Monday, October 22, 2012


  Just a couple teaser pictures from a shoot I did this weekend with this little heart-breaker!

Alex and his beautiful mom

Such a cute little dinosaur!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Rome, Italy

 Last but not least was our stop-off in Rome.  We were in Rome for 4 days.

 As you will, no doubt, notice, I was clearly very interested in the ceilings and architecture of the buildings

 These were all taken in the Vatican Museum

 The ceilings are incredible!

 Leaving the Vatican Museum

 Overlooking Rome

 Lovely sunset from Borghese Park
 The Colosseum, of course
 Again, happy to no longer be bundled up, like in Belgium and France
It's hard to see but that's a kitty sleeping in the Colosseum

 Really cool old fountain from the Palentine Hill area
 More Palentine Hill
 This little guy was stalking a lizard!  And he got it!

 Trevi Fountain, of course

Pretty awesome!

So there are all my photos unedited.  I plan on going through and re-posting them once I've had some time to touch them up.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lake Como, Italy

 We arrived in Lake Como after riding four different trains! 
 Our hostess greeted us with coffee and cookies!  ahhh, the first real cup of coffee all trip!  Do you see the adorable little creamer cup?!  I must find those and buy them

 The house and awesome peak behind it
 Kitty number one
 Lovely sitting area
 looking beyond from the driveway
 Our hostess told us about a once a year wine festival in her home town, about an hour from where we were staying on the lake.  The wine fest is called Morbegno en Cantina, Morbegno being the small town.  She said it was likely we'd be the only tourists as it's a very popular fest for Italian locals.  We decided to hop on the train and try it out.  There were 4 different tasting "packages" you could purchase; 2 were 13 Euros (cheaper wines), one was 22 Euros (a bit better wines including sforzato, which is from that area), and then 35 Euros for the last one. 
 We bought the 22 Euro package as we really wanted to try sforzato; wine made from raisins.  We got a wine glass and a map with all the spots (10 different vineyards). We still had some time to kill before they'd begin serving so we walked around the town for a bit.
 The local vineyards set up in restaurants' wine cellars for the tastings.  At each tasting are cheeses, breads and cured meats!  There were usually 3-5 wines available for tasting from each vineyard.
 Each tasting took place in cellars, as you can see in the pictures
 It was so neat!  And we definitely were the only English speakers.  Many of the wine pourers were happy to try to explain the wines to us in English, however

 We even got to try a 1999 vintage wine!  It was fantastic!
 Here is a view from our balcony; not too bad, eh?
 Since we didn't have a car, we walked down to the center of town.  We followed a path through the fields

 Here's a view from the ferry station in Varenna
 We took the ferry around the lake; to Bellagio and then over to see the Villa Balbianello
 Very cool streets

 The water was so crystal clear

 Yeah, that hotel has a pool floating in the water!
 Here is Villa Balbianello.  You may recognize it from one of the more recent Bond movies; Casino Royale, or a No Doubt music video.

 the views were stunning!

 After visiting Villa Balbianello, we had lunch on the lake.

 this picture doesn't really do it justice, but this is one of the many hills we had to climb to get back up to our place from the center of town.  It was incredibly steep!
 Kitty's waiting for us

 There were three of them; momma, dad and baby!
 Mom doesn't seem too worried about baby on the roof
 They liked hanging around while we read
 Pomegranates grew in the yard, among grapes and lots of olive trees

 This was a fantastic place we found by chance!  We got lunch there for 20 Euro; coffees, gnocchi, pasta dish, and a quesadilla-type sandwich.  I ordered a coffee with cream and the waitress came back to tell me they didn't have cream but that she could put ice cream in my coffee instead...she knows me too well!  Alex got barley coffee; very interesting.  The gnocchi was in a four cheese sauce that was incredible and very fresh.  The quesadilla sandwich I got had ham, fontina, and some other tasty fillings. 

 Our host had some coffee waiting for us when we got back
 Looking down on the courtyard

 Grapes everywhere!

 FAT cat!

I had to include a picture of the bathroom as it was MASSIVE by European standards (even by American standards).  It was nice to have a full-size tub.  On our last night, our host brought us homemade gnocchi and a bottle of prosecco.  The breakfasts she made us were fantastic!  Typical breakfast included the following:  coffee, croissants, various breads with jam, some type of quiche, chocolate tart, tiramisu, yogurt with granola and fresh fruit, etc etc.  It was wonderful!