Calgary International Airport
Here we go! First stop London, UK.
We landed at Heathrow this morning and after waiting for an hour and a half we finally got through immigration. We jumped in an Uber and were on our way to our hotel, the Sheraton Grand Park Lane, where we were able to check in early and get upgraded to a suite in the Club floor!
After a quick refresh, we met up with Justin’s brother Guthrie, and headed to Covent Garden for some food and pints.
We slept in until 10:30am. A well deserved sleep after a long day at work, travel and drinking! After complimentary breakfast in the Club Lounge, we headed out for the day for some sightseeing. We got really lucky with weather, mostly blue skies!
We started off with a walk through Green Park just across the road from our hotel. On the other side of Green Park, Buckingham Palace greeted us. We continued through St James’s Park and to Westminster Abbey. We walked by the Parliament Buildings, caught a great view of the London Eye from across the water and close up. We stopped at Trafalgar Square and saw the new 5th lion that was added to the monument there. An orange lion joins the 4 original bronze lions. This one ‘roars’ poetry at passers by when they enter a single word into a tablet in front of him. It was then time to quench our thirst. We amongst many a others, hit up the old Mortimer Arms and Flintlock n Firkin. So many memories. Some yummy Indian food was next on the agenda at The Agra, an old favorite, and it didn’t disappoint!
Today started out with a trip to the Tate Modern. Spent a few hours there, then a stop at The Rake for a quick pint, or two. We walked through Borough Market and had some amazing curry! Headed back across the Thames, then back to the hotel.
We saw an exhibition of art from the Period of the Weimar Republic, some Picasso’s, a Monet, and Salvadore Dali, amongst other cool stuff. Also walked by St. Paul’s cathedral. It was already closed so we’ll be back tomorrow but we got a few snaps of the outside. Check out Justin knocking on gods door. He tried to get in but was turned away!
This morning was the 1st morning we woke up clear headed! Got an early start at St. Paul’s Cathedral. It’s such a beautiful place. Photos are not allowed inside so you’ll have to come to London to check it out for yourself!
The inside of St. Paul’s is absolutely stunning! We climbed up ALOT of stairs to get to the Whispering Gallery inside the main dome. It’s huge but you can here someone whispering from the other side. We climbed more stairs to the Stone Gallery, and even more to the Golden Gallery where we were treated with 360 degree views of London. We went back to the hotel and checked out then met Liz and Andrew for some food and pints. At 9:30pm we jumped in an Uber and headed to the Courtyard Marriott Gatwick Airport to catch literally 2 hours of sleep before our flight to Naples. Next stop, Italia!
London Gatwick Airport, UK
Onboard our 2.5 hour flight to Naples. Quote of the day - ‘But I’m speedy boarding!’ We checked in to the Napolinn B&B. Such a cute little place in a great location and amazing hosts. Then set out exploring. I wanted to see the Teatro San Carlo, the worlds oldest opera house, however it was closed to tours today so we headed for Piazza del Plebiscito. We then continued to explore the Quartieri Spagnoli area, so beautiful and picturesque. We stopped for our 2nd pizza in 6 hours, and 2 bottles of red wine in the Piazza Sant’ Anna Di Palazzo, and people watching.
Today we are headed to the island of Ischia for some sun and relaxation!
The morning started off with a lovely breakfast and cappuccino in our room, made by Juliana our host, overlooking the beautiful courtyard, the boarding the hydrofoil to Ischia!
Napoli Molo Berevello
IT Here we are in Ischia! We have a really cute and beautiful B&B up on the hill called Relais Bijoux. It’s sun and pool time, with a view! I also made a new friend! This cutie jumped up on my deck chair and curled up on my belly! Awe!! End of the evening with dinner and gelato! And then we got back to the hotel and had dinner again! And Limoncello! I am never eating again! The night ended with a beautiful view, with the light of the moon shining on the Mediterranean Sea. Life is good! ❤️
Good morning Ischia! I woke up today not knowing what day it was. What a great feeling!
The day started out with breakfast at Relais Bijoux then a bus ride to Negombo, a thermal spa consisting of 12 thermal pools, gardens, beach, saunas, steam rooms, massage rooms, waterfalls and restaurants. After the thermal spa we walked along the sea to Casamicciola Terme and had a refreshing beverage at Bar Gino. The view at breakfast just doesn’t get old! After a few hours in the sun, we took the bus to Castello Argonese, a rocky islet settled by the Greeks in the 5th century B.C., building watchtowers to keep an eye on enemy fleets. For the most part it was beautiful and peaceful, but the creepiest part was in the Cimitero delle Monache Clarisse, where inhabitants of the castle/village breathed their last breaths and were left sitting in stone chairs as a reminder of what becomes of our earthly presence.
Good morning Ischia, for the final day.
Beautiful sunrise from our room!
IT After a brief stop in Capri, we arrived in Sorrento. Pulling into the port, we got a spectacular view of the town sitting up high on the hill. Luckily we were able to take a bus up the hill. We picked up our rental car, a Citroen, and drove to our VRBO near Sant ‘Agata. It’s a cute ‘villa’ high up on a hill. Next stop, into town for lunch, wine, and groceries.
Today we went to Pompeii! A huge ‘check’ off the list!
Before we set off, we had a new friend ‘knocking’ on our door! So cute! On the way to Pompeii we drove through a mountain tunnel that was 5km long. Lots of amazing sites at Pompeii! A beautiful drive back towards Sorrento, with a beautiful sunset and yummy dinner, rounded up the day.
This morning we woke up to the sound of pouring rain. Not what we wanted for our trip up the Amalfi Coast.
The rain finally stopped! We drove the Amalfi Coast and had a great day. We stopped at Praiana for lunch, a quiet town just east of Positano. Even with my amazing chauffeur, the beautiful drive was a little scary. Narrow and windy road with barely enough room for oncoming traffic to get by. Also, Italians are crazy drivers! We made it to the town of Revello, high up on the mountainside overlooking the sea! We visited The Duomo, ate gelato, and looked around the shops. We also ran into Mathias and Fritri who we met in Ischia. What are the chances?
We were expecting more rain today but we were pleasantly surprised to see the sky full with with sun when we got out of bed. Instead of Hereculaneum, we decided to hit up Positano on the Amalfi Coast since we missed it yesterday.
The view from our bedroom this morning! Ahhhhh! Beautiful Positano. This may possibly be the most picturesque town I’ve been to. After a few hours under the hot sun in Positano, we popped over to Sorrento and enjoyed a Sorrento Sling, made with Limoncello, gin, and proseco! This evening we relaxed at the villa and watched the sunset. There are olive, grape and lemon groves just outside our door. For dinner, we walked up the road to Frattoria Terranova. It’s a really cool restaurant, and we had a fabulous meal and lots of wine.
Today we are going to Herculaneum. It is also a town that was covered when Vesuvius erupted on August 24, 79 AD. It’s size is much smaller than Pompeii, but is much more preserved.
We too k the train there. It was packed but luckily air conditioned. Plus there was great entertaining moment. It’s pretty amazing how much was preserved. Although these aren’t the actual bones found, this part was still kinda creepy. These are replicas of bones found that were made identical and placed where the originals were found. These people were likely at the port, waiting for a boat so they could escape. The real bones are still being studied, with hope of finding more info on who they were, and their last moments.
We are off to Rome today!!
IT Circumvesuviana to Naples, and a few sites along the way. Then switch to a ‘regular’ train to Rome. Arrived in Rome safe and sound. Checked into our awesome VRBO in the Trastevere District. Popped out for some pre supper bevvies and snacks! This is me singing ‘Roxanne’! The day started off at the Andy Warhol exhibit at Complesso del Vittoriano. There were around 170 pieces of his work. It was pretty amazing. We wondered around, seeing Trevi Fountain, having lunch and seeing Pantheon. The Pantheon is stunning! Later in the afternoon we went to the Cimitero Acattolico Di Roma, the Non-Catholic cemetery in Rome. I first saw it in the movie The Trip to Italy, and since then it was on my list of places to go. It’s a beautiful cemetery dating back to the 1700’s and is also the resting place of many famous people, John Keats being one of them. So beautiful and peaceful.
We had an early night last night and a late start this morning. So nice to relax!
To start the day, we wondered through the largest market in Rome. It went on for what seemed forever. Justin bought a bunch of ties for .50 Euros each. Then we stopped in at Luppolo Station for some beer tasting while we waited for the rain to pass. Ok, we stayed a bit longer as the list was quite impressive! Met up with Justin’s parents, John & Janie, today. Had a nice walk and dinner in Trastevere.
The highlight of today was our visit to the Colosseum, and it was a beautiful day for it!
We took the ‘scenic’ route back to the flat and made a stop at Gatti Di Torre Argentina’. It’s a ruin site that is also Home to dozens of cats. The cats are all taken care of with food, water and medically. They are all neutered, and once healthy can be adopted or can live their lives in the safety of the sanctuary. What a great cause. Here is their website if you want more info www.gattidiroma.net.
After a walk through more of the Trastevere District this morning, we went to the Vatican Museum, mainly to see the beautiful Sistine Chapel. No photos are allowed in the Sistine Chapel itself, however there were many beautiful rooms throughout the museum.
Lots of pictures at the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica. My 3rd time to Rome and from finally saw the Sistine Chapel. Another ‘check’ off the list! Next stop was for beer and snacks at The Delirium Cafe near our flat, then dinner at Pasta e Vino Osteria for a delicious meal. And a fun walk home! Buona Norte Roma!
Today we are headed for Tenuta Di Papena, a villa near Siena. We will take the train to Florence, then rent a vehicle and drive.
Tenuta di Papena
IT On the train from Rome to Florence, someone was clipping their finger nails. Disgusting! Tenuta Di Papena is so beautiful.
Today is the reason for this trip. Tim and Auntie Kristin are renewing their wedding vows at Tenuta Di Papena in their 10th anniversary.
We had time before the ceremony to go see San Galgano, a beautiful old abbey just down the road from us. Getting ready! Kristin looked so beautiful!
We woke up this morning to a beautiful sunrise and feeling way too good for how much alcohol was consumed last night!
We went to Siena for the day. Last evening at Tenuta Di Papena!
Today we depart Tenuta Di Papena. John and Janie are headed to Munich, and Justin and I will spend the day in Florence then take a 6:30pm train to Bologna.
Tenuta di Papena
IT Saw a peaceful protest in the streets but not sure what it was about. Next stop was The Accademia of Florence which houses incredible artwork, including Michelangelo’s ‘David’!
Today we head home. 😥 I wish we could keep traveling. But I do miss the cats 🐱! And my shower.
Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport
Calgary International Airport
CA And the long journey begins. 1.5 hr to Frankfurt, 2 hr layover, then 9.5 hr to Calgary, but 1st, some time for last minute shopping! I don’t always eat sausages, but when I’m in Frankfurt, I do! Yum! Somewhere between Grankfurt and Calgary. Getting closer. Only 2.5 hrs to go.