one of the Cinque Terre villages called Manarola

Le Spezia, a larger town on the coast

a 4th century walled town called Portevenere near the
Cinque Terre towns on the Italian Riviera.

Ahhh, the Joys of a Vacation

The last two days we have spent in Cinque Terre (means 5 lands). These are 5 little towns on the Western most edge of Italy in the Italian Riviera that are now preserved by UNESCO (don't ask me what this stands for, but it sounds important) as a national preserve/park.

We've walked the trails between the five little towns some and taken a boat between all of them as well. What fabulous views. We have also sat in lounge chairs on the beach (you have to pay to use the beach) and soaked up the sun and swam in the beautifully warm water. We feel very refreshed. The last two days have been around 80 or more degrees out we figure. The climate is quite tropical here, there are cactus, geckos, and palm trees here.

Today, we took the boat to the furthermost town of Riomaggiore and forgot to get off (we have a little trouble translating the Italian messages that come across the loud speaker) and ended up being carted off to another town way farther south called Porte Venere. Turns out Porte Venere is quite cool actually. It has a very old fort structure with a castle and churches that miraculously hug the rugged rocks along the water. They date back to the 4th century. We were able to catch another boat and head back where we belonged, and you'll be happy to know that we did not get lost. We spent the rest of the afternoon soaking up even more sun (if that's even possible) on the beach again, for another 7 Euro for the lounge chair.

Tomorrow we leave bright and early, 9:00 a.m., for Florence. We hope to stop by the Carrera marble quarry on our way.

It doesn't get any better than this!!!


P.S., I'm actually turning brown - very unusual situation for me; though I am being careful about my face, and using lots of sunscreen, but it doesn't seen to make any difference, sigh... :)


Verona, Italy

I forgot to mention something in my last post - there is no pepper on the tables either; ever.

Tonight is our last of two nights in Verona. Last night in the wee hours, there was the most amazing thunderstorm. The lightning was flashing nearly non-stop and the thunder rolled on incessantly for probably a half hour or more. There is nothing like that in Seattle. The rain was so hard I thought we would float away. By morning it was a light drizzle that didn't even warrant an umbrella. By lunch it was sunny and warm again. I think it might rain again tonight though; the clouds have been gathering through the dinner hour.

Verona has an intact arena that began around 3 to 30 A.D. Operas and concerts are held there now even. I mean, right now there is a concert going on. The people-watching has been a hoot. The people promenade up and down the piazza, and the old gentlemen are wearing their suits and congregate and talk about really important stuff (judging by the hand waving).

Tomorrow we are off to Cinque Terre!



Some Things Are Just Plain...

I've been thinking; there are certain things are not right here. There are no washcloths, no blankets (just a comforter in Germany), really flat pillows, and no water served unless you pay for it. Oh, and the computer keyboards too.

I figured out (actually I probably figured it out before and just forgot) every time James and I go on a really exciting vacation, that James gets pretty weird when he is excited. On our way to Fussen on the "Romantic Road" bus he suggested some really insane things. Like, let's get the bus driver to go really fast, stick his head out the window, and see if his toupee does "the rooster." Or, do you think we can join "the castle club?" Apparently he believes this club is an off shoot of the famous "Mile High Club" he's been begging me to try for some time. I tell him he can't afford the dues. But I do like his idea of watching Hans toupee flipping. I'm embarrassed I didn't think of it myself.

So far all of our plans have gone well. We've caught the right buses, the right trains (except one cuz we had our watch set an hour off due to the time change), the reservations have all been in order too.

We had a blast in Venice. Every other hour James said "Oh, this is romantic!" Dinner was romantic, the vaparetto (water bus) was romantic, the alley ways were romantic, lunch was get the idea. He loved Venice, just as I did 3 years ago. He is already saying "when we come back, we have to do..."

We are off to Verona where they have some very old duomos and an arena that is in better shape than the coliseum in Rome. We hope to kinda chill a bit since we have been going at a pretty fast pace this whole time.

We love you all!



Having a Blast!

Well, the kids aren't rich yet (from our life insurance policies); we're still alive here, safe and sound. I am having trouble typing this though cuz the keyboard is not the same as at home. The y is where the z should be, and the @ symbol is hard to find, as is the semi colon, and slash which I still can't find. The return is also several keyz away from where it should be.

Well, we took a couple of funnz pictures of 3 action figures we named Ben, Mandy, and Ricky, and they have been having a blast too. We caught Ricky just in time. He was about to swing like Tarzan from the train luggage rack onto an unsuspecting commuter. Luckily James talked him down. Mandy has turned into a shop-a-holic.
We caught her today in amongst the miniature Christmas items. Right now, Rick and Ben are both trying their hand at German war games here in the internet cafe. I knew I would never hear the end of it if I didn't let them come. We'll post some pictures when we get a chance. I haven't been able to download any yet.

Todaz we walked the wall of Rothenburg. The only walled medieval city left, we hear. It's like stepping back in time. I've already taken almost 150 pictures!!! They're all so good. Everzthing is so beautiful.

It's been about 75 degrees or warmer each day. We love everyone and miss you. One really good thing is that we have averaged over 5 miles of walking each day, according to our pedometer. We're eating lots of really great food too!!! Ice cream, Schneeballers (big dough balls glazed with chocolate and nuts and, well....stuff). I don't think the Atkins diet would do very well here at all. Breakfast consists of bread, cheese, cereal, coffee, tea, and oh yeah, more bread.

Talk to za later (Oh that pesky kezboard!)

Kat and James



Well, tomorrow is the day we leave for our 5 week trip. To say we're excited is an understatement. Although, I've been planning for so long that I've found myself in somewhat of a stupor. I think it'll really hit me when I'm finally over the Atlantic.

My plan is to take a ton of pictures and lots of video footage. I'm going to love coming home and creating the video story of our trip.

Tonight, our tactic is to go to bed early, and then wake up early in the morning. We want to try to start our time change tonight. Hopefully we'll be able to sleep on the flight over (flight leaves at 6:50 p.m.) and arrive somewhat rested and able to stay awake until bedtime on Saturday.

So long. Farewell. We'll miss you all.