Meeting up with the James’ (Vi in Italy)

It was very exciting to surprise Alex and Luke when they arrived in Rome/Roma. Our first accommodation was a B&B in Roma – also within walking distance to the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. Needless to say, we explored that for two days; at the very least, it was fantastic. The most harrowing part was climbing the 430 odd steps up a very narrow spiral staircase to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica but the view was well worth the hike. The Sistine Chapel was again another sight well worth the visit. We also rode the Metro to the Spanish steps and took a tour around the Colosseum – a lot of history there. All in all, Roma is a great place to visit and I even bought a “tourist” type video.

Next, we stayed in a remote villa in Montalbino (Tuscany – County of Montespertoli – middle of Italy somewhere) – beautiful countryside but no cell phone or Internet service. On Wednesday we were off to Venice and yes, we did take a gondola ride – one of those “once in a lifetime” experiences – $100. Euros for 50 minutes or any part thereof – we only did 25 minutes because it was raining and it brought us 25 minutes closer to our parking garage.

On Friday we were off to Pisa and climbed another 300 or so steps up to the bell tower – again, well worth the hike. Saturday morning we checked out of our villa and made our way to Nice (south of France) by train. We’re staying in a very nice hostel – $25. Euro each per night – breakfast included and free 24 hour WI-FI and internet in each room as well as 10 computers in a common area. Rick has left to pick up our van rental and the rest is a mystery.

Note to Florence – we drove through/around Florence – did not do any shopping or sightseeing.

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