Joined September 2017 Message
  • Day10

    Off-road trip to a castle

    October 7, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Martha and Paul headed for home at the crack of dawn this morning. 😢 But John and I and Leah and Mike had one more day in Tuscany! We decided to drive through Chianti to see Castello di Brolio and have lunch at the nearby osteria. Mike was delighted to find that a local group of Ferrari enthusiasts had gathered there. What's not to like about a parking lot full of Ferraris?

    On display at the castle was an art installation of flower buds that reflect the castle tower. Try enlarging this photo and hopefully you'll be able to see this detail.

    We took the "long way" back, on a series of unpaved roads through what we later realized was probably private property... the views were stunning!

    Tomorrow we fly home. Hopefully we (and our bags) will make our connection in Paris with no issues. Martha and Paul were an hour late getting out of Florence this morning because of an extra bag on board. They had to unload and rescan all the bags. Sigh. The worst part of travel is going to and from. But there's definitely another trip to Italy in our future.
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    Laurie Reynolds

    Just so you know, I got the email with a promise of more FindPenguins as you head off to Italy tomorrow! Hope you have a wonderful trip, and I can't wait to see your pictures and read the lovely snippets you post!

  • Day9


    October 6, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    We took a day trip to Pienza and started, naturally, with a winery tour and tasting, and a visit to the winery's collection of vintage cars. In the village, we toured the church, followed by a lovely lunch and a bit of shopping (we wished we had more time, as we found lots of unique things in the shops here). Then we went on to a local farm that makes Pecorino cheese, for a tour and explanation of the process and, naturally, a tasting... we were very well fed today!Read more

  • Day8


    October 5, 2017 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    Today was girls' day out! Martha, Leah and I shopped all day in the Siena city center. Fun!!

    Here are a few photos from yesterday's tour of Montalcino. We had a lovely lunch along with one of our wine tastings, and toured the town's church and fort.

    John finally got his bistecca Fiorentina tonight. He says it was excellent but not any better than what he's made at home. I'd say that's accurate.

    Tomorrow we tour Pienza and learn how Pecorino cheese is made. Hopefully the sheep won't smell as bad as our tour guide says they do!
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  • Day5

    Touring Siena

    October 2, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    We had a fabulous 8-hour guided tour of Siena. Here are just a few of the 300+ photos I took. I'm still in awe!

    Laurie Reynolds

    Beautiful churches and beautiful blue sky, lucky you! Your phone must have a lot bigger battery than mine to hold all those pictures.

  • Day3

    Good morning, David!

    September 30, 2017 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 17 °C

    We started our day at the Accademia, visiting Michelangelo's David -- so much more breathtaking in person than in photos! The photo of the blue inside of the dome and the following photo are from the Sacristy in the Basilica de San Lorenzo, one of several churches that claim to be the oldest church in Florence. The church was consecrated in 393.

    The big hunk of beef, the rabbit, and the chickens (and chicken heads) were just a few of many offered at Mercato Centrale, which is Florence's version of Seattle's Pike Place Market (without the fish throwing). This kind of place is frustrating when you know you can't take most of the goodies home with you!

    Martha and I did some shopping, and then we went to Mass at the Duomo. Hardest kneelers ever, I am not kidding!! After Mass, in the Piazza del Duomo, we found the annual Carro Matto -- a salute to the arrival of the first bottles of wine for the season. To read more about the "crazy cart," go to

    We wrapped up the evening with another dinner across the street, including fried fresh porcini (we did some serious damage to the porcini pile from Thursday's report), pappardelle with rabbit, Tuscan beef stew, lamb stew with artichokes, and biscotti with generous pours of Vin Santo. A fine celebration on our last night in Florence. On to Siena tomorrow!
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    Laurie Reynolds

    so glad you are having fun. I think I've eaten something that looks like that big hunk of beef at your house before. Safe travels tomorrow!

  • Day2

    Florence Day 2

    September 29, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    So many beautiful sights today! After a traditional Italian breakfast of cappuccino and a pastry, we walked to the Basilica of Santa Croce. Lots of notable people are interred there -- Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Marconi (inventor of the radio), and John's personal favorite, composer Rossini. From there we went to the Arno River and window shopped the 50 jewelry stores on the Ponte Vecchio. Wow, lots of bling!! Our next stop was the Palazzo Pitti, which was home to the de Medicis, and the adjacent Boboli Gardens.

    After lunch we visited the Uffizi. So many breathtaking things to see there. This Michelangelo painting (the round one) was one of my favorites, but Correggio's "The Virgin in Adoration of the Child" touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

    I don't know how many flights of stairs we climbed today, but there were a lot of them! We stopped at a little trattoria for pizza for lunch (the line at the sandwich shop pictured here was halfway down the block, so alas no porchetta today). We snacked on gelato on our way back from the Uffizi. Yum!

    Tomorrow we plan to go to see Michelangelo's David at the Accademia, to shop at Mercato Centrale, and hopefully we'll have time for the Galileo Museum or the DaVinci Museum (a nice switch from art and religion).
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  • Day1


    September 28, 2017 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    I have no idea what order these photos will post, but the first thing that happened in Florence was the best -- meeting up with my best gal pal Martha!! We all dropped our bags off at the apartment we're renting, and headed straight for the Duomo. The architecture is amazing! We visited the duomo museum first and saw the brass doors pictured here, among other things, then went to the church itself. The painted ceiling is in the dome, and the 24-hour clock is in the back of the church. Fascinating! We look forward to going to Mass there on Sunday.

    Dinner was at a trattoria across the street from our apartment, where they were offering several dishes featuring fresh porcini mushrooms. John and I had risotto with porcinis, and it was excellent. Martha had gnudi -- imagine naked ravioli, the stuffing without the pasta, and it's pronounced just like you'd think. Some very nice red wines, creamy tiramisu for dessert, and now a good night's sleep. Tomorrow we'll visit the Uffizi.
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    Laurie Reynolds

    Great pics, looks like great weather, and we know you've got great company and last but not least great food and wine! Hugs to you all!


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