Lynn and I took a trip to Colorado for Allison’s wedding. We arrived on Thursday morning and met up with Mike in Denver. We had a nice lunch and walk around the 16th Street Mall. Everyone did some shopping for souvenirs.
Early afternoon Lynn and I took the convertible Mustang up MT Evans; the highest paved road in North America. While Bob thought was great, Lynn was genuinely terrified. It was actually snowing at the top. The visit took a very long time so we drove to our hotel at the Keystone Resort.
On Friday, we slept in and went to the gym. Our brunch by Keystone Lake was very nice. Later we took a bike ride from Keystone to Dillon and back. It was a beautiful day!
Saturday took us to the top of Keystone Mountain for a great hike. Mike and Marie joined us which made it even more special. We took the gondola up and followed a guided tour around the top. The weather was great and everyone had a great time.
We couldn’t have asked for a better “last day in Italia”. The weather was in the 70s, sunny, and the Venice atmosphere was everything we expected–waterways, canals, hidden streets, cafes, shops, and tourists from every country in the world–many from the United States. We spent alot of time with a family from Atlanta–they were stopping here for a week before heading to Greece for one month!
The day started with a light breakfast in the morning room, then we all hit the walkways and waterways–we took a Gondola ride last night, two Grand Canal taxi rides today (one in the day, and one in the evening after dinner), visited shops, churches, San Marco’s Square, Rialto Bridge, and of course, the infamous Grand Canal. We had our last Italia pasta meals–and, are exhausted. Nathan has a very bad sinus infection–need to get him home so he can get to the doctor on Thursday. The rest of us are doing great, and very healthy, although, I think we are looking forward to our own beds and environment.
The water taxi picks us up at 6:45 a.m., and it is a 90 minute boat ride to the airport. Then off we go. We will be home Cincinnati time tomorrow night (Wednesday night) at about 10:00 p.m. Nathan has a request for real American food–either a cheeseburger or our American Indian dish at the local diner–He has already asked Matthew to have this cuisine waiting for him when we arrive at the house tomorrow night. We are to call Matthew before we leave Atlanta for our “menu” request. Guess he has had his fill of pizza and pasta, pasta, pasta……
We had planned to stay in Cinque Terre until Monday morning, but due to the storms last night, and the rain due today, we decided to take this day to drive to Venice. Today is our first cloudy day, and it is actually a bit of relief since now the rain has cleared the air, it is less hot and humid.
After a 4 hour car drive, and an hour boat ride, we arrived at our Hotel on San Marco. It is the most “American like” hotel we have been in since arriving in Italy, but still very European. Although there are no pictures of today since the majority was traveling, we will include them in tomorrow’s blog–but think “Gondolas”, waterways, ancient churches, and narrow streets. We also noticed that the dress is less touristy, and more “upscale” overall. A very old, but clean city.
Barry and Jackie stayed on schedule, and arrive here in Venice tomorrow mid-afternoon. We will meet up with them again for our last two days in Italy. A short update today, but look for more writing and pictures tomorrow.
The day started with us sleeping in until 9:00! No tours or scheduled events for the day! After breakfast, we headed out for a day of hiking and visiting the five town along with coast. What a fun day we had in the hot Italy sun! Landslides closed many of the trails, but one that was open was between Vernazza and Corniglia, talk about a workout! Stairmaster 10! It was not a coastal walk, but up and down steep, rocky hills that sloped mostly up, up, and up! We took the train to Corniglia, and just to get up to the town, it was 350 steps! I should have turned back right then and there, but Bob and Nathan were eager to go, so off we went. Two hours later we arrived in Vernazza, and I wanted to sing to the Heavens when we finally reached our destination. We have posted pictures of the breathtaking views. Needless to say, one of the first things we did when we arrived in Vernazza was wash our hands and faces, then had lunch.
In Vernazza, the most amazing thing happened which proves once again the old cliche that it is a small world! We saw the Moeller class that just graduated accompanied by Brother Ron and other chaperones. We had so much fun talking about our mutual friends and neighbors! It began when a few of the guys saw Nathan’s Sycamore gym shorts, and they asked us where we were from, and because we knew they were from Moeller (their shirts, etc.), we said Montgomery. They said “no way”! It was a highlight of our trip to see these young men, and they kept calling over their friends when they discovered we lived in Swaim Field–we talked for about 20 minutes with about 15 of them, and they invited us to hike to Monterossa with them. They really wanted us to come, and Bob would have in a minute, but he knew that Nathan and I were about ready to collapse, and he didn’t want to leave us on our own. These boys had just arrived so did not just finish the two hour hike we just completed–they were ready to go!
Another fun tidbit is that there are Americans everywhere. In fact, in the lobby restaurant area, Bob and Nathan will be watching the World Cup with a bunch of people from Indiana. Since it begins at midnight here, I don’t think I can stay awake.
A Jackie and Barry report from Lake Como before I sign off–they are having a lovely time visiting wineries in Bellagio, and mixing with the rich and famous. We look forward to meeting up with them in Venice to exchange stories. Barry will not believe it when I tell him that there are vending machines at the train stations within Cinque Terre that sell toothbrushes, toothpaste and other toiletries since it is a place for hikers and back packers who just “wing it” in nature along the way.
Love you all, and will write again tomorrow evening.
We checked out of the Mona Lisa today in downtown Florence, and Nathan was sad to leave our suite—we somehow were booked for a triple suite that you could only access via elevator. When the elevator doors opened, we were staring at our suite living room. It has been the most spacious and comfortable accommodations since our trip began. Ciao, Florence!
This is the day we went our separate ways—Barry and Jackie left for the Lake Como Region, and Bob, Lynn, and Nathan left for Cinque Terre. Because we have been communicating via text, we know Barry and Jackie have arrived “save and sound” in Lake Como, and they know we are here in Cinque Terre all settled in. Their drive was 4 hours, and our drive was only 2 hours with a stop in Pisa to view the infamous Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Because I can only report on the LeRoy portion of the trip at this point, we will have to update you on Barry and Jackie once we all meet up in Venice on Monday. I do know that Jackie is already looking for George Clooney’s mansion since one of his main residence’s is located not far from their 5-star hotel. And, I am not kidding.
In contrast, Bob, Lynn, and Nathan are in Cinque Terre–no fancy hotels, but just your basic Italian boutique hotel. We wanted to come here to hike the five cities along the Mediterranean Seacoast, swim in the sea, and engage with the locals along the way. It is 7 miles from the first town to the last, with your choice of paved or unpaved trails leading to Monterosso, the last town which is at the top. We will begin the hike tomorrow, along with hundreds of other tourists, and know it will take close to 6 hours since we will stop in each of the towns to look through shops and have lunch. At the top, we plan to take the Ferry back to our hotel. We will most likely not swim in the Mediterranean tomorrow since we spent about 3 hours at the beach today–which was very interesting, and much that I cannot report on this blog. One thing I can say is that the Mediterranean Sea is so blue and clean! I could not stop staring at the water and beach area.
We had dinner at small restaurant that overlooked the Mediterranean–dined outside on the deck and enjoyed the sites. Enjoy our pictures of today’s adventures in Pisa and Cinque Terre, and we will be writing again tomorrow after our long day of hiking up the coast. Love you all.