On my way to and from Hawaii (posts coming soon!), I stopped over in California for some quick visits with friends. LA on the way out, San Francisco on the way home. Hiking, enjoying good company, and of course plenty of In-N-Out were the theme of this part of the trip.
Over Christmas break the whole family + my friend Katie, drove up to Minnesota’s North Shore for a weekend of skiing. We rented a cabin for the weekend, and it was perfect. We had some fresh powder and fabulous skiing. Whenever we can all be together is my favorite time.
We visited Split Rock Lighthouse – a Minnesota icon – on our drive home
Venice had been on my bucket list ever since I had a bucket list. A city with water ways instead of streets and boats instead of cars? I’m in. I think that Venice was the best way we could have ended our adventure, because we literally had nothing on our agenda but to get lost wandering. Gelato and the most beautiful pastries are for sale at every street corner. String quartets fill Saint Mark’s Square with music. Laundry hangs out of windows. White haired couples stroll hand in hand. Artists find inspiration at every turn. Fog rolls off the water by lunch everyday. Venice is idyllic.
After exploring Cinque Terre, we rented a car and spent a day driving through the rolling hills of Tuscany.
Forget Disney, Cinque Terre might just be the most magical place on earth. Stretching along Italy’s north-western coast, these five towns contained inside a national park, absolutely lived up to their hype. The inclines are steep if you’re hiking, but if you reward yourself with some fresh lemon slush or gelato, it’s so worth it. Colorful houses dot the cliffs and the salty Mediterranean is just a jump away. Hands down, this was my favorite part of our trip.
The water was so clear and blue and warm!
We watched the sun set over Manarola, perhaps the most famous of the five cities. Painters and photographers crowded the path as the sun sank into the sea.
“Italy. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see western civilization. It is such a happy place. Violinists and accordion players fill the streets with there beautiful songs. History practically smacks you in the face. You can barely walk 100 yards without running into something ancient. Laundry hangs from windows, golden light is around every corner, old men with white hair sit on park benches reading the morning news. Oh Rome, you are a dream.”
Our first night in Italy, we watched the sun set from the top of the Spanish steps, and ate pizza and gelato for dinner
We took a guided tour of the Coliseum – so incredible! There were 28 trap doors built under the floor, so the gladiators would never know where something would come from next.
Trevi Fountain and Manertime Prison, where Paul was imprisoned
Where chariots raced at the Circus Maximus