Italy, Vatican, Canada · 23 Days · 88 Moments · May 2018

Nancy and Tim’s ItalianAdventure

3 June 2018

Saturday, June 2, 2018 Home sweet home by 10:30 pm. A nice surprise - Nic and Robbie picked us up. They even had a sign. Funny guys. When my head hit the pillow it was like heaven! What a perfect, fantastic vacation with my best friend. I am so blessed and thankful.

2 June 2018

Saturday, June 2, 2018 passed the outside line and into the herded cattle area. I am certain we will not make it. I ask a young lady and she tells us to follow her and we are taken to the front of the line. We have our passports stamped and are on our way downstairs - bear in mind we started downstairs, then were upstairs, then back downstairs, then upstairs again - and this was not in error! We find the lineup for our flight but we don’t board a plane here. We board a bus which takes us on a five minute journey to our plane which we finally board. Here we sit because due to all the boarding issues we have missed our spot in the departure queue and have been assigned a new departure time - just an hour late of our scheduled departure time! We are uncertain if we will make our connection in Montreal! We made our connection in Montreal! Yay! I got Tim in trouble on the plane from Venice! I asked him to get my bag down from the overhead but it wasn’t time yet - he got told to sit down!
Saturday, June 2, 2018 Breakfast and the water taxi ride to the airport were uneventful. However, the airport - always an adventure with Tim and Nancy! We got to the airport in plenty of time. There are check in points upstairs and downstairs so took us a minute to figure out. There was no line at the small Air Canada counter. Security was organized and not a problem either. We were through with two hours to spare. Took a potty break, had a sandwich, where, while eating, we noticed that there is a second security checkpoint - a passport check. No problem - no line. So we ducked into a shop for some cookies and chocolate. This turned out to be a very bad idea. By the time we came out the lineup was half the bloody airport long. People were confused, mad, hot, impatient, overall not very happy. So we get about halfway through the line and I say to Tim no way are we going to make it, better ask one of the girls. They tell us “No worry, just stay in the queue! And we do. Now we are

1 June 2018

Friday, June 2, 2018
Friday, June 1, 2018 We have decided to avoid the public transportation (30 euros/90 minutes/packed with tourists) and take a water taxi (120 euros/30 minutes/private) to the airport tomorrow. It’s hot and lugging around luggage isn’t much fun! Venice really is a lovely city but would even lovelier without so many people about. They say that up to nine cruise ships can dock in a day. You only have to look in the square to know it’s a busy cruise ship day! I think there are as many pigeons in San Marco Square as humans! And there are a million swallows fluttering up above you always!! The birds are not shy here! I had good fun feeding them during our dinners!
Friday, June 1, 2018 After the tour we got Tim a bite to eat - I’d already had my standard gelato for lunch!! We did some more wandering and shopping then headed back toward the hotel for our serenaded gondola ride. Now this gondola ride was the bargain version - about six gondolas with six people in each, one singer and accordion player to serenade all of us! 😂😂 However, still kind of cool to ride around the canals for 30 minutes. So, Tim was at the back of the boat and my seat was on the side. We were just about at the dock and he wanted a picture of the two of us together so he calls me over. I, the good wife I am, start to scramble over as the boat starts rocking and the gondolier starts yelling at me to sit down. He gave me heck and then let me go sit by Tim. It was all Tim’s fault. Geez!!! 🤭😉 Some last shopping, supper, wine and gelato then back to the room.
Friday, June 1, 2018 Today was a perfect last full day in Italy. It was slow paced and relaxed. We even slept in a bit! We wandered and did some shopping after breakfast. We had a tour of Doges Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica in the afternoon. With the tour of the palace we got to see the secret passages and the cells. I can’t imagine being down there for even a day - dark, no windows, damp, hot in summer, cold in winter. Just brutal! The palace is enormous but most of the valuables were looted by the French (no love loss there!). The church was stunning. Practically the entire ceiling is done in mosaics with 24 carat gold. The grave of St. Mark is at the main altar along with another stunning mosaic incased in glass (the French missed this beauty!). We weren’t allowed to take pictures but Tim, very disrespectfully, took a couple until I scolded him! The guide was really informative and and interesting. She really knew her history!
Friday, June 2, 2018

31 May 2018

Thursday, May 31, 2018 Poor Timmy fell asleep on the boat ride back. I just had to take a picture! We were so hot and sticky after the tour we stopped for a drink and water, then head back to the hotel to shower before dinner. We were refreshed and headed out to wander aimlessly, did some shopping, had a drink, then found a place on a canal for dinner. Timmy had one drink too many and got silly with the “digital touch” on his phone - which I didn’t know existed. 😂 After supper we wandered slowly - partly because got lost - back to the hotel. We had a pit stop in San Marco square. It truly is impressive. Arrived just in time to hear one of the bands playing the theme to Bonanza which I made Tim video. One more day and time to say goodbye to Italy 🇮🇹!!
Thursday, May 31, 2018 Today was super hot and humid. We hopped a boat to explore three islands. The first was Murano. It is where the glass factories are and we watched an artist work. Quite an amazing process and hot with the ovens. Not much else there. The second was Burano. This island is famous for its lace production. It’s a pretty island - all the houses are painted a different bright colour. This was done long ago to help the fishermen find their ways home. The lace work was very beautiful. The third island is a barely inhabited island named Torcello. Not much there but a few restaurants and a very old worn down town centre. Interesting to watch people. As the day grew hotter more and more couples, sweating profusely, became more and more irritated with each other. To the point where some were no longer speaking to one another. Made us laugh! T Yesterday, a fellow in a store called me blondie! Today I was called Bella lady! Haha! And he told Tim to keep an eye on me.
Wednesday, May 30, 2018 hotel. Now we’ve seen the Mediterranean and the Adriatic Sea! Venice is divided into six islands. And I found my bread bag today. Yay!

30 May 2018

Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Wednesday, May 30, 2018 Discovered our room is quiet and stays dark. We didn’t wake until 9:00 this morning. We had breakfast at the hotel and headed out. We walked to the Bridge of Sighs which connected the palace to the jail (hence the name I guess!). We then headed to the Rialto Bridge and market. Just wandering along. We did some shopping. I even had a fish pedicure. They just lightly nibble at your feet! I tried to get Tim to try but he wouldn’t. Later in the afternoon we did a boat tower of the Grand Canal with a bell tower climb. It was a good tour and we learned a lot about the history of Venice. We saw ambulance boats, fire boats, police boats, garbage boats and more! After the tour we found a great little tapestry shop and decided on one to hang in the upstairs stair way. Before dinner we stopped for a drink at a bar. I tried the Bellini, which I have learned was created in Venice. We had some dinner (thumbs down on this restaurant) and dessert, and headed back to the
Friday, June 1, 2018

29 May 2018

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 Very expensive restaurants - 18 euros for a beer or glass of wine. I don’t think so. We left rather quickly. The church and palace are stunning. There are gondoliers serenading people on the canals. We decided to head back in the direction of our hotel. We found a reasonable (for Venice) restaurant close to the hotel to eat and drink, and headed back to the room.
Tuesday,May 29, 2018 We arrived in plenty with plentiful time to make our connection to Venice. The Milan station is quite a work of art and very large! We are back to the army and polizia guarding again! The train to Venezia was in business class with assigned seating. Lovely and quiet!! Arriving in Venice is interesting. You leave the mainland via a bridge. All of a sudden you are surrounded by water. There are water taxis and water buses everywhere! The canals are pretty but I imagine don’t smell very good in the heat of summer. We took a water taxi to the hotel - with a pit stop at the ATM 😂. We checked in, our room overlooks a cana, wandered past all the designer shops (and there are many), and made our way to San Marco square. It’s quite something - very large and very busy. It is surrounded by shops and restaurants.
Tuesday, May 29, 2018 It was a sight watching claustrophobic Tim squish into the tiny lift with the luggage this morning. I offered to change places with him but he was kind of stuck in it! The vacation is winding down! After breakfast and good byes at the hotel - got hugs and kisses from the owners - it was off to the train station to Venezia. We decided to cab it up as it’s a long walk up with heavy luggage - best 10 euros ever spent! Ha! The train was over full. Apparently they don’t sell by seats available they just sell! It’s a bit of a process getting on, and there are many hurried and rude tourists to fight. It’s just fine when you are riding without luggage. With luggage you not only must you find a place for yourself, you must find a place to store your luggage, and it needs to be close to where you are. It was standing room only but a kind little girl gave up her seat for me and sat on her mommy’s lap. Tim had to stand for half the journey.

28 May 2018

Monday, May 28, 2018 right with the universe now) and dinner at Hotel du Lac. Supper was very good but for the first time this trip I really overate - bread, carbonara, tiramisu, and much too much wine. I feel awful. To finish it off I had bean soup for lunch from which the gas is starting to escape which has Tim choking and me laughing hysterically with tears, which makes my full stomach feel even worse. 🙄🤭😂 Funny thing - for the last two nights, after riding the ferry and renting the boat, I have the motion of rocking when I am first going to sleep at night. It can be a little nauseating!!
Monday, May 28, 2018 and after all that it was rather pathetic. Yes, there was white water running down the mountain but in the tiniest of rivers with the smallest of views. Unfortunately, this appeared to aggravate Tim further, which only prompted more giggling from me. The only thing that annoyed me were the rose bushes which kept pricking us making us bleed!! Following this adventure I decided it would be best to walk on flat with tags only for the rest of the day! We ventured into the old town, had some lunch and the. Caught a ferry to Menaggio. We walked about determining there wasn’t much more to see than what we saw yesterday. Hopped another ferry back to Bellagio and then another ferry to Cadenabbia, which was also a complete waste of time after determining it was literally 800 metres from Villa Carlotta, which we had already seen, and there was nothing more to see or do! So we hopped a ferry back to Bellagio where we are enjoying drinks, including a martini for Tim (all is
Monday, May 28, 2018 It was pouring buckets when we got up this morning. In fact, it stormed all night - thunder and continuous lightening. We took our time at breakfast. The rain stopped by 10:30 am and it turned into a beautiful day. We started by wondering Varenna. It’s just a gorgeous place. We headed to the Villa and wandered the gardens, probably a little too much for Tim. We then decided, or I guess I did but I wasn’t met with any resistance from Tim, to hike to the Flumelatte. This is a very short river that flows from the mountain into the lake. The water is ferocious making it appear milky. It only flows once a year. It ended up being a bigger hike 🙄 than expected - following a narrow mud path that started, after much going up, behind the graveyard - of all places. Tim was hot, sweating profusely and determined we were on the wrong path. He was grumpy 😡 I could tell but for some reason that only made me want to giggle as I followed behind. So we arrive at our destinati

27 May 2018

Sunday, May 27, 2018
Sunday, May 27, 2018 We love family run hotels. You get such marvellous service and are so well taken care of. You always get the best tips and information. We came in from the rain and they sent us upstairs to the “library” and brought us tea, coffee, cookies and cake. How wonderful is that?!
Sunday, May 27, 2018
Sunday, May 27, 2018 alcohol. It’s disgusting - like moonshine. 😝 Today was fabulous! Best day ever!! After breakfast we rented a boat for two hours for just the two of us. We toured the lake taking pictures of all the amazing villas that dot the lake - even George Clooney’s Villa. The only thing we forgot was sunscreen!!!! After our boat excursion we had lunch at our hotel. I had the best vegetable soup ever! Then we loaded the ferry and headed for a walking tour of Menaggio. It’s a pretty town with a great centre. Here we enjoyed gelato!! From a Menaggio we ferried to Bellagio. We walked to the Villa Melzi to see the Villa and the gardens. Just a nice leisurely stroll on a beautiful day. We had supper at Bar Splendide - the risotto was delicious. We walked around the town for a bit, did a little gift shopping and went back to Varenna. Boy did it storm tonight. Continuous thunder, lightening and rain. The ferry was pretty smooth considering.
Saturday, May 26, 2018 are basically on the ground - you have to get on your knees to look though. The only thing is it truly is a big hole so when you open the window and stick your head out - as Tim did - you could quite possibly fall to your death! The room is clean and cute with slanted ceilings but a tad small. It was warm in there last night as well and Tim was feeling a bit claustrophobic, wine and beer helped! We had supper close to the hotel - 45 flights of stairs later - and went back to the hotel. Now showering was another bit of fun. There is no shower just a bathtub with a handheld shower head. Oh, and it takes forever for the hot water to reach the fourth floor, and there is absolutely no water pressure. It was a process but nothing like the hair blower! It took a good 15 minutes to dry my bangs - just my bangs! I have up on the rest of my head and went to bed with wet hair!!! Today Tim tried another Italian concoction - Grapple. It’s a type of brandy with 35 to 60%
Saturday, May 26, 2018 What a beautiful day. Our ride arrived at 9:00 am and took us down the hill. We left our bags, had breakfast and started our adventure! We took the ferry first to Lenno. We walked the boardwalk to the Villa del Balbianello. This was a long walk up but the villa and gardens were stunning. We took the ferry next to Tremezzo where we enjoyed lunch on the boardwalk and then walked to the Villa Carlotta. Again such a beautiful building with stunning gardens. We were so hot we did t walk all the gardens. Amazing to smell the lemons and oranges as you walk along. Next stop was Bellagio. This is a very popular town. We meandered about down the boardwalk and through some shops. But it was hot and we were tired so we decided to head back to Varenna more in detail tomorrow. Once back in Varenna we checked on the status of our room. Well, it’s a budget room in a very quaint family run hotel. The family are lovely. The room - in the attic!! In fact, two of the window

25 May 2018

Friday, May 25, 2018 drive us up. However, to go roam we had to walk back down which meant walking back up. By the time we reached the top my Garmin read 10 flights of stairs!! It’s a really neat town with lots of ups and downs, and alleyways with hidden restaurants and shops. It has a lake walk called the Lover’s Walk which is so pretty and goes around the front of the town. Very cool! We had dinner at Nilus Bar Varenna, which offered lovely lake views (the food was only so-so but cheap). The last picture, with the boats in front, is where we ate. Then slowly made our way back up the hill - with gelato for energy! Our ride will pick us up at 9:00 am to hopefully take us to our fixed room. However, it’s going to be a few classes 😂 down from this one!
Friday, May 25, 2018 A later start today, then off to the train station. It’s a long travelling day today. Almost three hours to Milan on high speed and then another hour via regional train to Varenna in the Lake Como area. The weather is lovely today. The trip went smoothly. We arrived and I believe we found the most beautiful place in the world. THIS is where Nicole should get married!! If we thought Cinque Terre was beautiful then Lake Como is out of this world. It was a beautiful and very hot day. We walked down from the train station to the waterfront to our hotel. Once there we were told there was a problem with our room. Unfortunately a pipe had burst and they weren’t able to fix by our arrival time. For tonight - ha ha - we get to stay at a more deluxe property, Casa Laura. It is a completely remodelled modern apartment with balcony and stunning views higher up than even the train station. Thankfully we did not have to walk up with our luggage. They were kind enough to

24 May 2018

Thursday, May 24, 2018 Levanto
Thursday, May 24, 2018 I can definitely see why they call this the Italian Riviera. It’s been amazing.
Thursday, May 24, 2018 Today was an incredibly beautiful day. We went the other way down the coast stopping first at Santa Margherita Ligure. It is the most beautiful little town on the water. We absolutely loved strolling around. From here we took the ferry to Portofino - lifestyles of the rich and famous!!! It is absolutely postcard perfect. Dolce and Gabbana has a home here - it looks like a castle. The yellow villa is our new home and I believe there is a picture of our new yacht!! 😂😂😂 The yachts actually rent starting at $300,000 for a week!!! We enjoyed a walk about and lunch on the waterfront. Too expensive to shop. We took the ferry back to Santa Margherita Ligure and caught the train to Sestri Levante. Sestri Levante was nice but not as spectacular as Santa Margherita and Portofino, although the washroom in the train station was something to be seen! sestri Levante is on the water too. We did some shopping, drank some coffee/tea and wine, just enjoyed the beautiful day.

23 May 2018

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 Today was a chill day. We started with a ferry ride to where we started yesterday so we could see the villages from the Mediterranean. So beautiful and a perfect day! Then we toured each village again (except for the baby with all those steps up!) at a much more leisurely pace, enjoying wine, beer, lunch and treats along the way. We had dinner at a cheap little restaurant (Bar Eden) in Monterosso. And then trained it back to the hotel. We made it an early night!! Had a lovely trip up the stairs today - tripped on my toe!!! I really came down hard on my hands which caught my fall. My left shoulder is very sore. Jerked my back too. Sigh!! Our home in Cinque Terre and the dog who lives there (pictures).
Thursday, May 24, 2018 Had to throw in a picture of Tim’s Italian laundromat!! And my picture - Take Your Dog To Work. Love this about Europe. 💛

22 May 2018

Last stop: The village of Monterosso is rocky and austere, a refuge for fishermen and farmers. A rich church and a lot of narrow and fresh Scruggs are the setting for the lively lemon trees. Loved this village - the largest of the five. Very pretty and “flatter” thank the rest. We had a nice walk about and enjoyed dinner at Lapo’s 3 with a beautiful view of the Mediterranean. After dinner it was back on the train to Levanto. On the way back to the train I stopped to pet Rocky - an old dog whose owner has him begging in the streets. He almost took my fingers off. No euros for Rocky! 😡 Home to shower and bed!! Over 23,000 steps today and 65 flights of stairs!! 😓
The fourth stop of the day: The village was founded on a small and enchanting bay, whose crystal waters are the mirror of the Church of Santa Margherita d’Antochia. From the castle, an ancient lookout fortress, you can see the entire Gulf of Cinque Terre. Bellissimo is Vernazza. Small and beautiful. We enjoyed a wine/beer break here. Actually, we were concerned we wouldn’t be able to get up off our chairs! We are pooped.
Third Stop: The baby of the family and smallest village is Corniglia. She’s a rebel. She’s built far above the ocean on the cliffs. To arrive in Corniglia you’ve gotta hoof it up the 365 steps (one for each day of the year) to reach the center of town. This was the most brutal part of the day. Those steps, in the humidity and heat, exhausting. We were soaked when got to the top and after all that work there wasn’t much to see. It’s a very tiny village. However, a well earned gelato was had. Then down we went!
Second Stop: Heading north from Riomaggiore is the second village called Manarola. It’s also a one-street town, with a small harbor where you can swim. It has an incredible spit of land where the most famous Cinque Terre photos are taken from. It’s very similar to Riomaggiore, but has a more grown-up, chill vibe. We started with lunch and tried the very popular Italian drink - an Aperol spritzer - couldn’t finish. Here’s what they say: Aperol has a strong orange and mandarin orange flavor with a nice balance between a cinchona and gentian bitterness and an easy sugary sweetness. Campari kicks in with a bold woody bitterness, featuring more of a rhubarb and berry mid palette and finishes with a floral bouquet of potent herbs. Here’s what we say: Aperol has a strong cough medicine flavour - perhaps Benylin orange. It finishes with a taste of Penicillin so strong you are sure to gag on it one the way down. 🤮 Again we wandered about and took some amazing pictures.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018 Purchased a Cinque Terre card today and are train riding fools! Until tomorrow midnight we can ride from town to town - six altogether - as much as we want. Get to use washrooms 😂 and wifi for free too!!! First stop: Riomaggiore has one main street, a harbor, a rocky beach, a castle, a church, a pharmacy, and a dozen restaurants. It also has good train connections and is the closest to the main city of La Spezia. Riomaggiore is the furthest from our home base - a whopping 25 minute train ride. We wandered, climbed hills - 19 flights of stairs here alone! Lovely little place with shops, restaurants and magnificent views.

21 May 2018

Monday, May 21, 2018 - Cinque Terre pasta and pizza. Go figure! Rained a bit tonight so had to use the umbrellas. Once in the restaurant Tim put them in the bin. Unfortunately, the bin he placed them in was the garbage bin. Apparently we have difficulty distinguishing between a garbage bin and an umbrella bin. 🙄 We bad!!
Monday, May 21, 2018 Breakfast and the train. Today we move to Levanto at the base of Cinque Terre. We made our connections easily - not so much fun with luggage but not so bad either. Met some nice fellow Canadian travellers. Arriving through the tunnels in the mountains with glimpses of the Mediterranean and the towns was absolutely stunning. We easily found our hotel. A cute and very clean place centrally located. The pace is much slower and more relaxed here. No cars, less people. Just perfect! We are pleased! Today is an easy day. Just a little wandering. A nice stop for lunch - gelato and wine for me 😜, a burger and fries for Tim. And more wandering with a toe dip in the Mediterranean - which was freezing and people were swimming! One can walk along the ocean for miles through tunnels and paths which connect all the towns. We went quite a way today! We ate dinner at a “fancier” restaurant - Le Clarisse - and were a little disappointed. We decided we much more enjoy ordinary

20 May 2018

Sunday, May 20, 2018 - Sienna That construction hanging off the building is an addition done in somewhat “modern” times - a bathroom. Ha!
Sunday, May 20, 2018 - Monteriggioni Look at the sweet baby we met today. I could have scooped her up and brought her home. She weighs 900 grams!! 🐶💛
Sunday, May 20, 2018 - San Gimignano Check out Tim’s sandwich and the pig it’s from. 🙄
tasting, olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting. It was a great deal of fun. We didn’t know that Chianti wine is a red wine only - not bad considering this girl drinks white! We got to taste their “baby” wine and their reserva wine as well as a Spumante white. The extra virgin olive oil was okay - to me, the truffle olive oil (olives and mushrooms - open the bottle and the room reeks for days!) was gross, but the balsamic vinegar was delicious. They served it with both cheese and bread, and I was quite surprised by how much I liked it. I will buy some but not from the winery. Sixty dollars for a bottle of vinegar is just a little too steep for us! Now I know, though, that real balsamic vinegar only has one ingredient - grapes 🍇, and once a bottle is opened IT LASTS FOREVER! If it has sugar, corn syrup etc. don’t bother. We finished with supper at Trattoria Bondi. I had a calzone - yum - but they don’t put tomato sauce on. Ha! We are tired again!!
Sunday, May 20, 2018 - Famiglia Mazzarrini Winery in the famous Chianti wine region of Tuscany We also learned how to properly hold a wine glass so as not to disturb the temperature!
Sunday, May 20, 2018 Today was another beautiful day and we spent it in the heart of Tuscany. Absolutely breathtaking country. The hills, the towns, the vineyards, the flowers. We were up early and headed first to the lovely town of San Gimignano (I could live here). It was so quaint, quiet and pretty. We could have wondered the alleyways all day. We found a lovely children’s shop and picked up Parker the cutest little hat and sundress made in Tuscany. From there we made our way to Monteriggioni, a small fortress town. We took in the sights and the views, walked through the olive groves - enjoying the peacefulness. Next stop Sienna. This turned out to be another favourite. It’s an old city in the hills so the streets run up and down. Beautiful buildings and squares, another beautiful cathedral. We had lunch here and enjoyed a coke (!) in the main square. We finished the day at the Famiglia Mazzarrini winery in the famous Chianti wine region of Tuscany for a tour, wine

19 May 2018

Saturday, May 19, 2018 - Cooking Class in Florence Tonight! Might have to try one yet.
Saturday, May 19, 2018 - Lucca
Saturday, May 19, 2018 - Lucca
Saturday, May 19, 2018 - Pisa
Saturday, May 19, 2018 Forgot to mention I tried a cannoli last night - a ricotta cheese mixture that tastes like ice cream and is inside a cookie. Rather delicious!!! Today was our tour to Pisa and Lucca. Pisa is well Pisa - quite a cool place. What I didn’t know is that the tower is actually “just” a bell tower. Nothing more. But the most famous bell tower in the world! When we arrived it was like arriving into a postcard. It didn’t disappoint. We visited the cathedral, took lots of pictures, had lunch and a walkabout. We then left him Pisa and headed to the town of Lucca. A very pretty, quaint town that is surrounded by an ancient wall. We had a brief tour and then some free time to roam. It was a beautiful, sunny and hot day. We were back to Florence around six and grabbed dinner at a restaurant just down from our hotel - Osteria All’Antico Mercato. Tired again!!!

18 May 2018

Friday, May 18, 2018 - Santa Croce Church
Friday, May 18, 2018 - Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens
Friday, May 18, 2018 - Palazzo Vecchio
Friday, May 18, 2018 there in the church. After the church we recharged with wine and beer! Then headed to Chicco to buy some presents for Miss Parker. That was fun! We grabbed an early dinner at Donnini’s - finally a real Caesar salad! Ha! On the way home we decided to swing by the San Lorenzo Market. It is a huge outdoor market selling mostly leather - purses, jackets, belts, more purses, more jackets, and more belts, and even more....However, there is also an indoor section with only food. Every different kind of food you can imagine, including sweets, and it’s cheap, and they serve alcohol. We will return! After our excursion it was back to the room to bed. It was another great day. But what is with the toilets in Italy?!? Got scolded today - thought the bin, which I checked, was for garbage. Was told it was for umbrellas so had to dig my garbage out! At least I got mine - left the other garbage in there! 😡

17 May 2018

Friday, May 18, 2018 Today was another busy day but with a couple a lovely wine breaks!!! It started early with a tour of the Uffizi Art Gallery and a tour of the Palazzo Vecchio. In fact, we had the same guide as yesterday! Tim and I have really enjoyed our tours here. We are not knowledgeable about art at all. These tours have really been an education - very interesting and give you a different perspective . I quite enjoyed the palace as we visited the private quarters which really takes you back in time. After the tour we stopped for a bite to eat and then made our way to the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. We toured on our own, and again we taken back in time. The apartments were spectacular - right up my alley. The gardens were lovely - so much green space and so well manicured. I dragged poor Timmy to the Santa Croce Church. He’s churched out but I had to see the resting place of some of the greats - Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Dante - incredible graves right
Thursday, May 17, 2018 450 steps, very narrow steps, up. Tim made the first 150 steps - which offered a lovely view of the city - but declined the rest because the area was so confined. I braved it to the top. It was amazing. We later wandered the area, walked to the Ponte Vecchio, the Pitti Palace, and then all the way to Piazza Michelangelo for the best views of Florence where we enjoyed a glass of wine. We walked down and enjoyed dinner at II Toscanaccio. The. It was back to the hotel to do some laundry and go to bed. It’s been a long day - over 21,000 steps and 28 flights of stairs!
Thursday, May 17, 2018 Ponte Vecchio Pitti Palace Piazza Michelangelo Our friend in the Olive Oil shop!
Thursday, May 17, 2028 The hotel in Florence - Hotel Glance - is awesome. It is new and modern. They even gave us a mobile phone to use with internet and phone privileges for the duration of our stay. Today was an early up day. We met our tour at 7:45 am 😝 We started at the Galleria Dell’Academia to see David as well as some other pieces of art. Seeing “David” was quite worth the visit, although when reviewing the pictures later I see Tim had a lot of penis and bum shots?!? We then walked to the Baptistery at the cathedral - a rather uneventful building from the exterior but extraordinary from the inside, especially the ceiling. From there we visited the Duomo Museum and then on to the Duomo. It is not a spectacular church but, again, for the ceiling and it is large. The boast of the tour was the climb to the cupola. Approximately
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 Breakfast, cab to the train station, headed to Florence. We absolutely loved our little find in Rome - The Hotel Golden. Inexpensive, clean, breakfast and family run by the most kind and helpful family. We highly recommend. Train station rip off...lady comes and offers us some assistance finding our train, which we really didn’t need, finished helping us and asks for cash for the help. Like - fuck off!!!! Honestly! The train itself was uneventful - nice though in business class. Upon arrival our room was not quite ready so we got our the map and went to explore Florence. Actually we gave up on the map and Timmy turned I. His GPS. Ha - he is tired of getting lost. Florence is not as intimidating as Rome. The people seem friendlier. We did some roaming, shopping and stopped for a cocktail. We ate close to the hotel and had gelato (!) on the way back to the hotel. There were police/military at all the major tourists spots in Rome and more here in Florence.

16 May 2018

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - St. Peter’s Basilica
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - The Vatican Museum
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - The Vatican Museum
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - On route to the Vatican.
on the way home, and a race up the Spanish Steps to burn it off. I won!!! Pictures of my favourite purchase - a rosary bracelet.

15 May 2018

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 It was an on and off rainy day mixed with sunshine, but when it rained it poured!!! Today was the Vatican. Walking up the square to St. Peter’s was quite awe inspiring. The building is magnificent. Our tour started with the Vatican museum. It holds many historic art pieces, unfortunately a little lost on Tim and me. Art buffs we are not and the tour was long and detailed. The Sistine Chapel was beautiful - we weren’t allowed to take pictures though. Hard to imagine Michelangelo up there painting that ceiling! St, Peter’s Basilica was magnificent. Quite literally the most beautiful building I have ever been in. Again, the history astounds me. It’s interesting to learn how the art from other places (such as the Colesseum) ended up in Vatican City!!! We ended the day with a slow walk back - yes got lost again. This time was epic though. We did a complete circle and ended up back where we started. 😂 We had a great dinner in Piazza Navona at the Nova Cafe, gelato
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - The Vatican

14 May 2018

Monday, May 14, 2018 The way home, however, was a different story. We didn’t even manage to get on the right bus to come home (Tim was tired of walking!). So on the bus for 30 minutes all to determine we were on the wrong bus, to get off and catch another bus which takes us all the way back to where we got on the first bus, where the bus driver tells us to get off, and we get on another bus which just happens to be the first bus with the same bum sleeping bum on it. After over an hour ride, which should have been 17 minutes, we arrived at our destination. Yes - we need a GPS!!! We enjoyed a nice late (!) dinner at San Marco. It’s a great inexpensive restaurant close to the hotel. Quite amazing when you think of the history here. Imagine that some things were built in the year 24. 24!!!
Monday, May 14, 2018 ones. It was interesting to see underneath where the animals were kept and the gladiators lived. As well as seeing how the mechanics worked such as the winches that opened secret doors where animals would come out. And washrooms really aren’t a strong suit here! In the days of the Colesseum the washrooms were a group affair with a sponge in place of toilet paper which one cleaned after use for the next poor soul to use. 🙄 In addition, women were not very valued in those times. There were five seating levels to the Colesseum and the women had to sit at the very top!!! Seating was assigned by what one did for a living. After the Colesseum we managed to find out way to the “Key Hole”. Quite literally a key hole in a door you look through to give a very unique view of Rome including St. Peter’s Bascillica. Although Tim wasn’t particularly impressed. 😂😂😂 That’s just because he needed coffee!!!
Monday, May 14, 2018 community. It housed everything - even the “shopping malls”. It is interesting because you can see how “new” Rome was built on top of “old” Rome. The columns, arches, temples - amazing. You see the old roads which were made of cobblestone - boulders though not small rocks. The building skill of the Romans is amazing - they built the Colesseum in only with years. They have only just figured out what was used in their concrete to make it last - the missing ingredient: seawater!! Their square arches amazing - the glue that holds the Colesseum together. Not rounded but individual rectangular limestones built up with strategically placed stones running across. The Colesseum was built by the emperor to gain popularity with the people. It was a place of games - and not very nice
Monday, May 14, 2018 Apparently jet lag caught up to us. We didn’t wake up until 11:00 am. We missed breakfast! Thankfully our tour of the Colesseum didn’t start until 2:00 pm. We managed to make our way to the meeting point of the tour, although along the way we decided we need to invest in a hand held GPS. The streets are odd here. They are short on signs and the names change every block or two. You think you are going in the right direction and then boom 💥 you are going the wrong direction!!! The meeting point of the tour was a cafe across from the Colesseum so we had lunch there. Interesting washroom - you need an engineering degree to work the door handle/lock. Washing your hands is an all in one machine - put hands in and soap spits out, remove hands, water starts, wash hands, remove hands, dryer starts, dry hands. It’s quite a lengthy process!! The Colesseum was amazing. The tour guide was incredible - it was line we were traveling back in time. It was its own

13 May 2018

Sunday, May 13, 2018 - Today was a very busy walking day. The day started after breakfast at the hotel (which was very good). We went from the hotel to the Spanish Steps, to the Trevi Fountain, to the Pantheon (where we enjoyed lunch at Ritorno al Passato, to Piazza Navona, to the Campo de Fiori (an open air market), to where Caesar was killed (which is now home to a cat sanctuary), to the Jewish Ghetto, to across the Tiber River to the Trastevere (where we ate dinner at Tonnerello). Along the way we enjoyed gelato at Venchis, watched an old fellow get pick pocketed (!), got ripped off by a street merchant or two, kissed and threw roses in the fountain at the bottom of the Spanish Steps, visited a few churches (of note St. Louis and Santa Maria), got lost (a few times), and used a washroom with no toilet seat. Finding the washrooms are unisex with only one toilet and long line-ups. We’ve already used two with no seats. The water in all the fountains have spouts and are drinkable.

12 May 2018

Saturday, May 12, 2018 Scipione Borghese was an early patron of Bernini and an avid collector of works by Caravaggio, who is well represented in the collection by his Boy with a Basket of Fruit, St Jerome Writing, Sick Bacchus and others. Other paintings of note include Titian's Sacred and Profane Love, Raphael's Entombment of Christ and works by Peter Paul Rubens and Federico Barocci. Back at the hotel we were happy to get into our room, shower and brunch our teeth. It had been a while! However, check out the hair blower?!? With my hair?!? 🙄
Saturday, May 12, 2018 and offers an amazing view of Rome. On our way back from the “balcony” we stopped at a little bar in the park for a drink. It was such a lovely day. The only thing was we were sitting there and all of a sudden Tim’s head bobbed - I thought he was going to fall. He was falling asleep sitting up! I couldn’t stop laughing. The Galleria Borghese is an art gallery in Rome, Italy, housed in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana. At the outset, the gallery building was integrated with its gardens, but nowadays the Villa Borghese gardens are considered a separate tourist attraction. The Galleria Borghese houses a substantial part of the Borghese collection of paintings, sculpture and antiquities, begun by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V (reign 1605–1621). The Villa was built by the architect Flaminio Ponzio, developing sketches by Scipione Borghese himself, who used it as a villa suburbana, a country villa at the edge of Rome.
Saturday, May 12, 2018 We arrived in a hot and humid Rome at 11:10 am. Went through customs with the most stone faced human I’ve ever encountered! We got our luggage and had been told to go to a predetermined “meeting” place to find our driver who would be holding a sign with our name on it. We walked out the doors to find at least 100 drivers holding signs with names, although it didn’t take long to find “Kennedy”. An hour later we were at the hotel (Hotel Golden). We were greeted by Giuseppe one of the owners of this family run hotel. He upgraded our room to a suite and went over a map of Rome with us. He was extremely helpful. Our room wasn’t quite ready so we went for a pizza (San Marco Restaurant) to our tour of the Galleria Borghese. This is an art gallery with lots of history. Our guide was very thorough and we learned a lot. Really we saw a lot of great masterpieces with pictures of penis’, vaginas and boobs! It also has a beautiful park which we walked -
Friday, May 11, 2018 We were up at 3:30 am to catch our flight to Toronto. Then we had to hang out at the Toronto airport all day - until 9:10 pm. We were tired and bored. At least we had passes to the Premium Plaza Lounge - free food and drink. Then off on our overnight flight to Rome. I even booked a trip on the airplane!! Yes - I made Tim wear a pair too.