Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Festival

Not long after our arrival here (nearly one year ago, now!), we were told about a pumpkin festival that was a MUST to visit.  So, for nearly 11 months we've been anticipating this festival in Venzone, a town only about 30-45 miles away (but 1 to 1 1/2 hours driving time away!)

We arrived later in the afternoon than we had hoped due to a Saturday afternoon play rehearsal (blog to follow of the Alice in Wonderland production)--the horrors, right?  Therefore, my pictures leave something to be desired.  However, here's a little of what we saw.

A walled city, with a bell tower beckoning us from our parking spot (we parked about 1/2 mile away).

Pumpkin everything!  Pumpkin crepes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin wine, pumpkin doughnuts, pumpkin gnocchi, pumpkin frico, pumpkin soup, pumpkin frittata...

Costumed people, flame throwers, torture machines, sword/shield and flower crown vendors, fortune tellers and games that we have on our iphone!
Skilled carvers, making amazing things from pumpkins and gourds, and taking pumpkin carving to a whole nother level!

An enormous cat that strangely resembles Mary Beth!

It was a fantastic evening in Northern Italy.
We'll be back next year, I'm sure!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Before her birthday month is over, here is our amazing 12 year old daughter (and I'm not just saying that because she's one of the blog's faithful followers)

Who's old enough to decorate her own birthday cake, but still young enough not to be able to wait until after breakfast to open her birthday gifts...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Roma, dodici (dough-deech-ee)

Our time in Rome came to an end, and we found ourselves at our last stop...the train station.

We enjoyed the train ride--especially Ted who didn't have to stress about driving home after spending the morning and part of the early afternoon sightseeing.

Day 3, Stop12, Check.  Another Successful Trip!  We definitely consider ourselves lucky to get to do all of this traveling.  Livin' the Dream.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Roma, undici (ewn-deech-ee)

It's Monday morning, our last day in Rome.  We depart from our apartment with all of our luggage and find the bus stop which will take us to our final destination in Rome--Vatican City.

Upon our arrival, we found a nearby USO office where we can leave our luggage for the day.  This was awesome--thanks USO Roma!  Afterwards, we walked to Vatican Square to look around.  Some-or at least one-of us are grumpy, but we manage to take some pictures.

Then we headed off to the Museum, which includes the Sistine Chapel.  On the advice from some friends, we purchased our tickets to the Museum in advance.  HUGE payoff!  We walked past a line that seemed to go for-ever, and right into the museum doors.  The place was packed with people, and it was a bit of a cattle herding through the various galleries.  The amount of art was overwhelming. We would have loved to stop and actually appreciate some of what we were seeing, but our time today was limited, so we kept our eyes focused on signs leading to the Capella Sistina and followed them.  No pictures were "allowed" (although many people were snapping away), so I have no photos from it, but suffice it to say that it was pretty impressive in person, and the pictures wouldn't do it justice anyway.

After that, we found some lunch and went back to see St. Peter's.  This is one big Basilica!

 Michelangelo's Pieta

And the brightly colored guards

In reflecting on our visit, all the kids mentioned seeing a lot of Popes' tombs while there.  Not what first came to my mind, but fairly accurate, I suppose.

Before heading back to the train station we hung out in the square a while, people watching and pigeon chasing.

Day 3, Stop 11, Check!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Roma, diece (dee-etch-ay)

At the end of our second day we made our way back from the Colosseum to our apartment.  Here are some of the sites along the way.

Spray Painter extraordinaire:

We watched another one of these guys the day before, and we found the technique fascinating.

Here's a pretty bell tower with the sun starting to set.

We found ourselves on a quest to find this statue of Lupa with Romulus and Remus.  The legend says that Romulus and Remus were twin sons of Mars, abandoned in the woods.  The she-wolf Lupa, having just lost pups of her own, nursed them for several years.  Eventually the two would grow up, and Romulus, after defeating Remus in battle, established Rome and named the city after himself.

Near this statue is Campidoglio Square on Capitoline Hill.  This square was designed by Michelangelo.  On one side is the Mayor's office/residence.

Riley and Ted learned all about the square on the Walki-Talki app for the iphone.

What we enjoyed most on this square were the statues (there was one on each side of the steps) of men with their horses.  After feeling as though we had already met our quota of naked statues and artwork, there were these guys.

They were wearing capes I suppose.  Don't know if that makes this picture better or worse.  Who rides a horse wearing nothing but a cape?

And across the Tiber we returned after a wonderful second day in Rome.

Day 2, Stop 10, Check

Friday, October 21, 2011

Roma, otto and nove

Here we are on day 2...LUNCH!  We happened in to a small restaurant that catered to the Americans with jazz legends and sports paraphernalia.  It is called La Base--cute.

this picture is for my aunt and uncle in OK who are HUGE Rangers fans.  Sorry to our Cards fans in MO
Riley felt this was the best place to eat since we found her name in neon on the wall.

From there we proceeded to a couple of churches on our list to see in Rome.  We found Santa Maria Maggiore first.

In this basilica are pieces of wood believed by some to be pieces from Jesus' manger.

Next we headed to San Pietro in Vincoli (St. Peter in Chains).  This church has the chains from Peter's captivity in both Jerusalem and Rome.  Legend says that when the two sets of chains were brought together, they became one chain.  Also in this church is the famous sculpture of Moses by Michelangelo.

Day 2, Stops 8 and 9, Check

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Roma, sette (set-tay)

After our time at the Colosseum we went to Palatine Hill and explored the ruins there.

We saw lots of broken columns, which the kids had fun using as seats.

We saw a whole host of other ruins, too.  This area had been burned at the time of Nero and he built a lavish palace here.

The Arch of Titus was built in 82 A.D. to commemorate a siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and is along the Via Sacra leading into the Forum.

By the time we got to the area of the Forum, with Saturn's Temple among other things, we were all hungry and tired (especially me, and there are a few of you who know what happens when I get hungry and tired), so, we cut our walk through Ancient Rome short--what's another broken piece of marble, really?  Here's what we saw from a distance.

Day 2, Stop 7, Check
Note Cory's enthusiasm