Umbria and Toscana

The day after our sad event (robbery) in Camaiore, we drove to the Florence airport to pick-up our dear friends Christian and Marie-Françoise from their flight down from Paris.  We’ve been lucky to see them four different times during our year travels – twice at their home in Paris, once for a week together in Croatia and our final week in Umbria and Tuscany.  We felt very blessed that they were coming immediately after our sour experience because they were able to help us through the first few days.  If they had not been with us, we might have just sat in our house (with all the doors and windows locked) and stared at the floor.  Instead, as expected, Christian came down with his guide book open and ready to lead us through arguably the most beautiful area of Italy.  He is an expert at knowing the best places to eat and he did not disappoint us.  After attending church in Florence near the airport, we drove to a hotel in Montefalco (about 45 minutes south of Perugia).  After resting up a bit, we went out for dinner in Montefalco, which is one of about one million beautiful hilltop cities in the region.  It was a beautiful, clear evening at just the right temperature.  Thanks to the guide book, we found an amazingly delicious restaurant in a quiet alley that specialized in meat.  We all had a healthy dose of red meat which was very tasty, had many laughs together and started to put the unpleasant events of the previous day a little bit (just a little bit) behind us. [click to continue…]

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Pisa, Lucca and Cinque Terre

From Rome, we flew to Pisa.  We went immediately to the Piazza del Duomo to see the famous leaning tower.  Perhaps because it was under construction the last time we were in Pisa, but I was more impressed with the Piazza this time than in the past.  They’ve really done a nice job at presenting the Cathedral, the Baptistry and the Tower and I loved the green grass and well-kept area it was in.  We, of course, took the obligatory photos of us holding up the tower with our hands. [click to continue…]

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Like many before us (including us in previous years) our road led us to Rome next.  We stayed in a nice apartment in the Trastevere neighborhood (not far from the Tevere river, which turned out to be a great location – a few tram stops from Piazza Venezia).  We introduced Sydney to all the famous sites in Rome, including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountains (under complete restoration), Piazza Navona, the Spanish steps, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum (Sistine chapel).  We toyed with the idea of renting bikes to get around, but chickened out in the end, which was probably wise since we had an easy enough time walking and taking the buses or trams [click to continue…]

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Italy – Bellagio and Milan

Italy has been one of our favorite get-away destinations over the years.  When we lived in the Netherlands for eight years, we made sure to make it down to Italy at least once per year (and sometimes more).  We purposely skipped Italy at the beginning of our trip when we went through Europe so we could save it for last – sort of a reward for a long year of travel. [click to continue…]


Robbed in Italy

The fun of our Travel Year has sort of ended.

We arrived in Italy nearly two weeks ago (in fact, I was nearly done with the first Italian post for the website), and we were having a great time until 5:00 pm this evening.

We arrived back at our Italian house ( which is high, high, high on the top of a steep hill, with a gated driveway) to discover we had been robbed!  3 computers, 1 iPhone, 2 Go Pros, 2 binoculars, some small items, Cole’s Father’s Day gift he just got yesterday (an Italian bike shirt and gloves), and worst of all–our hard drives and disc with ALL of our photos from our year of travel.

We are sad, mad, depressed, and lots of other emotions right now.


Picture of Family
We are a family of four, Valerie, Cole, Natalie (13) and Tanner (13) who are taking a year off to travel the world between June 2013 and June 2014.


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