Thursday, September 17, 2015

My Golden Birthday Excursion

So there will be many posts to come and I will explain more about the trip, but I realized that it has been nearly two weeks since I returned home and there is not a single photo up.  So, I wanted to remedy that and post a brief synopsis. (As I said, I will be expounding on these experiences in the future.)

We started our journey in Chicago, waiting at the airport to board a plane to New Jersey.

When we arrived, we made our way to our hotel, the Excelsior Hotel, where I was pleasantly surprised to find a farmers market lining the streets right in front. 

Let me briefly say that everything I thought about New York was wrong.  I thought it was filthy and unsafe, and most importantly I thought I wouldn't like it.  I couldn't have been more pleased with my first experience in The Big Apple.  I saw Times Square, Central Park, The Empire State Building, The Flat Iron Building, Washington Square Park and so much more... but here are just a few pics from my time in New York.


When we left New York, we had wished we would have had 
more time to spend in the city, 
but our unwavering excitement for Italy remained.   

Arriving in Milan was interesting because we had  no idea what to expect, and I can say that it was possibly the smallest airport Ive ever flown into.  Nearly as soon as I de-boarded the plane a sense of complete dread came over me, I knew exactly what this dread was... here we were in Italy and I didn't know how to speak two sentences of Italian together.  This is when I realized that I will definitely learn more of the native language of any place I go in the future.  

Tired and crabby mom and I managed to get our bags and our rental car, which was an adventure all its own.   And we began to make our way to Tuscany, onward to the Hotel Sovestro.

I can't describe all of what we saw in Italy succinctly, so let me just say the two things about this trip that surprised me most, and I will post a few photo highlights.  1) Italian driving is crazy and I was surprised that for having never travelled outside the North American continent, my mother did a fabulous job dealing with the stress of driving here.  

2) Tuscany was even more beautiful than I imagined.

Our view from our hotel, I was watching the sunrise our first morning there.

 Vineyards lined the pathways to San Gimignano
The famous Duomo of Florence

There are churches everywhere in Florence.

A Street inside Montalcino
We celebrated my birthday in Montepulciano

More to come...