Tuscany in Pictures

Tuscany was incredible! We stayed a few nights in San Gimignano and one night in Siena but also explored Certaldo. The home where we stayed in San Gimignano has been in the host’s family for three generations. She shared the home’s history and how they managed before modern conveniences like refrigerators and electricity.


Continue reading “Tuscany in Pictures”

Faenza, Venice & Lake Como


Following our Roman escapades we had planned on renting a car and getting lost in Tuscany for several days. But yet again the Universe had other plans for us. After taking a train to the airport and catching a shuttle to the rental car pick-up location, the rental car company refused to give us the car because we didn’t have our passports, despite our having obtained an Italian translation of Mark’s driver’s license – which is all their website said was required. It was by far the worst customer service we’ve received (don’t use Gold Car!) and I’ve never seen Mark so mad. Continue reading “Faenza, Venice & Lake Como”

When in Rome (II)

Ready for a two cent photo wrap-up tour of Rome? Continue reading “When in Rome (II)”

When in Rome (I)

Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say, and it turns out you can’t explore it in a day either. Nor can you recap your experience in one post, so this will be a two-parter.

Mark is a history buff, more so than he’ll readily admit, and Rome is chock-a-block full of history. Needless to say, we had a full itinerary for our 5 days in the Capital of the World. Continue reading “When in Rome (I)”

Gaeta & Pompeii (not the Bastille song)

After Florence we wanted a little peace and quiet. Madison had been to Gaeta earlier in the summer and highly recommended we go, so we did.

Gaeta is a small town on the southwest coast of Italy, somewhere between Rome and Naples. We stayed at another awesome Airbnb. It was a big family house with a separate mother-in-law apartment for us. They had trees growing ha-yuge lemons, overflowing thyme and rosemeary bushes, and countless peppers. All of which we were encouraged to take. Continue reading “Gaeta & Pompeii (not the Bastille song)”

First Taste of Italy: Milan, Cinque Terre & Florence

Getting around Italy was surprisingly easy because of their extensive train network. We bought Eurail passes and put them to some serious use. I think we spent 40+ hours commuting on trains. And because we’re old, Eurail wouldn’t sell us the broke college student pass for 2nd class – we had to get the 1st class pass. I haven’t flown 1st class (yet) but riding in 1st class trains has ruined me for other train travel. It is plush! Big comfy seats, drink/snack service, free newspapers, no luggage restrictions, and you can get up to wander around. I actually prefer it to flying.

As I mentioned in my last post, we wound up spending 6 weeks in Italy, which allowed us to explore many different sides of this beautiful country: cities (Milan, Rome, Florence); seaside/island/lakefront  (Cinque Terre, Gaeta, Lake Como, Ischia); wine/farm (Faenza, San Gimignano, Siena),a couple I don’t know how to classify (Pompeiii & Venice), and day trips to Ravenna, Pisa, and Naples. Continue reading “First Taste of Italy: Milan, Cinque Terre & Florence”

Life on the Road: Halfway Point

It’s hard to believe but we’re about halfway through our trip already. We’ve been on the road for 7 weeks and have been to 7 countries (Iceland, England, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Italy), some for only a few days, and have about 7 weeks left. The first five-ish weeks of our trip were planned and booked before we left. Given how busy Europe is in the summer it seemed like the prudent thing to do. But we learned that moving from place-to-place that quickly was exhausting and scheduling so far in advance left little flexibility for travel plot twists. So we’re slowing things down and planning our next move a few days before we make it. Continue reading “Life on the Road: Halfway Point”