Monday, July 10, 2006

Travel: Catalina Island

B and I did a day trip to Catalina Island using the Catalina Express Ferry from Long Beach. We decided to do a glass-bottom boat ride, followed by an interior tour of the island that allowed us to see the Wrigley ranch/El Rancho Escondido, Arabian horses, the bison, and the Airport in the Sky. We found out that the casino building is actually a movie theater, and not a gambling facility.
Above is a picture of Avalon's harbor. Below is me with the wind blowing my hair across my face (lol).

Friday, June 9, 2006

Travel: Tuscany Tour - Day 9: Rome, LA

Day 9: FCO >> MUC >> LAX. We packed up the next morning and flew back to Los Angeles, finally catching some sleep on the plane. It's a trip that we'll never forget.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Travel: Tuscany Tour - Day 8: Siena, Rome

Day 8: Siena >> Rome/Vatican City. We went directly to the Vatican to see the museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica. I bought my mom a few rosaries while at the Vatican gift shop. Afterward, we walked from the Vatican to the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. We met with the group at Piazza Navona for a farewell dinner.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Travel: Tuscany Tour - Day 7: Florence

Day 7: Our first stop was the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens. We met up with the group at the Galleria dell'Accademia to see the David, stopping for gelato on the way. We then went to the Uffizi. That night, we went to a bar in Siena where we watched C and R salsa dance.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Travel: Tuscany Tour - Day 6: Mugello, Florence

Day 6: In Mugello, we toured the 14th Century Cafaggiolo Castle. Afterward, we went to Florence for leather craft demo and a local-guided, walking tour of the city: Duomo, Basilica Santa Croce, Giotto's Bell Tower, the Baptistry, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria, and Piazzale Michelangelo. Later, we had a cooking demonstration followed by dinner.

Monday, June 5, 2006

Travel: Tuscany Tour - Day 5: Pisa, Volterra, Siena

Day 5: We took obligatory shots of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and hung out in Pisa's Cathedral Square looking at all the counterfeit goods being sold ;). We then went to Volterra where we watched an alabaster demonstration, looked at ruins, and went window shopping. We were supposed to visit a beach on the Mediterranean sea, but we got rained out. Instead, we went back to Siena and got to know our fellow travelers some more.

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Travel: Tuscany Tour - Day 4: Chianti Region, Siena

Day 4: We did a bike ride through the countryside on our way to Castelo Meleto where a light lunch and a wine tasting was prepared for us. Afterward, we had a sunset Tuscan hills dinner feast at Fattoria Pieve a Salti, overlooking rolling hills of vineyards, sunflowers, and cypress trees.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Travel: Tuscany Tour - Day 3: Orvieto, Bagnoregio, Siena

Day 3: Rome >> Orvieto >> Bagnoregio >> Siena (our base for the next 5 nights). To get to Orvieto, we rode a funicular from the road to the fortified, hilltop city (it's on a butte). There, we took a guided grotto tour followed by a lunch overlooking the countryside. Pictured above is me in front of some random bench in Orvieto. To get to the medieval town of Civita di Bagnoregio, one has to take a long, narrow bridge, since it, too, is situated above ground. Once in the town, we had a wine tasting and plenty of time to take photos (see below). In Siena, we had a tour of Piazza del Campo, Palazzo Pubblico, and the Cathedral. We stayed at Sangallo Park Hotel, in the heart of Tuscany, for the next 5 nights.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Travel: Tuscany Tour - Day 2: Rome

Day 2: We arrived in Rome in the afternoon. The driver who handled our transfer to our hotel must have been new because he had no idea where he was going. He must have stopped to ask directions at least 3 times, including when we were out in the boonies (farmland). After we finally got to our hotel (Domina Inn Roma Cassia), we found out we missed an included dinner where we were supposed to meet our fellow travelers. Fortunately, later that evening, there was a group walking tour of the city: Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and the Trevi Fountain.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Travel: Tuscany Tour - Day 1

B and I went on a 9-day vacation to Tuscany & Rome. The trip was entirely paid for (airfare, food, lodging, etc.) courtesy of B's brother (THANK YOU!!!). There, we would eventually meet C, D, L, as well at a bunch of other folks.

Day 1: LAX >> FRA >> FCO on Lufthansa. Encountered some awful turbulance. I gave the woman next to me some Dramamine because she was vomiting throughout the flight. It knocked her out. lol.
In other news, B decided to bring along his work phone :(. Below is a picture of B later in Florence... working.