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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Italy Day 5

This was our day in... can you guess it? Pisa! We had heard there wasn't much else in Pisa besides the Leaning Tower. So we just decided to stop by on our way to Tuscany. And I am so glad we did. It was so much fun. We had a blast trying to come up with creative ways to hold up the tower. Plus the weather was gorgeous. We ended up being very lucky with weather the entire trip!

The Ebright family effort to keep the tower from toppling.
As you can tell, we took a LOT of pictures with the tower. Just couldn't help ourselves.
Don't fall over mom!
Duomo and Baptistery - Ryan & Harlan posing.
This random picture you can only understand if you have to sleep in the same room as my mom... Oh man... Let's just say have your ear plugs handy. :oP
Mom's valiant effort.
Go Emily! Go Emily! GO GO GO!
What a strong man!
Susan's just lounging on the leaning tower.
What up? I know I'm strong.
I believe this is the baptistery's dome. Sally and Harlan paid to go in. Apparently, they have someone sing in there every thirty minutes so you can see how the different music chords sound. Pretty amazing.
As we were headed out of Pisa Ryan spotted a McDonald's and almost had a stroke. To appease Ryan we stopped there for what we thought would be a quick lunch... one hour later still standing in line. I thought I was going to die. No McDonald's is worth that, even in Europe! But I love my husband so I just tried not to keel over.
I have to admit it was pretty tasty by the time we sat down to eat. The McDonald's there are a little different from here. They have curly fries, their own cafe, and they sell beer! Crazy!
After we got lost a few times, pulled over for directions, drove in circles, and used my iPhone to look up where we were staying, we finally arrived at our destination, Residenza San Leo Apartments located in Figline Valdarno.
It was gorgeous. Though, when we first drove up all we saw was the
side that had not been renovated yet and we kind of freaked out. I thought we were going to be staying in a dungeon. Thankfully, it was the opposite of that! Check out the view from our own private balcony! Oh la la!
My mom, Ryan & I all stayed in one apartment. We had our own kitchen and kitchen table.
Our own living room, complete with a satellite TV.
This was my mom's room. Super cute.
This was Ryan & I's room. Adorable.
Different view.
Completely redone bathroom.
Take a look at the two toilets. There are two of them in almost every place we stayed. Can you guess why? One is a boday. The Italian's are all about cleanliness.
This was the foyer between the two apartments. So we didn't even have to go outside to get to each other's place! It was our own private area.
Harlan, Susan, Emily and Sally all stayed here. It was bigger but you can't really tell from these pics.
I didn't get the best photos of their apartment but again super cute.
After we got settled in we ventured out to the town and tried none other then Pizza Ria! Ryan is enjoying his coke. I like the shape of the cans in Europe. Side note, Ryan pretty much survived off coke, cheese pizza and four different trips to McDonald's. McD's are apparently everywhere!
Emily enjoying her ginormous calzone,
Just look at that thing! It's bigger than my mom!
That night we retired to our apartments and played a mean game of pit. Which by the way, I won for the very first time!!!
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Italy Day 4

Just a quick forewarning that this post has a TON of pictures. It was one of our busiest days in Italy. The picture of this view below is what I woke up to from our Hostel window. You can see the Mediterranean Sea in the background. That tower has a large bell in it and that had a habit of waking us up early every morning we were there.
Another picture of our Hostel in the day time.So after we grabbed a quick bite to eat at the hostel we headed out for a day of exploring Cinque Terre. This was the town we stayed in, Manarola. Everything is built on the steep hillsides. Walking into town.
Very colorful buildings everywhere
Throughout the whole trip we happened upon a lot of stray cats. They were so cute. This was Harlan's first kitty friend of the trip.
Manarola's water front.
It is so steep that they have to lower and raise their boats from the water.
It was so picturesque.
Mom, me and Ryan
Like I said earlier there are five towns in Cinque Terre and they are all a little different from each other. We visited all but one of them while we were there.
Susan, Ryan and Harlan
Susan decided to befriend the little cat as well.
They are all so friendly and entertaining. It made me miss KC and Yogi. :(
This dog was huge!
After we visited the water front, we hopped on a tram to the next town called Corniglia.
The hillsides are incredible. I can't believe they actually farm olives and grapes on these steep inclines!
Here they are repairing a damaged wall. They have rock slides all the time and are constantly having to repair or try and prevent it from happening.
Corniglia was a quiet town but had amazing views. There are many hiking trails and some lead on to the other towns. We didn't do that because it would have taken us all day! LoL
Harlan is investigating a small trail here. He was always up for an adventure.
Amazing.
This is at the top of one of the trails.
Mom and I
Harlan made a second kitty friend of the day.
This one was very appreciative of Harlan friendliness.
Susan is showing off how awesome she is at hiking up these monster hills.
The Ebright fam waiting for the next tram to take us to the next town, Vernazza.
Mom and daughter
While we were in Vernazza we had lunch at this charming restaurant and the owner was so entertaining. I didn't get a picture of him but I did get a picture my first experience of a toilet in the floor!
More Vernazza and the entrance to the cave.
While we were walking along the streets we wondered into a small little cave. It was neat to look out at the Mediterranean through the cave opening. Of course I had to climb on it!
Vernazza had a gorgeous rock beach that you could climb on.
I don't know what it is but I just love big rocks that you can explore on a beach. I kept saying that the islands in the background reminded me of LOST!
Me
Harlan being a dare devil.
This picture was taken for my best friend Kara because when she was in Italy she picked up a pair of boxers with the same picture on them as the apron below (David's privates). Ryan almost bought it as a joke but decided he didn't need to since he had the boxers. It might have been too much... :)
Emily made a friend too. Those cats were everywhere! A picture of Vernazza from the top of a hiking trail.
It was a tough climb as you can tell by my mom's face.
The trail plus more views.
My mom felt victorious to make it to the top of this trail. She might have been just a little out of breath.
Here come the stragglers.
Harlan found a contraption that takes the farmers to different parts of the hill so they can reach all of their farm land. It sort of looked like a roller coaster ride to me.
Like father like son!
Then we went on to our last stop of the day, Monterosso al Mare. This picture was of an interesting building that had a sculpture on the left end of it. You can tell better if you click on the picture to make it bigger. I think this was a private boat club or something. I just thought it looked cool.
Monterosso was the town that had the biggest beach.
We fully capitalized on this and enjoyed the water crashing onto the sand.
Ryan decided he wanted to touch the Mediterranean while we was in Italy. It was surprisingly warm!
I decided I had to touch it too!
We did not make it to the fifth town called Riomaggiore but we had a full day of fun, shopping, exploring and hiking anyway. To say the least, we were exhausted. We had dinner at a local resturaunt back in our town and then had some canolli's at a pastry store next door. (Ryan called them capris! lol) We finished off the night playing... you guested it! Canasta. :oP

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