Monday, December 31, 2012

Bonne Annee!!! (Happy New Year)

We spent the afternoon on the Montmartre hill in Paris and had lunch (or dinner not sure) in the cutest cafe.

Xan gets a gummy worm every time he smiles for a picture and he was in a picture taking mood today (or a gummy worm mood). He asked to "cheese" for me a lot today.

And lastly, we rang in the new year right next to the Eiffel Tower. It's a good thing that our apartment is so close. It started pouring rain at about 10 pm and we where able to hide out there until about 11:55. We braved the rain and took the 3 minute walk to the tower. At midnight the whole Eiffel Tower started to sparkle. People shot off fireworks all around us. It was a great evening.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Chase me B!!

Xan was on the move today. He spent a lot of the day either chasing Brittany or getting her to chase him. I just hope he sleeps well tonight.

Xan chased her all around Versailles and down the street in Paris.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Rodin, Monet and Renoir

It was a day of culture today in Paris. We visited the Rodin and d'Orsay museums for a little sculpture and impressionists. To balance that out we had dinner at McDonald's.

Rounding out the day we climbed the Arc de Triomphe and strolled down the Champs-Élysées.

Friday, December 28, 2012

674 steps + 40 extra pounds

Despite the fact that we all slept till noon, we saw Notre-dame cathedral, Medieval Paris, Sainte Chapelle Chapel, Palais de Justice, La Conciergerie, and the Louvre. And since our apartment is right next to the Eiffel Tower we threw in a night time visit there too. To cap off the evening, we had a very Parisian 11 pm dinner.

After a very busy day, Grant still had the energy to carry Xan up all 674 steps of the Eiffel Tower (after that point, everyone is required to take the elevator). I think the ticket taker, that laughed at Grant (with Xan in the backpack) as we entered the stair well, fueled him on.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

We have arrived in the City of Lights

I have to brag on Xan. He did so well, like an old pro, on the flight over to Paris. He played with trains, watched movies and finally fell asleep 5 minutes before landing.

On our first day in Paris, we walked around to take in the city's unique atmosphere and festive holiday spirit before making an early night. We had been awake for more than 24 hours by this time.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Cinque Terra

It's difficult to describe the 5 towns that make up Cinque Terra. They are unlike anything I have ever seen before. Tiny winding street surrounded by colorful block houses that staircase up the mountain. These towns are a slice of Italian life now gone in many places.

(Xan slept through the whole dinner. Our waiter brought over a mat for him)

We stopped at a tiny market and bought fruit and locally made cheese for a snack.

It's all about the gelato

We have set a 2 gelato per day minimum and Xan has joined right in. Grants says since he is carrying Xan on his back most of the day, he needs the extra calories.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Which ninja turtle?

During this tour of Italy we will see several great works of art. Today was a Leonardo day (not to be confused with the Michealanego works we will see on a later day). Grant spent a lot of today humming the teenage mutant ninja turtle theme song.
Today we visited Leonardo di Vinci's painting "The Last Supper". Access is very controlled with only 25 people for 15 minutes in the room. We had to past through 2 temperature controlled, sealed chambers before reaching the painting. One of the big rules is no photography. Of course, Grant took that as a challenge and that is how we have the picture above. The first the Xan yells upon seeing the painting is, "Mommy, there is not a lion. Where is the lion?" Who knows where that came from.

You can't visit Milan without seeing the Cathedral there. It was so beautiful. I will let the pictures show you.

Xan speaks Italian.........or he thinks he does. Since I don't speak Italian, I can only assume. Grant and Mom where talking with an couple in a train station (mostly in Italian with a little English thrown in) when Xan leaned into the conversation and started babbling nonsense phrases. I guess that's what it sounded like to him.
Xan got another chance to practice when he joined in an impromptu drum concert in the park.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Beautiful, Rainy Como

I now get it. I understand why people rave about the Lake Como region. We visited on a dreary, rainy day and it was still beautiful.

We rode a funicular from Como to Brunate to get a mountaintop view of the area. Xan loved the ride up but was so exhausted by the days events, he slept through the ride down and our first Italian dinner. By the way, the view was incredible even through the mist and fog.