Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Florence, Pisa, and Northern Tuscany

Andiamo! On to the land of the Etruscans! I could have sat and watched this guy paint all day. It would have been neat to paint a picture of him painting the dome on the bald spot on his head.

The basilica in Florence

The was a medieval toilet in the palace in Florence. There is a hole that drops all the way to the street where someone would supposedly sweep up whatever dropped out. This was like on the 4th floor so whatever dropped would drop with some speed.

This is a view from the bell tower in Florence at the Palazzo del Popolo.

The dome of the cathedral of Florence

Not sure if that gold ball or my forehead is shinier.

Rachel on the way down from the bell tower

This was one of the last stones placed on the tower with the stonemason's name and his age. I thought it was kind of cool.

The tower we climbed and Smiley

I took this from a window on the way up the tower

No wonder we couldn't find a place to park our scooter!

Rachel wanted these shoes and they were a mere 3 grand

Rach couldn't decide whether she was happy or sleepy.

The cathedral again

This is not the famous David but it was too long of a wait to go to the galleria and we were not going to wait in lines on this trip. I overheard a guide saying that many appendages were aggrandized to celebrate the gift of the body. Try to pick out which were aggrandized and which ones weren't.

Pretty creepy but this is for if the palace is attacked then archers could shoot through at the backs of as attackers as they came up the stairs without being seen.

Nothing like a good ol' fashioned wrestling match! I guess they were playing by prison rules.

The palace in Florence had paintings covering every inch of the interior.

Eat up Rach its been a long day. Its difficult to tell whether that pasta is going in or coming out.

Us in front of Ponte Vecchio which is full of stores selling gold jewelry made in the region.

You can see Rachel's disgust above about where they are storing the wine

Ponte Vecchio

There were frescoes all over the walls of this building in Pisa. I don't remember what it was called but it was like a cemetery

I hope my sepulcher is this ornate

That cemetery building in Pisa again.

The door of the basilica in Pisa

The baptistery in Pisa in the Piazza dei Miracoli

Boom there it is! Just like I promised! Those people up top of the leaning tower don't have to worry now that they are in the strong arms of Rachel. Next time we will travel to the southern hill towns of Tuscany and the village of Montepulciano where Bella saved Edward from revealing himself to the people in the timeless classic Twilight...the second one. You can imagine how happy Rachel was about that.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cinque Terre and the Ligurian Coast

Let us continue our journey of Italy to the basil patched cliffs of the Ligurian coast. This is the birthplace of pesto, the fairy tale of Christopher Columbus, and the true story of a small wooden boy named Pinocchio. It was also my first area of my mission! We stayed in a small seaside community just outside of Genova called Nervi. We spent an entire day hiking between the Cinque Terre which are five small villages that are wedged in between the mountains and the Mediterranean sea.

The weather was perfect the entire time we were here. Rachel loved the sea but felt like it was too cramped so we scratched it off the possible places we will live if and when we become American ambassadors to Italy.

Rachel, much like Christopher Columbus of old, was inspired by the winds of discovery!

The village above is Manarola. It is one of the smallest of the five villages but may be my favorite. We spent a lot of the day hiking around it and eating here, too.

Rachel with her palm tree hat

We hiked to the top of this hill and Rach didn't say "Ugh are we still going up higher?", more than seven to ten times by the time we got to that yellow building.

The whole village is on a foundation of rock and there are caves and archways throughout the coast.

This was my lunch. That is lobster ravioli and I dare say it rivals even the version at Olive Garden!

Now you tell me that if that isn't a pretty dang cute pic of Rachy! She loves her caprese salad.

Rachel holding up a wall

We took the train to the Cinque Terre from Nervi cause there is no parking. It worked out perfectly.

Rachel had the trofie with pesto al genovese. Even she admitted that the pesto there is just better in every way.

This is from a rock tower in Vernazza.

Ok these guys were jumping in the water and then letting the waves bring them back up to the dock on their feet! I should have recorded it cause it was cool. You can't see in the pic how hard the waves were hitting the rocks.

There are little paths all through the hills to the vineyards and vegetable gardens behind the villages.

This is the backside of Corniglia, the middle village. The only way to get there from here is a stairway that winds up those rocks.

Dinner in Nervi the night before Cinque Terre.

My rosy red cheeks and smirk may suggest that we tried the local wine, but that is water in my glass and my cheeks are almost always rosy.

This is Adriana. She was the first person in Italy that accepted our invitation to baptism and she is very special to me. I learned to love the Italian language as well as the Italian people from her. Also, I look like I am an NBA prospect when I stand next to her.

Well I hope you enjoyed our second installment of Rachel's trip to Italy 2011. Next time will be Pisa and Northern Tuscany and just as a teaser we may or may not have a pic of Rachel holding up the leaning tower......ok ya we do have one.