Eurotrip Day 16: Saints and skeletons

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Chianti is views upon views of vineyards and olive trees, green rolling hills dotted with little medieval villages, the smell of grape must in the air. Chianti is also winding roads with treacherous drop offs on each side and Italians who have no fear of the many blind curves and gravel switchbacks.

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Eurotrip Day 15: Feeling Sienese

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We were determined to make our time in Chianti a true rest, but Siena was only 45 minutes away and I didn’t want to pass up the chance to visit this medieval town where St. Catherine fell in love with Christ. Siena and Florence were great medieval rivals until Siena faded into the background with the Plague of 1348. This means Siena’s walled city and winding streets maintain much of their medieval character.

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Eurotrip Day 9: A city of contradictions

And what about Rome? Rome is beautiful, Rome is ugly. Something about this city exacerbates contrasts, incongruities and contradictions, a Levi’s billboard rippling on the facade of a four-hundred-year-old church, a drunk sleeping on the tram in $300 shoes. Four mornings ago I watched a man chat with the baker for five minutes while a half dozen of us waited behind him then climbed into a Mercedes and tear off at fifty miles an hour. As if he had not a single second to spare.

 Anthony Doerr’s Four Seasons in Rome

 

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Our day in Rome started with a walk to the Vatican to see St. Peter’s Square for the first time. It is merely a block away from our AirBnB and it being the main event, we thought we’d start off our trip with a walk over. Out our window, we could hear pilgrims singing in the streets on their way to the Basilica to celebrate this weekend’s anniversary of the charismatic renewal.

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Eurotrip Day 6: Colleges, colleagues, collegiality

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Our friend Hannah said her dad once gave her an important piece of advice: never make any important decisions or evaluate your life the second or third day after crossing time zones. This, my friends, is good advice. We reached our low point this morning. Chris and I were cranky, Christopher got far too little sleep and was crazy, and Therese was up every two hours the night before. There was a barfing at breakfast situation (at home, thankfully) and I reached the point of despairing whether we had done something cruel to our children by bringing them on this trip.

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