Saturday, July 30, 2016

Genova

In between the two rock climbing spots was the darling city on the sea, Genova.  We decided we needed to go if for no other reason than to pay respects for Christopher Columbus.  (This is where he was from)  It was a beautiful city.  It was so fun to drive through.  



We decided to stop and swim in Genova's one public beach.  (There are lots of things we can complain about in Italy... but right now I want to focus on how annoying it is that all beaches are private.  So annoying.) But it's okay because although this "beach" was pretty pathetic it was certainly fun to look at.  


Here is an example of what a private "beach" in Genova looked like.  Not seen is the cute little sand box next to the water for kids to play in.

I did get quite a delicious gelato in Genova that included a delicious lemon basil gelato that I mixed with a basic "milk" flavor.  Delicious!
I'm always a sucker for palm trees and the fun architechture made it even better.

Jason felt it was very important for Brad to get to swim in the Mediterranean.  So although he didn't have a swimsuit Brad enjoyed the salty sea.

The beach...


The steep hill getting down to the beach.

Genova was darling and a perfect little pit stop on our road trip across the Italian Riviera.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Rock Climbing in Italy

I have to admit when Jason told me he wanted to rock climb through Europe I was a bit skeptical.  The weight of all the gear required would have been enough to deter me from it, let alone the research required and of course a rental car.  But luckily Jason pushed through and we went to to different rock climbing spots.  One with a beautiful view of Tuscany and one on the Italian Riviera coast in a remote ruins filled jungle.  Both were amazing and I am so so so so so glad we did it.  


We first went to scout out one spot after our excursion to Siena.  I looked pretty ridiculous hiking around in my dress and sandals...
The second location was about 2.5 hours north west.  We didn't want to have to pay for somewhere to stay so we had the great idea (when we saw the size of my parents rental car) to sleep in our car!  What an adventure.  Then we got our rental car..... a tiny barely 4 door Fiat.  (Think Geo Metro)  It was quite an adventure trying to sleep in the car.  First we had to take out all of belongings and put them in front of the car.(Carseat, stroller, suitcase, and all climbing gear)  Then we put baby behind the back seat.  I say behind the back seat because it certainly wasn't a trunk (hatch back and barely the perfect size for Brad to sleep)  Jason slept in the back seat and I slept in the front passenger seat.  (Obviously couldn't put the seat down very far or else I'd have smashed Jason...)  Needless to say, Brad was the only one that slept much.  But it sure was an adventure.  And the rock climbing spot was one of the coolest places we've ever climbed.  There were ruins everywhere.  Who knows how old.  

The trail was so stinkin' cool.



Brad, as always, was a total champion and had no problem sleeping on his changing mat and a towel while Daddy rock climbed.
My favorite was all the plants growing straight out of the rock.



We absolutely loved climbing with Daddy in Italy.

Siena

Here's what Rick Steves - my homeboy - has to say about Siena.

Stretched across a Tuscan hill, Siena offers Italy's best medieval city experience. With red-brick lanes tumbling every which way, the town is an architectural time warp, where pedestrians rule and the present feels like the past.
Five hundred years ago, Italy was the center of humanism. Today, the self-assured Sienese remember their centuries-old accomplishments with pride. In the 1300s, Siena was one of Europe's largest cities and a major military force, in a class with Florence, Venice and Genoa. But weakened by a disastrous plague and conquered by her Florentine rivals, Siena became a backwater for six centuries.
Siena's loss became our sightseeing gain, because its political and economic irrelevance preserved its Gothic-era identity, most notably its great, gorgeous central piazza — the Campo. People hang out as if at the beach at this tilted shell-shaped "square" of red brick. It gets my vote for the finest piazza in all of Europe. - End of Rick

The Campo is the home of a crazy crazy horse race twice a summer... on purpose we missed it.  It is nuts in Siena during the horse race to say the least but it sure is fun to imagine it.  

Yes.... this peaceful square is where the race takes place with thousands of screaming spectators.  Insane.

Brad enjoyed the square.


There are Romulus and Remus statues everywhere and I didn't know why... until I just looked it up.  Legend says Remus' two sons started Siena after Romulus killed Remus.  

But my favorite part of Siena was the views.......

Siena is very very very hilly.

Which meant steep hills to push the stroller up.

But the crown jewel of Siena is their Duomo.



After walking around Siena we went up on the fort and got these amazing views back on Siena.



Siena was a fun little day trip.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Roma!

Last time I visited Rome I was just so overwhelmed.  I felt like it was just too much.  So I wasn't that excited to return to Rome and I was kinda nervous about the group of 6 of us heading off on another adventure.  My sister Sara joined our group.  Now before we go a step further I think I need to explain.... this trip to Rome was much different from my last trip.  Last trip I had my dslr camera... I was in a tour group... the only thing I had to worry about was taking good pictures and eating good food.  This time around I had 19 pounds of baby and carrier on my front and 10 pounds of formula, diapers, bottles, blankets, clothes, and baby toys on my back.

Not only did I not even bring my dslr, I didn't even take a single picture with my phone.  So every picture seen here I stole from my family or I took on one of their camers/phones.  It's kinda depressing... how I didn't take a single picture of the delicious "pizzaish" food we had for breakfast.  (it was AMAZING. It was very very thin crispy crust pizza.  One with very thinly sliced potatoes and rosemary... almost potato chipish and the other had a red sauce cheese and delicious mushrooms) or I didn't even get a picture with my favorite piece of artwork ever, La Pieta.  But really.... the goal of the day in Roma was all about survival and just trying to enjoy it.  Which we did.  We survived and enjoyed the 16 hour day of carrying baby and walking over 10 miles.......... anyway, on with the show.

 I feel like I should just say it right now, Rome was stinkin' awesome!  Way better than I expected!  Like I would love to go visit it again awesome!  Not necessarily do any of the touristy sites but just hang out in the city.  It was way cleaner, greener, and prettier than Florence.  (at least the little bit of Rome we saw)  I was also very surprised about how awesome the Metro was!  It was very easy to use.  So were the buses!  Anyway, my point is, I was kinda intimidated of Rome.  I thought it was going to be a disaster, but it was pretty darn wonderful!

Of course we had a game plan.  It started with a 4:45 am wake up call to walk the .7 miles to the train in Florence.  Then we rode the train over to Rome.  The scenery on the train was unbelievably beautiful!  The vegetation was so pretty, farms, villas, fields of sunflowers, rivers... it was a total dream.  (Sorry no pics)

When we got to Rome we first got a metro/bus pass for 7 euro for the day.  We took the metro straight to Trevi Fountain. I could not believe how uncrowded it was at the fountain!  I mean sure, it was like 8:30 in the morning but still!!!!





And then we walked passed the Spanish Steps(Under construction)  on our way to the entrance of Roma!


Then on the the Pantheon


I love the simplicity and complexity of the Pantheon's dome ceiling the best.........  and let's talk about these soldiers for a sec.  It's kinda hard to take them serious with a feather in their cap..... even if they are holding ak47s.


On to the Vatican!
My favorite picture to take in the Sistine Chapel if for no other reason than the security guards are constantly yelling out, "Shhhhhhh NO pictures!   Be quiet!  No pictures."
 Funny story......... last time I was in the Vatican I lost it  I was being herded like cattle in my tour group being told about every. single. statue.  (if you haven't been to the Vatican there is so much stinkin' artwork every where)  Anyway, I lost it.  I took off with just Erin because I couldn't take it anymore.  Long story short, we got lost, completely lost our tour group....... and I totally missed seeing The School of Athens by Raphel.  Wasn't going to let that happen again...

 But still there were lots of lines................

 But we did finally make it to my favorite piece of art.

 and of course, I needed my picture with my favorite court jester guards.

After a delicious lunch of zucchini and tomato pizza we took a bus over to the Roman Forum and Colosseum.  OH but first... of course some gelato!




The Roman Forum



 And the main event...........






Roma!!! was wonderful.... but man oh man oh man we can't wait for Daddy to get here!