Plus modes of transportation on the trip and G'mama's final thoughts
06.28.2010 - 07.07.2010
San Sano, Tuscany/Chianti, Italy
June 27th - July 1st
After breakfast we strolled through the streets of Venice and took a vaporetto to the parking garage where we had left our car. We all agreed that Venice was a special place and we look forward to return visits in the future. Then we were off on our drive back to Tuscany, technically the Chianti region of Tuscany, for a few days with the Rohlfes Family. When we arrived in the beautiful hamlet of San Sano we were thrilled that our hotel was only yards away from the Rohlfes villa. We quickly unpacked and spent a wonderful evening at the restaurant near their villa getting caught up. We are used to seeing each other every couple of weeks and it was so great to spend time with them and meet beautiful Justine who was born while we were in Spain.
The next day we had fun swimming at the pool at their villa complex and then drove to dinner in the Tuscan hill town of Radda. The restaurant had a fantastic view overlooking a large Chianti vineyard and the food was superb. The following day it was Jacob's 4th birthday and we all headed into Siena to celebrate. The Palio race was being run two days later and race-fever was high in the city. There at 17 neighborhoods in Siena and they all have their own flag and sponsor horses to run against each other twice a year on July 2nd and August 16th. That evening we had a birthday party for Jacob, complete with a game of "pin the star on the firetruck".
On July 1st it was my 40th birthday and I was treated to breakfast in bed and then a hike among the vineyards. It was a hot day and everyone but Jen and Justine slowly dropped out. Jen and I hiked for a couple of hours and it was so great to have that time together! The rest of the gang was hanging out by the pool and I think they were happy not to be with us In the afternoon Jen and I went to our "spa" treatment and we ended up naked together in a large tub of wine infused water sipping Chianti. Not quite what we expected but we sure had some great laughs. That evening we had a chef at the Rohlfes villa and he prepared a wonderful meal. It was a fabulous way to spend my birthday and I thank them all for their love and support!
Bellagio, Lake Como
After final goodbyes to the Rohlfes' we headed out on our 6 hour drive to Lake Como. It was hot adventure getting to Bellagio but the view once we got here was worth it. Although it was hazy when we arrived, as the week has worn on the vistas have become clearer and the mountain views surrounding the lake are spectacular. It is amazing to be so warm (temps in the 90's) and see some snow still on the Alps in Switzerland. While here we have taken a walk and toured the lovely gardens at Villa Meltzi, taken a boat tour of the lake and spent hours walking the streets of the town and sipping wine while enjoying the views. In case you were wondering, we did still get in our daily dose of gelato.
Because we celebrated both Gracie's and my birthdays we thought it fitting that G'mama and Lucy could celebrate their "Unbirthdays" - complete with gifts and dinner at the restaurant of their choice. Yesterday we headed out on a short walk north of Bellagio to Punta Spartivento and today we had laundry done and went horseback riding in the picturesque hills surrounding Lake Como.
Tomorrow we head to Milan and the following day G'mama goes back to Walnut Creek and we head to The Cotswolds in England. We have all had a fabulous time travelling together and it certainly won't be the same without my mom here. I feel blessed and so fortunate that we have been able to spend this time together and I look forward to more adventures in the future.
Here is a list of the modes of transporation we have taken on this trip. We think we got everything![/b]
plane, train, car, tour bus, van, bicycle, public bus, gondola, roller coaster, ferry, donkey, mule, horse, camel, water taxi, car taxi, vaporetto, boat, kayak, Sharkie the blow-up dolphin, and our favorite mode, our own 2 feet.
[b]G'mama's Final Thoughts on Her Adventure
It has been quite an adventure and some of the things I will miss are: new experiences and adventures every day; meeting new people and friends; inexpensive, good wine; 3-hour dinners starting at 8pm; 10% tips and not being rushed in restaurants; knowing the traits of every dog in the AKC catalog as dictated to me by Lucy; lazy schedules most days - it feels like summer vacation; and of course most of all... my travelling buddies.
Things I won't miss: mosquitos; schlepping suitcases around; the effects on my body of multiple cobblestoned streets and stairs; wearing my passport belt at all times; and smoking in restaurants and bars.
As I get closer to home I look forward to: my own bed; a washing machine and dryer; Peet's coffee; and mostly seeing my wonderful family and friends again. Although I have missed home a great deal this has been a wonderful experience travelling with Kristie and the girls and enjoying diverse cultures and shared memories. See you soon. Ciao, Ann