Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Italian Animal Wednesday

This guy hung around with us most evenings while we were in Lucca. Friendly kitty, not adverse to a bowl of milk or a piece of fish. We didn't know where he went during the day, but was there to great us in the morning and again at night. Nice to have a pet around.
I have over 400 pictures from this trip and my brother must have over 500. I'm waiting to get his, and will then post on Flickr or similar for overall viewing.

We stayed in a villa in Lucca which was at the top of a large high almost mountain - so it was cool at night. This is the view from the outdoor eating/pool/hanging out area. Can you believe this view??? I must have taken 20 pictures of this - in the morning, at dusk etc. We're talking grape vines and olive trees, surrounded by lavender and sage and rosemary plants.

This was the awesome pool - which we spend quite a bit of time in and around. It had underwater viewing windows and I got great shots of my brother and nephew swimming around. They tried to moon me thru the window but I didn't see it (darn).

The house itself had been an abandoned house/barn - which was in such a state of disrepair that I couldn't believe the pictures. It took them 8 years to restore it, with tons of red tape from local bureaucrats - but that's Italy....right?

Again, I took tons of pictures of the house, because it kept changing colors in the different lights. It glowed in the morning light and was cool and calm in the evening. It was wonderful at all times of the day. We slept in the houses but hung out by the pool which had a huge common room with full kitchen and pool table.

This outdoor shower was surrounded by rosemary bushes. You know where I took a shower everyday and maybe more than once a day. I loved this shower.

A row of buildings in Lucca - love the colors.

My sister walking up a street in the city - no cars allowed in this city so we walked or rented bikes to get around or to sight see. The city is surrounded by huge walls, and you can ride on top of them and go all around the city.

Random window seen on our last day in the city - Friday. And when packing up that night to leave early the next day...we found out that my computer had been stolen. Yes sirreee - stolen right from the villa. I had to go to the local Carbinieri office and put in a stolen computer report. Have you ever been in an Italian Police office? It looks just like you'd think - all painted sickly green, with a Cross on the wall, and articles stating what a good police office this is. The officer had more little metals on his chest than a 5 star general. It was just classic. Of course I'll never get it back, and spent the night changing credit card log on numbers - just in case I had them listed on my computer somewhere.

It's always something...but it was just a darn old computer. Hopefully pretty well backed up but we'll also see about that when I get my new one at work.

We left on Saturday morning and drove to Rome but stopped in Siena for a quick visit. The famous horse race, the Palio, had been held the previous day - so the crowds had thinned out and we had a chance to see some of the city with minimal crowds. The flags are flying on this street because this is the section that had won the Palio the previous day. At least I think so, even tho Wikipedia says different...

ALL the streets in this city go up and down, great for the legs but hard in the 90+ degree heat. We stayed in the shade as much as possible....

A view of the roofs as we were leaving - I want to spend more time in this city, it's so beautiful.

We got to Rome that evening, here is a picture of the famous Bernini Trevi Fountain - the "three coins in a fountain" one. I love it, it's a great place to sit and watch Rome go by....

And we stayed in a gorgeous villa on the outer limits of Rome - an amazing place with a Romanian couple who house kept the place. I wanted to move right in - it was that luxurious.

The living room - all marble floors and high ceilings.

Everyone watching the World cup that night

My brother-in-law Abdul came over that night with a home made Afghan feast - which we all love (and love him) He is truly one of the kindest, most honest people I have met in my life. My sister is 14 years older than me, and Abdul is about 12 years older than he's not of my generation but more of an uncle to me in a way. He and Stef got married in 1969 - so it's been a while. (note: my folks got married in 1949, Stef in '69, me in '79 and my brother in '89 - and we didn't plan it that way!)

Here are mom and Jody looking at one of those living statues that are on the street - looking for a bit of a handout. We saw a live statue of liberty, and a sphinx and a few others. I was planning on showing you the statues, as well as some additional famous fountains but blogger has decided that I am at my photo limit for this post - so no go!!

We made sure to hold hands with mom on all the streets - hoping to stave off a face plant. It of us held onto her at all times as she stumbled her way on the cobblestones. She was a good sport, but the heat got to her as it did to us all. I am home, jetlagged, but happy to be home.

Maybe more pictures when I get them from my brother.....

Happy Animal Wednesday!!!

PS: as for KJ's questions...

Did eat non stop? - I tried not to...but it was hard
Did you like Italian men? ah yup...didn't see one that was hard on the eyes.
Did you sketch? - Nope...well maybe once but nope....
Relax? yup - lots
Drink red wine? - mostly white and very little, I'm a lightweight when it comes to wine
What did ms em do - she frolicked in the garden, sniffing the lavender, she tried to look italian, she ate pasta, she slept in, she flirted with cute guys, she bought a gorgeous leather purse.


soulbrush said...

welcome back, what a simply gorgeous place to have a holiday, i love italy, steve lived there with a girlfriend for about 4 years and we visited often, milan and rome, venice, etc. i simply love the streets and those men ain't half bad either! your mom looks wonderful in all the photos.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I can see that you had a marvelous trip. I can't wait to see more photos. Glad you made it backs safe and sound with nothing missing but your computer. Welcome back. HAW too. Isn't it funny how when you return you fall into the same routine and you start wondering were you really on vacation.

studio lolo said...

Oh Mim, I don't think I'd ever leave!! What luxurious accomodations you had, wowee. That villa in Lucca is the best. The afternoon light...I'd never stop painting!

Welcome home. Looking forward to more pics.
Hey, your bro is a cute guy ;)

HAW :)

Robin said...

Mim, your photos are exsquisite - capturing the magical Italian light.... Lucca is ravishing....our beloved (and adorable) Music Director, Nicola Luissoti, has a home there...

I want to be swimming in that pool, showering under that shower...tossing coins in the fountain...(gosh, I DID - but haven't been back in many years).

Love the kitty photo too!

Your Mum looks great - in fact you all do.....a lovely family - in each generation!

Sorry about the computer....but, I had to chuckle at your description of the Policia Station!

Looking forward to more....



♥ Robin ♥

Teri C said...

WOWEE, what a gorgeous place, all those beautiful colors and scenery!! How could you not sketch?!!!
Thanks for sharing all this beauty.

Welcome home!


ElizT said...

Fascinating, Mim, and will make good memories for you.

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

Loved all the photos. What a fantastic place.I hope you show more. Didnt your Hubby go with you? Bummer about your computer..Cant trust anywhere any more. I feel in love with Italy when I read Under the Tuscan Sun. The book, which is so different then the movie. But the movie wasnt bad. :))

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

oops.. thats FELL in love with Italy.. lol

Lynn said...

OMG! What an abundance of beauty. I love those doors! The windows...the roofs...the narrow roads...the walls that change color with the sun...the luxery...the family togetherness...the stories...oy, to lose a computer...but, yes,just a much there to enjoy! Must have been hard to leave it all behind. The art, statues...I want to go too!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Baino said...

OH Mim these are fabulous, can't wait for you to post more. Lucca's definitely on our Tuscan list for September, please email me and let me know where you stayed. We've only booked the fligh to FLorence but no accommodation yet. So happy you had a wonderful time. Great that you had it with family as well.

Katiejane said...

Gosh Mim, what a trip of a lifetime! I can't remember which photos I was going to comment on so I'll just say they all were wonderful. I see what you (and every other artist) mean when you say that your building changes color throughout the day. Amazing light. Thanks for showing and telling.

PAK ART said...

I love KJ's questions and your answers! It looks like a beautiful trip. I love those old tall buildings all so close together and rounded streets. So picturesque, it would be so fun to sit down with watercolors and easel and paint all those scenes!

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Here it is the 21st and I'm just getting back to visit your blog. Oh, the photos made me sigh, the changing colors, the food and the love I heard in your story. What a fine vacation!