So, we left the tenth of June and got into Dublin, Ireland in the morning of the 11th. Since we had a long layover we rented a car, left the airport and drove out to the Bru na Boinne (sp?) area to visit Newgrange. When we went to Ireland in 2003 we missed it. It was nice to get out and about Ireland again. I have ben wanting to go back for awhile. Hopefully, I will get out there for longer than a few hours. Anyway, we drove to the visitor's center and then took the bus out to Newgrange for the tour. Different from Knowth, that you can actually walk into the passage tomb and then get to see what it would be like on the Solstice.
After a quick lunch and an attempt to find a castle the guy at Hertz suggested, we went back to the airport, relaxed in the Admiral's Club lounge, and then boarded our plane to Venice. Pretty uneventful flight until we started coming into land in Venice. It was cloudy, rainy and windy over the city, which looked amazing from the airplane, but made the landing a bit difficult. Lots of turbulence causing the pilot to pull up and circle before attempting again. Second time, landed just fine and the rain had stopped making it not so wet to walk to the terminal from the plane.
First stop on our tour across Italy was Venice. We had one full day there. St. Mark's Square was the highlight. We didn't ride on a gondola but we saw many of them. It was nice just being there. Seeing it all, taking it all in. We then took a train to Florence and had two nights here. We saw Michelangelo's David and Botticelli's Birth of Venus. We climbed up 460 steps to the top of the dome of the Duomo. Back on the train, this time to the Cinque Terra. 5 towns set up on hills overlooking the Mediterranean connected by a slow train and some very scenic walking trails. This had to be our favorite place of the whole trip. We loved Vernazza, the 4th town. It's harbor, it's main street, and it's restaurants were perfect. We were here for two full days. Very relaxed and nice to be on the coast. Sitting along the breakwater was a favorite in the evenings. A train again to Orvieto with a stop in Siena. I would have liked an extra day in Siena. Lot's of cute, skinny passageways I would have loved to explore. We picked up a rental in Orvieto and drove 20 kms out of town to the Agriturismo Fattoria di Vibio for a four night stay. Beautiful Umbrian contryside. Beautiful place to stay. Nice place to take a rest and eat yummy food and drive to hill towns from. Civita was my favorite. Check out the pics. See how high up we had to go. Rome was last on our tour. We took the train, smartly not driving. We took in the Colosseum and the Forum on our first day. That night we walked around and enjoyed some sights...Trevi Fountain, Parthenon. We then found a restaurant where we could watch the Italy-Spain match. Poor Italia. The next day, our last day, we went to the Vatican. Went to the museum and St. Peter's Basilica. That night we ate near the Spanish Steps. Early night for our early flight the next day.
We got into Heathrow at around 2pm. Got 3-day passes for the tube and figured out where we were going. Found our hotel in Kensington with the help of an London AtoZ book and rested before heading out to find food. Thai food and Guinness. It was a nice change. I was so tired, we didn;t do anything that night after eating but go back to the hotel, watch the EuroCup then sleep. Next day we took in The Tower and London Bridge. Saw David Borreanaz filming something. Yum. :) We went to the Tate Modern after eating some fish and chips and another Guinness. We walked along the Thames and rode the London Eye. Walked across Westminster Bridge to Parliament and Westminster Abby. We found a pub, had dinner, go on the tube and headed back to the room for the night. Long day, needed sleep. Feet were killing me from all the walking. Thursday we went to the British Museum. So much stuff to see. Rested at a pub with some more fish and chips and Guinness and some Wimbledon on the telly. We then went to Buckingham Palace for a look-see. London was great. If only it wasn't so expensive. The darn dollar. I would get a three pound coffee and know it was actually more like $6. Ouch.
This was such a wonderful trip. I thought I would get tired of the traveling after a week but I was never really homesick until the 10 hour flight home. At least our seats had individual tv's. I saw The Other Boleyn Girl, Penelope and The Spiderwick Chronicles plus a couple of tv shows. The hubby played Tetris the entire time.
Fun trip, but it is definitely good to be home. The kitty is happy we are home, too.
Sorry for the abbreviated version, but unless I did a post a day for each day I could never get it all in.
I have so many pictures that I am going to send you all to my Flickr page to see them. Enjoy!