Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cinque Terre and more

We traveled onward with "Super Mario" toward his beloved Italia. It was amazing to go from the mountains of the Alps to the shores of the Mediterranean all in about 4 hours time. We abandoned our parkas and ski hats for swimsuits and beach towels.
Brooke M and Hailey enjoy a cool drink and some time on the beaches.
Emily and Ingrid
Leslie and Katie
Lucas, Oak and Caleb on their way to the water.
Two beautiful ladies, inside and out! Lisa and Lauren S. look very picturesque in front of the gorgeous Cinque Terre background.
Me and my boys!

The Helsels looking pretty relaxed right about now.
We traveled to 3 of the 5 villages in the Cinque terre - each seemed more beautiful than the next. What a treat!
Ashley and Emily

Kelsey, Hailey and Brooke M - waiting for the train to the next little village.
And some point, my camera battery died, which is probably okay since I am clearly out of control with pictures. It was just so beautiful - I couldn't help myself!
Great happy day! Jordan and Kyle look very happy and relaxed. As much as we all could stay here for the remainder of the trip - we know we must say good-bye to the beautiful Northern coast of Italy and head to our next amazing stop - Florence!
Florence - the artist's capital of the world!
Ponte Vecchio - No visit to Florence is complete without a picturesque stop of the famous stone arched bridge laced with shops on top.

I just love this picture of Kelsey C. with her mom, Eileen. So glad they did this trip together!
Caleb, Peter, and Isaac - chilling on the bridge.
These are my people! Oh how I love them!!!

The Basilica of Santa Croce - one of the principle churches in Florence - of the Franciscan order. The colors are spectacular. Buried here are Machiavelli, Galileo, Michaelangelo and there is a memorial to Dante.
 Listening as our guide gave us the history of Florence.
The Gates of Paradise
We learned about leather making from the masters - 500 years worth of experience. Kelsey takes a turn at the technique.
All of these activities made us hungry!
We are a big group!
The 5 friends!
 Santa Marie del Fiore - primarily just referred to as the Duomo.
A group of us climbed the dome during our free time. Best money spent in Florence for me! (That, and my leather bound journal with my initials!)
Tonya and I made it to the top! Such a view!
Lisa snaps a few photos.

Roben and I get our photo taken.

We make our way down and find the Aumies! We convinced them to make the climb and we decide we need to refuel as well!

Gelato break - again!

Our very thoughtful guide arranged a wine tasting for our group that was highly informative and educational, and one of the highlights for all of us. He did this primarily for the adults in our group. What a guy!
Pizza is plentiful in the shops and cafe's in Florence. Good stuff! Some of us decide to take Mario up on a side trip to San Gimignano - a beautiful medieval city.
San Gimignano is a Unesco World Heritage site - and it was easy to see why - even at night. Such a beautiful old city. Those of us that explored before the sun went down were able to see some magical little places in this city forgotten by time. We say good bye to Florence and head on to Assisi, Rome, Sorrento and Capri. More to come!

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