After our few days in Venice it was time to pick up the rental car from the airport and drive to the Tuscany region of Italy for a week of exploring. At least for me, Tuscany is what I see in my mind when I think of the Italian country side. There are rolling hills to the hazy horizon and beyond. You see vineyards on the upper hillsides and fields of grain in the valleys. In between there are olive groves, small clumps of forest, and little towns that were old in the 1400’s.
During our entire time in Italy the daytime highs were in the mid to upper 90’s and one small rain shower late in our week in Rome. That is unusual for June in Italy. Normal high temperatures for Tuscany in June is the low to mid 70’s. Last year we were told that June was rainy and cold. There are two things you can do when it is that hot in Tuscany. First, fill your water bottle at any public fountain which can be found just about anywhere. They provide fresh, cold and great tasting water from the Dolomites in northern Italy. The second thing to do is stop at the local Gelato shop and enjoy a couple scoops each afternoon. The subject of Gelato could take a month of blog posts all by itself. Let’s just say if you have had Gelato in Italy you don’t need the blog posts and if you haven’t then you need to make it your personal mission in life to find a way to get some.
In Tuscany, we spent time visiting Siena and Assisi on different days. Yes, that is the same Assisi as St. Francis of Assisi. We spent a day eating our way through Florence. We had truffles and cheese. We sampled meats, espresso, and wine. We learned about olive oil, balsamic vinegar and local desserts. Of course, there was gelato. We spent a day driving between Pienza, Monticchiello, Montepulciano, and Montalcino. Each town showed you another piece of Italian history and lifestyle. It Montalcino we discovered Brunello wine and that is definitely a blog article I need to write. We spent a day at the villa enjoying the pool and listening to the quiet of the region. Except for a few restaurants with WiFi, we spent the week in Tuscany off the grid. There is something refreshing and relaxing about spending a week without cell phones, internet or TV.
Finally, our week in Tuscany came to an end and it was time to head to Rome. On the drive though there was time to stop in Orvieto and Civita di Bagnoregio. Civita is unique in that the only way to get into town is to park and walk across a pedestrian bridge passing over the local valley. Of course, there was also gelato.
Until next time …..
Our adventure to Italy has come to an end and we have returned home. It was an amazing trip. As usual, I have learned several things about travel and vacationing. I had fully intended to write and post several blog articles during the trip. As you can tell that didn’t happen. I do have ideas for a bunch of articles and I will be working on them over the next several months. On future trips, if I intend to write, I need to set aside specific blocks of time to focus on the writing, just like I set aside time to do specific sightseeing. I also intended to Tweet about our adventures during the trip. A couple things kept me from Tweeting. First, unlike here in the US, I only had internet access where I was able to connect to a wireless network, which was at restaurants and in our apartments. Second, and more importantly, thinking about Tweeting took me out of the moment of the experience. The primary focus of this trip was a high school graduation trip for my son so experiencing Italy with him was the priority. While Michelle did post some pictures to our FaceBook Page (http://www.facebook.com/travelthereandback) I am working on organizing more pictures for galleries on the web site. They will be published over the next couple of weeks.
For those interested, future blog articles based on this Italy trip include:
It is Saturday evening here in Venice and the adventure continues. Our time here is Venice is coming to a close. After checking into the apartment Thursday afternoon, it was out to the Grand Cannel for a ride on the Vaperatto (water bus) through the center of Venice. We wandered the streets and alleyways to find a restaurant for dinner. Friday was all about exploring, from St. Mark’s cathedral to the Doges’ Palace to wandering the entire length of the Grand Canel. Saturday found us heading out to the island of Murano to see the Glass Blowing museum with a stop on San Michele, which is the cemetery for the city of Venice.
Some thoughts on the city of Venice:
Remember Michelle has pictures up on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/travelthereandback.
Until next time …..
As the idea of Travel There and Back started to grow the first thing we had to decide on was a name. We had been watching The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. I have also read the books several times. The first quote we thought of was Bilbo talking with Frodo about adventures.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
This led us to Bilbo’s tale There and Back Again or better known as The Hobbit and the name of our adventure into the travel business.
Travel There and Back has been in business now for two and half years. Bilbo’s statement still rings true and drives what the business hopes to be. We look for adventure in every trip we plan for both our clients and ourselves. It is our hope that when our clients return from their adventure it has become a bucket list trip and part of their family history that will be enjoyed for years to come.
Yesterday we started a new adventure. As I am writing this we are waiting at the gate in the Vancouver Airport for our flight to London, where we get to spend a few days with our daughter. Then it is on to Venice, Italy for a few days, down to Tuscany and finally a week in Rome before returning home via London again. You will be able to follow along with us on Facebook, Twitter and this blog.
We have arrived in London this afternoon (Tuesday) and have gotten settled in the apartment. After dinner, it was time to walk along the Thames and then up through Trafalgar Square and West End theater district, finishing up at Buckingham Palace. The walk is a great way to fight jet lag and get on European time after spending 9 hours in an airplane.
Writing this blog will be another adventure we start today. I am the behind the scenes, technical guru for the business while Michelle is the face and the one that will work with you to build your adventure. Where the blog goes and what it becomes is as far away as the Lonely Mountain is from Bilbo’s Shire. There will be many adventures along the way and we hope you will follow along on the journey.
Until next time …..