Beauty. History. Wine. Laughter. More laughter. Pasta. Old friends. New friends. Sunsets. Olives. Breezes. More wine. More laughter. And lots and lots of walking.
Where to even begin?
So many good memories made over the last two weeks.
Here's some of my favorites:
Riding bikes on top of the wall around the city of Lucca.
Visiting the Leaning Tower in Pisa.
I want to remember the people. A seriously wonderful group of people – about 40 total (including three husbands + Jim and Paolo). Some I traveled with to Greece last year and others who are new friends that now have a very special place in my heart. And of course it’s always awesome to spend time with Paolo. We’ve been friends since high school (going on 22 years now) and he is a really great travel companion.
Walking through the narrow streets of San Gimignano.
Lots of looking up.
And lots of looking out.
And seeing things through doorways and arches.
We visited two different wineries. Both were excellent in terms of food and wine and hospitality.
I want to remember the laughter. There was so much laughing on this trip. I don’t think there was a single bus ride without a bunch of people laughing at various times. It was a combination of Jim’s entertaining skills and the silliness that ensued within the group as the trip progressed.
Riding up the hill to Montecatini Alto on a funicular.
Always lots of talk about taking photos and lots of photo-taking action.
We spent one day in Sienna.
I could eat pizza everyday - I think I just about did. I'm also a really big caprese salad fan.
It was less crowded than the last time I was there. That piazza is amazing anytime.
We spent a lot of time on the bus. Good times. A majority of the laughter seemed to occur on this bus. I love these people.
Riding the funicular with the Stahl sisters.
At the second winery we had a cooking demonstration and got to learn how to make pasta.
I want to remember the simplicity of making handmade pasta. We learned such a simple process using flour and an egg. I’m excited to try it out at home.
One day was spent at one of my favorite places the Cinque Terre. We visited Manarola, Vernazza, and Monterosso.
This was one of my most favorite spots when we visited as a family last summer. It came at the end of our trip and it was so awesome to arrive there and just hang out on the beach.
This time I loved that I was able to see two other towns. Each one is so unique.
Our last day in Tuscany was spent in Florence.
I loved the contrast between the two churches above - the ornate and the simple.
I took about 90 Instax shots on this trip. Love them. Super fun to have others on the trip bring theirs along too. Lots of chatting about this fun image maker.
And then we headed off to Rome.
The Colosseum and part of the Forum in the background.
St. Paul's Outside The Walls - one of my favorite churches.
The weather was just right the whole time we were there. Very mild. Loved seeing evidence of fall.
More Instax play.
And then there was the cappuccino. Yum. To be honest I never really knew that I liked it.
I definitely know now!
Saw this advertisement in the airport in Rome and loved the design.
All in all a really fantastic trip with wonderful people who I miss after spending two weeks together. Big thanks to Jim West for being himself and for inviting me to come along.
Looking for an international adventure with other people who love memory keeping? Next fall (late September) I'll be traveling with Scrapmap and Karen Russell to Ireland for a photo and scrapbooking tour. More details to come soon.