Posts Tagged With: sunset

An unexpected surprise-Volterra

Volterra street

Sunset over Volterra
Jim on a Volterra street
Volterra up ahead
View from Volterra, Italy

As my countdown to Italy continues, I am looking back at our first trip

together to Italy in 2006.  We were staying in Siena for a few days, and decided

to rent a Smart car to explore Tuscany.  We headed north to Pisa, and on the way

back, took a route closer to the coast.  We were driving along and saw this town

high in the hills.  We decided to stop and check it out.  Wow, Volterra is a

beautiful little town overlooking Tuscany.  We parked in a garage and started

walking around.   Above the town, we saw a really cool  building and wondered

what it was.  It turned out to be the Medici Fortress, a high-security prison.

I found out later, that on Fridays, a gourmet restaurant inside is open to the

public served by inmates!  It is quite popular, and reservations are required.

But we ate a different restaurant, and it was one of the best meals I had in Italy.

Volterra is known for selling items made of alabaster. Personally, I was not

interested in those souvenirs, even though they had some really nice things.

My favorite part was being able to see the sunset over the hills of Tuscany.

Some of the best things that happen on a trip were never planned!

high security prison in Volterra

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Sunset over the bay

available at etsy.com

When we went to San Diego last fall, the weather was beautiful.  Since it was clear

in San Diego, we were excited to drive up the coast to La Jolla and take some sunset

pictures over the ocean.  That didn’t happen.  We learned a new term that day, “marina layer”.

While its sunny inland, the coast is all cloudy, and kind of depressing!  So we went back to

Jim on the observation deck

the city before the sun set, and got some nice pictures overlooking the bay.

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Sunset San Diego

available on etsy.com

Last year my husband took a business trip to San Diego.  He wanted me to join him for the weekend

after the meetings.  I kept an eye out for air fare sales and really lucked out when I found  dirt cheap

tickets.  If you are not subscribed to http://www.airfarewatchdog.com, I highly recommend it.  You put

in what cities you want to fly, and they send you emails when regular fares fall.  Neither one of us had

ever been to San Diego, but heard it was beautiful.  One night we went across the bay to Coronado Island.

We timed it so we could catch the reflection of the sunset in the buildings of the city.  Afterwards, we

ate at http://www.ilfornaio.com/.  OMG…the best pasta I ever tasted!  You could tell it was homemade.

I really enjoyed my meal there.  I also recommend that.  If you like the photo I took, you can also see it at

etsy.com.

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Packing for your trip? Here’s what I learned to lighten the load

hubby and me at sunset, Edisto Beach, SC

In my travel experiences, I have come a long way in terms of packing for a vacation.  My first 10- day trip to Europe consisted

of a giant wheeled suitcase with everything but the kitchen sink! This irritated many strangers as they had to help me hoist it onto trains, buses, and boats!

Since then, with luggage fees and a lost suitcase, I have

learned how to whittle everything down to one carry-on.  Now these have been for no more than a 4-day weekend, but I am

challenging myself this fall when we take a 10-day trip to Italy with only a carry-on.  My husband and I will have the smaller

wheeled suitcases they allow on board, along with a small backpack for me, and our camera equipment backpack for him.

I think the key is renting places with washing machines!  But here are some of my tips:

1.  Travel in warm weather, you wear less, so you pack less.

2.  As stated above, rent apartments with washing machines.  If that is not possible, your clothes can be hand-washed in the bathroom sink.

We have done this, and bought a clothes line with a sink stopper from Magellan’s to hang our wet clothes on besides chairs or whatever.

You can also get soap sheets, or pack some dry detergent with you.

3. If you do choose to wash your clothes in the room and you don’t have access to or want to pay to dry your clothes at a laundry mat with

a dryer, you will need wrinkle-free, quick dry clothes.  Buy socks that are not 100% cotton, not only do they dry overnight, they keep

you from getting blisters if you walk a lot since they don’t get moist and rub against your feet.  Some places to get some nice travel clothes

are Magellan’s as mentioned above, Patagonia ,Athleta, and REI.  I have found some really cute dresses at the last two places that you can wear

anytime! Now these are not cheap.  I have had to save money for a couple months to get clothes, which is fine, if you know far in advance

where you are going.

4.  Some awesome packing aids are packing cubes, which really help condense things like underwear, or those air compression bags you squeeze the

air out of (without a vacuum).  I have seen these at Target and The Container Store.  I love these!  You can really compress your

clothes down, and have room for new stuff when you go shopping!

5.  If I know I am only going to hand-wash items, I really don’t want to wash my underwear because I feel like that is not clean enough.

I have bought cheap packages of underwear, rolled them up tight into a zip-loc bag, and then thrown away a pair every day so

I am not carrying around dirty underwear.  That’s just my preference, I am sure most people wouldn’t care 🙂

6. For the few outfits you will bring, make sure all the colors match, so you can wear any top and bottom together. Or just wear dresses.

7.  If you don’t want to bring socks and tennis shoes, or sneakers, get some good walking sandals and wear those the whole

time.  A good walking sandal that I found is Merrell brand.  I know REI sells these as well as individual stores, and online.

I have some that I have walked several miles around Chicago for 3 days straight, and they never bothered me.

8. Now how about those pesky airline restrictions on liquids in your carry-on?

*Instead of bringing a travel bottle of your facial cleanser, I use those Dove facial cloths that activate when you wet them.

They free up space in my quart bag, and exfoliate everyday that I use them.

*Some things you only use a tiny bit of, like eye cream.  Even that small jar is too big to take with you.  Go to a

cosmetic counter like Bare Minerals, and ask for a sample of something.  Those tiny plastic containers they give

you are perfect for eye cream or some makeup you will use a little of.

*If you are traveling with someone who does not need all the space in their little quart bag, put some of your

stuff in their bag!

9.  Do you really need your hairdryer?  Most places provide one, but if not, wash you hair at night and let it air-dry

and just wear it in a pony tail or braids while on vacation.  If you do it this way, you may be able to cut down on

your liquid items as you may not need to pack hairspray, leave-in conditioner, or styling gel.

10. I know there are tons of tips I don’t know about.  What are yours?

Categories: Beach, Chicago, fun pics, London, New York, Paris, Switzerland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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