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Entries about family travel

Bologna and Beyond

Wasted days in Ravenna....

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Note: I realized when looking back through my blog that somehow I missed writing about Bologna. We really didn't do a lot there but I liked the city and thought I should at least put a short blurb about it and some pictures.

Our hotel in Bologna was nice. It was near the University and there were several restaurants and cafe's close-by. Our first day in Bologna was spend as usual just wandering around. The one thing that struck me as unique to Bologna is that a large portion of the city has covered walkway's. These were a nice break from the sun and on our second day...the RAIN. There were some small piazza's and the usual statues. The one below was one of my favorites.

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As we were walking around on our second day, the sky's opened up and a torential downpour ensued. Of course, we were not under one of the many walkways and ended up soaked before we found refuge at a small cafe to wait out the rain. As I was sipping my coffee at a patio table under the walkway covering....Trinity and I realized that we were a mere block and half from our hotel and we had literally walked/ran in the rain within 500 feet of the front door!! While I finished my coffee, I caught some photos of the rain and the surroundings.

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Now, Ravenna...

I'll try to be nice. It really does seem like a nice town. Quiet. Calming. Quaint. These would be some words that I would use to describe the town of Ravenna Italy. The problem was that I had my mind set on bikes. Yes, bikes. I had decided that a day off my feet and riding a bike would be good. We had been walking everywhere since our arrival in Rome nearly two weeks ago and I was tired! Bikes didn't happen....

On our arrival we were able to find the hotel without any difficulty. It was located conveniently between the rail station and the 'Old Town' center. I had read everywhere that tourists could have free use of bikes in Ravenna and it was just the right size town to traverse on two wheels. I had even contemplated taking the 9km ride out to the beach....

Trinity and I headed out to the tourist office to get our bikes after we had freshened up from the train commute from Bologna. It was a pretty simple walk, only about 15 min and we found it easily. Stopping for a juicy apricot at the local market on the way. When we requested bikes at the tourist office, the lady immediately asked Trinity how old she was. Well....it would seem that 'free' bikes in Ravenna have an age requirement of 18. 'No problem'. I thought. We will just go to the bike rental place tomorrow and rent Trinity one and I will get a free one, right? Wrong.....

The next day, Trinity and I thought that we would go to the other tourist office. Which is listed as the “main” tourist office in Lonely Planet. We would just tell them that Trin is 18, get free bikes and be on our way.... I should have known that bad karma would follow when I had intentions of lying! The 'main' tourist office is not really the main office (the main one is the one in 'old town' which we had been to the previous day), and they don't have bikes at this office. My plans are not completely bashed yet. I figured that I would just bite the bullet and pay for both of us to rent bikes for the day. Off we go to the rental office at the train station.

When we arrive, it's closed. I cant read anything that is posted on the windows, it's all in Italian. At this point, I am aggravated and fed up. All I really wanted to do was take a nice enjoyable bike ride. Is that too much to ask? I didn't think so....so back to the hotel we go.

At the hotel, we inquire at the reception desk if there is anyone else that will rent bikes. We explained what had happened and the lady at reception was kind and helpful and was able to make a couple of phone calls to attempt to find us bikes to rent. She failed....but certainly not due to not attempting to help us. I think she was just as discouraged as we were.

Ciao'

ETA: We were able to view some of the sites in Ravenna sans bikes. It really is a pretty city and worth a visit.

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Posted by Khandilee 09:57 Archived in Italy Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

Too many words already said....

Venice Italy

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Many people have written about Venice. You can google search and I'm sure that you'll find thousands of descriptions of this lovely 'water-world' of a city. I have been in Venice for just 24 hours now and I can say that it is everything you have read and more.

I totally love it here.

It reminds me of the feelings that I have sitting at Mom's next to the water with the sound of the waves hitting the sea-wall, and the soft hum of the boats as they pass through. The sounds that I imagine must have been all around me as I was growing up in my younger years living at the lake.

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I have always loved being near the water. It calms and relaxes me and makes me feel at 'home' more than anything. I felt the same way in Hoi An Vietnam.
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Venice is also a photographers dream.... I don't think that you could take a bad picture in Venice if you wanted to. The charm of the canals, the moss lined foundations, slight fishy smells mixed with Italian bakeries and pasta's, paint chipping of of the buildings exposing bare bricks with small splashes of color from a lonley planter placed in a random window, shutters closed or open with rusted hinges and exposed wood, colors of muted coral, mustard yellow, dingy gray or sunset orange, all with red spanish tiled roofs. Each in themselves would be drab and uninteresting. When you combine them with a splash of sunlight at just the right angle, the glimmer of the canal alongside and the vibrant colored boats....it's like a dream.

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As I am writing this, I am sitting at the caffe' right next to our hotel sipping on a glass of wine, facing the water and watching the world pass by. It's about 4:30 in the afternoon and the scene is one that I want to take with me and hold onto forever....

Posted by Khandilee 09:56 Archived in Italy Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

Always a Mom

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We are parting from Corey today. Trinity and I are headed to Bologna and then Ravenna and Corey's destination is Venice where we will meet up again in three days time. The kids have been teasing me that i will worry for the next three days about Corey. I might....

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Travel from city to city has been mostly comfortable. The train cars are air-conditioned and quite comfortable if a little more crowded than those in the US. It's a lot more comfortable than was experienced in Vietnam....

Update:

I wrote the above while on the train on the way to Bologna. About an hour into our train trip, I got a call from Corey. Seems he was on the wrong train and got 'booted' off!! He was working it out and was going to catch a connection to Venice in Bologna about an hour after we arrived. Haven't heard anything further from him so I am guessing that all is going ok (even with the side-trip) haha

Trinity and I have arrived in Bologna and checked into our hotel. The hotel is much nicer than I expected. We are resting for a little bit to pass the heat of the day and will venture out a little later. We were able to find our way to the hotel without any trouble and from what we saw on the way here....I'm going to like this place! Think I might end up disappointed that we only booked one night.

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Posted by Khandilee 03:02 Archived in Italy Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

"I think I could live here"

Florence Concluded

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I can't really say that we did a lot or saw a lot of the more famous things in Florence. I skipped seeing the “David” and avoided all places with lines or entry fees (which pretty much excludes everything that you read about). However, I loved Florence. Just walking around the streets, seeing the architecture and the multitude of piazza's and statues all over town was very enjoyable. I still find that the Italian women are rude and unpleasant. The men however are outgoing and quick to offer up a quick wink and 'bon journo' (and probably other remarks that I am unable to understand with my limited Italian).

The food has been hit or miss. Some places, it's amazing and others leave a lot to be desired. I fear that the Italian's laugh at us “American's” with our quick meals and haste to finish and 'check please'.

I think we all enjoyed our time in Florence. I find it interesting that the places that I enjoy the most are more likely to have a lot less pictures...

My favorite time in Florence was Michaelangelo Piazza at sunset. It was a beautiful vantage point to see the entire city. The piazza sits on the edge of the city on a hill with breath-taking views in all directions. Trinity thinks it would be a great spot for a marriage proposal. and states that she would expect nothing less... I fear it will take a man well off in order to please her!

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We have been staying in a mix of hostels and small hotels where we have all three been sharing a room. Trinity and I will experience a shared dorm tonight as well as Corey. It will be interesting to see how it feels to sleep with strangers. I'm certain that Corey will be happy to finally share a room with men rather than us girls for once.

That's really all for now....no funny or interesting stories to share today. Will try to update again soon.

Ciao!

Posted by Khandilee 02:59 Archived in Italy Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Florence

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Florence....

I see why everyone loves this place! Maybe my reactions are a little skewed after being in Naples, but this place is wonderful! Beautiful sights, broad piazza's, great food, friendly people.....yes, I like it here!

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We arrived yesterday after a 5 1/2 hour train ride around 5pm. After showering, we headed out to explore a little with no real plans. Found the Dumo, it's beautiful! I will post pictures a little later, but it's been enjoyable so far.

I never did take Trinity out for a birthday drink, but will do so tonight.....

Ciao!

Posted by Khandilee 04:57 Archived in Italy Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

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