Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pisa

Are you lost? I know that I'm relating this Italian adventure somewhat out of order but it is somewhat disorienting to travel at times upside down or at the bottom of a stack of other baggage, in the dark. I'm doing the best I can.  To make up for my directional challenges here's a map. I've marked our travels in pink, My Owner likes pink.

Did you know this thing is famous for leaning?

 Pisa was a surprise that the tour guide and bus driver threw in between Venice and Florence because we had made such good time due to an unusual lack of traffic. Just time for a quick lunch some photos and then back to the bus for the trip to Florence.


The thing bad thing about this lunch was that they were on a very tight schedule and the leader of their group never did get her food.

 
The weather was absolutely perfect this day. What a lovely little surprise...and here my owner is always going on and on about how she hates surprises. She can be so ridiculous.




Sunday, October 24, 2010

Florence

On to Florence! Beautiful Florence with its art; many fortuitous encounters awaited my owner, though she did not know this at the time.  David, Venus, the architecture, sleeping in a monastary overlooking the city, roosters crowing and dogs barking as the sun came up over one of the world's most beautiful cities. The first long bus ride with the other passengers revealed a few interesting characters. A couple of them had already made themselves known during breakfast with one of them telling My Owner "We share the same energy!" This didn't exactly thrill MO as this woman's "energy" seemed to be of the clinically insane sort.

They arrived in Florence after dark and the lumbering coach climbed a narrow road on a steep hill. The lights of the city became more sprawling with each moment.  There was a dinner at some point and I heard talk of attractive Italian men. Eventually the massive vehicle crept into a narrow space at the edge of the road, we were unloaded (and none too soon, hours and hours with smelly luggage belonging to boys is hard to stomach) and the view was stunning. I was rather viciously dragged through a strange maze of hallways with odd sets of steps in the middle, serving no apparent purpose. The room was sparse and small. This hotel it seemed was a converted monastery.

The key gets left at the desk because who wants to carry that around?

Again, MO hadn't figured out the date feature.


Morning brought with it a beautiful sunrise and ...how best to describe?

A wonderful surprise. The shutters opened to reveal...

Florence, in all her glory and an olive grove beneath their window.

Leaning out the window.  A dog was barking and a rooster crowing.
After breakfast a short walk was taken about the grounds to see the tree Dante sat under to write and the little garden. The outside of the building was revealed in bright spring Italian sunlight.






Off for the day in Florence....oh me? I'm at the hotel. The stories of today's adventures I'll get only second handle.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Old Venice

I suppose at some point I should mention that my genius owner bought a new camera for this trip. She failed to take the time to figure out how to work the date setting and thus her photos from this trip look not only as if she was traveling in Italy but back and forth in time!


She had one real goal on her mind this day and that was to make a sign that said "Brittany's mom at the real Old Venice" since her daughter worked at a restaurant by that name. (my owner thinks she is clever and is rather easily amused). They had a tour and the sun was shining. They crossed the little bridges over the canals and snapped photo after photo, toured the Murano glass factory, and  took a gondola ride where they spent as much time looking at Paolo the gondolier as they did the other "scenery".
Can you blame them?





















Free time in the afternoon was spent strolling around the backstreets and having a lovely lunch where some very funny pictures were taken and the requisite sign was made.
 
 Now my owner can be a bit...distracted and is incapable of almost any sort of multitasking. Add to that a couple of glasses of wine at lunch and it's not too hard to imagine how she lost her ticket for admission to The Doge's Palace.  She didn't realize this until they were going through the entrance and mentioned it to the group leader at the EXACT moment she was going through the turnstile causing it to lock up and negate HER admission ticket (perfect timing, as ever). Off the two of them went to buy TWO more admission tickets.

 It was worth it however. One beautifully stunning room after another. While they were inside the palace the weather turned cold and clouds moved in.

My owner thought it
would be great fun to have her picture made with some Venetian policemen. She spotted them some distance off and made up her mind to use her (much worse than she realized) limited Italian to ask them to pose for a picture. They looked less than enthused but obliged. Now the other members of her group decided that was a pretty good photo op and asked if they too could get a photo...a little less enthusiastic the second time around and by photo number 3 the commander of that little trio looked as if he wanted to arrest them except that that would only require spending MORE time with them, so he said something to his subordinates and they waved their arms and scurried away quickly cursing cameras and middle aged American female tourists, I'm sure (okay I'm not sure because I was in the closet back at the hotel, but it's probably a pretty safe bet).

Friday, October 1, 2010

Game Day



The majority of game day was filled with more shopping, walking and eating.  The Oasis across from the hotel didn't open until four, and Mr. and Mrs. Owner were the first and only customers when they stopped in to eat
before getting a shuttle to the game. They started off with a yummy goat cheese and edame dip covered with toasted pumpkin seeds.  My owner (aka the queen of salads) ordered a delicious chicken salad with raspberry vinaigrette.







Not only was the food excellent the decor was modern and chic.





After a great lunch it was off to the game.  At an away game it's always comforting to see fellow fans decked out in your team's colors so Mr. Owner was glad to see a couple in Tiger blue.

As soon as they began to talk he knew who they were.  The freshman punter is from Australia and these could only be his parents.
Mr. Owner and his new Aussie friends

They walked along and chatted about the similarities and differences in their two countries and how hard it was to let  a child follow his dream halfway around the world. Later during the game the women chatted about the difficulty of finding healthy food in the south, and various other girlie topics only to interrupted occasionally by someone saying, her son was punting...momentary attention was paid and then the conversation continued.

Unfortunately the game ended in a loss in the last two seconds. My owner was anxious to return to the Oasis which they did after standing on a windy mountain side waiting a good while for their hotel shuttle. 

The next day...home, but not before my owner spent a couple of hours to herself lounging beside the rooftop pool with a book.




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