Thursday, June 27, 2013


We arrived in Rome on Friday afternoon.  It was hot and sticky as usual but we were taking a cab to the hotel.  The cab drivers in Rome are worse than NYC. It was 4 potential accidents for the few miles we traveled.  Do they have lanes here or is it a free for all?

We checked into the St. Regis and were shown to our room with an "external" view.  That meant you could see across the street to the next building.  The room is the smallest of all the places we've been but it does have bathrobes and slippers and a great shower in a small bathroom.

Once we got settled we decided to go explore.  We walked outside and then realized we had no idea how we would ever find our way back so I went back inside and got a map.  We started a walk the concierge recommended but we knew we were going to have to stop to eat.  All we had so far today was a leftover beer from the night before and some weight watcher snacks that we still had from home while we were packing.  We walked as far as Piazza de Spagna and the Spanish Steps.
 Looking down the steps.
Went down the steps and then started our way back to catch a happy hour that served drink and buffet for €8 but in order to give us enough energy to get there, we had to have a gelato.
Then it was time for Happy Hour, which became dinner.

Lots of piazzas

Great entertainment at the market.

The Pantheon
 Trevi Fountain
A neigborhood church
 The Colosseum

Taken from Palantine Hill
The Roman Forum

Crowds line up for tickets to the Vatican Museum.  Fortunately we bought ours online.
We went to the Vatican Museum, St Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel

The Pietà by Michelangelo
Fresh water is available from fountains all over the city
 We went to the Jewish Ghetto

Piazza Venezia (next 2 pictures)

We found the fanciest McDonald's on Piazza de Spagna, the same one Mark Zuckerberg and his new wife had lunch at on their honeymoon.  It was the McCafe that we liked for breakfast and we found another one, not as fancy but with a McCafe near the Vatican Museum.
You never could tell what interesting things you would come upon as you walked around.  Those guys in the orange could stay in that position longer than we could stay looking at them.  What if they had to sneeze?

Our trip came to an end on June 26th.  I watched 4 movies on the way home:  Quartet, Parental Guidance - my favorite because it was so funny and I was laughing out loud on the plane, Side Effects and I Don't Know How She Does It.  When we reached JFK we were told that our flight to Rochester was cancelled and we had to wait until the next day to fly home out of LaGuardia.  So much for the most perfect trip, but that was the only problem we had.

Friday, June 21, 2013


After leaving Venice, we took a 2 hour train ride to Florence.  From the train station we walked to our hotel, once again thinking it would be easy following our map, and once again we got lost almost immediately but it turns out that the route we took gave us wider roads to walk on than the more direct way.
Our hotel
The view to the left from our hotel room. 
Inside a typical church
Loved the buildings and narrow streets
The Gelato was YUMMY!!!
The Duomo was my favorite building, the coloring
below is because of the way the sunlight was hitting it

This picture was taken by my new friend Bev from her hotel room
and I took it from her Facebook posting.  Hope you don't mind, Bev
We met Bev and Grahame for breakfast their last morning in Florence

 We found a Gyro restaurant for a takeout meal with a local beer
 How to make the most of garage space

We went to the Central Market.  Now we know where everyone shops here.  It's only open until 2 PM.  It's an indoor market that sells everything to eat - fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, poultry, fish, alcohol, bread, nuts, dried fruits . . .

We couldn't resist any longer and bought a bottle of limoncello
here and put it in our suitcase without and problem.

 The food court

Outside is the San Lorenzo Market which goes around the church of San Lorenzo and is like the
Grand Bazaar but mainly selling leather, scarves, pashminas and some jewelry.  Lots of leather.
We had a delicious dinner at a restaurant down the street from our hotel, Ristorante Il Profeta.  There are so many restaurants every where you go, with employees courting you to eat there as you walk down the street.  Larry chose this one before we even saw the excellent reviews on Trip Advisor.
 Pitti Palace
The gelato displays were the most attractive in Florence
A gelato a day keeps the ??? away
An outdoor bar
Bikes and motorbikes were a main source of transportation as well as small cars
This is where the original statue of David resided from 1504 until 1873 when it was moved to the Accademia Gallery.  It was replaced by a replica in the same location in front of the Palazzo Vecchio (the Town Hall of Florence). No photos allowed in the Accademia.

This is a view from the Uffizi Gallery Museum that houses lots of famous Renaissance art (no pictures allowed in there either) of the Ponte Vecchio. The Vecchio Bridge is the oldest and most famous bridge in Florence over the Arno River.

Does anyone know who she is?  She might be someone famous. When we were on the Ponte Veccio she was strutting her stuff and there were photographers.  Larry was impressed by her so I took a pic.
We're on our way to the train station and not walking!!
 Waiting for the train to Roma