I'm BAAAACK! 5 x 5 for Friday: Italy Version

Wow! Where to begin! I've been up since 2 am central time after traveling 20 hours to get home from the beautiful country of Italy and I've already reminisced over our late honeymoon by looking through our pictures. I couldn't pick 5 things to share... there's just too much, so I'm doing a 5 x 5 for Friday hosted by Doodlebugs to share our trip!

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen some similar pictures, but these are all from our actual camera, not my phone. This post will be overloaded with pictures from my trip so if you are looking for teacher stuff... check back another day. :)

5 Things/Places I'll Miss

1) Venice
 It's so beautiful! And the fact that there are no cars (which drivers in Italy are crazy!) was a nice change of pace. 
 Every little alley and turn was so picturesque.

2) Rome
 There's so much to see in Rome! This is the view from the Spanish Steps.
 One major disappointment was that the Trevi Fountain was being renovated. Major bummer.
 We got to tour the Sistine Chapel (no photos allowed) and St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. It was one of the most amazing sights I've seen... so many details and amazing features. 
I loved our time in Rome, but it was the end of our trip and I was so pooped!!
3) Food!
I had my fair share of wine... even my husband got into his red wine (I'm pretty sure he never had a full glass of wine before this trip)
 We had a few optional dinners for our tour and we did them all... best decision! We had 4 course meals and lots of wine for a great price!
 Goll... I wish I could bring this little shop home with me. It had the BEST pesto in my life! So good!

 Gelato. Need I say more? This was the gelato of all gelatos... it came in a brioche bun and was served as breakfast (notice my sleepy eyes still). I'll miss that creamy stuff!

4) Capri and the Gulf of Naples

Capri (also known as the VIP island for all the celebrities that own homes there) was beautiful! We took a boat cruise around the island and even got to jump out and take a "bath" (that is what our local tour manager called it) in the Gulf of Naples! It was so refreshing and I am glad to say that I've gotten to swim in this amazing area!
 We had to do quite the climb to get up there... well worth the view. We rested at the pebble beach afterward enjoying the salty sea smell.

5) Florence
 This was the view from our hotel. Florence has so much history, I could have easily spent more time there.
I loved looking at all the sculptures and statues and our tour guide was fabulous and shared a lot of interesting things (I created a note on my iPhone to keep track of things I wanted to research more about). 

5 Small Stops that I LOVED

1) Portovenere (near La Spezia and Cinque Terre)

We stopped here on our way to Cinque Terre. It was very similar to the 5 lands. I had some amazing food here- the Pesto shop was here and I had it on my pizza. It also had some great scenic views.

I love history, so Pompeii was very interesting. At times it felt a little eerie, especially when we got to view those who preserved due to the ash. I learned a lot about the city of Pompeii thanks to our awesome guide.**Note- there is a picture below that may be disturbing to some.

 It's amazing at how far away Mt. Vesuvius seems but how much damage it did.

3) Sirmione (Near Verona on Lake Garda)
This was probably one of my favorite stops of all. It was small, quaint, yet so beautiful. We got there early in the morning so it was pretty quiet. This is where I had gelato for breakfast. :)

 We had a beautiful cruise on Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy.

4) Leaning Tower of Pisa
The town itself isn't much to see, but of course seeing the iconic tower was fun! It. was. hot! So hot! But I'm glad we made the stop on our way to Rome from La Spezia.
(I did take the tourist photo of holding the tower up, but they didn't turn out that well)

5) Tuscany Country Side
We stopped on our way from Sorrento to Florence (it was our longest stretch on the coach bus) for a tour of a winery and for wine tasting. This also was a highlight of my trip. It was so beautiful and the wine, bread, cheese and jam was SO good!
 We learned about the Chianti wine and got to sample 4 different wines total.

5 Favorite "Tourists Spots"

1) The Statue of David- Florence
It was fascinating to see how big this is... also the fact that certain things don't seem proportionate (his hands for example seemed huge)! This is the original inside the Academy. There is a replica in the original placement. 
2) Gondola Ride- Venice
You've got to do the Gondola Ride when in Venice, right?! 

3)Bridge of Sighs- Venice
I love hearing interesting stories. The Bridge of Sighs has a fascinating story, although as most things, it isn't entirely true. The statement is that this was the bridge that prisoners crossed before going underground forever for the crimes they committed. It's called the Bridge of Sighs because it's the last view they get from the small windows of the beautiful city of Venice.
4) Cinque Terre
I'm sure you've seen the photos of the little colorful towns dotted along the coast of Italy. This is known as Cinque Terre, or 5 lands. We only got to visit 3 of them due to late and not always accurate trains, but they were stunning.
 We watched the sunset in Vernazza.
5) Colosseum- Rome
I loved seeing the Sistine Chapel, Basilica, Roman Forum, and so many other things in Rome, but of course, the Colosseum is a must. Again, the history and stories are so fascinating!
 Again, it was SO hot! We had to dress in a way that we could cover our knees and shoulders for the Vatican later in the day. Scarves were my best friend when in Italy!

5 Things I WON'T Miss
1) Autogrills- these are like rest stops with food... but the food never sounded good to me. We ate here a handful of times when traveling between cities. I'm glad that's over.

2) Unreliable toilets- first, you need to try to find a toilet. Then, you need to figure out if you have to pay to use it or buy something in a store in order to use one. Next, you had to hope that it was a 'normal' toilet- aka- had a seat and wasn't just a hole. And lastly, you crossed your fingers that you could not only find out how to flush it, but that it would flush. Talk about anxiety.

3) Croissants- the smell makes me want to gag now. The breakfasts were supplied for use through the hotels but they served the exact same thing and I'm just really sick of them.

4) Warm "cold" drinks- I'm a little picky when it comes to beverage temps. I typically only drink ice water- it's gotta be ice cold. Most of the time, the bottled water you'd buy was barely cold or not at all. However it was hot while we were there, so I bucked up and managed to find a way to drink it. And the milk at breakfast was always warm. I really appreciate ice and cold fridges back here in the states. :)

5) Long traveling- surprisingly, the time spent on the bus went very fast! We did have long days of traveling to and from though Italy- I'm glad that it all went smoothly, but I'm also glad that part is over. 

5 Things on my To-Do List for This Week
1) Get to my creating to-do list- the new school year is getting closer!
2) Setting up my room- I'm meeting with my team (including our new team member!!) this week and getting into my room to start the process of setting it up for the new year!
3) Moving- we move to our new apartment in the next 2-3 weeks, so I'll be starting the packing process this week.
4) Plan and prepare healthy meals- I kinda had a reality check in Italy. I didn't feel happy looking back at my pictures; I was uncomfortable at times as well. Now that we have all those 4 course meals behind us, all I'm craving are salads. I even ate some foods I never eat at home. Now, their tomatoes are to DIE for in Italy, so fingers crossed I can find some tasty ones at our farmer's market.
5) New computer and car??- I'm getting my new Mac today- this one is about to poop out and I need to update my software so that some of my programs will work. We also are still deciding what to do with my car. We'll see if a new car is in our near future.

Did you survive it all?!? Sorry- I couldn't help myself. I don't blame you if you crapped out 30 pictures ago. ;) I promise I'll be back for sure on Monday with some school stuff for Monday Made It (I missed being out of the blogging world for those 13 days!)



  1. Omg the pictures are amazing! I can only imagine how awesome your trip was. I will have to get back with you when me and my husband are able to go!

  2. Wow! I loved seeing your Italy vacation pictures. My fiancé used to live in Italy, so when I went to visit, we really only stayed in the Rome area. I sure do wish we had adventured beyond that!

    Chianti wine is the best... There are some cheap but YUMMY Chianti's available in the U.S. I guess they're not quite as sought after here :)

    I'm so glad you had a fun trip! Welcome back to reality... and the back-to-school shuffle!

    Going Places in Fourth Grade

  3. Your pictures make me want to go back to Italy! I've been almost all of those places. I don't miss the squatty potties over there, but we have squatty potties here in Korea, and they are awful. Never any toilet paper or soap. We also don't have the yummy Italian food or gelato either.

    Glad you had a great trip!
    Southern Fried Teachin’

  4. Your pictures are beautiful...Loved seeing your trip! I was just in Venice and Rome last month and saw some of the same places, too....and I totally know what you're saying about the Croissant! So over those....thinking if I don't eat any until I go back to Europe that will be just fine! :-) Thanks for sharing!
    BigTime Literacy

  5. Kelli! Oh my gosh! What a dream trip. I visited almost all those places when I was a little girl, but I'd love to go back now with the hubs! Awesomeness! Glad yu are back!
    Teachers Are Terrific!

  6. Looks like an amazing trip! I love Italy too- I was just in Florence and Cinque Terre last year. Haven't been to Capri {more so Positano} since my honeymoon though and hearing you talking about climbing those stairs brought back memories! I was laughing at your list of things you won't miss... very funny!
    Welcome home!

    Crayons and Whimsy

  7. Oh my gosh. I feel like I just went on a tour of Italy. You went to soooo many places there, and the pics are fantastic! I think my favorite is that Lake Garda pic. A lake surrounded my mountains? Whatta dream! I'm so glad you got to go on that trip. Memories forever!

    Teaching Powered by Caffeine

  8. Your pictures are gorgeous! It took me back to my visit to Italy...glad you had such a good time!


  9. It was awesome to follow you on your trip through IG and now seeing all of these pictures and explanations behind them were very awesome!!! Looks like you had such a great time. Thanks for sharing them all. Welcome home.
    Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard

  10. Kelli,
    I LOVE all of your pictures. Is it selfish of me to wish your blog post never ended. I read every single word and looked at all the beautiful places you traveled to. I'm so glad you are home safely though. Your To-Do list looks long and busy. I think I'd need at least a week to recover. XO
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  11. Oh my goodness!!! I so enjoyed looking at all your pictures!! Italy is a huge bucket list for me and the fact that you experienced so much is awesome!!!! I loved reading all of this!!

    A Tall Drink of Water

  12. Thank you for this wonderful blog post! I enjoyed reading every word and looking at every picture... it brought back so many memories of my trip to Italy 11 years ago with my sister!!! I had forgotten about the warm drinking water and having to pay to use the bathroom! That's a bummer that you missed the Trevi Fountain- that was one of my favorite places. However, you got to see so many other cool places!! Pompeii and Cinque Terre are still on my bucket list! I'm glad you had so much fun! Now on to moving, huh? What a busy summer for you!


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