• 02 September 2008

I'll try to wrap up our 4 day trip to Italy in one long post :)

One of the highlights of our trip was vacationing in Italy with our dear friends Paula & Mark for 4 days sans the five kids between us. We don't see them often enough (now that we don't live in San Francisco anymore), so we find that meeting up in Italy works well :) What a trip. What a trip. Wanna do it again guys?

We met up Sunday night in Cinque Terre, Vernazza to be exact. This is a lovely little town with just one main walkway, gelaterias & restaurants galore. Il Pirate serves the best granitas I've ever consumed and if you are ever in Vernazza, you must try one. Make sure to opt for the dollop of cream on top. Divine.

Monday we rented a boat there in Vernazza (the only town in Cinque Terre that rents boats to my knowledge) and cruised out into the Mediterranean hopping town to town to town (there are 5 in Cinque Terre). It was as dreamy as it sounds (unlike many things in life) and I highly recommend you trying it should you find yourself in Vernazza. Words can not adequately describe how glorious that day was but I'll give it a whirl anyway...

Best. Day. Ever.

Mark wanted to head further, past Cinque Terre to a resort town called Portovenere. It's a fun stop via boat. Clear inlets for swimming, delicious food shore side, and darn good gelato as well. Portovenere is also home to an amazing castle right on the water with to-die-for views. Paula also spotted a vending machine serving pesto...pesto?? I guess that's Italy for you. Who needs a Sprite when you can toss back a jar of pesto.

We started at 10:10 a.m. and made it back by 7:06 p.m. What an unforgettable day...

We left Cinque Terre Tuesday and drove to Florence en route to Siena with a 5 minute stop at Pisa along the way. Literally, 5 minutes (Mark wanted to check it off "his list")...and then off to Florence because we couldn't drive so close to this glorious city without stopping by for a few hours. So we stopped by...and thanks to "Tom Tom Girl" we found a parking spot, off the beaten path, just 2 blocks from the Duomo. Gotta love that girl...

To discover a new place is have already discovered is also a wonderful feeling--very relaxing actually. This time around we just enjoyed the ambiance, a little art and eating more gelato... 5 times that day :) Hands down, the best gelato in Florence is Per Que No (Fiordilatte con Miele i Sesamo) and Grom (Abricot & Blueberry). Take note for that future visit someday. You won't want to miss either of these places, both with excellent locations near the Duomo and what not.

Then off to Siena for a day and a half...then back to reality, which featured a 9 hour drive back to Dijon to pick up the children. Thankfully, it was picturesque and we drove right through the Alps. It was amazing to see the blue glacier ice on Mont Blanc and amazing views driving through the Valle D'Aosta. Just don't drive too fast or you'll get a ticket...:)

Mark & Paula, we miss you already...


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