Thursday, October 7, 2010

{Journaling My Travels - Part II}

Again, as promised - here is the final portion of my trip, which is my favorite BY FAR. I have to be honest, I didn't love Rome {outside of the Vatican, Coliseum/Forum, Spanish Stairs, and Trevi Fountain} only because it is very crowded, very tourist-y, and lacks the charm of what I was looking for when I thought of Italy. Once we left Rome and headed toward the Tuscany region, I immediately fell in love and knew I would be back. So go grab your coffee, sit back, and enjoy the rest of my amazing trip:

orviento sign


side view of church

top of church

Orviento - sitting on stairs
{Stairs that we found in one of the alleys as we were walking down the street...}

town of orviento 1

Town of orviento 2

Orviento - hostaria
{The best restaurant we ate at the entire time. Next week I will have a special post just on this restaurant and lovely interior design...stay tuned}

Orviento - me at top of hill
{My ABSOLUTE favorite town of the entire trip. What a little gem this town is, sitting on top of a huge rolling hill. The only way you can get to it is by a little red train (see above) that runs up the hill. Once you arrive, you are greeted by one of the most amazing churches I've ever seen. From there, a small cobblestone road guides you to several amazing shops and restaurants. Such a quaint town ~ my only complaint is that we were only there for 2 hours - I've could've stayed all day and night}

View of tuscany

view of tuscany 2
{Tell me this isn't just georgous...}

outside of winery

wine vats 1

wine vats 2

wine vats and me

wine tasting
{Wine tasting with more ham and cheese... **note: another lesson, Italians love their ham, salami, and cheese. This is all we were offered for breakfast, along with crossiants, and every sandwhich for lunch included some type of salty meat...and cheese, lol**}

{How beautiful is this???}

{Olive tree...}

{Pomogranite tree... The Tuscany region was sooo beautiful, just really breath-taking. Every image that I've seen in movies and in books reigned true through our lovely visit. When I go back to Italy, I will be spending a lot of time here...}

florence 1

florence 2

florence 3
{Unfortunatley our time in Florence was short-lived. It was really cold and there was a lot on our tour agenda. I had planned to waive my credit card to any and every leather vendor I could find...but due to time, and not being able to find the quality leather shops, I was only able to purchase one more than fantastic vintage looking premium leather messenger bag. Stay tuned for pics...I must admit it's shmazing! I even got my initials embossed in the leather. Love! Again, when I go back to Italy I would love to take a few days to explore this city.}

pisa town

Leaning Tower of Pisa - and me

pisa - dee and denise
{Cheesy, but we had to do it...}

venice gum post
{Gross I know - but I just had to partake and then of course take a picture...}

venice boat driver
{Our boat captain...}

venice 1

venice 2

venice 3

venice 8

venice 4

venice 5

venice 6
{I just love this pic - the lighting is amazing. Even more amazing is having your wedding in the streets of Venice...}

venice 7
{For some reason I just love this graffiti - I actually think I may frame it. Sad that someone decided to paint on this lovely building...but I kind of like it...}

Venice was more than amazing. This day we decided to forego all tours and just got lost in the city. Here is where I spent most of my shopping money. They had everything from the highest end shops, to cute little boutiques and souvenir shops. They also had a slew of restaurants and word to the wise - when you order lobster - you will get the whole lobster, guts and all. When you order fish - you will get the whole fish, head, bones and all. Wish I would have known this before hand...bad experience. When I go back - I will spend at least 3 days here. We had about 8 hours to explore the city, but it wasn't nearly enough time to really take advantage of all this amazing island had to offer.

{The small town of Assissi - we were only here for an hour, but what we saw was definitely a little lovely town}

rome last supper 1

rome last supper 2
{The tour ended back in Rome and we decided to skip the farewell dinner with the group and go do some last minute shopping, eat a fantastic dinner, and get some tirmasu from one of the restaurants we went to in our first days in Rome. Our plan worked....well kind of. We shopped, we had a fabulous dinner, however, when we traveled to the next restaurant, Ristorante alla Rampa, for our tirmasu - we were turned away because we couldn't only order dessert. Needless to say, we were disappointed but decided to go get our last dose of gelato instead **note: another lesson I learned in Italy is that gelato and Nutella are their own separate food groups, lol - we ate both everyday**. My friend got a cup with 2 scoops of gelato for 2 euro - and I ordered 2 scoops but wanted it in a cone. I take my cone to the register and the cashier says I owe 15 euro. What??? If you could have only seen my face... so I politely walked back over to the gelato counter and handed my my 15 euro cone back to the girl (you should have seen the look on her face, lol) and walked out. At that point, I decided I was ready to come back home...}. That night the sickness came with a vengence, and the next morning we were headed back on 9 hour flight to NYC, a 6 hour layover, and a 2 hour flight back to Raleigh...not fun period, but especially not when you're sick as a dog... Good times!
In a very small nutshell - you have gotten to witness the fab time we had during our tour through Italy. My final learnings of the trip is that I am an independent traveler and will probably not book another guided tour again. I like to do what I want, sleep where I want, eat where I want, and shop all the time. If you are the same type of traveler, then I would highly suggest you rethinking a guided tour. One thing that I do appreciate about the tour is that I got to see way more than the average person traveling to Italy normally would - and now I know exactly where I will spend my time once I return.

I hope you enjoyed my posts- if you would like to see more pictures, feel free to stop by my Facebook page.

Have a great day!
Final Signature


  1. I'm living vicariously through your pictures. Wow, they're so incredible! I'm glad your trip was so great. :-)

  2. ahhhh!! Venice was my favorite part of Europe. Your pics make want to go back! Isn't it amazing that it's a sinking city and to think it will be completely submerged under water in our lifetime? Hope you had an amazing time on all of your travels! Come visit me down under on your next ones:)

    -Dana P.

  3. Man, these pics are more than expected. I would love to go. Definitely a place on my list. First London and Paris then Italy.
    Have anymore pics in your pocket? :)

  4. Oh Wow, where did you see the pomegranate tree? I totally missed that! It's nice to see what pictures that others caught.


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