Friday, September 28, 2012

Back from Italy

Happy Friday - have you missed me?  After nearly four years of daily posts - I took a break for a week!  As I posted last week, we took a quick weekend trip to Italy for a reunion with some friends and former work colleagues.  This group has met every two years since we left England 12 years ago.

Our American friends live in a lovely part of Tuscany, near the old city of Lucca.  The scenery is wonderful and we were fortunate to have good weather while we were there.

Lucca is a walled city as you can see on this street map.  It is one of the few that still has a full intact wall from the Renaissance era.  If you look near the top center of the yellow area, you can see the oval area that is the Piazza dell'Anfiteatro.

The Piazza is surrounded by buildings that form an oval shape with shops, apartments and lots of cafes in the center.

While we were in the Piazza, a bride and groom were having some photos taken - her gown was beautiful.

We were in the Anfiteatro to meet the Segway rental company.  We had an adventure with six Segways and a special bicycle cab that is built for six!

We rode from the Piazza up to the wall and then drove all the way around the city. Riding the bike is a little tricky - only the people in the four corners can pedal and, even though there are two steering wheels, the one on the left is the only one that controls the cab.

From the wall you have a view over the city and on to the surrounding hills (more like small mountains!).

There are many, many churches within the walls - I have forgotten the exact number but it seems disproportionately high for the size of the city.

Some of the churches have very elaborate facades.

The stones used for the arches alternate in color for a checkerboard effect.  I love to see all of the architectural details and often can find ideas for paper cutting designs from buildings.

The stones and ironwork are fascinating to see and of course I took lots of photos to help me remember some of the ideas.

There are many examples of intricate iron work - this is the base of a lamp post on the wall.

Here is the top of the lamp post with all sorts of fanciful animals set into the curves and swirls.

The wide paved area on the top of the wall was perfect for riding the Segways.  It was the first time most of us had tried this and it was a lot of fun after about a ten minute learning curve.  I definitely want to try it again - maybe in Boston.

I had to laugh when I saw the name of the cycle rental company - I checked a translator and it does have the same meaning as the English word bizarre!

There is always so much to see when you are in another country.  I think the glass holders around the window are for candles but I am not sure when they would be lighted (I am guessing that it would be in connection with some sort of religious festival).  The fleur-de-lis ironwork also caught my eye.

The site in the shop windows are also intriguing - look at all of the yummy flavors of gelato...

I don't know how anyone could walk on the cobblestone streets in these shoes but I am sure that some people try!

The shops have lovely displays and in this one the merchandise spills out from the building into the piazza.

I have taken many photos of the ironwork in the arches over the doors on previous trips so I only took a few this time.  I thought the reflection of the other buildings was very pretty in this photo.

When we returned to the States, I had a fairly major bout of jet lag and I decided the best way to get over it was to take it easy for a few days.  Some packages arrived while I was gone and today I will be trying out some of these recent purchases, including lots of punches.

So what's new with you?  What sort of projects are you working on?  Do you decorate for Halloween - a little or a lot?  Do you send Halloween cards (I make them but hardly ever send them!).

I have a few surprises planned for next week.  I hope you have a great weekend!

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  1. So glad you are back home and very happy that yall had a great time. It's so wonderful to spend time with great friends and I know you enjoyed it.....BUT I MISSED YOU!
    MCF Mimi

  2. Hi Diane, I missed you too! I am glad to hear you took some time off and had a wonderful trip. The pics are really nice. I have seen so much of the world through your eyes! Thanks. I really like Halloween and decorate some. I don't get any trick or treaters where I live so don't do as much decorating as I used to. October is the month of birthdays and anniversaries in my family so I am making cards! Love it. Happy Friday! Marilyn

  3. Oh my Diane! Thank you for the lovely pics... so glad you had a great week off. Next year marks my 10th anniversary of ''no smoking'' and we are saving up to Italy. I usually decorate fairly a lot for autumn and halloween. I can't wait to see your surprises next week. I don't always get to write to you but I ALWAYS take the time to read your posts. Have a wonderful weekend. I am going away to a weekend crop with my daughter, sister in law, niece and one friend. It should be a blast.

  4. Welcome back. So happy for you and that your trip to Italy was so much fun. Great photos. I missed you and almost picked up the phone last night to see check in. Hugs from Maine.

  5. Glad to have you home safe and sound. Missd your posts BUT you deserve a break! No, I don't decorate at all for Halloween. I'm glad when its over!

  6. Beautiful pictures Diane. I loved the Segway and the Bike cart pics. I am so glad you finally broke your four year daily routine. I have followed your blog the whole time and I know that several times you really stressed over it. I really enjoy reading your blog but don't expect to see if every day. I love Halloween and decorate the house and windows. I do it for the neighbor kids who get a kick out of my lighted windows. I make cards but seldom mail them out.

  7. Oh my, your pictures from Italy are LOVELY! It's clear that you had a great time. I was intrigued to see that, at least in that part of Tuscany, helmets are not required for riding on Segways. I have ridden them twice - it is such a blast! - but out here in California, helmets are required.

    Since my children are grown up and no longer living at home, I don't decorate for Halloween anymore. I also never send Halloween cards, so I don't make them.

    I'm looking forward to seeing your surprises next week!

  8. Hi Diane! Yes I missed you! Jealous of you too. I haven't been to Italy since I was in College and I am dying to go back. Now that my daughter is out of college maybe I can afford it. I just got back from Scrapfest and am enjoying working with the lovely Graphic 45 Ladies Diary paper. Look forward to seeing some new crafting from you.

  9. Missed you terribly; I really look forward to your daily posts. Looks like you had a great time. Welcome back...will be looking for your next project...
    Alla S.


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