Sunday, November 2, 2014

All good things...

Vacations do always end too soon, don't they? And our stay in Italy was certainly no exception. After being dragged down a bit by a cold in Rome, I was just getting my second wind in Naples and Pompeii when it was time to head home.

Some friendly Brits took this one, our favorite from the trip

But Andy and I both had a great time, and couldn't really ask for more, and while I'm wrapping my head around getting back to real life, I thought I'd do a quick post to show that I haven't forgotten you all. I know that other people's holiday pics can get tedious fast, but here are just a few highlights to get you up to speed. Feel free to skim.

The weather was perfect for most of our stay—far more so than we had any right to expect in late October.  We had three busy days in Venice, during which time our mutual infatuation with evocative medieval streets got started:

The first of many narrow medieval streets in our holiday pics

And Andy's experimentation with taking artsy black and white photos also got a firm grip:

You have to admit, it could be a postcard photo, couldn't it?

Then there were the selfies, including the requisite one with our gondolier:

Two geeks and a gondolier

After Venice, we moved on to two especially gorgeous days in Florence, a wonderful time that included both the expected sights, such as our first glimpse of Michaelangelo's David:

Seems like he'd get a bit chilly dressed in only his slingshot...

and the less expected, such as my infatuation with the Bargello Museum, housed in a building as extraordinary as the art it contains:

The gorgeous Bargello Museum in Florence

Possibly the high point of the trip for me was our two days motoring around Tuscany, and the fact that the car rental place assigned us the cutest possible Fiat for our journeys didn't hurt:

Two geeks and a Fiat

These days included visits to Pisa,

I declined to pose for a "propping up the tower" pic, but Andy did

more lovely medieval streets in Lucca,

Narrow medieval street, Lucca style


Narrow medieval street, Siena style

and Volterra (with its highly evocative Etruscan Gate—those blobs were originally three sculptures around the arch, making the passage of time quite explicit).

Etruscan gate in Volterra (with narrow medieval street behind)

We went quite a ways off the beaten path in visiting the haunting and isolated ruins of the monastery of San Galgano (the closest I could get to Tintern Abbey while in Italy), reached via miles of harrowing, narrow, winding, and cliff-maneuvering roads, but it was absolutely worthwhile and a special time in our trip.  Usually Andy is our photographer, but here I decided to take the reins a bit, producing a multitude of interior shots—it was so lovely it was difficult to take a bad picture:

From there we were on to several days in Rome, where I was a bit on the cranky side with my cold, but we still saw quite a lot. It's also hard to take a bad picture of the Colosseum:

Quite a few people visiting the Colosseum, but some smart
advice and planning saved us from the line

I made a return visit to my favorite spot in Rome, the Piazza del Popolo:

I've always been obsessed with these (almost) twin churches in
Piazza del Popolo--some may recognize them from the film
Angels & Demons (or not)

And we attempted, quite incompetently, to recreate a picture from my last visit to Rome, when I was thinner, 22 years younger, and definitely ungroomed. Sadly, we forgot to actually refer to the picture before we left, or take it with us, so we got the right fountain but the wrong background:

As I recall, I was coming off of two nights without a hotel--first a ferry from
Greece, then a night train to Rome--I couldn't have had a pleasant aroma...

Older, cleaner, and considerably more obsessed with obscure authors

We spent two final days with Andy's niece and family outside of Naples, including a visit to Pompeii (on Halloween, appropriately enough) and a flying drive down the coast to Sorrento. Whew!

The main square of Pompeii, with Mt. Vesuvius looming in the distance

And by the time we got home last night, this is more or less how we were feeling:

She must have just gotten home from vacation too

Even though I sort of wish we were still exploring medieval backstreets in Italy, I have to admit it's also great to get back home, sleep in our own bed, and eat some food it's not easy to find in Italy (tonight, Thai!).

So how did all my agonizing over reading material pan out, you might ask? Suffice it to say that my Kindle Fire proved its worth. But I'll save that for another post in a few days. And then, I promise, back to the main focus of this blog!


  1. Sounds like an amazing trip! I've never been to Italy but hope to visit for a couple of weeks next year. That photo of the Bridge of Sighs in Venice is stunning!

  2. I'm glad you had such a good time. Lovely photos!

  3. Wonderful wonderful shots. Looks like a great time. That opening shot is exceptional.

  4. I am so taken by it all! YOU GUYS!!!!!! You will definitely understand why, even though I am not much of a traveler, I want to visit Italy! LOVED the photos. Did you get to Vatican City? AND - no mention! - DID you buy even one book????????? Welcome home; I missed your blogs! HUGS from a slightly envious TOM!

  5. How lovely! I've been to Italy but never got as far as Rome. If I did, I'd be sure to visit the English cemetery and have a good cry over Keats.
    Did you? (Visit, not cry.)

  6. Fantastic! Glad you two had such a great time. It looks like the weather was on your side, too.

  7. Glad you had such a great time. Been missing you! Am agog to find out who/what the first post will be about.....

  8. Stunning! A trip to daydream about for...well, ages and ages!


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