Thursday, June 11, 2009

Arrival in Italy

Well, finally I have some time to post some trip stuff before I head off to the beach! Our first travel day is always long. Dick and I had the 6:00 a.m. flight out of Denver to D.C. That got us in way early since we weren't leaving for Rome until 6:15 that evening but since there is only one flight to Rome from D.C. every day, I never want to take the chance of missing that flight. Case in point. Jennifer, Jason and Regina were flying from D.C. to JFK to catch their Rome flight.

Here's Dick sharing a pre-Italy glass of wine before they head off:

Well, we all leave our wine and go down to their gate to see them off...oh oh....flight to JFK delayed. Dick and I have to go back to our terminal to get ready for our flight but we are communicating by Blackberry. Last we know before we head for Rome is that they are on their way to JFK. Well, we arrive in Rome...along with my sister, Donna, who has made the trip from Houston, through Philly, to Rome. I couldn't believe that she and I were in Italy together....a dream come true for both of us.
But more oh ohs....the rest of our group missed their flight to Rome from JFK. After much wrangling, they have gotten on a flight to Pisa and are expected to land mid morning. So Donna, Dick and I load up our fancy Alfa Romeo station wagon and head up to Tuscany!

Of course, we have to head straight to Montespertoli to Il Mondo Degli Gnomi, our favorite restaurant in all of Italy!!! This is a small pizzeria in the Piazza Popolo in the center of Montespertoli. Rosa and Giuseppe (brother and sister) run the restaurant and welcome us as if it had been just days since they had seen us instead of a whole year. Plenty of pasta and wine later...the rest of our group arrives. Exhausted from their took them almost 2 hours just to get a rental car in Pisa...more pasta was had, along with more wine. It was a great way to start our trip. Finally, it's time to head off to our villa. This year we stayed at a place called Villa Castiglione near a town called Fiano and about 8 km from Montespertoli. A little more remote than our villa last year but still great!!! We had a brand new pool which came in handy with temps in the mid 90s this year, and we had great views of San Gimignano.

Here's the front of our villa... you can't really see them in this pic but there were gorgeous roses everywhere!!!

ere's the view from our "backyard". Plenty of olive trees and vineyards on those hills!

Our awesome pool. It was down the hill a ways so was very private and a fun place to hang out.
After a long, exhausting day you'd have thought that we would all be in bed early but no, not this group. Dinner was waiting for us at the villa so we had dinner then we started on our wine and our limoncello. We ate, drank, put on music and danced into the wee hours of Italy!
Here's our dinner all prepared and waiting for us: lasagna, salad, bread, wine.

Hanging out on our loggia after dinner.

The girls looking relaxed and happy.

And last, but not least: Donna teaching Dick to dance to her music.

Stay tuned for more adventures!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Food, food and more food!

We're back!! 17 days away from home feels like forever but we had a great time. I'm trying to catch up on household stuff, bills, etc. before I head off to South Carolina for Sally's big birthday bash, but I hope to get the blog updated before I go so please be patient. I just thought I'd share one thought with you tonight. Normally I'm a pretty healthy eater. I try to watch what I eat...stay away from too many carbs, sugar, etc. but on this trip I really outdid myself. I usually profess to "not like Italian food" in general but it seems like I couldn't get enough pasta and pizza and gelato while in Italy this year. Add alot of yummy Ugolini white fizzy wine....need I say more. Then just when I think I'm out of the woods, we head over to France....the home of frites, frites and more frites. Just as long as it wasn't pasta...I was good. I definitely had my fair share of excellent food and wine so for's our before and after shots.

Me and Dick before we went to Italy:

and now...upon our return!

Hope you enjoyed the update. I promise to post more soon. By the way, both of these statues were in Monte Carlo. The before was at the Jardin Exotique near the Palace. The after is a sculpture near the harbor and the casino.

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