Thursday, March 19, 2009

European Vacation...

Day 4:
More Florence, aka the “cradle of Renaissance” (la culla del Rinascimento). [For more details on Florentine art, check out The Museums of Florence.]
Dennis and I got up a bit early for breakfast and walked around the Piazza Di San Marco, then on to the Accademia di Belle Arti for a viewing of Michelangelo's David. It’s much more amazing in real life--pictures just do not translate the awesomeness.
Back to the hotel to pick up the rest of the crew, and then we hit the streets again for The Duomo (Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore), which has the largest brick and mortar dome in existence. We spent some time inside the Battistero di San Giovanni (the Baptistry), with its beautiful and detailed ceiling mosaics. The north and east doors were created by Lorenzo Ghiberti (although these are apparently replicas--the originals are in the museum nearby).

The Duomo.

Lunch on the Piazza Signoria.

Henry enjoyed his macaroni, of course!

After lunch we toured the Uffizi Gallery, where we were able to see some masterpieces such as Boticelli’s Birth of Venus and Caravaggio’s Bacchus, plus lots of other Renaissance works by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael (plus some non-ninja painters).
And the day’s not over yet! Onward to the Basilica of Santa Croce, which is a beautiful church that houses the tombs of such guys as Michelangelo and Gallileo, as well as lots of other interesting pieces. It's also the largest Franciscan church in the world.

A relic from St. Francis of Assisi, from the collection at Santa Croce.

Henry and Grandmom were happy to head back at this point, but we pushed on to dinner at Trattoria ZaZa. Maybe the best meal of the trip so far. It was a party in my mouth.

European Vacation, continued...

Day 2:
The real trip begins. We drove to Strasbourg, France, for some window shopping and walking around. We saw General Jean-Baptiste Kl├ęber, and ate lunch near the Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady at Maison Kammerzell. The house wine was excellent!


The very Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady

But France was not our final destination on Friday--we must power on to Zurich! Some have called the Swiss people gnomes, but everyone we saw looked to be of average height and attractiveness.

Our arrival at the first hotel of our trip.

The largest clock face in Europe.

Dennis and I had a lovely dinner at a lovely restaurant in an old guildhall while Grandmom and Henry chilled at the hotel.
Zurich was a little confusing because they don’t really use Euros; they have swiss francs (although most places do take Euros, but the exchange rate is crummy).

Day 3:
Really long drive to Firenze aka Florence.

Henry was happy to be out of the car!

The view from our hotel rooms.

We didn’t do much on this evening except walk around a bit. We checked out the outdoor market at San Lorenzo. Dennis and I had dinner out and more excellent house wine (are you sensing a pattern here?)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Chatham Tour '09 Part 1: flying, then Mainz, Germany

I know I'm a few days behind, but I'll update a bit at a time.

Day 0:
Catch the red-eye from Cincy to Frankfort. Glad we brought the Benadryl fast-melts and the SpongeBob videos!

Day 1:
Grandmom was waiting for us at the airport. We drove back to the house to shower and eat. Then the sightseeing began! We drove around (and around) Mainz, then parked and walked around the city center. Dennis and I ventured into 2 different yarn shops, where I proceeded to embarrass myself. And we will never mention that again.
We all made a brief stop in the Gutenberg Museum to sneak a peek at the Gutenberg Bibles on display. Then back to the house to eat and pass out, finally.

Remember this stroller? It was our best buddy on our last European vacation, and it survives still!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hallo from Deutschland!

...for the moment. We're back in Europe for another Chatham family adventure, woohoo! Over the next week or so, we'll be driving down through Italy and back. Our internet access will be spotty, at best, once we leave the comforts of the household. I'll try to update with a couple of pictures here and there, but no promises of anything until we return.
Danke schoen!