catch her flight. The rest of us slept a little longer then grabbed breakfast downstairs. Sarah and I wandered around the city some more while Cynthia finished up packing and went out on her own for a little while.

I saw this on the base of a statue.

Cobblestones: nemesis of the heel

Church along our walk.

Wow! Big building!

More building, now with added fountain!

Closer to the fountain.

Random fountain in building wall.

Part of the building/fountain combo.

The cover is what it will look like.

Looking up the street.

Still finding random ruins.

Planetarium at the University.

Went back to the church and went inside.

More from inside the church.

Very colorful, like all the churches we saw.

Lots of art inside.

It didn’t look so big from outside.

Part of the floor.

The news article made me think this was John’s head.

And another spikey on the floor.

Tiling on the wall as we left the church.
































































In the taxi ride to the airport, we drove past the Circus Maximus, which was something else we’d meant to go see. We also missed the Mouth of Truth, and while I saw bones and skulls in churches, I didn’t make it to the crypt where the art is made from the monks’ bones. Clearly, we will need to go back to Rome. And I for one, can’t wait. I only hope I’m lucky enough to have such great travel companions as I did this time. Also, maybe by then,  those Fendi shoes Sarah and I loved will be on sale 😉

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September 23, 2011

This morning, we walked to the bus stop. I didn’t take fifteen minutes to get to the stop. The taxi drivers who kept telling us to wait for another taxi weren’t very helpful. The guy we asked for directions to make sure we were headed the right way, as it had been more than fifteen minutes, told us it was “just five minutes” from where we were. I understand that everyone’s relaxed and laid back, but five minutes up hill, carrying suitcases, isn’t five minutes. At least we made the bus. We rode back to Sorrento and caught the El-thing back to Naples. We passed by Vesuvius, which was awesome. The transportation wasn’t very smooth, so I couldn’t get a picture. From Naples, we ventured back to Rome.

We checked in at the Yes Hotel. It was a nice place. They had managed to cram four beds into our room. The best part was the bathroom – two showers with hot water. It was nice to take a shower and get dressed a little nicer to head out for our last night in Rome.

After dinner, we ventured further. Our waiter here was nice.

As a Simpsons fan, I was pleased to finally see Duff being distributed.

And this was the plan: see the Colosseum lit at night.

Much like the first time I saw it, I took a lot of pictures.

Colosseum and Constantine’s Arch.

Even then, I still couldn’t believe it.

I mean, it’s so very old.

And it’s still standing.

I stood inside and I want to again.

I really think this place was my favorite.




































































I am still very much in awe of the Colosseum. I don’t know that I’ll ever see anything to rival what it represents. I plan to try though. I need to see castles with moats. Soon. Anyway, we got our last gelato and wandered back to the hotel. The last night in Italy. The Colosseum at night was definitely the thing to do.

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September 22, 2011

The last full day in Positano. It was also the day we decided would be the all pastry day. We went to the coffee bar and had coffee and pastries. Then, back to the apartment. Cynthia, Sarah, and Beverly all decided to go to Amalfi. I remembered how two days ago, I’d sat on the terrace alone and never felt so relaxed. I decided I couldn’t get enough of that, so I stayed at the apartment again. I went up to the grocery store and decided to cheat…I had a salad instead of more pastries.

Cynthia took this one. I was here every day. Great generational family-run store.

Walking through town.

Looking down at the water.

Seeing the town through the trees.



















I went down to the beach for a while, without my camera. I checked out the internet cafe/bar and sent a note to confirm our hotel in Rome and then just wandered for a while. I headed back and enjoyed the terrace and another book for a while. I loved the feeling of, as the Italians say, il dolce far niente. Don’t get me wrong, I like my life a lot, but this was really, really nice.

It wasn't my thing, but I really miss being here. (picture from Cynthia)

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September 21, 2011

Today we went for coffee again and decided to split again. Sarah and Beverly went out and roamed the city more. Cynthia and I went out and she gave me the short version of their tour the day before. We planned to meet up for lunch.

Beautiful scenery.

The view makes mornings even better.

An owl on the shop front.

Across from the domed chapel.

Domed chapel.

Mosaic fish on a lounge chair by chapel.

Walking around, taking pictures.

Seriously. No bad photos.


Pretty up there too.

How many times can I say pretty?

On the beach!

Kind of like walking the plank, but safer.

Sand was chunky and gravely.

Waves hitting the beach.

Curling wave.

Further out.

View from the beach toward town.

Another look from the beach.

Cynthia looking for her camera.


I love that moment when the wave flattens.


































































After a quick stop at the apartment, we all left together to go to the beach and catch one of the little boats out to a restaurant at another beach to have lunch. The boat we took was captained by a guy who steered with his feet. I am not kidding. Plates included grilled mozzarella, fish carpaccio, mussels, salmon, fried anchovies, fried calamari, and more. It was a leisurely seafood lunch, right by the water. It was lovely.

That guy totally posed for us.

Positano from the boat.

We're in the water!

Traveling by boat is nice.

Seriously! Steered with his feet!

More sights from the boat.

Just as amazing from the boat as land.

Another from the boat.

Looking everywhere but the foot-steered wheel...

Tiny spot that looked like a wee cove to the left.

Water to sky.

I didn't know I liked boat rides.

Tired puppy!

Sitting down for lunch.

The cover of the menu.

Heading back to our part of the mountain.

Again, pretty from any angle, isn't it?





















































After lunch, we went back to the apartment. We ended up playing Farkle on the balcony. I think Cynthia won every time we played!

I'd ride the foot-steerer's boat again. It was so fun!

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September 20, 2011

Today, I decided to take it easy. We did get up and search for our new coffee place since we’d changed cities, but we split up afterward. Sarah, Beverly, and Cynthia went on a walking/food sampling tour of Positano. I went to the grocery store and got some food to use for lunch and dinner. I went back to the apartment, grabbed some wine, and went up to the terrace and sat outside, read, looked at the beach, and generally just relaxed. It was just what I needed!

All the views from the terrace were amazing.

Walkway between our front door and the gate.

Positano, looking down.

Tiling on small rooftop below the terrace.

That cat napped there everyday.

From the balcony (lower level from the terrace).

Just looking around, checking out the area.

Looking upward.

How cute would this be in snow?

Ah, pretty, pretty water.

Just a little seaside town...


A mountain of houses.

A skyline I don't see around here.

I'm up on that terrace again.

This needs to be my view all the time.

Water and sky...lots of blue.

More blue on blue.

Storm brewing over the mountain.

More storm clouds.

Stormy weather looks really cool.

Clouds coming in fast.

I like how it's so bright and getting dark.

Rain started dropping down bit by bit...

It never really opened up...

See? Cleared right up.

It's just such a cute place.

Looking down from the terrace.

More beach view.

Another angle of the beach.

There really aren't words.

It was all so beautiful.

Back from the tasting tour, relaxing.

Cynthia relaxing after the tour.

Still pretty.

It's nigh impossible to take a bad picture here.

Seventy steps up and down. Every day. Lots.

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September 19, 2011

We got up and had a quick breakfast and then got a taxi to the train station. From Florence, we took the train to Naples. In Naples, we got on a bus (really, it was more like riding the El in Chicago, but without the elevation) and rode to Sorrento. We ate lunch at a cafe in Sorrento and then got on the bus to go to Positano. In movies, you always see complete traffic nightmares of a tiny road and way too big cars on the road of the Amalfi Coast. This is essentially what it looks like, looking out of the bus window on the right side.

Narrow road, getting out of Sorrento.


Trees blocking mountain.

We saw grapes and lemons a lot.

Driving through the mountains.


Scenic, eh?

What you can't see is the drop.

Tight curve; large bus.

More water.

Scale of drop still not captured.

Too tall to be a hedge.

You can kinda tell it's a drop.

Can't see the bottom from here.

Plants hiding the drop again.

Pretty, but perspective is off.

Long ride.

Fairly obvious street sign.

It's just epic.

And mountainy.

I can see Positano!

And now I can't.






















































































We had to wait a bit for our contact to come and let us into the apartment. We took in the scenery and relaxed. Once Carla arrived, we followed her downstairs (STAIRS?! 70 of them…up and down…more than once a day) and saw Casa Patty. It was a lovely place to stay and had a great terrace and view of the city and of the ocean.

City view.

Beverly checking out the view.

More of the view.

Seriously. THE VIEW!

Inside our apartment, these sheep plates were on the mantel. Cute!

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September 18, 2011

The second day in Florence was planned within an inch of its life! The museums did not allow photos, so I don’t have loads of them. The itinerary was as follows:

  • The Gallerie dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David
  • Piazza della Signoria (to see the fake David that can be photographed)
  • Coffee!
  • Market (I believe it was Santo Spirito)
  • Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens
  • Some light shopping for leather goods
  • A quick lunch at ‘ino
  • TheUffizi Gallery
  • A long walk back to the hotel (Sarah and I wanted a taxi. We were denied.).

We were nearly the first people into the Accademia. We had David all to ourselves. It was so quiet and peaceful. And he was so well made. We just looked in awe. We walked back to a part of town we’d seen the day before, but without the vendors, we could see the “x” on the ground where the bankrupt people had died. Creepy. (Or, is it more creepy that now, there are merchants on top of it?) Then we went to Piazza della Signoria to look at the fake David because we could take pictures of him…and all of the other cool statues around him.

"X" marks the spot.

Statues around the piazza.

Perseus said, Off with her head!

Hey Fake David! Lookin' good!

S'up? Name's Dave. Just hangin'. You?

Seriously, Dave, so over your schtick.

Neptune thinks David isn't that cool.

More statues...really awesome looking.

Lockin' up the love. Big lock = big problems.

The royal walkway over the bridge. Peasants. Bah!

View from the bridge. So pretty!

We headed over to the market (San Spirito?) and it was really amazing…all the food and homemade items. Pitti Palace required more stair climbing than necessary. The Boboli Gardens also showed a plethora of stairs, but I declined to climb them and sat and relaxed with Cynthia instead. We met a Dane traveling with his college friends…he said they go somewhere every year, which we thought was a nice idea. We shopped a little when we left and each of us bought a pair of leather gloves. I can’t wait until it’s cold enough to wear them. Onward to lunch. My sandwich at lunch was freaking amazing. I don’t know what was in the mustard, but I must find it or replicate it immediately. So good. The Uffizi Gallery was another great museum. Sarah and I pretty much ran through the beginning rooms to get to the Botticelli room. She wanted to see Primavera and I wanted to see The Birth of Venus. We sat down after looking at them in depth, pushing through the tour crowds. There were some repeats of statues we saw at the Vatican. I think I was most impressed with how BIG all of the paintings are. I mean, I knew they were big, but it was amazing to see them up close like this. Perspective made new. Then we headed to the hotel in the rain and stayed in for the night.

Pitti Palace from the outside.

Interesting statue outside Pitti Palace.

Looking out at Boboli Gardens.

Small hedge maze, Pitti Palace.

The view of Florence from Pitti.

Better view of that hedge maze.

Heading up to Boboli Garden.

Boboli Garden ahead.

Part of Boboli Garden.

Steps. So tired of steps. Little did I know.

Boboli Garden is pretty. I'll give it that.

Another section of Boboli, behind where we sat.

Wee turtles hold up that obelisk.

Back toward the Palace to get out.

Bacchus, hitching a ride on a turtle.

Inside the courtyard, statues fight in the fountain.

Ceiling of the fountain area.

Angel doin' laps.

Statue in the courtyard.

Door to Boboli Garden.

This guy could get to the hotel faster on the turtle than Sarah and I walking in the rain from the Uffizi.

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