Hello! Well, goodbyes are always difficult. It has now been 19 glorious days touring, relaxing, eating and enjoying beautiful Italy. Today is our last morning in Florence and we leave for Rome on a mid-day train.
HOTEL SANTA MARIA NOVELLO
Due to some unforeseen circumstances, our rental apartment did not work out and so I found this property by doing a quick search through TripAdvisor and Booking.com. With the help of Stephen, my 20+ year travel agent, I was happy with the unbiased agent's review he shared with us and I immediately booked.
MY LOVELY BEDROOM IN HOTEL SANTA MARIA NOVELLO
I really couldn't have been happier. Hotel Santa Maria Novello is a boutique hotel, which was renovated about ten years ago, but the rooms look much newer than that. It is very quaint in its twisting and turning hallways and mini staircases separating various rooms. There is a wonderful sixth floor rooftop lounge, with amazing views of the city of Florence, along with an elegant dining room serving complementary breakfast daily.
LEAVING HOTEL SANTA MARIA NOVELLO
My room was very stylish and well appointed with an entry sitting area which adjoined two hotel rooms (called a "family room") each with their own bathrooms. I absolutely recommend this charming hotel as it is situated in perfect proximity to all famous Florence sites. The Piazza del Duomo with the Basilica of Santa Maria del Fiore and The Baptistry is a short walk up the street. The Ufizzi Gallery and The Accademia are also within five minutes as well.
VIEW FROM ROOFTOP OF HOTEL SANTA MARIA NOVELLO
WAITING FOR THE TRAIN TO ROME
ON THE ROOFTOP OF HOTEL SANTA MARIA NOVELLO
The train for Rome departed at 12:30, arriving into Rome Terminal at 2pm. The ride went very quickly and we all rested. The kids were pretty tired - it was nice to have a bit of a mellow day prior to going home.
Tonight will be our last in Italy. It's bittersweet, but it will be good to get home and have a week with the kids before they head back to school. We do have some fun things planned for later this week!
Going to take the kids to the hotel pool this evening for an evening swim to end the trip! By the time the Daily posts tomorrow (Monday), I will already be in New York!
Ciao Italy!!! It's been the trip of a lifetime!! -E
London - Day 19
Back in London as of yesterday, and I gotta tell ya that things are not quite working out as planned. Luckily this has been the only location on the entire 3+ week trip that has had it's share of busts! Mostly I think it's because of traveling here is the summer... which is of course "the high season" & it is SUPER DUPER crowded! It's like Times Square on Steroids - but not in just one place - it's like this EVERYWHERE! Another reason for my frustration has to do with the car rental - HUGE HEADACHES! I was so pissed and in disbelief that I was speechless! And if you know me - that is nearly impossible! So as a reminder, once I get back from this trip - I will be writing a very informative article on the dos and don'ts of car hire in Europe! Number one don't for me right now is: DON'T RENT FROM EUROPCAR! (Which handles all of the Alamo, and National customers in Europe).
So enough of that gibberish; We had such a special and fantastic day at Stonehenge yesterday at sunrise! It was EPIC! But my feet FROZE! I swear I couldn't feel my toes!
My new screen saver!
Awesome! Wait until you see some of my other Stonehenge Pics!
Checking out of Ston Easton Park
Exiting a hut (being silly), at Stonehenge.
Once we arrived back to London, we went to Camden Town (a bit on the wild side). Because I was on the hunt for a Vegan Ice Cream shake! And then after driving through massive amounts of traffic and practically into a protest, we ran out of time and went straight to have Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason, who by the way has some very beautifully decorated window displays!
(My Bourbon Toffee Shake!)
Then we have today, and we really took it rather easy...well, not really - but our hands were kinda tied with all the car crap that we had to deal with! After all of that was said and done with. We went to enjoy the sights around the Waterloo Bridge - Big Ben, Westminister Abbey, Millennium Bridge, and go up in the London Eye. We also went back to Trafalger Square, Piccadilly Cirrus, and Oxford Cirrus.
We tried to go have vegan Fish and Chips at an all vegan Pub, and they were only serving a Sunday Roast today :( Disappointed we left, and went to Whole Foods to pick up some snacks, drinks, plus a delish vegan cheese that I found while in Edinburgh! Only to find out that this particular location didn't carry it. UGH. Disappointed I grabbed a juice and left. Luckily Tibits was nearby for us to grab a substitute bite and hold us over until dinner! Food food Food! What a great trip it has been! It's food and travel all rolled into one! My type of vacation!! And exactly 2 days after I get back from this trip we'll be going on another food fest trip in none other than Sunny (HOT) Las Vegas! And then once that is all done with, it'll be time to kick my butt back into fitness gear! Just so ya know...It's all very worth it :)