|Ken sporting my backpack...glad I didn't buy a pink one|
|What's the first thing you do in Rome?|
Climb on the statues and act stupid, of course!
|Grappa in your espresso...the Italian way to start the day|
I'm not going to give specifics about this, because it's described in detail in Rick Steve's "Pocket Rome". I'm mentioning it mostly to let you know there truly is something magical about walking through Rome at night; and to advise you to save your money on everything else. This is just my opinion of course, but I really didn't see the point in spending a ton of cash to tour the sights. (made that mistake with the Sistine Chapel, and regretted it) Rome itself IS the sight, and it's all around you. Rome is a great example of the saying, "the best things in life are free", so take advantage of it.
We stayed 7 days in Cortona, which is a very small, quaint, and incredibly old town in the Tuscany area. Again, the town itself is the main attraction, but it only takes a couple days to explore the entire thing. Without a car, you have to get a little creative as to how to spend your time. (although, just sitting in town and drinking wine is a great option)
|Real monks wear Keens|
I scribbled down the directions off of Google, thinking they looked so easy; but it was harder than I thought. (I take for granted being able to stop and ask directions...that didn't work out so well. Did you know they don't speak English in Italy? So weird. ;)) Hopefully these directions will work better for you:
|At the top of Cortona|
3) When the road turns left, keep going straight on the smaller unpaved road. You'll see a sign for a monastery; don't be confused that it's not the right name. It is the one your looking for.
4) Keep walking for about a mile; you'll run right into it.
Non-hike #3) Isola Marroire
If your staying in Cortona, you'll have to take a bus, then a train to Lake Trasimeno, then a ferry to get to this island. This takes a bit of planning...go to the information/tourist office in town and they will help you. This was a day I felt like looking cute; but I'm glad we took my hiking shoes to change into because this is quite a walk. (maybe even a real hike?)
Nobody I asked seemed to think this island was worth going to, but I'm so glad we went anyway. It only takes a couple hours to walk around the whole island and see several very interesting historic sites; we both agreed it was pretty amazing. Not to mention the ferry ride being beautiful and relaxing; I would highly recommend it as a day's excursion.
|A run down castle on the island|
As remarkable and stunning as our trip was thus far, the best is yet to come. The Shangri-La of the hiking world is our next stop. Prepare to be amazed.
To go to Dolomite Hike: http://kellbell-whywouldanyonereadthis.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-dolomites-part-one-hike-to-rifugio.html
|The unbelievable view from our room in Cortona|
To stay there yourself go to