In 2017 our Holiday Travels took us to three places. They were Italy, The Czech Republic and Holland. I have a new love of traveling light so it felt great to pack everything I needed into my carry on bag so I didn't have to check a suitcase!
After four long flights (the painful part of traveling to Europe), we arrived in Florence, Italy where we were reunited with my friend Lynsay and her family whom we love to travel with.
Lynsay was also a 2017 Global Top 100 Stampin' Up! demonstrator which is why she was also blessed to receive one of these adorable suitcases.
We stayed in Tuscany in a beautiful refurbished farmhouse about 40 minutes outside of Florence. Since it took more than 24 hours to get to Italy it was great to arrive at such a beautiful location that we would call home for the next few days.
There are so many things I love about exploring Italy. We went on private guided tours through the most beautiful museums hearing stories about the artists and the history of Florence.
One of our favorite museums during this visit was the the Uffizi Gallery which is one of the oldest museums in the world.
The museum is housed in a vast 16th century palace and is a must see for any art lover because its contains so many incredible masterpieces.
The Doni Tondo pained by Michelangelo was one of the favorite things I saw at the museum because of the bright colors and incredible details. It looked especially beautiful being displayed on this red wall too.
I loved hearing the story about how Michelangelo negotiated this sale when the person who commissioned the art tried to pay him less that originally planned. That was a huge mistake because Michelangelo ended up only releasing the painting to him when he paid 3 times the original agreement.
Even outside the museums there are priceless works of art everywhere. I really enjoy seeing Derek so happy as he learns more about art and history one of his passions.
Florence by night was amazing. Do you see that dome behind us? Since I was with Lynsay you know what we HAD to do right? Just like our trek around Mont Blanc there was no elevator so we climbed up to the top.
It was worth the effort to climb the 463 steps because there was a beautiful view from the top of the city.
It was magical at this time to be in Florence. I loved all the lights and holiday decorations.
I loved seeing all the beautifully decorated Christmas trees around the city too! The way the lights were strung on the trees was spectacular!
Two of the things I was anxious to do in Florence to eat and go shopping! Unlike Derek, the later is one of my passions.
Florence is the place to buy Italian Leather. So Lynsay knew just the right shop from a previous trip. We enjoyed trying on several jackets in many different colors. We forgot to take a photo of the ones we bought but looking at this picture these would have been good choices too!
The food in Italy is incredible and we really enjoyed the experience of relaxed dining with amazing service.
Everything was made with the freshest ingredients and served with pride from the most entertaining waiters and restaurant owners I've ever encountered in my life.
We spent a day exploring Sienna. Although it was a little chilly out, the skies were blue and it was a beautiful day to explore this wonderful city.
While in Siena we visited the Siena Cathedral. It was an amazing sight!
We also discovered the Nannina bakery. As we passed by Derek mentioned he had read about it. It opened in 1943, so we had to go in.
We enjoyed warm cappuccinos and trying these amazing almond cookies.
These cookies were so good, we tried both the white and dark ones and couldn't decide which was better because they were both so delicious. I wish I had the recipe as I would love to make these at home. If this bakery offered shipping, I'd be ordering a box right now.
Of course when we travel with the Mahon's its kind of a tradition to eat gelato as much as we can. So Lynsay got a little excited when we turned the corner on our last night in Florence to discover Amorino, one of our favorites.
I tried something new. It was a hot chocolate with hazelnut gelato and whipped cream. Perfect for a chilly winter night in Florence.
It was very good. Very, very, very good. I'm glad we don't have an Amorino in Hawaii or I'd be driving there right now to have another. However, if Amorino wanted to come to Hawaii, well I wouldn't complain, I'd just have to work on my self control.
Italy was just as fabulous as I expected it to be. Some of the best times we had during our time in Italy were just at the house, enjoying meals together, playing games like uno, talking for hours and enjoying our early espressos.
I just loved the opportunity we had to revisit a city we had hoped to return to. Since Derek has been so busy at work it was also wonderful to just have quality time with him doing something we love to do together, travel.
Cappucino "Cheers" to this beautiful country and the opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones and friends.
We say "aloha" to this beautiful country for now, with hopes to return one day soon.
Our next stop was Prauge, a first for both of our families. This is where we rang in the New Year. I'll share a little bit about that amazing experience in an upcoming post.
Until then, Arrivederci