Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pisa, Florence, and SanGimignano

From Lake Maggiore we stop in Pisa to see the Leaning Tower and Baptismal. What a POS city! The only thing that is there and that it is known for is an engineering failure!!! Haha, would it be as famous if it wasn’t falling? Probably not! Again we had to watch ourselves with all the beggars and gypsies everywhere! We had lunch in a little pizza place and waited around for the bus…really not a lot to see in the shanty town! On to Florence!!!

We get to our hotel in Florence and it’s so cute, it has a nice quad thing going on! We head to the streets as group for some Tuscan cuisine, yum! And it was SO good! Then it’s back to the hotel for some sleep. The next day our schedule is packed! We see the Cathedral, Signoria Square and a visit to Santa Croce Basilica. Later, we enjoyed a panoramic view from Piazzale Michelangelo and then we had some free time. We went into a high quality leather making shop where Ashley bought an authentic, leather, Italian purse! While in Florence we also saw the Statue of David! And I have to say, what a marvelous piece of work! We skipped most of the museum tour to just stare at him, how could you not? The amount of detail and size, spectacular! I felt like I could run my fingers through his hair; that’s how real it looked! Florence was also the place where we decided had the best pizza in Italy! It was a restaurant right behind the leather shop. We just had something normal, cheese and pepperoni or something but it was SO good! Maybe it was the crust and all the ingredients were natural! YUMMY!!! On our last night in Florence Federica took us to this restaurant where the owner would inter act with you. If you ordered something that wasn’t his favorite he would scoff at you, same if you ordered meat well done (that’s not how they do it in Itaila!). He would also make “looks” at the ladies when they danced or if their clothes were a little too revealing :P
in San Gimiganano

While in Tuscany we also take a day trip to a town called San Gimignano (jimmy-yan-oh) and what a cute little town it is! As we walk around Ashley sees a sign for a Torture Museum and says, “I’ve seen enough churches! Let’s go to the Torture Museum!” I laughed and went in. Talk about some sick mother effers back in the day! Glad I didn’t live back then! This town also has the Gelato parlor that was voted best Gelato in Italy…but is was closed for family vacation and renovation, it was December after all. 
Florence in the background

Friday, July 15, 2011

Verona, Milan, Lake Maggiore, and Lugano, Switzerland

Verona kind of holds a special place in my heart. We went there and saw the sights (if you have seen Letters to Juliet then you will know what I am talking about). We saw Roman arena, Juliet’s balcony and the Statue of Juliet. And the story goes that if you touch her left breast you should wish for love and if you touch her right you should wish for money. So naturally, since Ashley has Hutch and I had nobody, I touched the left and wished for love (she touched the right for money). And what can I say…less than a year after that I found the love of my life :) Maybe if you are looking for love you need a trip to Verona! Then we made our way to the Fashion Capital, Milan! Although, I think we can both say we were kind of disappointed with it. We didn't have enough money to buy all the designer things we say so we just walked around and tried to avoid getting harassed by a gypsy or two. I did of course buy a pair of shoes there…I had to! After we preoccupied ourselves with our own humor we got back on the bus and headed to our hotel at Lake Maggiore. I have to say I think I liked this hotel the most! Plus, it was snowing!!! So being the typical Texas we are we had some fun in the snow and made a little snow man and snow angle.

{Me and Ash with the Juliet statue}

 {Verona, Colosseum in the background}

{no swimming here! We saw SNOW!!!}

The next day we had an excursion to Lake Como and Lugano. Lake Como is where part Ocean’s 12 was filmed and where George Clooney has a house…well a lot of famous people have homes. And we walked around the town a bit. The we headed up to the Italian speaking area of Switzerland, it was a Sunday so most of the shops were closed :( boo, would have been so nice to shop there (better exchange rate too!). So we just walked around the lake and bought some little souvenirs and we were headed back to the hotel.

{Lake Como}

{Lugano, Switzerland}

Monday, July 4, 2011

Buon Natale: Christmas Day in Venice

We make it to Venice the next day and we head to St. Mark’s Square via private motor boat. We see the Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs (which was unfortunately under construction, but we saw the main part). And then we headed to the Murano Glass factory where we get to watch them at work. We also find some beautiful, handmade Venetian masks (Ashley got a huge one but I only got a little one :)). Then we have some free time to walk around because we decided to skip the excursion again. After it gets a little dark we take our gondola ride! Ashley got sea sick so I had to take mine alone :( well…I’m not lame :P I was with another family! So that is how I spent my Christmas night! For dinner we all ate at a restaurant near the hotel (on Lido Island) and it was quite wonderful; if you have the right group you have such a fun time with them!

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