More travel log entries

Three more:

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Two more travel log entries

Two more:

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Posted some more of my Italy travel log

I posted a few more entries about Italy from our May/June trip.

Here’s the complete list so far:

Greve to Barcelona

Getting to the airport

6:00 am Got up after pressing snooze 2 or 3 times
7:00 am Taxi from Villa Vignamaggio to Greve SITA stop
The taxi driver drove to a cafe to get change. When I offered a tip, he refused.
Had to walk down to Caffe Santa Anna to buy SITA tickets.
7:50 am Caught bus from Greve to Firenze
8:50 am Arrived at Firenze SITA station
9:00 am Bus to airport
9:15 am Arrived at Firenze airport

Florence airport

We waited on the wrong line for 1 hour, then switched
Flight scheduled to board at 11:10 am.
We ate at an airport cafe where you have to pay before ordering even though there are no signs or menus. I had an uninspiring proscuitto panino and Nicole had some crappy pastry and a yogurt. There were tall tables and no chairs so we had to eat standing.
11:25 am Still haven’t boarded yet.
12:15 pm flight left
Nicole slept quite a lot and I kept falling asleep while trying to read about Spain.

Barcelona airport

1:40 pm got into Barcelona airport
Took Aerobus (3.60 E x 2 = 7.20 E) to


One thing you should know about Barcelona is that the people here have their own language. Barcelona is part of a region of Spain called Catalonia (Catalunya). The people of this region have a unique culture from the rest of Spain and some of them consider themselves Catalonian first and Spanish second (not unlike the relationship between Sicily and Italy). They have their own language called Catalan and that is the primary language here, although Spanish is widely understood as well. From an outsider’s perspective Catalan sounds like they took Spanish and French and put it in a blender.


  • “Exit” in Spanish is “salida”.
  • “Exit” in French is “sortie”.
  • “Exit” in Catalan is “sortida”.

English and Spanish are widely understood in Barcelona though.

Plaça de Catalunya

and found Hotel Lleó with only slight difficulty orienting ourselves.
At 3:15 pm, we got to our room. While sitting in bed and fiddling around with what I thought was the air conditioning remote control, I discovered that we have adjustable beds.
I drank some water on a bench by Passeig De Gràcia and started sneezing right after, which was odd.

Les Rambles

This is the famous street of Barcelona that all the guidebooks talk about, but we weren’t that impressed.

Plaça Reial

Mercat de la Boquería

An impressive food market although I think the one in Florence was more impressive.

By the harbor

As we were walking along the waterfront looking for dinner, a jogging woman dropped her keys. She had headphones on and couldn’t hear our yells so I picked them up and ran after her and handed them off without either of us stopping. An amusing moment.


8:30 pm Can Majó. Dinner was excellent at this Barcelona restaurant renowned for its seafood.

  • Seafood croquettes
  • Seafood soup
  • Seafood paella (without shells!)
  • Creme Catalan

10:33 pm Waiter forgot the check. Ergh we’ve been waiting over 40 minutes and we just want to get out of here and sleep.
They smoke in restaurants here – how annoying.
10:49 pm done
12:41 am going to bed

San Gimignano and the wedding

Today was the day of the wedding, but we were hoping to squeeze in a quick trip to San Gimignano and make it back in time for the wedding.

After breakfast and after going down and up and down and up we found Jon & Ago in the parking lot. Went up to Jon’s room and tried to use the Treo to book his car rental in Albany but gave up and instead just looked up the phone #’s for Budget Rent-a-car and CapitalOne. I hope that I didn’t rack up too many data charges.

At 12 pm, Ago drove us to San Gimignano, passing through Castellina and Poggibonsi . We got to San Gimignano at 1:00 pm. It was difficult to park there (the public lots were all full), but we lucked out and found somebody leaving a primo spot on the street.

San Gimignano

1:26 pm Leather purse store – Nicole found the leather purse she was looking for and bought it.
1:29 pm Piazza Della Cisterna, Piazza del Duomo
1:32 pm Lunch At RiccaPizza
1:50 pm Bought some postcards
punto panoramica
We skipped Museo Della Tortura (museum of torture)
At 2:25 pm, we left San Gimignano.
At 3:38 pm, we got back to Villa Vignamaggio and had to shower, shave, and get dressed super quick before the wedding at 4 pm.

The Wedding Ceremony

The ceremony was beautiful. Words wouldn’t really do it justice, so here are some photos:

The Wedding Reception

By the pool

By the pool, we had:

  • crostini with pate
  • skewers with bacon and figs
  • bruschetta
  • proscuitto e melone
  • foccacia with tomatoes
  • salami slices

At the dinner table

Our table: Marc, Nicole, Nicci, Craig, Jon, Gill, Caroline, Ago

While handing Gill’s camera back to her, I got the strap caught on my hand and it dropped and hit a glass and the batteries fell into the glass of water. Her camera still worked so I guess it’s ok to stick batteries in water. Later when Allan told us to make sure our glasses were charged for a toast, it had special significance to us and we all laughed.

A kamikaze bug flew into Nicci’s eye and she had the leg stuck in her eye and she had to go to the bathroom to get it out. Another kamikaze bug smacked into my forehead.

The dinner was great and included:

  • zucchini potato thing
  • crepe with pecorino and pears
  • beef with truffle sauce and salad
  • wedding cake
  • homemade chocolate truffles
  • 3 different chiantis
  • grapa


  • Boori (the MC and quite hilarious)
  • Allan (Andy’s brother)
  • Erin’s dad, Ray
  • Andy
  • GG
  • Michael Dean
  • some cousin of Erin’s
  • Sara
  • Anton
  • James

There were many hours of dancing. The music was all courtesy of DJ Erin.

We stayed at the wedding until 3 am and went to sleep around 3:15 am, which was a bit silly considering that we had a flight that morning from Firenze to Barcelona 🙂

Greve and Firenze (Florence)

We met Ago, Jon, and Boory at 8:15am.
Ago drove us (Ago, GG, Boori, Jon, Nicole, and Marc) to Firenze. There was a tense moment as our car and another had a near collision on a blind curve.
We missed our exit on the autostrada and Boory was advocating trying to make a U-turn by the toll station – this looked super dangerous to me and luckily we decided not to do it. Instead we went on and were able to find our way.


In Firenze, we stopped briefly by the Roman door while looking for parking but we ended up parking at Piazzale Michelangelo and taking a few pictures.

Then we walked down to the Ponte Vecchio. GG wanted to wait on a 3 hour line for the Uffizi. Nicole and I had no interest really and were meeting Nicole’s parents at 12 for lunch, hopefully at Il Latini. Jon will try to call my cell phone at 3pm or the disaster plan is that we will meet by the car at Piazzale Michelangelo.
A zany leather salesman was giving Nicole the hard sell on a 140E purse.
We met Nicole’s parents at 11:30am at the Duomo. They told us about their Italian emergency room experience. Nicole’s mom had a small toe infection.


Long, awesome lunch at Il Latini.

  • Pate
  • ricey thing
  • prosciutto e melone
  • penne bolognese
  • ravioli
  • ribollita (Tuscan vegetable and bread soup)
  • stracotto (Italian pot roast, beef in tomato sauce>
  • bistecca fiorentina (gigantic Florentine steak)
  • biscotti
  • panna cotta (literally, “cooked cream”, a custard) with chocolate & strawberry
  • Chianti
  • Vin Santo
  • Muscato – very refreshing
  • We declined limoncello & coffee

The total for 4 was 140 euro plus I left a 30 euro tip because we got so much free alcohol.

Finished at around 2:50


3:03 pm 103-0387 cool fountain on Via Maggio on other side of Arno (D’Oltrarno).
3:20 pm Stopped for water @ Caffe Storico Bianchi near Palazzo Piti.
3:28 Palazzo Pitti
3:43 pm sitting outside ceramic store.

Santa Croce

4:08 pm Nicole and I left Nicole’s parents at Santa Croce. We skipped it since it costs 4 E per person and we already went there on our last trip. We went to leather stores instead. Will meet them between 4:45 & 5.
4:27 pm Jon called to say they were just getting out of the Uffizi. Boori apparently needs to shop for a tux! (he’s in the wedding party along with Andy’s brother). Disaster plan revised to meeting on the Duomo side of the Ponte Vecchio at 6:30.
4:40 pm Nicole and I chilling out in the shade on the steps of Santa Croce.
5:02 pm Nicole’s parents met us outside of Santa Croce. I sent a quick email to my parents.


5:35 pm We had gelato @ Vivoli near Santa Croce.
6:15 pm Farmacia – bought bandaids & insect repellant

Meeting up with the rest of the gang

While walking over to the Ponte Vecchio, we spotted the gang at a restaurant as they were just paying their bill.
We went to a bookstore with an internet point for GG. Then a long walk back up to Piazzale Michalangelo, with a few dead-ends and lots of steps. We were quite sweaty and exhausted. We stopped for bottled water when we got to the top.

Ride back to Greve

The ride back to Greve wasn’t bad. Jon navigated and there were no major mistakes. Boory kept us entertained with question and proverb games.
9:00 pm Got back to our room at Vignamaggio and decided to take showers.
We hung around the pool for a bit before going to bed.