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Trip Report: Best of Italy in 17 Days-September, 2018

I am leaving home in 13 hours to head to the airport. Here is what I am thinking about.
PACKING: I am taking a neon green Osprey Porter 46. It weighs 16 pounds packed. I am also taking a Tom Bihn medium cafe bag. The outside is black on black squares and the inside is neon green. It weighs 4.5 pounds including my pacsafe neck wallet.
I packed/wearing 3 pants, 5 tops, one base layer top, one pj bottoms, 2 pj tops, 4 uw, 4 smartwool socks, 2 bra, rain jacket grey, Seattle sombrero black, clothes line, hanger clips, a fold up nylon bag neon green (for bus bag), XL microfiber towel, toiletries.
My cafe bag has: lip balm, bag of chargers, ear buds, adapter, comb, brush, sunglasses, journal, pen, bag of personal items.
Pre-tour: I am spending one day in Milan prior to heading to Varenna. I am staying at Hotel Berna.
Post-tour: I am staying 2 extra nights in Rome, extending my stay at Hotel Aberdeen.
I have been preparing for this trip for a year. I studied many topics. My journal has an outline of sites/pieces I want to see with my own eyes. Some of my goals.
1. Photograph one bridge in each city/town.
2. See 3 Michelangelo's pietas. Milan, Florence, Vatican
3. See these sculptures: David, Donatello's David, Donatello's Mary Magdalene, the Prisoners, Bacchus, Fishing Boy, Daphne and Apollo (many more in the second tier)
4. See these paintings/frescoes: The Last Supper, School of Athens, Goldfinch Madonna, Madonna Di Ca'Pesaro, the Assumption-Titian, Duke and Duchess of Urbino, Birth of Venus, Doni Tondo, Judith Beheading Holofernes to name a few.
I will continue the report when I get back.
I know I will not be sleeping any tonight!!!

JAN 20, 2019 ADDITION
I have added a category report and some day to day to the thread. I have decided not to do a scrapbook due to time constraints, but here is a link to all of my photos. Best of Italy 2018 tour photos

Posted by
32 posts

I hope you have a wonderful time! This was our first RS tour in 2013 and it is still my favorite. The incredible art, scenery, food, architecture, and cultural experiences were amazing. Italy is my favorite European country, at least so far! Also, congratulations on your packing! We are headed to the airport tomorrow for the RS Greece tour and I’m afraid I’m overweight, although still fit in a carryon (which I need to check on Emirates economy because it’s more than 15 pounds) and a small backpack stuffed to the gills, Haha!

Posted by
5747 posts

Wheee!!!

Wow! Your packing sounds awesome and you will thank yourself when you are on your way home.

You’ve done a fabulous job of prepping so you can see things that are important to you.

I can’t wait to read your Trip Report!

Travel safe, travel well!

Posted by
148 posts

WAIT! Before you go to sleep, I have one more painting to add to your list! Check out Botticelli's Annunciation. If it's still in the same place, when you go into the room with the Primavera and all the crowds in front, look to the right before going into the next crowded room. The Cestello Annunciation was there. It is (in my opinion even though no one asked) very worth seeing. I liked it because the angel looks like he's really sorry to have to tell this girl that her life is about to get really complicated, which seems like a more authentic response than just "hey, you're getting blessed and stuff". It's a lovely piece that you can see close up without the crowds.

Enjoy the trip, and don't forget to focus on each piece for a bit so you remember them. It gets overwhelming, but in a good way!

Posted by
1008 posts

Have a wonderful time. I went on this tour 2 years ago in October, like you, I flew to Milan 2 days early and stayed in the Hotel Berna. It’s very close to the Centrale station, a few blocks walk. Are you going to see the Last Supper? I went on a walk with the Walks of Italy that included a ticket to the Last Supper.
Who is your tour guide?

You will have so many things to write about, I’m excited for you! I leave in 3 weeks for the 13 Days Best of Turkey, yikes!

Again, bon voyage!

Posted by
479 posts

Thanks everyone! I managed a few hours of sleep. KC I will add the Annunciation to my list. I got up super early this morning to get a head start on jet lag. I will spend some time saying arrivederci to all of my pets and surfing the forum. For the first time, I hired a car service to take me to the airport, it is less stressful than roping friends/family into doing it!
Judy, I am going to Turkey next year, so I will want to hear about your trip.
Yosemite, I watched your videos of your Italy trip, they were great.
See you guys in a few weeks.

Posted by
8 posts

My husband and I are currently on this trip, day 14, having a fantastic time. It is a truly wonderful experience and we have the best tour group. I see life long friendships after our time together. So much to see and absorb and we've been super lucky and have had mostly sunny, warm weather. Heading to Rome tomorrow and back home to IL on Sunday night. Have a wonderful time!!

Posted by
479 posts

I am currently on the bus between Venice and Florence. So far, I have been able to do everything I planned. I am most looking forward to Florence. I will have a lot to tell you about. As always our guide (s) and group are fantastic!

Posted by
1008 posts

Did you have nice weather in Venice? We had 2 days of rain in Venice- the aqua Alta event. One day I will come back to Venice.
I loved this tour, I’m glad you’re enjoying it. So wonderful!

Posted by
5747 posts

Thanks for checking in! So happy you are having a wonderful time!

Posted by
479 posts

Hi guys! I am back from my trip and mostly rested and back into usual work/life schedule. I had 2 days off before going back to work.
This was about right. I admit I haven't gotten myself to do any laundry yet, but since I didn't take much and I am pretty sick of those clothes, I haven't had to! Overall, it was a nearly perfect trip. No interesting stories of mishaps. I saw all of the artwork I wanted to except one (School of Athens). I completed most of the activities I planned, but I let a few go in favor of dolce far niente. I will do a trip report by category at my own pace. Please feel free to ask any questions and I will answer in between. I will do some comparison to my first RSE tour which was Scandinavia.

ITINERARY: I think the itinerary was perfectly laid out. In addition to the overnight stops, the lunch stops were cleverly planned. There was a nice mix of urban and country, culture and vistas. I could have given up the Cinque Terre for more time in Florence, but I know that would not be a popular change. Starting in Varenna allows for a pre trip stay in Milan, and ending in Rome allows for tacking on more time at the end. (I did both) I have heard, FWIW, that Rick tried to get rid of the Vatican visit in the tour due to the poor behavior of the Vatican in organizing visits and that people had a collective fit. I would have too, however, knowing what I know now, I wish I had spent my day doing something else. Seeing the ceiling was not worth the stress of the process of getting into the museum. Other than wanting more time in Florence, I wouldn't change anything. I think it would be pretty obvious that for all the people that love love love Italy, each stop wouldn't be long enough. For me, it was enough. I would have loved it if the Scandinavia tour was extended to 17 days by adding a day to each capital.

HOTELS: 1. Hotel Berna--one night pre-tour in Milan. 2. Villa Cipressi/Varenna 3. Hotel Seelaus/Seiser Alm 4. Hotel Ala/Venice-- 5. Hotel California/Florence 6. Pasquale/Monterosso 7. Chiusarelli/Siena 8. Altaroca Wine Resort 9. Hotel Aberdeen
Hotels were all fine. My favorite was Pasquale. Generally family owned with great locations. One or two a bit rough due to old, historical buildings, some beautiful and modern.

More to follow.

Posted by
3949 posts

Happy to hear your trip went well.

At least 5 of the hotels are the same as our 2010 tour.

Posted by
5747 posts

Yea! I'm so happy for you to start your Trip Report!

I'm not big on croissant (since I am vegan) but I DID have them at Pasquale and they were fabulous. Along with Mama's lemon marmalade. Wow.

Looking forward to the rest of the story when you have time!

Posted by
849 posts

I hope you will do a scrapbook of your trip. I would love to revisit the places we visited thru your pictures.

Posted by
570 posts

Can't wait for your trip report. This tour is on my bucket list.

Thanks

Posted by
479 posts

Sorry for delay. I have been falling fast asleep fairly early in the evening with no time for coming here.
Final word on hotels. I would stay in any of the hotels again. Pasquale and Altarocca Wine Resort were beautiful, modern hotels. The rest were clean, very well located hotels in very old buildings with varied amounts of remodeling.

GROUP: As usual, a great group of 27 tour mates. Age range 36-71 (I am estimating). Eleven couples, 4 female solos, one father/son. Canada, California, Washington, Colorado, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Iowa and Ohio. I don't know everyone's occupation but some are: nurse, teacher, mail carrier, surgeon, optometrist, social services. I shared at least one meal with everyone. Everyone was kind and interesting. I generally like to spend free time on my own, but I had many invitations to join others for meals and free time activities.

GUIDE: Main guide was Deborah Heyburn. Deborah was born in England but has spent 30 years traveling. She speaks English, Italian, German, and French. She told us that when she was 18 her mother had to force her out of the house, but she never looked back. She back packed through China, Viet Nam and other Asian countries. Basically, she is fearless. She has typical skills of a Rick Steves guide which include organization, planning, thinking on her feet, knowledge, ability to teach, and ability to herd cats. In addition to that she is extremely personable and I liked her a lot. During a tour of the Orvieto Cathedral she gave an extraordinary explanation of a group of frescoes by Luca Signorelli depicting the Antichrist, the Apocalypse, and the Last Judgement--fantastic.

LOCAL GUIDES: Elisabetta (Venice), Marcello (Ufizzi), Marco (Assisi), AnnaLisa (Siena), Benedetta (Siena), MariaLaura (Rome). All added local info and had passion for their locale.

ACTIVITY LEVEL: I averaged 5.5 miles per day. Most active day was 8.2 miles in Seiser Alm, Dolomites and least active day was 2.3 miles in Monterroso. I have a current knee injury (torn MCL likely, MRI pending) and did not participate in climbing all of the towers that I would have liked to. I did hike up to Castello di Vezio as my knee was feeling great that day. Unfortunately that caused my knee to not feel great the rest of the trip. There are a lot of steep grades and stairs to go up and down in Italy. I was able to manage all of this but opted not to do extra tower stairs. I elected to have a very low key day in Cinque Terre to rest my knee and the rest of me instead of visiting the other towns. I also took an afternoon off in Rome after visiting the Vatican to rest in my room. The afternoon after visiting Orvieto I relaxed in my luxurious room with a great view and had a nap.
Comparing this to my Scandinavian trip I see that I learned a few important lessons. I need a little bit of down time at least once a week to keep myself from getting exhausted. I did not do that in Scandinavia. It is also very difficult for me to stand in one place for a long time. I learned to keep moving during town or museum walks that were guided. The whisper boxes with earbuds allow you to hear the guide without being right next to them. So, either finding a surface to sit down for a minute or walking around the perimeter saved me some pain.

FOOD: I am not a foodie. I did not particularly seek out special food during this trip. The tour provides breakfast every morning. Italians typically eat something sweet with coffee for breakfast. The hotel breakfasts typically offered eggs, cold cuts, cheese, yogurt, cereal/grains, bread and sweets (tarts, sweet buns, cake). Completely adequate. Lunches varied and were typically on our own. Sandwiches or pizza, fresh fruit and gelato were the norm. There were quite a few set menu dinners. Some of these were delicious, one pushed my comfort zone (octopus and other seafood) and some were perfectly fine. There was no opportunity to go hungry. contd

Posted by
479 posts

FOOD: There were two optional dinners that I recommend participating in. They provided delicious food and an opportunity to interact with locals. Wine/apertifs/digestives were sometimes included in the meals. My tour mates appeared to enjoy the wine (not for me) and I enjoyed the aperol and lemoncello spritzes. Wine and drinks were available for purchase when not included.

PREP: I highly recommend a lot of pre-trip preparation. The guide is there to suggest free time activities but I find that knowing ahead of time what you would like to see is less stressful and increases efficiency. Reading about the things you are going to see and understanding their history also increases my enjoyment. It really helped my comfort level to learn about public transportation. I watched you tube videos of how to buy train and metro tickets and what Milano Centrale and Roma Termini looked like. I also studied the Rome 2 Rio website about the Rome bus system. I traveled all over Rome and I was even able to help other tourists get around.

PACKING: I described my packing above. I was extremely happy with my choices. My bag weighed 16 pounds at the beginning and about 20 pounds on the way home. I bought 2 silk scarves, a ring, a soccer jersey, some linen and chocolate to bring home.

BUS TIME: The most bus time was from Lake Como to the Dolomites and from the Dolomites to Venice. Both trips were broken up with delightful lunch stops. The bus was nearly new and comfortable. Deborah gave us a lot of information/lectures during this time. I did not find the time to be excessive or troublesome.

Above is the bones of my report. In summary, I enjoyed the tour and feel it was very well done. I had no disappointments or complaints. I will go on another RSE tour to Turkey next year. To follow will be more in detail descriptions of the day to day activities.

Posted by
479 posts

I wanted to add a quick comment about crowds. Overall, there were much less crowds than I expected. St. Marks Basilica was uncomfortably crowed, but the square was not. Just one block off the main drag in Venice was nearly deserted. Florence was busy during the day, but not at night. The only misery was getting into the Vatican and I believe this is as much due to the lack of a reasonable system to deal with visitor admission than the absolute numbers of people. Crowd control is also poorly done for the Sistine Chapel. Again, the lack of a system and the aggressive behavior of the guards negatively impacted my experience.

Posted by
570 posts

Vandrabrud - Thanks for your report.... This is on my bucket list.... probably 2021; Scandinavia one we are doing with friends from another RS Trip in 2020.

I had by knee replaced in Aug.... been working hard to rehab to get ready for my May 2019 trip. Surely, I will be good for those stairs when we do this Italy one in a few years.

Thanks again.

Kim

Edit : what city was your Oklahoma from? I live in Broken Arrow

Posted by
5747 posts

I’m so enjoying your TR!!

You may be going to add this with your details but I’m interested in how the hiking in the Alps went. Did you go alone? Join others? Did the guide have suggestions on where to go? Uh...can you tell I’m contemplating this tour but have slight concers about this day, lol?

Posted by
1450 posts

Oh, vandrabrud....what a great trip report! Your enjoyment and enthusiasm for your tour comes through loud and clear. This is the last Italy tour on my list and you have whetted my appetite for sooner rather than later. Your report is also fun to read; you make your various activities really come alive!! I appreciate hearing you actually took a few "rest hours" during the tour when needed. When traveling, I think some down time is always a good thing! Thank you for taking the time to post this. More entries when you have time, please?

Posted by
479 posts

Kim--Owasso.

So I will start with details about day 4. "Hiking the Dolomites" in order to answer Pam's question.
Of course the hotel you stay in may be different and impact somewhat how this day goes. Day 4 starts after sleeping in the cool mountain air at Hotel Seelaus. The cool air was welcomed due to the unseasonable temperatures of Milan and Varenna. I slept with my balcony doors open and slept under a thick duvet. It rained during the night and the sounds were like a lullaby. The hotel is on a fairly steep grade. About a 20 minute walk uphill is the town Compatsch. Deborah arranged for Adriano to drive us from the hotel to Compatsch at 9:00 am (I think). She gave us a bit of time to look around (not much there) and to buy a picnic lunch if we wanted. I was worried because I strained my knee walking up to Castello Vezio in Varenna and didn't know what to expect from the day. I was wearing my knee sleeve. One of the shops had walking sticks on sale for 20 Euros, so I bought a pair which was a stroke of genius. Then Deborah took us to a blown up map of the area on the side of a building (we had paper maps from the hotel) and reviewed the possibilities and made some suggestions. There are two different lifts from Compatsch going to different meadows. Some of our group took the first lift and walked the Witches Trail. The rest of us took a lift to an area called Panorama. There are dozens of walks you can take from there. Most of the group went together and walked up to another lift that was higher and then took that lift down back to Compatsch. A few people walked with Deborah on a trail that was flat for a bit and then fairly steep down past the hotel and then a short hike up to the hotel. I like being on my own in nature and wasn't comfortable going with the group that were climbing up. I think I would have been OK going with them. I think one of them said they walked 7 miles and I ended up walking 8 miles that day.

At the top of the lift is Hotel Panorama. There is a restaurant and bathrooms. Standing outside the hotel you see a vast meadow. It is fairly flat. I decided to walk around the meadow. I was never that far out of sight of the hotel. There are a web of paths. At each path intersection there is a sign post. The post lists where you can go including the trail name and the next hut. Instead of listing distance, it lists the time it should take to walk there. I found this fairly accurate. The huts were varied. Some had a inside area and served some food. Some were small and served drinks and sweets outside. I stopped at two different huts for hot chocolate. It was sunny but cold, about 50 degrees F. I was wearing a base layer, my long sleeved pajama shirt, a regular shirt, and my rain jacket. This was perfect to keep we warm while walking. Eventually, I went back to Hotel Panorama and ate lunch. I had wurstel and french fries with an Aperol spritz. I ate outside in the sunshine. After lunch, I took the trail down to the hotel. This is where the walking sticks really helped me. With my knee situation, it was a bit steep in some sections. I got back to the hotel just before 5:00. As mentioned above, my fitbit recorded 8 miles. Instead of walking down to the hotel, I could have taken the lift back down to Compatsch and then the shorter walk to the hotel.

So the hiking is not strenuous. I got in a lot of walking in a pristine, beautiful setting and had a perfect day. Advil, a knee brace, and walking sticks were a help. The options of your day are endless. At least 2 people opted not to go up to the meadow at all and enjoyed a nap and the beautiful vistas at the hotel. I left my walking sticks at the hotel for the next person.

Deborah hosted a happy hour at the hotel bar and we told stories (some true) about our buddies. We did this instead of the name game. It was fun and not stressful. Some people were funny and some told it straight. Then we went to dinner. The hotel serves a set menu. contd

Posted by
479 posts

The meals at Hotel Seelaus were a set menu. There was a large buffet for the antipasti. Honestly, this would have been enough for the whole meal. There were cured meats, cheeses, bean salads (yum), potato salad, vegetable salad, you name it. The first night we had salmon, a chive flan served in a pastry shell and broth, guinea fowl with potatoes, and tiramisu. 4 courses. The second night was gnocchi, vegetable soup, steak, and panna cotta. Then to bed.

I also got my pet fix at this hotel. The owners live in an apartment off of the reception. They have a golden retriever and a cat. Both nights the cat came into the bar, hopping from lap to lap. : ).

It is so nice to relive this day. I had forgotten how fun and special this day was. It was just followed so many other awesome days, it gathered some dust!

Posted by
5747 posts

Thank you SO much for the added detail. Yes, I think I could manage this. I was totally comfortable hiking on the Switzerland free day on the GAS tour but I had been there before on the 21BOE so had a bit of familiarity.

Also, laughing at your Aperol Spritz for lunch. I love them but would probably have had to take a nap directly afterward, haha!

Posted by
570 posts

vandrabrud - If you are in contact with them.... tell them we have a tulsa area travel meeting ….. check the forum under travel groups for meeting info.

Owasso is one of our suburbs. Thanks

Kim & Jane

Posted by
479 posts

I am a light weight as far as alcohol goes, but found that most of the spritzes I had were not that strong. Somewhere near the middle of the trip I had a strong one and then avoided them after that. : )

Day 0: Milan
I flew Delta, Cleveland to JFK (3 hour layover) then to MXP. There don't seem to be great deals from Cleveland to Europe. I paid extra for economy plus and am glad I did. My last two trips I flew business class from home to Europe and I was worried that I would be miserable. I took a low dose prescription anxiolytic when I boarded. I think I slept several hours. The tablet caused me to have a sort of amnesia for the flight so I am glad I didn't spend the money on business class.

I landed at 7:45 and passed through immigration easily. The agent didn't speak to me. I followed the signs to the Malpensa Express. I stopped along the way at an ATM and denied the DCC. I bought my ticket for the train from the desk. I made the 8:15 train. I arrived at Hotel Berna at about 9:30. My room wasn't ready, but they kept my bag.

My first stop was Sforza Castle to see Michelangelo's Pieta (Ronandini). (I got there by taking the metro. I bought an all day ticket in a machine for 4.50 Euro. The metro was easy to navigate, there are 2 lines.) The entry was 5 Euro. The pieta is nicely displayed in a large room with some faded frescoes. There were only a few people about and it was nice to sit there with the piece and rest. The weather was sunny and hot, about 86 degrees F. I took the metro to the Duomo stop. I walked around the outside of the cathedral and found Luini's nearby. I bought a panzerotti with tomato and mozzarella. Next, I used my fast track ticket to take the elevator to the Duomo's roof terrace. Wow! What a view. After looking at the details of the Duomo roof and enjoying the views, I walked down the stairs and went looking for the football jersey shop I had seen online. My son requested a Ronaldhino jersey and that was easy to purchase. Next, I used my ticket to enter the Duomo. A guard let me in the side entrance. I used the Rick Steves audio europe walk inside. I walked through the Galleria and took some photos of the ceiling. I found a public bathroom (I was worried about this!!) by riding some escalators and climbing several flights of stairs at a 5 floor food court. It cost 1 Euro. You got a ticket that could be used to purchase something.

My next stop was "The Last Supper". I was going to take the tram. I figure the more public transportation I take, the less stressed it will make me feel in the future. I found the right tram, but I couldn't figure out how to make the doors open so I could get on! I ended up walking. My appointment was at 3:30 and I got there before 3:00. I was really hot and tired by now. The ticket office was sort of air conditioned and there was one chair in there. I sat there for about 20 minutes watching the ticket agents turn people away that wanted to buy a ticket. I bought my ticket by watching the website every day until it announced when the tickets were going to go on sale. Then I got up at 3:00 in the morning to make the purchase online. My first credit card, Capitalone, denied the purchase, but the second time with my Chase card it went through. So, right on time our guide took us into the dehumidifying chamber, and then into the refectory. I didn't like the guide and detached she was. While everyone in my group rushed toward the fresco, I went in the other direction and viewed "The Crucifixion" by Donato da Montorfano. Then I viewed "The Last Supper" from afar, noticing the windows high and the wall that were the "light source" for the fresco. Then finally I got as close as I could to view the detail. The fifteen minutes was nearly enough time to enjoy it.

cont'd

Posted by
479 posts

I found the metro and went back to Milano Centrale. I then checked into my room. After a few minutes in my room I walked up the street to The Crazy Cat Cafe and had my first apertif. Aperol Spritz was served with an assortment of bread. It also came with 2 things that I didn't know what they were. The first one was sort of like humus, made of a different bean and the second one was like yogurt.
I relaxed there for awhile, but the kitties were exercising their right to be standoffish.

FYI: I am sitting on the couch typing on my laptop with 3 cats, I needed a fix.

It was about 7:00 and I went to the nearby Ostia Italiana and had ossobucco and risotto Milanese for dinner. Somehow I managed to get through a full day with no gelato!

I was in bed and asleep by 10:00.
I walked 7.55 miles that day.

Posted by
201 posts

Vandrabrud
The 17 day Best of Italy was my first RS tour and my first time in Europe. Italy was number 1 on my bucket list when I retired. I too have knee issues and was able to walk about 8-9 miles in the Dolomites. I also rested all day on the "free day" in Cinque Terre. I'm loving your trip report. I'm re-living my trip through you. My husband and I had gelato many days for lunch. I'm a huge Michaelangelo fan, but I should have done more research before I left. I missed the Pieta in Milan. Oh well, I guess that means I need to go back. I do much more research now before I go on a tour. I have a lot planned out, but I do leave free time for "spur of the moment" things. Even when you're on a tour you need to do research and plan things so that you don't waste any precious time in Europe. I can't wait to read the rest of your trip report.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you so much, vandrabrud, for all the details! My husband and I are doing this tour in April and can hardly wait. First time to Italy!

Posted by
1008 posts

Vandrabud,
Love your report especially the structure. I do plan to post a Turkey trip report, believe it or not! While I have forgotten many details I have notes and have made a stab at a narrative. I’m going to use your format which will make my report more readable I think. People don’t have to plow through lots of details when it’s a straight up narrative, they can see the sections of interest to them.

Your account of the trip brings back fond memories of this tour. Are you going to the RS reunion next weekend? It will be my first time. Excited!

Posted by
479 posts

Thank you!
I have decided not to do a scrapbook due to time constraints. I have posted a link to all of my photos in the title post of this thread. I will try to add some details of my day to day soon. I had a great time on the tour, it was very well done.

Posted by
5747 posts

Wow, your pictures are fantastic! Was that a Harris Hawk for pigeon patrol? Love the bean-y dishes with the kidney and canellini beans.

I love the page with everyone's pictures! Very cool way to remember who's who to begin with!

Also loved all the pictures of Varenna and the lake area as well as the Alps but was embarrassed to "love" them all. Enjoyed your food and drink and ice cream shots! Yum.

Well, really I loved all of them. Thanks so much for adding the link. I appreciate your sharing them!

Posted by
479 posts

Thanks Pam.
Our guide took all of our pictures and handed out the cheat sheet for each of us. It doesn't take long to learn everyone's names, but this helped it be even quicker.

I eat meat, but also eat a lot of beans as my protein source. I think taking photos of everything I eat helps me remember the trip better as it brings in some other senses (taste and smell). Also, my husband likes the food photos.

I am not sure what kind of bird of prey that is at Castello di Vezio.

The non travelers in my life get bored fast looking at my photos, so thanks for taking the time and for enjoying them.

Posted by
5747 posts

I'm pretty sure it's a Harris Hawk. My brother and I were shocked in the cloister at Canterbury Cathedral when a hawk came zooming thru. He had on tethers so we knew his handler was nearby. He was and we talked to him a bit - they are using the hawks to keep down the pigeon population. Also saw them again in King's Cross Station in London!

Posted by
32 posts

I really enjoyed your photos. You have an excellent and unique "eye". Thanks for sharing.

Posted by
1008 posts

Vandrabud,
I couldn’t open the link to your photos. Please give directions.
Thanks!

Posted by
479 posts

Judy,

I am not sure why you can't open the link. It is working for me. Maybe try another browser? Do you have pop ups blocked?

Posted by
5747 posts

Judy, are you signed in to a Google account? Maybe that makes a difference?

Posted by
479 posts

Yes, Pam is right, you have to have a google account. You can make a google account with any email, if you want to.
Judy, I might be able to find a way to email you the photos. I can try if you pm me your email address.

Posted by
381 posts

Wow just loved the pics! As my daughter works on her scrapbook for our Rome trip it was fun to see a different take on it!

Posted by
1 posts

Love your trip report and your pictures are amazing! We are going on the Venice, Florence, Rome tour in May 2019 and your posts have given me some great ideas. May I ask what type of camera you used?

Posted by
479 posts

Believe it or not, I used my original Google Pixel phone.
I am a much better photographer with a cell phone than I am with a camera!
Enjoy your trip, there is sooo much to see in Italy.

Posted by
5747 posts

"I am a much better photographer with a cell phone than I am with a camera!"

Oh gosh...that made me laugh out loud!