Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Italy : Part Two {Siena}

The drive from Florence to Siena led us through the Chianti region of Tuscany.
Windows down, poppy-lined country roads, lunching at a vineyard... perfect. 

We arrived in Siena that afternoon and joined the crowds on the Piazza del Campo.
We did a lot of piazza sitting in Italy.

Then we toured the Duomo.


More piazza sitting that evening. 

This is the view from our restaurant. Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia.


 Walking back to the hotel on the quiet streets of Siena.


Next is Rome...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Italy : Part One {Florence}

How do I even begin? This was a trip of a lifetime for the two of us... one we have been waiting to take for many years. First it was going to be before we had kids, but that didn't happen. Then it was going to be for our 10th anniversary, but we felt our kids were too young to leave behind. So, it was decided; we'd go for our 15th. Going to Italy has been a dream of mine since my first art history class in college. The museums! The cathedrals! The countryside! The food! It's going to take me a long time to come down from this one. Of the places we visited, my husband had only been to Rome... and I had only been to the Zurich airport. 

Speaking of the Switzerland, we had an amazing view of the Alps on our flight from Zurich to Milan. We decided to fly in and out of Milan because the flight costs were so much less. We didn't see anything in Milan - just the airport. After renting our zippy little Fiat, we were on our way.

Our first stop was Florence. Wait, it was actually a travel plaza along the highway where I had an *amazing* panini. The NJ Turnpike could learn a few things from these travel plazas. On to Florence...

We checked into our room and discovered we had a lovely balcony!

That looked at this... I'm pinching myself when I am taking this picture!

Time to explore the city...

Palazzo Vecchio - and where the original David once stood (this is a copy)

The Uffizi. One of the greatest museums in the world.

Michelangelo's Holy Family, Leonardo da Vinci's Annunciation, Botticelli's Birth of Venus... 
it's all in there. No pictures allowed.

Ponte Vecchio from the Uffizi window.

Cappuccino stop after the Uffizi. I'm just plain giddy after all that we saw!

We went to the Accademia to see Michelangelo's David right after the Uffizi tour. INCREDIBLE! 
No pictures allowed there either. 

Shopping break at Mercato di San Lorenzo. I can still smell the leather.


My husband has a knack for finding stores with really old books. He's like a kid in a gelato shop.

 The Duomo!
 Brunelleschi's Dome. Right there.

another view

the facade

Ghiberti's Baptistery Doors (these are copies... the real doors were in a museum around the corner)

 We walked all 463 steps of the Dome. Renaissance architecture at it's best. 
The views from the top were worth every step. 


Look at these bricks. Genius!

Almost there...


More Ponte Vecchio... it was built in 1345, it's a pretty amazing sight.


Walking back to the hotel after dinner.

Good Night, Florence. It was lovely.

Next stop is Siena... after a beautiful drive through Chianti country...

Friday, May 25, 2012

La Dolce Vita

We are home from our fabulous anniversary trip to Italy! It was dreamy and beautiful and just perfect.
I was pinching myself the whole time.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

More photos very soon... there are a little over 1,000 (!) to sort through...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Other Side of the World

My husband recently returned home from a 2 1/2 week trip. Eighteen days that included two conferences, speaking here and there, teaching a seminary class, and a whole lot of plane time. His days were wonderfully full of people and places and experiences. It was a tremendous blessing for him to be able to go.

The kids and I fared well. And ate well thanks to generous dinner invitations from neighbors! Skype and texting kept us in touch and helped us to experience a bit of the other side of the world along with him. We happily welcomed him home late Friday night, homemade signs hung all over the house.

My very tired husband hit the ground running and we haven't had much of a chance to go through his photos. So while I wait for the jet lag to subside, I figured I would go ahead and pick out a few of my favorites to share.

First, Sydney.  

Then New Zealand. I cannot get over how beautiful it is... and the color!

Last stop, Japan.

And this is the ONLY photo that includes my traveling husband! He's teaching a seminary class here and waiting for the translator. He teaches a few sentences in English, then it's translated for the class. I love the shoes... you can just see his adidas slip-ons. This is his fourth time teaching here, so now he takes his own inside shoes.

We are so thankful to have him home again!


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