Journey from Rome to Barcelona
Tuesday, October 30: Left Rome this am. Picked up our rental car at Fiumicino Airport. Took a beautiful drive from Rome to Florence. It was just lovely. Rolling hills, mountains, snow-capped mountains, farmhouses, vineyards, etc. It was a really beautiful way to get here. Plus, it was fairly uneventful meaning we did not get lost because we have the new TomTom Europe app. That made our trip good for everyone.
Got to the B&B, walked around a while. We ended up at Gusta Pizza. It was a very funky, lively pizza place where we ordered a few pizzas and stuffed ourselves before walking to the top of the Duomo. 🙂 We made our way across the Arno River to the and walked the 453 steps to the top!
Work on the Duomo started in 1420 and was completed in 1436. It was the first ‘octagonal’ dome in history to be built without a temporary wooden supporting frame: the Roman Pantheon, a circular dome, was built in 117–128 AD with support structures. It was one of the most impressive projects of the Renaissance.
The biggest artwork within the cathedral is Giorgio Vasari’s frescoes of the Last Judgment (1572-9): they were designed by Vasari but painted mostly by his less-talented student Frederico Zuccari by 1579. Could have fooled me. It’s an amazing work.
We walked back in the darkness – we didn’t realize that Italy sets their clocks back like we do so we set clocks back on Sunday evening and now its dark here pretty early.
We had a great meal at a small local place called Gusta Osteria (owned by the same people who own Gusta Pizza). There were about 8 tables in the place. The meal was terrific.
Today we are going to get going shortly and head to the Uffizi. Then, later…Trick–or-treat Italian style.
Thanks for reading. Miss you all.
Wednesday, October 31: Took a 90 min tour of the Uffizi. We saw many of the highlights. One of the most memorable ones was Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”.
We came back about 3 driven inside by the rain. Hung out for a bit and then suited up for Halloween.
Halloween hasn’t really caught on here as it has in the US – no surprise there. Kids went into stores asking for candy as opposed to homes since we are not staying in area that is traditionally residential. On our way after trick or treating, we went by a group of kids dressed up in skeleton costumes and we thought “jackpot”. Well, needless to say they were busy just throwing bags of wet toilet paper at passing cars. Don’t they know they’re missing out on the whole candy thing? More for us.
Most of the shopkeepers were kind enough to give them candies, caramels, biscotti, cookies, etc. Henry just marched right into every patisserie, bar, convenience store, bar, etc. walked right up and asked for candy. I was surprised – he showed no fear or hesitation at all – just gobs of determination to have a great Halloween – by his standards. I know that I would not have been doing that when I was 8 years old!
What fun memories the kids made tonight. It wasn’t exactly the same kind of typical Halloween they are used to – running house to house and getting gobs of candy but it was great memories all the same.
Tomorrow we are off to Leaning Tower of Pisa and then onto Monaco for the night.
We would also like to say Happy 9th birthday to Lizzie Weer – her birthday is tomorrow and the kids send a big, sticky, chocolate-coated hug and kiss!
Thanks for reading. Miss you all.
Thursday, November 1: Drove from Florence to Pisa to Monaco.
First stop – Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Who would have thought that the ride would be as amazing as it was? The Italian Alps on the one side and the Mediterranean Sea on the other. The road went through the mountains and on our journey from Pisa to Monaco we went through about 75 tunnels. We googled this because we had a bet among all of us as to how many tunnels we went through getting to Monaco. Elsa won. She now gets a 5 minute massage from each one of us. 🙂
Who would have thought that the ride would be as amazing as it was? The Italian Alps on the one side and the Mediterranean Sea on the other. The road went through the mountains and about 75 tunnels. We googled this because we had a bet among all of us as to how many tunnels we went through getting to Monaco. Elsa won. She now gets a 5 minute massage from each one of us. 🙂
When we arrived in Monaco we were feeling pretty confident in our TomTom’s ability to get us to the hotel. TomTom never met Monaco. We drove around the city for about 90 minutes looking for the Marriott. It was utterly ridiculous. Finally found it and boy we were all cranky and tired. But, thankfully they upgraded us to a suite and gave us free wifi for our “trouble,” aka brain-splitting aggravation.
Had dinner at a local restaurant – good wine and an okay meal. Too tired to care.
Friday, November 2: Enjoyed a hearty, good old American breakfast buffet overlooking the Monaco Marina. Not a bad way to start the day.
You would have thought the kids and Charlie were prepping themselves for a winter hibernation – pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, etc., etc. It was a really nice treat. We decided to take the Marriott shuttle to the Palace but could not decide beetween that and the Monte Carlo Casino so our shuttle driver took us on an end-to-end tour of Monaco and Monte Carlo. He was a terrific surprise. We could not have asked for a better start to the day.