Friday, July 10, 2009

We walked 10.4 miles today.

Not much time to write tonight, as we need to get up super-early tomorrow for a tour of the Highlands and Loch Ness. Today we saw Edinburgh Castle, St. Giles Cathedral, and other interesting things along the Royal Mile. In the evening, we took a really fun literary pub tour. Pics following shortly so I can hit the hay.

P.S. - best B&B ever. Beds and room are awesome, breakfast was amazing, hosts are great. :D:D:D


Un-captioned London:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Whirlwind recap of London...

We're on the train to Edinburgh right now, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to fill y'all in on our time in London.

We came in early from Paris Monday morning, and the proprietress of our hotel graciously allowed us to leave our bags in our room for the day. We stopped at the local Marks and Spencer Simply Food for some breakfast egg salad sandwiches (which we actually ended up doing for the rest of the time as well), went to the London tourist info bureau to buy London Passes, and headed for the Tower. We spent most of the day there (until 4:45) - having a Beefeater tour, seeing the crown jewels, checking out the three-floor exhibit on Henry VIII (which was sweet), eating at the cafe, and - wait for it - seeing Prince William. He was there randomly for a charity event, and we just happened to be in the right place at the right time to get fairly close to him. Liz got some good pictures - poor kid looks like he's balding already. :P By this time, it started to pour and we were beat (and it was too late to go to anything else by this time) so we went back to the hotel to rest for a second before going to a pub for my birthday. We went to a local pub/restaurant and had some strong, tasty cider and some interesting grub - I got a "poacher's pie" which supposedly had pheasant, wild boar, venison, and rabbit in it, Liz got a shepherd's pie, and Becky got a ham and potato pie (even though she doesn't like ham). Everything was really good, and we ended with some lovely bread and butter pudding and a blackberry/apple crumble. It was a good birthday. :)

Tuesday we checked out Westminster Abbey (where the audioguide was narrated by Jeremy Irons!), went to the Cabinet War Rooms and the Churchill Museum, had lunch at a pub that was so packed that it took forever to get our delicious food, ran through the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery, and St. Martin-in-the-Fields, picked up some toothpaste and lotion at Boots, and had a cool dinner at a noodle bar called Wagamama. It was another successful day.

Wednesday we had a cool tour at Shakespeare's Globe and a look through the exhibition hall, went over to St. Paul's Cathedral, had a sandwich at M&S, had tea at a place called Tea, ran in at King's Cross station to print our train tickets, checked out the awesome artifacts at the British Library, and went to Kensington Palace to see the state rooms, Diana's dresses, and a cute exhibit about debutantes. We had decided earlier that we had ripped through so much money that we would forgo seeing a musical and instead did some laundry, and finished the day with some grrrreeeeeeeasy fish and chips. Yum. Our room smelled.

Along the same lines as not seeing a musical, we decided not to spend the money to go to Windsor Castle, so instead we ran over to the Tate Modern (terrible), couldn't see anything at Buckingham Palace during the changing of the guard, and ran into the Victoria and Albert Museum. We came back to Victoria Station, got lunch and sandwiches for dinner on the train, got our bags from the hotel, and started getting on the tube at Victoria when they announced that the King's Cross underground station was closed due to power failure and that we'd have to walk from the next closest station. We made it to the train with about 12 minutes to spare - we had to ask someone which train was ours because the announcement boards in the regular station were also affected by the power failure. Whew. It was a close one. The ride has been pretty good - for the first time, we have seats actually facing each other with nobody else around. We should be getting into Edinburgh in about 40 minutes. Hopefully I can get some pictures up soon. Love and miss you all!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


No blog 'til maybe Edinburgh tomorrow night - I'm on the hotel computer since the wi-fi at the hotel is on the fritz. London has been amazing, though, and we're sad to leave tomorrow. Talk to everyone more soon - hopefully pics tomorrow, too!

Love you all!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Last round of Paris pics...

... are here:

Also, it's 10 here and still pretty much completely light. What's up with that? I have to get up in 7 hours!

Last day in Paris...

We packed in some great things on our last day in this fun city! Early on the docket today was the Musee d'Orsay, which was awesome. We got there right before the doors opened, and the line to buy tickets was HUGE! Thankfully, we had Museum Passes, so we got to go right in. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed all of the Impressionism, Naturalism, and just the variety of other things. The Art Nouveau furniture was pretty cool, too. I took very few pictures, unlike everyone else, who - like at the Louvre yesterday - were just running through and taking pictures of absolutely everything. I don't know if they think their pictures are going to turn out well, but I'm going to go with no. Anyway, other than the stupid crowds, we thoroughly enjoyed our three hours there.

We then headed to the Rodin Museum, where we had some overpriced lunch in the garden cafeteria and then headed inside to see the sculptures. There were some *cough* suggestive sculptures that I didn't take pics of, but I did catch a couple of tame subjects. :)

From here, we headed across the street to Napoleon's Tomb and Army Museum inside the Les Invalides complex. We started with the Arms and Armor exhibit, which was interesting, if a bit repetitive. We then spent a large chunk of time in the WWI and WWII exhibits, which were incredibly interesting. Speaking of interesting, I should note here that most of the museums we've been visiting have been made so much more interesting by the self-guided tours from the Rick Steves guidebooks - if you're ever thinking of making a trip like this, you MUST get his books. Hands down.

By the time we were done, it was 5, and we decided that we were tired and hungry and needed to pack everything up - we had kind of unloaded in the room since we were here for four nights. So, we're ready to get up at 5 tomorrow morning, get ready like the wind, have our last breakfast from the corner boulangerie, get to Paris Nord by 6:40ish to check in, and leave for London at 7:13. Au revoir, foreign languages. :P


Parisian girls wear genie pants.

We've walked 112 miles since we've been here. :D Love you all, good night!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Versailles and some typical Parisian sightseeing

Yesterday we spent a good deal of the day at the Versailles complex, and it was lovely. The day started with some delicious pastries from the corner shop, and was quickly plunged into darkness by the terrible woman taking 349587 years to buy tickets at the station... in addition to the Metro, Paris also has a commuter train called the RER that operates in the city and to outlying areas - when you go outside of the city, you can't use your normal transportation tickets, you have to buy a special ticket. Of course, the self-service machines only accept coins (wth), so I had to go to the window. I'm not sure what this lady was doing, but she ended up having a 400 Euro order; the rest of the line was not happy.

So, instead of getting to Versailles around 9:15, we ended up there around 9:45, which was fine; I think that place is probably packed no matter when you go. I don't really have much to say about the palace itself - we had a self-guided tour, the rooms were beautiful, it was a good hour and a half or so. We looked around a bit, got some lunch, then took a little tour through the giant garden, which spit us out by the palaces away from the palace: buildings to let the kings/queens get away from Versailles once the French gov't was moved out there. They were beautiful but arranged in a bit of a screwy way, so we ended up walking around a bit more than we had originally planned. Two fun things in that area were the theater that Marie Antoinette had built so she and her friends could put on plays, and the "country peasant house" complex, complete with dairy and water wheel. We were helped directionally by a very nice local who heard us talking confusedly - she told us to see the theater and we were very grateful for her help!

We had a long walk back to the chateau to get back into town, so we all got a little crispy from the time we spent outside, but it was really a beautiful morning and afternoon. We decided we were too weary to rush right into anything else, so we took the train and the Metro back to the hotel to rest a bit, and then headed back out. We ate at a little restaurant (eh, it was okay), and headed to the Eiffel Tower. We had to wait in line to get through metal detectors and then to buy tickets, but it really wasn't that bad. Our plan was to take the elevator up to the second floor, look around, and then take the stairs down - and that's exactly what we did. We were on the observation platform when the 10 o'clock light show started, and that was really cool. The trip down the stairs was a little daunting, but we ended up being fine. :D

We then made our way back to our neighborhood, which was hopping because it's full of bars and it was Friday night. We got crepes from the place on the corner and came back to the room to collapse for the night. It was a good day.

This morning we got up early and headed over to the Louvre to get there before it opened. We got in really quickly as soon as they opened the gates, and ended up spending - wait for it - almost 5 hours inside. By choice. We saw some cool stuff, and the set-up was very spacious and beautiful. It's still weird to us that the Italian galleries were so cramped and stuffy and everywhere else has ample seating and breezy galleries showcasing the works in a lovely fashion. Anyway, you can see some of the statuary we saw in the Photobucket album - I don't take pics of paintings because there's no point - you can't capture that beauty with a silly little digital camera. By the way, the place was packed full of people who were running around taking pictures of everything and not looking at anything. Also, people's cameras were flashing all over the place, and none of the museum workers said a thing. Italian museum workers are VIGILANT about that kind of thing... "NO PHOTO!" was frequently heard while in Italy.

After our ridiculous run through the museum, we stopped in the Tuileries for lunch, and walked the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe. We couldn't get close to the obelisk at the Place de la Concorde because they're setting up tons of seating there and all along the boulevard for Bastille Day festivities. The crowd at the Arc was ridiculous, and we were already weary, so we just had a look around and didn't go up. No big loss - we had seen the city from above last night. We sang our national anthem while there, very quietly. :D Back at the hotel, we rested for a bit, then got some Chinese take-out.

We need a break every once in a while, so we took a bit of one this evening. Full day tomorrow for our last day in town, then we leave Monday morning (my birthday) for London. Don't forget to look at the new pics! Happy 4th!

Paris pictures!

You can start checking these out, and I'll blog later tonight. I hope everyone is enjoying cookouts and fireworks! Miss y0u all!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th!

Heading out to do some museums and other typical Paris stuff today... I'll post pics later and tell you about yesterday and today. Two items of note: 1) They show The Smurfs in France on Saturday morning cartoons. Like the old school episodes. 2) We would like you to send us ribs and potato salad, Mom. Hotel Daval, c/o the Lamonts. :P

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I have a little time this morning, so here's your post. :)

Firstly, I would like to pat myself on the back for not booking us in hostels for the majority of the trip. The place in Fussen was... weird and pretty awful. But we're done with that, it was cheap, and it was only one night.

Anyway, we got up two mornings ago, checked out and left our bags at the house, and set out for a positively lovely day. We decided not to take the 10 minute shuttle bus to the castle ticket office, and instead had a cool, tree-lined 5K walk. It was gorgeous. We got our tickets with tour times for Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein, and decided to go ahead and walk up to H. to wait since our tour time wasn't for another 40 minutes. This gave us a chance to cool off after our morning constitutional. The tour was short, and took us through only a few of this "hunting and holiday" castle, but the guide was extremely well-spoken and it was a good time.

After this, we went back down to the central ticket area and decided to take the shuttle up the mountain to Neuschwanstein - the hike up involved a half-hour of steep pavement, and we didn't feel like not being able to walk the next day. :P N. is way more visited than H., so there were tons of groups of kids and just overall more people waiting for tours. Of course, we got stuck in a huge group for our tour with American high school kids, and they were awful and annoying and didn't listen and took three hours to wander in from room to room. Bleh. I definitely had to yell at a group of them to shut it because their chaperones weren't doing a thing. Grr.

After this tour, you have some options on how to get back down. You can walk the paved path, take a horse-drawn carriage, hike up to the bus stop, or actually hike down a gorge for a different view... and we took the last option. It was an excellent choice, as there were practically no other people so it was serene and beautiful, and it was just a unique walk. There were even a few places where they had built a walkway around a cliff so you were suspended over the rushing river below - scary but cool.

Back at the central area again, we ate lunch/dinner at a lovely little restaurant, and I had some of the best potato salad ever. It tasted just like Mom's only without the crunchy stuff - I don't know how they did it. :P We ventured up to a snack bar for some ice cream, sat down to eat it, and it started POURING. People were getting soaked. Thankfully we were under a roof and weren't in a particular hurry, so we just waited it out before we walked 5K back into town. Once we got back to Fussen, we hauled butt getting our bags and getting to the teeny station because the sky was black and we wanted to outrun the storm. We took a completely crowded little cow train back to Kaufbeuren, proceeded on to Munich, and had a two-hour wait until our night train, in which we ate some dinner (Subway over here is almost the same, but not quite), used the very weird bathrooms, and got annoyed at some more Americans in the lounge.

Our sleeper compartment was tiny, but it was all our own, so it was much better than the last time. Also, it was much newer and first class as opposed to second, so it was overall a pretty nice experience. We had our own sink with towels in the room, and the bathroom was right around the corner - it even had a shower, which we were too afraid to use because we didn't have full towels and the train was doing quite a bit of careening around in the morning. I didn't sleep much, but it wasn't because the bed wasn't comfy - I could just hear every noise and my brain's cool like that. :P

We arrived in Paris, checked our bags at the station, and headed over to Notre Dame. To get our Museum Pass, we thought we'd go to the Paris Archaeological Crypt, since all of the sites covered by the pass are supposed to sell it - but of course they didn't. Also, the tourist info booth outside selling them only took CC, and I wanted to pay with cash. So we just went in Notre Dame and took Rick Steves' Historic Paris Walk instead. We saw a memorial to French people killed in concentration camps, went to a famous English-language bookstore and bought a couple of things, saw a pretty little church called St. Severin, ate some lunch, went to the Cluny Museum (where we finally bought our passes), went to Sainte-Chappelle and the Conciergerie (where prisoners were held before going to the guillotine), and then went to the hotel to check in. The room is small, and the bathroom is like train-sized, but there's air conditioning and I slept really well.

We took showers, went to the laundromat (where a prostitute or something decided to come hang out but the clothes got clean and it was way cheaper than in Venice), went back out for some food, and came back to hang out and sleep.

Whew. We're headed off to Versailles this morning, which we didn't get to see the last time I was here, so it should be a good day. More later!

Sorry, but...

...I didn't get much sleep on the train last night, so I need to sleep more than I need to be on here. :P Here are some pics from our hike up to the castles, a few of our teeny but nice sleeper compartment on the train, and some of our first sweaty day in Paris. We head to Versailles tomorrow morning, and I'll blog in the evening.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Okay, PB wins.

I guess Blogger doesn't have much of a desire for me to put up pictures, so another Photobucket album it is. Hey, it was super-easy, so it was no problem. Enjoy!

We walked a lot today.

Another glorious day, weather-wise, in Munich today: another huge breakfast in the hotel started us off well, and we left our bags to venture out to two major museums. The Deutsches Museum is kind of like the Smithsonian, and we had done so many art museums that we thought this would be a nice change of pace. It was also only 3 Euros each, which made it a REALLY nice change. :) Anyway, it took us 45 minutes to walk there, but we didn't mind because the sun was out and there was a nice breeze. We perused the main branch for about two hours, taking in exhibits about mining, boats, airplanes, time pieces, astronomy, calculating, farming, etc. It got a little boring by the end, but overall it was pretty interesting.

After this, we hiked back across town to the best collection of paintings in Bavaria, Munich's Alte Pinakothek. It wasn't very big, but it had some impressive stuff: Durer, Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian, Raphael, da Vinci, and a few more names of note. Also very interesting were the "cartoons" by Rubens - little paintings he had made so his workshop could produce the massive-scale paintings he was known for.

We didn't have a lot of time today, as our train to Fussen was to leave at 5:20, so after the art museum we headed back towards our hotel. We decided on our way to stop by the basement grocery store of a department store and get a picnic to eat while waiting at the station, and this turned out quite well. A quick stop at the hotel to get our bags and we were off to the train station, where we spread out our dinner in the lounge and chowed down.

We took two small-ish trains to Fussen with a change in Kaufbeuren. They were almost like commuter trains, and the second one was like a hometown train, with stops in almost non-existent towns and lots of whistle blowing while going across roads. The countryside was beautiful, and as the mountains came into view, we got excited. :)

When we got into Fussen, we hiked to our hostel/pension and found an overwrought girl trying to work out rooms with "the boss" with whom she was on the phone. This resulted in a bit of standing around with heavy bags, but finally the two guys who had come right before us got a room and then it was our turn. When we finally got to the room, we asked for towels, and the girl handed us one (that looked used, by the way) and said, sorry! We were, of course, a little grossed out by this, and decided to walk around the town in search of - well - anything. It was a lovely walk with a scenic view by the river, but of course everything was closed, so no towels could be bought.

We got back to the room and two kind ladies next door gave us an extra towel they happened to have gotten, and we felt a little better about the whole situation... and then as we were getting things around for tomorrow, the overwrought girl brought us clean towels! Huzzah! Now we just have to hope everyone with whom we're sharing the bathroom takes a shower tonight and won't need in there in the morning. Yes, we're sharing a bathroom with a couple of other rooms - we had to cheap-out somewhere!

I'm going to attempt another picture post back on here, as the internet seems to be responding better here than in Munich. We head to mad ol' Ludwig's castles in the morning - we're braving the (supposedly, from what another lady here said) beautiful walking/bike trail up instead of taking the bus. We might as well. Of course, if it's raining, we'll take the bus - here's hoping for another lovely day.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pictures, finally.

After about 123 years and much frustration, I got a couple of pictures from the last day in Salzburg and the first in Munich into a Photobucket album. Check it out here:

Much love to you all!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunny Munich!

What a difference a day and a few miles can make! Today we had a gorgeous day in Munich. We started with a giant breakfast at the hotel which ended up holding us over until right around dinner - our hotel's owner is quite generous with her spread. We headed out to the pedestrian zones, stopping at St. Michael's church and the Frauenkirche on the way to the Marienplatz. These two churches, along with St. Peter's a bit farther along, had been heavily damaged in WWII and had been completely reconstructed. St. Mike's was gorgeous, with a huge, barrel vault ceiling; the Frauenkirche was more sparse, with Gothic arches and spare furnishings. This is where Pope Benedict was archbishop before he was pope.

The street leading toward Marienplatz (which is the home of the old and new town halls) is filled with shopping and people strolling. The sun was dazzling and it was a lovely walk. We got to the square and looked around the neo-Gothic new town hall a bit, and decided to have a peek inside St. Peter's to kill the half-hour we had before the Glockenspiel was to play. However, they were having an 11 o'clock service, so we went back out to the square, found a place to park with a good view, and waited for the "performance." It was... okay. At least we got some sun.

Back into St. Peter's, which was pretty, and had some pretty creepy reliquaries, including one with an entire skeleton with eyes in the eye sockets. Brrr. Just got another chill. After this, we swung over to see what the Viktualienmarkt was all about, and it seemed pretty cool - lots of food stands and places to buy fresh meats and bread. We didn't need any food, however, so we headed out to the Residenz, where we toured the apartments and the treasury. This place wins the award for worst included audioguide EVER - it was so boring that we just gave up on it and used the plaques and some Rick Steves info to guide us.

We finally dragged ourselves out of there around 4:15 and decided it was finally time for early dinner, so we headed to the famous Hofbrauhaus. Of course it's touristy and all, but it wasn't crowded, the Radler was good, and the food was actually some of the best we've had on the trip thus far. Also, it was fairly cheap compared to a lot of the places we went, so score one for the Hof. :)

We decided to meander our way back to the hotel via the grocery store (in the basement of a department store, like Marks and Spencer in the UK) for some sweets and snacks for the train tomorrow, and have been taking it easy ever since. I can NOT get Blogger to upload any pictures for me, so I'm giving my old Photobucket account a try so I don't get behind in the posting. As soon as that is up and running, I'll post the link. Happy Monday to you all!


I guess Blogger doesn't want me to put up pics tonight - so I'll give it another go in the morning.

Today, we couldn't even SEE the hills...

...because it was raining too much! We decided to take advantage of the late check-out time to maybe let the rain let up a bit (which, of course, was a bad idea because then it started raining harder). We slogged through veritable rivers whilst it monsooned to try to at least get to the fortress on our last day in Salzburg, and it was certainly an escapade. By the time we made it over the river into the old town, it had thankfully started raining a bit less, so we walked around a little to get oriented. We then took a jaunt into the Neue Residenz to see the state rooms and the painting gallery - both of which were a little disappointing, but at least they were dry and warm! We then made the excellent decision to go back to the restaurant at which we had dinner last night because it was so good - and it didn't fail to please this time, either. The owner actually served us and he was incredibly nice (and recognized us from last night - ha!).

After lunch, we walked to the Salzburg Cathedral (pretty but very dark inside so hard to see everything - although they did have risers set up in the same place as when Chapel Choir sang there, which was cool to see), and made our way to the entrance to the tram to the fortress. The fortress isn't the most exciting thing ever, and there was still a lot of mist around when we got up there, but by the time we went through the marionette display (creepy - enjoy the pics from that!), the museums (boring), and used the WC, the weather had cleared and we could see the whole city. Lovely. You'll see a shot of the girls with umbrellas before we went inside the fortress, and then one after when it had cleared.

We had been planning on trying to get down to Nonnberg Abbey or hiking across the Monchberg to another elevator to street level, but we didn't want to risk breaking our necks, so we just took the tram back down to the street and headed back out. We popped into St. Peter's Cemetery and the church itself, got some ice cream, and picked up our bags at our hotel on our way to the train station. On our way, we found you a present, Calvin -which you'll see in the pictures, and re-enacted the scary fight we saw yesterday. :P While waiting for our train, we had our first complete cop-out meal of the trip: Burger King. You can see Becky modeling the delicious "country potatoes" we got in lieu of fries.

We got into Munich right before 9, easily found our hotel, which is inside an old building on two half-floors and run by a lady who likes to decorate with cherubs and who met us at the reception desk, and here we are! Hoping for some better weather tomorrow...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Venice, Vienna, Salzburg pics

The hills are alive!

This morning we took a Sound of Music tour that was awesome - it was us, another family, and our guide in a beautiful little VW van thing. Our guide, Manfred, was informative and fun - he totally made fun of Becky's white legs in her shorts! Anyway, we started with a city tour and drove out to the lake country, which was absolutely gorgeous. The family we were with was a little nuts, but it didn't make the trip any less enjoyable. It was a morning well-spent.

For lunch we went to a street festival and had two rotisserie half-chickens and some awesome french fries, which we ate on the street. It was a crazy place, very crowded, and neat to see all the locals having fun. We spent the afternoon walking around, and on our way back to the hotel we saw two guys fighting and it was really scary - especially since it was between a guy with his family and a guy in a biking outfit... At the hotel we took a little nap, then walked back to the old town to eat at a recommended restaurant - it had Indian, Italian, and Austrian cuisine, was teeny and family-run, and the food was amazing. We had chicken curry with rice and a Salzburg sausage plate with kraut and potatoes - and it was all sooooooo good. The sweetened pancake with ice cream and chocolate sauce and Sachertorte we had for dessert were also good, although the Sachertorte was a little weird. We took a little stroll and made our way back to the hotel, where we were almost hit on by some guys in a terrible car...

Tomorrow we see the old town and the fortress, then leave for Munich in the evening. Pictures come next! Miss you!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Greetings from rainy Salzburg...

We've been through another day in Florence, two in Venice, and two in Vienna since the last post - and our feet still hurt. :P The weather here has been weird: it's usually sunny most of the day, but occasionally there are some random times of rainfall and/or overcast skies. We're not complaining, though - it means it hasn't been super-hot and that's good.

Venice was quite the excellent experience for us; none of us had been there before, and it was an adventure trying to navigate through alleyways that you think can't POSSIBLY lead anywhere, dead-ending at canals, and having a few peaceful minutes on a secluded bridge to rest.

We then had the - um - interesting experience of a sleeper train on the way to Vienna. We had to share with three random people, and let's just say it wasn't much fun. Cramped, rickety, weird, you name it - thankfully our overnight train from Munich to Paris involves a compartment that will be first class and only US.

Vienna was refreshing, grand, and beautiful. It's so weird to me that Italians have all of these awesome works of art and interesting food and neat history and they just don't care much about the "package" - their shops are small and run-down, some of the museums are run-down and don't seem to have much effort put into them, and the streets are small. Austrians like open spaces, lovely shop signs and windows, and really know how to showcase artwork. The Uffizi in Florence is supposed to be one of the greatest collections in the world, and there was nowhere to sit so it was very tiring. The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna also had amazing art and amazing couches in each grand salon, along with a ridiculously beautiful interior. Strange.

Anyway, we're on our way out the door to go on the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, and we're extremely excited. More later, with pictures!

(Austrian trains: AWESOME. Leather seats, automatic doors, yeah.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

First round of pictures

Here are just a couple of the 3409840598 pics I've taken so far... also, Happy Father's Day, Dad! Give the dogs snuggles for us!

30 miles? No wonder my feet hurt...

Well, gang, here we are on the evening of day five, and we're completely exhausted. We've completed four days of sightseeing - 3 in Rome and one in Florence. Liz has been wearing her pedometer and we've walked approximately 30 miles in those past 4 days. Let me tell you, our dogs are barking very loudly.

Although we are tired, we're seeing some amazing things and are having lots of fun. We're determined to see as many museums and churches as we can, so we just walk as much as we can and give our legs a rest every once in a while.

Just a quick overview of what has happened so far: we got into Rome on Thursday morning, checked our bags at the train station, and spent a long, hot, sweaty day at the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. Even though we know you're "not supposed to take a nap" the first day, we needed showers badly, so we checked in at the hotel, showered, took a quick nap, and headed back out for a stroll. The next day was Vatican City day, with trips to St. Peter's and the Vatican Museum, a night stroll, and some gelato. The last day in Rome started with an appointment at the Borghese Gallery, continued with lunch on the go and a run around the National Museum, and ended with a hike and a wait at the Pantheon and our first endeavor on the European rails. We had a lovely 1.5 hour train ride to Florence and checked in at our cute hotel (our room is right on the street so Liz and I didn't sleep much). We had an 8:30 appointment at the Accademia to see the David and some other cool things this morning, then we filled in with a stroll around, a good lunch, and some yummy gelato until our 2 pm appointment at the Uffizi Gallery. We proceeded to spend 3.5 hours there looking at the amazing masterpieces, then began a search for some dinner and fruit. We're now resting in the room, hoping that giving the tootsies more time to recoup will be beneficial.

There are soooooooo many Americans here - it's kind of nice to hear a familiar language every now and then and to be able to say, "They're having mass" to explain to someone why we can't get into the Pantheon, but mostly it's annoying. Tour groups, teenagers, and parents who let their kids run around and scream suck. :P

We miss you all, and will be posting more as we can!

Barb :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I created this blog so that people without a Facebook could keep up with our trip, too. I hope you enjoy seeing our travels!