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29 June 2012

Beach Day II, Elba Island


We ended up throwing a ferry ride out to Elba Island into our trip at the very last minute.  I mean, we bought the 11:30 ticket for the ferry at 11:23.  I am seriously so glad that we did, this was by far one of my favorites.  The Beach was right there so I felt like a part of the family while I sat with the baby.  At the other beach there was a huge drop off and I felt so isolated.  It was such a beautiful relaxing day!  And I don't think the kids will forget the frog that they found in the shower while washing off the sand. Actually Evan just brought it up to me just today!

(NOTE: as soon as I got home from our trip I ordered new swim suits ... they were very much needed)


My chunky baby boy!


Relaxing, while dad played with the kids!


Look at how clear that water is!  Amazing!


Our attempt at a family picture ... too bad Emi and I had TERRIBLE allergies the entire time and we look a little miserable.  I promise we had a good day!

For more scenic pictures go HERE

Not a lot of time in Milan


From where we were staying (at Camp Darby, Livorno) Milan was a heck of a drive.  We got out early so we could make our reservation time to see da Vinci's Last Supper and then we had to leave a bit early to get home before dark.  If only we had just gotten a hotel room in the city, we could have spent some more time here and seen some more sights.  That being said, I don't feel like I missed out on anything major ... I mean, come on, da Vinci's Last Supper!  Here we are in the Piazza del Duomo, in front of the Sanda Maria Nascente (Duomo di Milano).  Pretty neat, huh?!

On the way home though we drove through Genova and it was AMAZING!  I want to go there someday, it was so neat!

Side note: Just in front of us and to the right is a McDonald's ... I bet you wanted to know that bit of information!  We also know where all the McDonalds' are in Europe, not just bathrooms.


We climbed it!  
Wait, is that a golden Angel Moroni in the background?

For more pictures, go HERE

An Evening in Lucca, Italy


After spending the day at 'American Beach' we headed out to Lucca, Italy to walk around the city and grab some delicious Italian food for dinner (courtesy of Rick Steve's and his amazing recommendations).   For more pictures check them out HERE


These 'mountains' were made to defend the city from invasion.  They must have worked because it was never 'taken' (I think) and they are standing still today.  The kids loved climbing them and pretending they were the cannons crashing into the hillside.


28 June 2012

The American Beach in Italy


Each day we spent sight-seeing the kids would ask us how many more days until we went to the beach.  All they wanted to do was play in the water, find sea shells, test their swimming skills in the waves, try to catch sight of a fish and soak up some sun. 

There is an American army base in Livorno, Italy (located over by Pisa) where we stayed and an 'American' Beach in the town of Tirrenia close by.  It was a pretty good day on the beach ...



A Little Bit of Seina


Check out this city square!  We fell in love with Sienna!  It was such a fun place to spend a day; not to crowded, not too many 'must see' points.  We were able to just wander around and enjoy ourselves.  Of course we climbed the tower in the background because we always have to climb something, and of course, the kids loved it!  Don't be deceived by us wearing our jackets though. There was 70% chance of rain this day ... we were so hot and it didn't ever rain ... we had to carry all the kids jackets around the entire day.


The kids being tortured out in front of the church.  Unfortunately Evan didn't make it - he is just dead.


The fam on top of the tower
For more pictures of Sienna - go HERE

Fun in Florence, Italy


Italy and Pinocchio go hand in hand don't they?  We couldn't resist passing up little guy up!
For more pictures of Florence check them out HERE




Venice, Italy


Our first day of traveling began in Venice!  Here we are coming up on the Piazzo San Marco after our tour of the Grand Canal.  We climbed that tower on the left, St. Mark's Campanile, (more pictures HERE) on the hour and the bells chimed right above our heads.  It was so loud but so neat at the same time!  Straight back from the kids is the Basilica and to the right is Doge's Palace. 


The kids at the top of the famous Rialto Bridge (we took this picture with out wide angle lens so Evan and Paige look a little distorted ... opps)


One of our many breaks during the day.  I swear when I leave Europe I will probably be able to tell you exactly where each bathroom is in each city and how much they cost.  Anika kept herself busy while waiting for the others ... you know, since she was first and all.



Our gondola ride as a family and the kids with our gondolier (I had no idea they had a specific title)



We ate dinner at this square - pizza and calzones.  The kids fed the pigeons and chased the pigeons all while being serenaded by these wonderful men at the top of the stairs.  What more could you ask for?  Maybe a glass pen with a vile of ink, a glass butterfly necklace, a yellow pen with a little gondola floating back and forth and a piece of candy.  Those were the kids souvenirs for the trip.  I know, we truly are fancy!

27 June 2012

Rock Labyrinth, Luisenburg Germany


Our friends introduced us to this outdoor maze just 45 minutes from our place.  It was perfect for the kids!  When we first got there we learned that it was a 3 mile loop and we thought for sure that there was no way we were going to finish it because of the kids.   We also learned that we follow the blue arrows up and the red arrows down.  So we decided that if we ever saw a red arrow we would just head back down the mountain.  The kids were in heaven and loved running around exploring!  We ended up doing the whole thing with no complaints ... only the kids telling the parents to hurry up!

Check out a website about it HERE


Here is Emi standing next to one of the 'blue arrows' telling us which way to go.


Here is a GREAT shot of me!  But it illustrates what we were constantly going thru, it was so neat!  Right after crawling thru this gap between these rocks we climbed up these narrow rock steps carved out of the mountain.  What kid wouldn't love something like this?!


Reaching the top of the mountain to climb these super steep stairs for a great view!


The group of kids in their dream tree house!

Nürenburg Zoo



The kids had a German holiday in the middle of the week.  We decided to take advantage of our 'free' day and go to the zoo.  Poor Anika hadn't been to the zoo since she was just a baby, so this trip was mainly for her.  Plus Anika is determined that we need a Zebra and an Elephant in our back yard so we went to check them out so we could get a better feel with how much food they can eat ... or something like that.  Dad wasn't there with us so it was interesting getting there, buying tickets, trying to navigate the map of the zoo, and trying to buy water.  We did it though, and I have to say it was a great feeling!

If you ever want to check it out yourself, or if you feel so inclined to pick up a Zebra, go HERE!