Italy · 14 Days · 29 Moments · April 2017

Kari's voyage in Italy

2 May 2017

Oh man! So bummed! Woke up this morning to clouds, which means no blue grotto for us .... this trip. The weather has to be just right (sunny and no waves) for it to be open. Unfortunately our timing was off. Yesterday was sunny but the water was too choppy and today (our last day) there is no sun and the waves are too choppy. Oh well, just gonna shift our plans a little and hop on a ferry to Naples to check it out before catching a train back to Rome for our last night. Gotta catch the plane home tomorrow morning.

1 May 2017

Our vacation is coming to an end. We left Amalfi this morning for a night in Capri. Tomorrow evening we head back to Rome for one last night before flying home. Capri is beautiful! The weather has been perfect, except the waves were too choppy so the blue grotto was closed shortly after we arrived. We'll try first thing in the morning. We were able to hop on the chair lift to the top of Monte Solaro which was pretty cool!!! We could see a 360 degree view of the whole island!!! I don't want this to ever end!!

30 April 2017

Up with the sun this morning. Our last day in Amalfi. Tomorrow morning we hop on the boat for a night in Capri. Today has been on &I off boats, up & down the coast. Our plan was to head into Positano but when we were in line for the ferry tix, we saw a sign for Grotto dello Smeraldo and it looked pretty cool, so decided to take a quick trip there before Positano. Glad we did! Couldn't understand a word the guide was saying, but it didn't matter. The grotto was tiny but amazing. Now just sitting here at lunch on the beach enjoying the perfect weather!!

29 April 2017

Up'n at'em again this morning, but we slept in a little later than usual. Hopped on the bus for a quick ride down the hill to have an "American breakfast" in Amalfi. Then boarded another bus to Sorrento. That was 1.5hrs of anxiety!!! Narrow streets, big busses, little cars, and tiny mopeds all sharing a road the size of a single lane back in a the states. Now on a train, headed to the ruins in Pompeii.

28 April 2017

Arrived in Salerno with no firm travel arrangements to Amalfi, where our hotel is. We could take a cab, which would be about an hour and €100. Or we could take a bus, which would be about 2 hours and €5. And just when we decided convenience over cost, we saw a sign for boats. For shits-n-giggles, I decided to inquire. A ferry would be €8 each (plus €2 for baggage) and would only take 35 minutes! Score!!! Thank you traVelMar!!
Up before the sun this morning. Super, super windy drive back to Florence to turn in the rental car and hop on the train to Amalfi. Think we're getting the hang of it now

27 April 2017

Today we hopped on the bus to Santa Margherita for breakfast and then walked back to Portofino for a little window shopping. Had a delicious lunch right on the water at a restaurant with the walls covered with famous people who've eaten there - Mariah, John Elton, Beyoncé, J-Lo. Expensive, but very yummy. After all that walking, we needed a nap ...we are on vacation after all!! 😂 Headed back down the road for dinner and another evening stroll. I could totally get used to this!! Gotta get up super early tomorrow to head back tk Florence to drop off the car and hop on the train to Amalfi!! Can't wait! Hopefully the weather will clear up for us ☀️

26 April 2017

Tuscany was great, but we were ready to get out of the country and over to the coast. But first we had to stop in Pisa to see the leaning tower. The drive up the coast was beautiful! And as soon as we rounded the corner to Santa Margarita, I knew we were in for a treat. Our hotel is tiny but right on the water. Gorgeous view!!! We took a hike (the long way around) to "town" and it started POURING. By the time we got back to our hotel (found a shortcut) we were drenched. Hoping the weather clears up while we're here

25 April 2017

We tried to hit the last day of the gelato festival in Florence, but they didn't open until later in the afternoon, so we headed out on a road trip to Siena. Like other hill towns, driving into the city is forbidden, so we parked outside and walked in. Our glutes definitely got a workout on all the hills!! When we were ready to head back, we got all turned around and found ourselves at the wrong parking lot. Oh boy! Back up the hill and to the other side of town, through the narrow streets until we finally found the right lot!! Tuscany is lovely, but we're ready to move on. Tomorrow we head up to Portofino for a couple of days.

24 April 2017

Ended the day with a quick trip up the hill to Volterra then back down the hill to the grocery store to grab some stuff for dinner and tomorrow's breakfast. Today seemed like a typical day, but in Italy!! 😊
Well today's been pretty boring. It was time to do laundry so we had to find a laundromat. First place was out of business, second place was a dry cleaner. Third time was the charm! But they don't have machines that sell detergent like in the states, so we had to find a store nearby. Well it wasn't "near" nearby, so that took a while. Finally made it to the laundromat with the soap and now just hanging out waiting for our clothes. At least the drive thru the countryside to get here, wherever here is, was pretty.

23 April 2017

Boy did our venture to Tuscany start out rocky! Thankfully it's turning around for the better. This morning was beautiful as we left Venice, reluctantly. The train ride was smooth and uneventful. Then we got to Florence and downhill it went. Gave cab driver the address to the rental car place, which I thought was correct. Turned out to be WRONG! He was kind enough to help us figure out we're it actually was, which was right back near the train station where he picked us up. SMH. Rental car place was supposed to be closed, even though there were still customers inside. Turns out we were not there on time and they gave our car away. But they were thoughtful enough to give us a car for an extra $350! Asshats!!! Man, was she rude! Moving on... Google maps has no idea where our agriturismo (aka hotel) is, so it sent us down a dirt road to the middle of a field and said "turn left". After a few more attempts and a few more failures, I wanted to give up and was ready to cry. (Cont.)
Finally, we turned the GPS off and found a tiny sign that led us down the right road. When we arrived, the first thing we saw was a little girl walking her goat by a rope. Well, that brought a smile to my face! The hostess showed us to our room and as soon as she left we found the little girl's goat at our back door about to come in!! Loved it! By now, we're both hangry, so off to find some food. Everything is closed! So we had to backtrack and found a biker bar open and serving only 2 types of appetizers. We'll take it!!!! On our way back to home base, we had to stop for a few pix! Time to rest, collect our thoughts, and prepare for tomorrow.

22 April 2017

Best birthday ever! Started the day early with a scrumptious pastry from a bakery I'll probably never be able to find again, went to Burano and fell in love, visited the Gallerie dell'Accademia, took a gondola ride in the sunny afternoon, walked around, and finished the night off with a delicious dinner on the waterfront of the Grand Canal. Couldn't have been any better!
Just when I thought I couldn't love Venice any more, we came across Burano Island. This place is breathtaking. The vibrant colors, the little Italian ladies sweeping the stoop, and the old Italian men talking loudly is exactly what I see when I pictured Italy in my mind. I never want to leave!!
False alarm. I did get us on the wrong boat the first time. Let's hope the second boat is the right one.
Boy did we time that right! Navigating thru the narrow streets to find the right dock and boat to Burano island. Got there just as the CORRECT boat pulled up to the dock. On our way!! Lovely morning in Venice
No time to waste! Up early. Got a lot to do today! Hopefully we can get it all packed in. Want to see the Academia museum, go to Murano island for glass and Burano island for lace, and the take a romantic gondola ride for my birthday. Two days in Venice are not enough.

21 April 2017

Kari strikes again! But instead of getting us on the wrong bus, this time I got us on the wrong boat. Lol
Venice. I'm at a loss for words. This place is amazing. From the moment we stepped out of the train station, I was overwhelmed. I think I could spend a month here and still not see everything. The canals are bustling with boats and the narrow streets are filled with people. But the pace is calm. It's easy to get lost and just as easy to find your way back to where you started. Definitely the highlight of our trip so far!
Buongiorno Roma! Today we say arrivederci. I can honestly say it's been amazing and I'm so thankful to have had the experience. The architecture is beautiful, the city is rich in history, the fountains are breathtaking, and the ancient sites are too much for words. Your drivers are crazy and the bidets are confusing, but that's okay, what do we stupid Americans know anyway? Time to start packing for our train to Venice. Rome is a little too overwhelming. Let's see how the Venetians live.

20 April 2017

Day 3: last day in Rome Early morning start and tons of walking wiped us out! Ended up taking a long nap before heading out again. Ended our night at Piazza Novana where we weren't accosted by street 'vendors' trying to sell scarves and light up toys. Got a little lost trying to make our way back to the hotel so saw much more of the city. Tomorrow we head out on the train to Venice!!
Breakfast at the Vatican. Yes, the early wake up call was worth it. Ate breakfast with a lovely couple from Australia in the pine cone garden and had an amazing story teller give us an early tour of the museums. It's been a long morning and we're on vacation, so that means it's nap time for us. More about the Vatican later ....... zzzzzzz 😴
Woke up before the sun this morning to head to the Vatican for breakfast. Thankfully we got on the right train the first time and got to the meeting place ahead of schedule. Let's see if it's worth it.

19 April 2017

Day 2 Recap Thankfully the afternoon turned around quickly after this morning's bus fiasco! Got to check off a few more of my bucket list items. Trevi Fountain, Coliseum, Forum, and Pantheon. I expected crowds, but holy crap on a cracker! There were a shit ton of people surrounding the fountain! But I was able to make my way to the edge to throw my wishes in the water like everyone else. So now I'm guaranteed to return! The crowd was shushed several times at the Pantheon. Guess what happens when you allow a million people in an enclosed space? Even whispers echo and there is no such thing as silence. It also might be time to take down that "no photography" sign if nobody is gonna even attempt to enforce it! I was prepared to stand in line for hours at the Coliseum, but the Roma Pass came in handy! Got to enter ahead of the line. Tomorrow will be more crowds, I'm sure. Practicing patience here in Rome!
Spent half of the day on the bus. The wrong bus, that is! Bought the Roma Pass which includes entrance to some of the sights and free public transportation. Thought we were getting on the bus to get to the Trevi Fountain, only to find it heading the wrong direction. Back to the terminal we go! Bus #2, still the wrong bus and taking us farther out of town. By now I'm getting frustrated and hungry. Break down and turn on data so my good friend Google can give us directions. Finally got on the right bus 100 hours later! Time for some food before we make our way to the Pantheon. At least I think that's just around the corner anyway.
Morning walk to grab a bite for breakfast and found an old park, Giardini Nicola Calipari. Poorly kept but looks like it was a lovely spot to relax at some point.
Rome never sleeps!! Our hotel doesn't have air conditioning or a fan, so we slept with the window open (because Tyler likes it cool). We heard cars and trucks and people all night long. Woke up to the restaurant setting up their chairs outside early this morning. Buongiorno Roma

18 April 2017

Day 1 Exhausted from traveling. Will write about adventures later. Stay tuned.... Buona notte (Morning after post) So last night I was so tired that I hit the wrong button and deleted what I had written about the day. Grrr! Trust me when I say it's was witty and a little funny. But now it's morning and I can't remember exactly what I wrote. Oh well, Cliffs Notes version: travelled for 24 hours (long layover in Chicago), got to hotel, room not ready, went for a walk, found Basilica di Santa Prassede down an alley next to our hotel, saw relic from Jesus Christ, Tyler tried (and liked) gelato but refuses to admit it's not ice cream, took a nap, woke up starving, walked around after dinner, and ran into the Coliseum by accident. Well, the church bells are ringing, so that must mean it's time to start the day.