Thursday, January 10, 2013

Still in Iowa, but getting ready!

We have now finished booking our trip to Italy and France.  We will travel to several cities and locations in those countries and now that we have the hotels, apartments, and travel arrangements solidified we can begin planning the sites that we will see in each place.  So excited.

A quick introduction to our trip.  We will fly to Rome and stay 5 days.  We were there on our last trip but only stayed 2 nights and found that the city has so much more that we wanted to see.  Also, it was so hot when we were there in September 2011, we are hoping that that the end of February will be more to our liking.  Today, Rome is 54 degrees F, so we hope it will be in the 60's or 70's when we are there.  Anyway, ancient sites and beautiful art is our plan for Rome.

After exploring Rome, we will train to Florence, another place that we visited and did not have enough time.  However, I have heard it said that no one ever has enough time in Florence.  We have an apartment booked there in the old city, and are looking forward to exploring this birthplace of the Renaissance. We will stay there 7 days hopefully eating locally from the market, and living like a temporary Italian. And...if time and $ permit, possibly a Chianti vineyard.

Our last Italian stop is 2 nights and 3 days in Milan.  Milan is the home of daVinci's The Last Supper, La Scala opera house, and it is the shopping mecca of Italy.  We have a hotel in the middle of town, with easy access to their metro.   From there we will travel to Lyon,  France, which is the 2nd largest city in France!  This is a "extra city" for this trip, but it is a transportation hub between Italy and France, and we decided to take a couple of days to explore, since we are not going to Paris this time.

The second half of our trip will be spent in the South of France.  We just loved Provence the last time we were there, so we decided an extended stay would be the way to explore this wonderful area.  We have an apartment in the southern city of Avignon, which was the 13th century home to the Vatican for 7 popes.  It is a very ancient area also;  the Romans were active here during the height of their power, so there are many ancient Roman ruins in the area.  Plus, probably the best food and wine in France is grown and produced here.  Sounds like a perfect place for us!  We will have a rental car for part of this leg of our trip, and are looking forward to just exploring the little towns and vineyards.

Well, that's about it for the plans.  We expect to fly out from Amsterdam at the end of our trip, after a visit to our dear friend, Kristine.  The plans for that will have to wait for another post.  I just have to pinch myself when I think that we will be doing this, and look forward to sharing the highlights through the blog with you.  I am busy learning a few phrases in Italian and brushing up on my  poor French. EEEK!  More later.  Jean

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