A Venice birthday for Julie

The 9th of January was Julie’s birthday, and so we had a morning tea of delicious pastries in Florence before taking the train to our next Italian destination – the beautiful city of Venice.       We stayed in Mestre, outside the city, so our first view of Venice’s canals was coming in that…

Firenze

On our first full day in Florence (known in Italy as Firenze) we went to the Uffizi gallery.  This famous gallery has hundreds of masterpieces – here we learned that some of our group had a lower tolerance for art than others!  You weren’t allowed to take pictures here…check out here, here and here for…

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

We took a train from Rome to Florence and then after unpacking jumped onto a local train bound for Pisa. Pisa is an easy hour’s train ride from Florence and a good afternoon trip. I had always thought that the “Leaning Tower of Pisa” was a freestanding tower on its own – imagine my surprise…

The ruins of Pompeii

On our fourth day in Rome we took an early morning train south to Naples.  From there we took a local train and found ourselves at the ancient destroyed city of Pompeii, in the shadow of Mt Vesuvius. We spent hours walking around here.           One thing I really appreciated was…

In the Vatican and under Rome

On our third day in Rome we headed to the Vatican City, a tiny independent city inside Rome known for being the Pope’s main hang-out.  We had pre-booked a tour and we knew to expect crowds, but the mob scene through the Vatican museums and the Sistine chapel were still beyond what we had imagined!…

Reunited in Rome

Arriving at our apartment in Rome we were reunited with our mothers Julie (Karen) and Lynette (Reubs) nearly ten months after leaving New Zealand.  We were very excited to see them (and we think they were excited too, despite being pretty fatigued after nearly 40 hours of travel!)  Lynette had never been to Europe, and…