Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 6, part 2: Cinque Terre & La Spezia...

The Cinque Terre is one of my favorite places in Italy. Ever since I went in 2008, I've wanted to come back and bring Rick.

Cinque Terre means "five lands" in Italian. It is located on the western coast of Italy, what is considered the Italian Riviera. It is made up of five fishing villages that are all connected by a hiking trails, as well as a train. There are no roads that link the five villages.

The most famous trail connects Riomaggiore to Manarola and is called the Via Dell'Amore, or "Lover's Walk". It's a fun train that is high up on the cliffs above the sea. The kids had a great time hiking it.

The pathway has so many tunnels and cute little spots.

There is graffiti everywhere you walk, but this is where the Italian graffiti doesn't bother me. They are love notes and I think it's actually sweet. People find the most creative places to express their love!

A lot of these photos were taken by Karen too.

We had such a blast spending two weeks with Mark & Aersta. Even though we live so close, we never get to see them. Aren't they just the cutest couple? So photogenic!

Along the trail there is a famous bench with a railing full of locks. Legend says that there were two lovers, from two different towns that met there and they left a padlock to symbolize their love. They threw the key into the ocean. Now it is a local tradition to do the same with locsk. Some are engraved, written on with Sharpies, and some are just plain little locks.

I had purchased a lock back at home and had a local jeweler engrave it with our names and wedding date. I gave it to Rick on our anniversary. We were so excited to leave a symbol of our love there at the Cinque Terre. We hope that we will someday be able to make it back to see it!

We put ours just to the right of the bench.

And then we each threw a key into the ocean. (Nathan was mad because he wanted to throw something into the ocean, so afterward we had to find him a rock to throw.)

We have lasted 18 years, and we are hoping this little stunt will help insure a few more happy years!

Then Rick got frisky again. Sorry about this picture, but I thought it was really funny!

After our fun hike our family stayed and had a picnic lunch. The best part of being there at the Cinque Terre in December was the fact that there were no crowds at all! We were all alone most of the time on the trails and even sitting and having lunch, we only saw a couple of people. It was such a perfect day!

We had to wait a bit for a train to come and take us back to La Spezia, where our car was. The kids were pretty wild while waiting for the train to arrive. (Notice Nathan's forehead with red pen marks from his brothers.)

Harrison giving Andrew a piggy-back ride.

And then there is Janessa, as sweet as can be!

The kids all loved riding the train.

La Spezia is a coastal town that has really great shopping. We only parked here to take the train to the Cinque Terre, and we had to leave pretty quickly to get to Pisa and then home to Rome. It's really too bad, because it is a fun city to spend some time in. These are just a few pictures the kids wanted me to take as we walked through the town to our car.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Day 6, part 1: Florence...

There are so many wonderful parts to Day 6, it was one of my favorite days, so I thought I would pay tribute separately as to not take away from any event. Here is part one, Florence. (Please click on the photos to enlarge.)

This morning we woke up and left Florence. We were really sad to leave, it really is a gorgeous city. On our way out, we stopped at the Piazzale Michelangelo to see the view. It is something I missed somehow on my last trip. It was breathtaking, really. When we drove up the hill and went around the corner, it took my breath away, literally. I don't know if I have ever seen a more dramatic, stunning view.

I wanted a picture of each of the kids with this view in the background. We really could have done without the Denver Broncos shirts. It takes away from the beautiful scenery!

Rick kept getting "frisky" that day, everywhere we went! I think he was trying to pretend today was our anniversary instead of that tow truck day! Thanks to Andrew for capturing a fun shot!