Italy, Vatican · 13 Days · 80 Moments · July 2016

Dionne's odyssey through Italy

19 July 2016

That was a colourful train change. Our train from Monterosso was 11 min late. We RAN through the terminal from platform 21 to platform 9. My flip flop went flying!!! Got on the wrong car but we were on the right train. Phewph!! We arrived on car 9. Really?!? We had to walk through 7 cars. Not easy with luggage. Finally on car 2. I could not stop laughing. I think it was a minor panic attack but I was laughing! It was ridiculous really. Absolutely ridiculous. We were safe and sound. Got to our seat and .... someone was in it. Serious?!? Anyway, he moved and we had wine.
And she told me "have ur water ready"!
Took a ferry off the coast of Montesserro. Did 3 of the 5 villages by ferry this morning. It was awesome.

18 July 2016

Candace ordered mussels. And yes - I ate one... And the another. Omg. Mom.. I ate mussels. That was nuts.
And now. Reward.
And that is all in going to say about our morning journey. I've never done anything like that before in my life. Truly an extraordinary adventure. And I'm exhausted. Candace took photos from her phone. I had the camera so my journal is much less. We hiked from Larento the Montesserro. Rocks, stairs, cliffs and a they terrain. It was mad!

17 July 2016

We officially found a time we would have DEFINITELY benefitted from backpacks. It is one thing to wrestle with the train station and completely another because of the people (tourists for sure) who don't move. We found our "hotel alley". Our key was waiting for us in the bakery (sign in picture). There are no elevators in montorosso. Haha!

16 July 2016

Out for dinner. Last night in Florence. A cute puppy was chillin. 🐶
Going down was terrifying. Steep incline with super tiny steps and hundreds of people. I had to sit down at one point. So claustrophobic.
Candace and I at the top.
We climbed the Domo. It was quite the adventure. 463 steps up... Two doms. On inside where the picture show the frescoes and the mass and outside with a beautiful view of the city.
The baptistery. This was beautiful. In the dome, all of the work is in real gold. Tremendous.
These doors are really famous. Why you ask? I don't know. Need to research this one. Ha!
The crypt. Amazing to see this. It's under the basilica.
Michael d'angelo.
The David.

15 July 2016

Decided to have dinner in a square. A piazza as they are know here. It turned I to just an amazing evening. There was some sort of event (I'm hoping that Candace remembers) going on and after the military guard ceremony an orchestra came out and played. I took a video buy cannot upload video to this app. It was so cool!
Not sure what this is but we had a huge brass turtle beside us. Took a pic. Lol
The Ponte bridge. Very famous and in so many movies.
Inside the Bascillica. No idea where we were but there was a line up. And where do we end up? The Domo. Fourth largest basilica in the world. Just beautiful. These are pics of the inside. Outside to come.
Outside! I cannot describe how large the basilica is. Seriously.
Btw- my puppies are celebrities and I'm not even at home!
We are finishing our two days in Tuscany. Absolutely beautiful countryside. Im finding this part of the trip the most expensive for sure but worth it as I doubt I will ever return. A must see. We leave at 1:30 for Florence. It is raining today so a good day for travel. Hope to do a few things in Florence today rain or shine. We are only there for one full day and part of today. Need to make the most of it.

14 July 2016

Our chicken. It was so nice to have chicken! Haven't had it since we got here. Candace did once and it was like chicken nuggets (G would be happy!).
Our homemade pasta
Candace making homemade pasta!
Our handsome chef telling us how they do not put the sauce on the pasta but rather put the pasta in the fry pan with the sauce to mix. No wonder pasta come to you hot rather than already cool.
How to make focaccia. I'll explain this later. Haha! That's the recipe for the bread to rise and fall.
Off to our cooking class! Not sure what to expect or what we will be cooking. Just excited to be in the moment.
Our walk this morning. All uphill. Haha. A beautiful walk. Enjoy the view immensely. Grape vineyards and olive trees everywhere.
Picture of the Vila.

13 July 2016

Wine tasting last night. We weren't feeling much by the end.
Forgot to journal yesterday so I will attempt to make up for it today. This is our sanctuary. Candace was nervous for this hotel and it turned out to be so amazing. It's more a Vila than a hotel. The exterior reminds me of a castle. We are nestled between several vineyards.
247 km per hour on the train.
Traveling by train is the way to go. So simple here. Already in Rome and heading now to Florence. When we arrive, we have a car waiting to take us to Tuscany from Florence. Apparently we were traveling 186km per hour on the train, never mind more like 247 km. Wow!!!!. The car ride will be about 1 1/4 hours after the train. We should be in Tuscany mid afternoon. Two young kids (brother and sister) on our train from Rome to Florence. The sister has been traveling like crazy! They are from Bolivia and she studies at Ithaca university. She studied for a semester in Barcelona but is spending summer travelling Europe.
About to leave our hotel room in Naples. Off to Tuscany.

12 July 2016

Now THAT WAS AMAZNG! We just swam on the Amalfi coast. Seriously. The water was warm. And buoyant. We floated in the ocean. Got dressed (on the beach) and went searching for a tile for Candace. No luck. On the bus back to Naples. I have found exactly where I would stay if I were to come again. Sorrento. Easy access to Pompeii, Vesuvius (day 1) and Positano, and Amalphi (day 2).
#1- Candace swimming out. Wow! She is to the left of the pylon. #2- me on a private beach in the Amalfi coast. No big deal. Lol! #3- sand here. So different.
Just a tinie tiny yacht. Couple of seadoos behind the boat. Truly phenomenal. That yacht was huge!
Lunch was exactly what I expected. Salad, oil dressing and pasta. Delicious. Dessert tasted like the Italian bakery cake. Two glasses of wine and we are off!! Amalfi here we come! The group is going to take a boat your but Candace and I are going to sit by the ocean, relax and even go in the ocean. So excited!!! The water is so blue. Dark deep blue. We ran into a couple from yesterday's tour (from California!). What a coincidence. Considering there are so many places to stop- can't believe they were there. Lol! I'm cannot explain the majestic blue ocean.
Positano. Stunning. So glad we did this your today. Yet another amazing day!
I think I could live in Sorrento. Absolutely beautiful. Works cannot describe the quaint feel and beauty.
Well my dream came true. Homemade shoes from Italy. I actually watched her make these shoes. So cool! Surprise Cassidy, these pictures are of the shoes she made you. ❤️💋
Off to Sorrenti, Pasitano and the Amalphi coast. On a very relaxing but long tour today. We are on the bus with the same company as yesterday. They have been fabulous.

11 July 2016

This one hurts too!
My sausages (aka piglet) hurt today. The third toe has had two bad blisters on top of each other and now, after the mountains, some war wounds.
For fun. And so beautiful.
I know I keep saying this was amazing and that was amazing... But truly - this was an experience I'll never forget. Mount Vesuvius . We just climbed an active volcano. Considered "dangerous" because there are populations in the thousands surrounding the volcano.
One of my favourite picture so far. Candace taught me how to do a "pano"
Enjoying our first Starbucks! Kidding! This is our first iced coffee. Amazing.
This tour was absolutely amazing. Truly one of the best. Our guide was adorable and so sweet. I know I'll have more to share with the other pictures (regular camera) because my phone is typically in the backyard act. These picture are of Pompeii and the amazing ruins. The stories of infidelity and brothels were very intriguing. The frescos (pictures on concrete) showed pictures of the prostitute menu!! There were shopping malls and homes. Pompeii was destroyed on August 24 79 AD. Mt Vesuvious erupted and 20,000 people died of suffocation. Such rich history!!!
Just had a tour of the cameo factory. Each cameo, made from sea shells, is hand carved. The dollar value is not based on size but rather the craftsmanship of the cameo. Very small rings were 600 euros.
Naples is not likely somewhere I would return. If you are here for specific, heading out of the city, reasons it's fine but to stay in the city... Probably not. That said, today we hike Mt Vesuvius. Crazy!! Our day starts with the tour at 8 a.m. And we are going until 9 p.m. There is a wine tour at the end of the day...ahhh shucks! The hotel we are staying at is very nice. Very American. The beds were. Very comfortable to sleep on, that's for sure and the bath actually had enough room to shave my legs. A good sign. Well; we are off. Ciao!
Heading to climb a volcano. No big deal. Lol!

10 July 2016

Rooftop patio.
Just arrived in Naples. Very different from Rome. Has a ghetto feel out of the train station and yet more like Afghanistan view from the hotel. Literally on the left is the ocean and a castle and the right are all these broken down looking buildings. Reminds me of the show Homeland.
Leaving Rome by train. First of many. Just outside of Rome... There are mountains. Well, they are pretty small comparatively speaking but cool regardless. An hour of relaxing on our way to Naples.
Having a rest out of the sun. It is extremely hot today. Feeling a little "meh" right now. Didn't sleep well. Likely anticipating the travel day. Super excited about taking the train today. I remember taking the train when I was here at 10 years old. We depart at 4:30 for Naples.

9 July 2016

One last kiss and coin toss into Trevi fountain. We leave Rome tomorrow. First stop almost complete. Even tho we had a late start we have been going for the past 9 hours and are only half way back to the hotel! Just having tirimisu then bed. Great thing to sleep on right????
Needed a break. So stressful walking through Rome. Lol! Ok. Maybe not. At the Pantheon. Cannot believe the pigeons. Just like the movies. They are everywhere.
Someone got her Santa!!
Heading to the Spanish Steps now. One of the last sites we want to see in Rome. Need lunch. Haha. It's 4:30 and we haven't really eaten. Back on the bus after taking some picture on Palentine hill.
On the hop-on-hop-off bus. What a great idea today. A little tired so this is a treat. We just completed the entire tour. It was suggested to do this and then be able to pick where we want to go. So far, it's been great. With the exception of the elevator music.
Not sure what today holds. Last night we talked about doing a "hop on hop off" bus but realized we have done most of what places they go to with the exception of the Spanish Steps. We leave Rome late tomorrow afternoon and head to Naples. Thus far, a wonderful trip. Amazing journey.
Woke up this morning confused. My phone said 11:00 a.m. There was no way it was 11:00 - or maybe it was! Haha. We slept in big time. Even missed breakfast at the hotel. Candace is still sleeping and I came down for a coffee. Yesterday morning, by accident, I left my sweater in the cab when we go out for our Vatican City tour. As soon as he drove away I realized I had nothing to cover my shoulders - oh boy. Shortly after checking in for the tour, Candace and I went for coffee. It was a Papa and son operation. The Papa refused our money and gave us the best coffee we have had so far. The tour was great and afterwards we decided to walk home. (25,000 steps yesterday!). It was unbelievably hot so we decided to stop for a drink (or two!). Met a sweet 21 year old girl, Amanda. She was heading back to Vancouver the next day. I bought her dinner. Funny thing... Came back to the hotel and what was here? My sweater. The taxi driver dropped it off. Karma - always be kind.

8 July 2016

55,000 people. That was capacity. Executions, gladiators, and so many terrible things happened in this structure. In order to ask for absolution, looked to the vestal (no idea how to spell that!) virgins. 30 years of keeping the fire burning and abstinence- yes, I said 30 years. .
Trajan column.
Heading to the coliseum. Almost missed it. Their directions suck.
Beautiful friend, amazing meal and the coliseum. No big deal.
In the middle of some square, some where. Lol! We took a wrong turn. Need wine. Stopping.
An amazing morning. Even as a non history buff I enjoyed listening to the knowledge of our tour guide. He was so full of history. Learning about the Sestina Chapel before going into "silence" as you walk through. Although people were rather disrespectful and continued to talk. The security constantly saying "silencio" (silence). St Peter's Bascillica was far beyond my wildest recollection. The massive structure left me in awe. We cannot even imagine how the pillars were brought inside. We watched mass, had the offering of confession and watched communion. A truly worth wild experience.
Sister of Apollo, goddess of the moon.
Our tour guide said Saint Sebastian was beautiful. Here he is.
Wish it was possible to take a picture inside the Sistina Chapel however this will have to do.
Amazing history.
Enjoying the first cappuccino! Off to Vatican City 💋

6 July 2016

Can't describe the feeling knowing I am with an amazing friend doing a bucket list adventure. So blessed to have Candace in my life. I am also blessed to know my family is excited for me and supports me in this journey. Taking care of Dad (lol) and my puppies... I am sitting in first class, in a pod about to watch my second movie. I truly am the luckiest girl ever. G, Cass... Mama loves u.
At the Air Canada lounge having a drink!
I'm leaving... On a jet plane... Ciao.
And we are off!! Doesn't she look cute?