>> Wednesday, October 19, 2011
If you haven't gotten the hint already, we did ALOT on our trip. We didn't do a ton of relaxing, there was way too much to see. So, keeping with the theme - we headed out of Sorrento the next morning and headed to Pompeii.
Day 6 - Leave Sorrento, Spend a few hours in Pompeii, Travel to Florence.
We arrived in Pompeii and spent about 2 hours there. Pompeii is an ancient town that was demolished by Mt. Vesuvius (the mountain in the background - can you picture a triangle on the top). It erupted before Christ. You can imagine, they didn't really know what a volcano was. It killed 2,000 people, but 18,000 people were able to escape.
It was really amazing to walk around such an old historic sight. They basically uncovered this too. It was preserved by all of the ash that landed on the sight. Including the humans.
These are part of the public baths in the city. I was always so intrigued by this when I read about them in books. They sound so cool. Not nearly as big as I pictured them.
This was also in the baths - the statues represented "locker" areas where people could leave their belongings.
This was a "fast food" restaurant. The holes are where they would put the pots and you would come in and order what you wanted.
And the small amphitheater where they would have their own gladiator fights, theater, etc.
After Pompeii, we got back on the train, and headed to Florence. This was our hotel in Florence. This was only one of the rooms, but where we spent the majority of time. I LOVED all the windows surrounding the room. It was so pretty.
This was the view out of one of our windows. This is the dome to the "Duomo" - the famous church in Florence. The bells were really loud! :)
We then went out and explored the city a bit for fun, walking around, checking out the Duomo from the outside, finding the piazzas in the city, and enjoying dinner.
This is the Duomo. I just think the colors and ornateness are so pretty. One of the prettiest churches over all. It was SOO crowded here all the time though.
Just taking it all in!
What a photographer won't do for a good shot! :)
Look - Tim found his own shop! (that's what they called the network there - like AT&T - ha)
We had dinner at a quaint little restaurant with a back patio.
We started with Caprese (I think we had this everywhere!) and an antipasta plate (that's liver to the right - yuck!, but Fried Brie in the middle - YUM!)
I had a dish with pears and walnuts in a light sauce, and Archie had a pesto gnocchi. Pretty good overall.
On the walk back to our hotel, we saw this cool castle looking thing. It was actually a hotel/restaurant, but I thought it was pretty cool.
We also saw the Ponte Vechio (which is a bridge over the Arno River) all lit up. Very cool.
Day 7 - Museum Day in Florence
I don't have many pictures from this day because most of the museums wouldn't allow pictures. So, it's a pretty short recap. We first woke up, ready to go hike the 450 stairs to the top of the dome of the Duomo. Again with the heights!!! Who do my friends think I am!?! :) We got up at 8, got out of the hotel by 8:15, ready to be in line by 8:20 (no shower needed since we were hiking 450 stairs - we'd do that afterwards) for the dome to open at 8:30 and avoid the line. Only to find out that the dome isn't open on Sundays. It is a church after all.... Darn! :)
We made the best of it however by going back, grabbing our breakfast from the hotel, taking it back to our room, and having our own little private worship service in our room with an ipod and each other! It was a really special moment for each of us I think.
After that we went to the Academia to see David, the Uffizi, and inside the Duomo - our tootsies were toast by the end of the day.
The inside is just as pretty as the outside. Really quite ornate.
Later that evening, we had dinner, and this was one of my favorite meals on the entire trip. Balsamic Risotto. I know the picture doesn't do it justice. I didn't take my camera that night, so this was taken with the iphone. But seriously! You really have to like balsamic for this one, but the flavor was insane! I plan on trying to replicate this one.
Day 8 - Explore Florence
So, on this day, we tried the dome again, with success!! It was quite the trek to the top, and I had to take a few breathers along the way. Not so much the steps, but the heights... and the twisty stairs.... and the claustrophobic hallways. yikes.
Halfway up, they did the terrace thing again, looking down into the church, but you could also see the dome. Archie took these pictures because I had to skidaddle out of there or risk losing my cookies or having a panic attack.
Once we got to the top, I felt a bit better. I just stayed close to the wall, but the view was gorgeous. It reminded me of a historic view of the Silicon Valley. The fog rolling over the hills, mountains in the distance, buildings down in the valley. Really spectacular.
We then went and toured the San Lorenzo market and the Centrale Market. The Centrale Market is a big building filled with booths of individual vendors. Meats, cheeses, vegetables, oh my!
This was one of the best booths in the market - Conti. I met a lady who works there who is from San Francisco!!! She works there 2 months of the year, and they are planning to start a flagship store in San Francisco this year. The tomatoes from up above are from there, and they were the BEST sundried tomatoes I've ever had! You can currently purchase their products online!
They also had samples of cheese and salami in the Centrale Market as well. I was in heaven!
We of course picked up a picnic here, and took it to the steps of a church in town. Cheese, sundried tomatoes, bread, salami - all fresh from the market!
We discovered "Lemon Soda" while we were there. It was so good. Basically just lemonade that was carbonated - but we really liked it. We thought maybe they might want to use our picture as their advertisement! Then maybe they would pay all of us to move to Italy! :)
We continued to explore the city some, stopped for a cappuccino and a $6 gelato.. yeah, that's right, $6 gelato - it was supposed to only be $1.50, but when we told them we were sitting at the restaurant, they ripped my gelato out of my hand, and then brought me this fanciness. It was mango and panna cotta flavors. Good, but not sure it was quite worth $6.
We were pooped after a busy two days, so we just stuck around the hotel this evening, ordered pizza (that was delivered to us - even in Italy!), and played several games. I had to take this picture to prove - that even among friends - I still can kick some tail in Boggle. (Archie always thinks I can only beat him!)
Tomorrow is the big day!!! You'll get to hear all about my cooking class I took there in Florence. I was slightly under the weather, but don't worry, I took step by step photos and have lots of good things to share! You DON'T want to miss it!