Thursday, August 9, 2007

More London

Simply everyone must visit Harrods department store, or so they tell us. We went there for lunch and found an ice cream store - Yummm. However, when we got the bill...well, let's say that we have never paid over $20.00 for an ice cream sundae before today! We also heard that a baby elephant was sold from Harrod's pet store. Harrods is indeed quite the place.

We learned how to utilize the London Tube system and got all over London to see the sites. Westminster Abbey, Picadilly Circus, Portabello Road, Soho, Chinatown, Dickens Markeplace, were among the places we enjoyed. We even found the Methodist Central Hall and spent quite some time there - as boring as this sounds, we really enjoyed being back amongst Methodists! We went to a London Broadway musical - "Mary Poppins" that was delightful. Another place that we thoroughly loved was the London National Art Gallery and Museum - there were paintings from Degas, Raphael, Titian, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Goya, Monet, and DaVinci --very impressive! When we tried to get to the Albert and Victoria Museum we had a rainstorm and the underground tube system was completely flooded and consequently closed! So, we ran through the drenching rain to see this museum that is dedicated to research. There were students from all over the world studying archeology, fashion, pottery, jewels....etc... Everywhere we went someone was sketching, writing, or researching something - except us. We just enjoyed it all.

It's cold!

Woah....we come from Italy where it is 100 degrees in the shade to England where it is raining and 68 degrees. Both of us went out and purchased coats and umbrellas, just to stay warm and dry! London is a fascinating city with alot of history - both in the church as well as the state. We began our tour of London with a cruise down the Thames River. We saw the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Parliament, Shakespear's Globe Theatre, St Paul's Cathedral, The London Eye, Victoria Tower, and of course London Bridge, as well as many other interesting sites.

Trevi Fountain

The legend says that if you throw a coin in the Trevi fountain that one day you may return.... it was quite fascinating to see who wanted to come back and who did not! All three of our children wish to return..... Steve? Well....he couldn't help himself... if there is water.....he dunks his head!

Sorrento and Isle of Capri

Sorrento is in the southern portion of Italy where it is very hot, yet absolutely beautiful. The high rocky cliffs, the sunshine, the blue water, and narrow streets make this spot a real tourist spot. We have quite a few favorite memories of this place. Jason got very motion sick traveling in the bus around the narrow, crooked mountain roads. Stephanie was enthralled that Homer wrote "The Odyssey", so she brought the book and read the part where Homer wrote about the sirens singing their songs that drew the sailors to their watery grave. (Sorrento means the place of the sirens). Steve and Jayna "ditched" the kids in the shopping areas and found a wonderful tranquil spot - see the picture to your much better than shopping if you ask me! Daniel and Stephanie rented a Vespa motor bike and tried their hand at biking through the narrow, crowded, bus-filled streets. We each got a turn on these bikes and Steve and I decided that our kids are much more adventurous than we are. Cokes usually cost around $5.00 per 12-ounce can and we found coke for $1 for a whole 2 litre bottle.....

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Mt Vesuvius errupted in 79 B.C. and destroyed 3-4 cities in the Naples area. Pompeii was one of the cities that was preserved in the ash and mud from the volcano. This city showed how these ancient people lived. There were paintings on the walls, beautiful gardens, roman bath houses, swimming pools, fountains, many places of pagan worship and an incredible road system. As the archeologists discovered this city, they found humans perfectly preserved under the mud and ash. It was very heart-wrenching to see the expression on their faces as the ash, molten rock and mud fell upon them and their city. We spent 3-4 hours wandering this huge city ruin truly amazed at the advanced civilization of 2000 years ago.

Monday, August 6, 2007


The city of Assisi is a perfect example of an early medieval walled city. What was most enjoyable in this city was our lodging for the night. We stayed in a franciscan monastery - which was the home of St Frances of Assisi in the 1200's. The rooms were sparse, small and not air conditioned. Each room had a window that could be opened (without screens). The pigeons were noisy and of course you didn't want to open your window too far, or you might be sleeping with the dirty birds!
Everyone purchased olive oil here as Italian olive oil is made in Assisi. The narrow cobblestone streets, medieval flags, flower window boxes and ancient buildings made this place a memory that will stick with us forever.

That's Amore'

Venice...what more can I say than..... romance. And yes, our waltzing lessons paid off, Steve did try to waltz with Jayna. That, however, was not very was rather pathetic....but he tried! As we took a private water taxi into Venice I do believe that everyone was taken with the history, the beauty, and the Italian romantic ambiance. Our dinner was served in a lovely restaurant complete with entertainment, singing, and the wine flowed....well, except at our family's table. There isn't one of us that likes wine, so the waiters made fun of us and brought out American wine, called "coca-cola". After dinner St Marco's Square was lined with 3-4 orchestras and street artists displaying their paintings. It was a perfect evening. The next morning we got up and spent the entire morning touring Venice - seeing Doges palace, the dungeons and the Bridge of Sighs. After lunch --- shopping and walking the city streets - or should I say canals. The canals were incredible.


As Kendra was driving us to the airport Kinsen wanted to know why she couldn't go along with us to Italy. Grandma was trying to discourage her, so she told Kinsen that we were going to see alot of grownup churches. In fact one of the churches we were going to see looked just like a wedding cake caught in a rainstorm. Well, Kinsen said she would like to see this church, whereas grandma said, oh....but Kinsen there are little mean squirrels all over this building that look very scary - As we entered Milan, Kendra said "I can't wait to see this church that looks like a wedding cake caught in a rainstorm covered in mean little squirrels". As soon as Kendra saw it, she said.... "I can't believe looks just like you said".

Lake Maggiore

After running all over Italy trying to see all the famous paintings, sculptures, etc.... the little city of Stresa was a welcome change. We stayed in a 5 star hotel, complete with swimming pool, game room, and very, very lovely rooms and gardens. All of our rooms were side by side facing the beautiful Lake Maggiore. We soon learned that walking on the windowsills to each other's rooms was much more fun than knocking on doors! The gardens at the Isola Bella had a white peacocks - take a look at these pictures.