S: Italy with a side of France
BC: Jim and Joannie Challenger's Trip to Italy September 2011
FC: Italy with a side of France
1: We're off. This is a shot of Jim at the Victoria airport, just before we left for our great Italian adventure. 13 hours later, here he is in Rome - a bit groggy, but smiling!
2: Our first day in Rome - lots to see! We started with a lovely breakfast and cappucino, then we were off. The Trevi Fountain was beautiful.
3: One of our favourite places in Rome was the Vatican Museum. The ceiling is covered with hundreds of paintings! Look at the detail in the stained glass picture of the Madonna.
4: On our second day we headed to Cassino, where my uncle Edwin is buried. He was a soldier during the Second World War, and was killed during a battle on May 24, 1944. A beautiful, peaceful place now.
6: A treasured memory is cooling our feet in the fountain outside the Borghese Gallery...
7: And then it was time to leave for Siena, the beautiful walled city in Tuscany. A two-hour train ride and we were there. We'd spend the next three days wandering the narrow, cobblestone streets.
8: Our hotel, Alma Domus, had a wonderful view of the city, as you can see by the picture taken from our terrace (below middle). We found all sorts of interesting restaurants and people, like Mitch and Sarah. Check out the table legs below!
9: The changing faces of Siena.
11: I toasted the teachers on their first day back at school, and then planned our next adventure.
12: From Siena we rented a car and headed off to explore nearby Tuscany, in particular the hilltop towns.
13: First stop was Montalcino, home of the famous Brunello wine. The wine was okay, but the views were better.
14: Our search for fresh homemade pasta led us to Il Barrino in Rocca D'Orcia. And why settle for just one kind? A special memory.
15: The last stop was at Montepulciano, famous for its Vino Nobile (wine). Then it was back "home" to Siena for one last day before continuing our journey.
16: Our next stop was Cinque Terre, and the little town of Vernazza. We rented a room from Ivo, who gallantly carried my suitcase up all five floors. Then it was down to the ocean to cool our feet!
17: On our first day we hiked the trail from Vernazza to Corniglia. This was our view looking back.
19: Sights from Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.
20: Our second day of hiking led us to Monterosso. Beautiful beach!
21: Vernazza at night.
22: Goodbye to Vernazza, hello to - Framura??? This was the day that we learned to check the signposts before getting off the train. After an unexpected stop in Framura and three trains (and a taxi) later, we arrived in St. Paul de Vence, France. Le Hameau was wonderful, infinity pool and all...
24: Exploring the medieval town - there was art everywhere, even on the walkways.
25: Then we were off to explore the countryside, stopping first in St. Jeannet.
26: After a cappuccino in St. Jeannet we drove through the Gorges (grand canyon/ way up high/ cliff-hugging roads). Spectacular views!
27: A last day in St. Paul de Vence. Check out the prickly pear cactus below - they're sold in markets, but are apparently hard to peel.
28: A day in Nice... Lots of olives at the market in Old Nice!
29: Next stop, Milan. An overnight stay there, then on to Venice. It was great to see Margaret at the train station, to meet us and take us to our "appartamento". The rest of the Italian class arrived later in the day.
30: Our stay in Venice started with a trip down the Grand Canal on a vaporetto. Our appartamento is in the top left picture, and the bottom picture is the view from our living room, looking over the Campo Arsenale.
31: The gang's all here - Rachelle, Brian, Claire, Jim, Margaret, Eric, me (Joannie), Sophie, Iona and Judy. A memorable picture on the Rialto Bridge. Our first "field trip" was to Verona, with Jacki and David. But where was Eric???
32: Our second trip was to explore the islands. First Murano, with its beautiful blown glass. (see the flowers above) Then Burano, with its colourful houses.
33: Wine, olives, cheese and bread made for a great "cena".
34: Listening to the violinist Joseph Miotti at Florian's in the piazza San Marco - a shining memory for us.
35: A last night with Jacki and David - a wonderful dinner, followed by dancing in the piazza.
36: Then we said goodbye to Jacki and David, as they headed off on their Mediterranean cruise. The towel waving was a Canadian goodbye.
37: That afternoon we shopped at the "mercato" and enjoyed a festa on our terrazza in the evening.
38: Images of Venice - the beautiful boats, flags, Rachelle in front of the Doge's Palace, and me - finding Jim's lost vaporetto ticket in my pocket!
39: Piazza San Marco, the palazzos, more boats...
40: And too soon it was time to leave Venice. Brian, Claire, Jim and I headed to the airport for our flight to Naples - only an hour by plane. From there we took the ferry across to the island of Capri - our last destination. | What an amazing view from our room at Il Portico. Wow!
41: The entrance and terrace at Il Portico, and the terrace at Claire and Brian's B&B. Tony picked figs off his tree for us - delicious!
42: The background for this page is actually a photo of the water in the Blue Grotto - aptly named. It was our first stop on our 2 hour tour around the island. Alessio, our guide, fished while he explained to us the history and important features of Capri.
43: And then there was the Green Grotto, on the other side of Capri. We got to swim through it, while Alessio took the boat around to the other side to meet us. (I got a helping hand from Jim.)
44: The road to Anacapri was a thrill ride in itself - narrow road along the edge of a cliff, sheer drop - and we lived to tell about it.
45: And then we hiked, and hiked and hiked for the next two days. Had fun, sweated lots, and ended the walks with good food and good wine...
47: The Arco Naturale, Faraglioni and more steps...
48: An ancient dwelling underground and two thousand year-old Villa Jovis, former home of Tiberius.
50: A last few photographs, then it's finally time to head home. Goodbye Antonio and Alessandra, goodbye Il Portico, goodbye Capri. Arrivederci, Italia. It's been a wonderful trip...