S: ITALY & SPAIN 2009
BC: Ciao Italia April 2009
FC: ITALY & SPAIN
1: ITALY & SPAIN | "Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life." ~ Anna Akhmatova | Venice Murano Rome Trastevere Amalfi Coast Praiano Positano Capri Pompeii Madrid Toledo | April 6 - 20, 2009
2: Our European Vacation began at 4:40 p.m. on April 5, 2009 on Iberia Flight 6274 bound for Madrid. We ran through Madrid-Barajas Airport to make our connecting flight to Milan. Next, was our disco bus ride to Milano Centrale for our 3 hour train ride to Venice. A short trip on a vaporetto would lead us to our hotel. | Planes, Trains & Vaporetti
3: Arriving in Venice! | “If you read a lot, nothing is as great as you've imagined. Venice is – Venice is better.” – Fran Lebowitz
5: Pensione Guerrato is situated in the center of Venice in the very heart of the lively fish and vegetable market, in front of the Grand Canal and close to the Rialto Bridge. | Nothing better than fresh fish. Now let's get some pizza. | Really Mom, this is where we are staying?. It's so OLD!
6: The Canals of Venice
7: Exploring Venice | Venice - undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man. | ! Walking through the narrow streets and bustling piazze was the plan for the day.
8: One of the 50 or so pizza margheritas eaten on the trip.!
11: Piazza San Marco | The patterned floor of the Piazza is thick with pigeons. | St. Mark's Square | Basilica of San Marco
12: We had a wonderful stay at Hotel Santa Maria, a completely renovated 16th century cloister. Located in an historical area of central Rome in the heart of one of the most ancient and characteristic neighborhoods of the city, Trastevere. A true oasis of tranquility immersed in an intricate labyrinth of colorful and bright narrow streets. | Roma
13: Hotel Santa Maria
14: Did it make it? | I'll be back! | Three Coins in the Fountain | Someone owes me a Euro! | Trevi Fountain
15: ...Doing as the Romans | Pope Benedict's Good Friday torchlight procession from the Colosseum to Palatine Hill.
16: Experiencing Rome | All Roads Lead to Rome.
17: The Roman Colosseum | “...the most impressive, the most stately, the most solemn, grand, majestic mournful sight conceivable." - Charles Dickens
18: Praiano B&B overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea | Villa Il Frantoio
19: Posing, but not posing!
22: "Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone." - John Steinbeck | Positano
24: We loved Capri, an enchanting and picturesque island made of limestone rock. A favorite with Roman emperors, the rich and famous, artists, and writers, it's still one of the Mediterranean's must-see places.
25: Grotta Azzurra (The Blue Grotto) is a beautiful sea cave on the coast of the island of Capri. Sunlight, passing through an underwater cavity and shining through the seawater, creates a blue reflection that illuminates the cavern. We had had to lie down in our row boat enter the low opening to the grotto. Once inside, we were serenaded by an Italian boatman.
27: “This is were I was meant to shop!"
29: Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79 burying Pompeii under 30 feet of hot volcanic ash. This city of well- preserved ruins offers a look at what life in Rome was like 2000 years ago.
31: We spent an entire afternoon at Retiro Park, a magnificent park, filled with beautiful sculptures, monuments, galleries, and a peaceful lake.
32: Madrid | Odd Characters
33: Our most delicious discovery in all of Madrid. | It's hard to beat the Madrileños' classic combo of hot chocolate with churros at Chocolatería San Ginés.
34: We spent a lot of time eating and drinking in Madrid.
35: Enjoying paella on Plaza Mayor... | ... and a little sangria.
37: Toledo, Spain
39: We spent our last night in Madrid dining at El Botin, the oldest restaurant in the world.