Casa San Marco – Cortona, Italy

OMG this place is out of my dreams!  I love the rustic house, the eclectic decor, it has been a great start in our trip to Italy.  With the easy passage through customs in Rome to our 2-hour transit via car to Cortona – Enzo our driver was spectacular in a very Italian fashion.  Who would have thought that lanes in the road would be “suggestions”.  Ending in a very harrowing trip up a mountain on the very edge, so frightful for me that I had to close my eyes, breathe deep and trust the process (something I have come to practice on a nearly daily basis).  The house is spectacular – I could spend a lifetime here – although I know my fabulous husband probably would need a floor to himself to go more modern or mid-twentieth century – I am in total awe and appreciation for the antique furniture and homey feel of the place.  Each bedroom was more amazing and fun than the first.  Ours has a great door to the veranda looking out over the town.  I very much look forward to the coming days and adventures.

When I packed and planned for this trip, I included enough work out gear to get me through 2 weeks.  I am now very happy I spent so much time in the hotel gym in London.  I’m extremely tempted to spend my days in wine, food and relaxation.  One week won’t make much of a difference.   I’ll survive.

More pictures to be shared in the coming days, for a quick glance into our initial time as friends sharing laughs and wine, check out Norman’s site (also blogging our vacation) and enjoy!  We broke open the uber-magnum of wine.  I think between the 7 of us, it may be near polished off by the end of tomorrow.  I look forward to exploring the town more tomorrow.

This is a well deserved, much-needed, and exciting vacation ahead!


Winding down…

In the last 52 hours I’ve….

  • Walked past Buckingham Palace, down St James’ Park, Big Ben, Scotland Yard and Parliament, back to the hotel for the evening.


  • Walked to Harrods, got goods in the arcade and Padding Books for the kid
  • Then walked to the Victoria & Albert, spent time in a whole floor of silver, jewelry and other artifacts…left there and walked
  • To Piccadilly, which I found so very tourist that we only went to Hamley’s to get a Paddington Bear to go with the books (for the kid)…and walked back to…
  • Our Hotel.  Then met up with some co-workers for a drink.  Then slept.  Hard!
  • Today we took a long quiet morning, cabbed it to our lunch at River Café – fun to see the neighborhoods via taxi…
  • Afterwards we walked to the tube, and scooted over to the Tate Modern, toured that whole thing.  Walked…..
  • Down Thames walkway, past the London Eye (more tourist craziness), across Westminster Bridge, past Westminster, down around neighborhoods and back to our hotel


That was just over 2 days and guess-timating 15 miles?  At least Norman thinks so.  My tight calves and aching feet seem to agree.

It’s been a great time in London.  A good first visit.  I often forget what a “real” city is like after living in Seattle for so long (no offense Seattle, I love my home neighborhood!)  I am looking forward to a more relaxed week in Italy with friends, food, wine, bread, wine, food, maybe some exercise, more wine….

Here’s Happy Jen at the River Café for lunch today, don’t I look relaxed?


London–Day One

We are finally here!  That 6 hour lay over in Phoenix made the trip feel extra long.  I will rub it in one more time that the perks of Business Class tickets made it oh-so enjoyable.  Particularly with the seat reclining flat.  Regardless of me crunching up my Kindle like a piece of paper when reclining my seat.  What a crappy mistake that was…(just a mistake)

I won’t even complain about the hour it took to get through the border because there was only ONE agent working on a Wednesday afternoon.  It was also an entertaining trip in from Heathrow, trying to read street maps and going in circles.  Just to find we were closer than we thought.

We took a walk past Buckingham Place, St Johns Park, Scotland Yard, Big Ben – you know, all the favorites.  It was good to be outside in the fresh air and walking after all that time in airports.  Then we had a fantastic meal at Wagamama that someone recommended.  The flavors were just perfect – I ate nearly the whole plate!  Now we are back in our hotel room with a glass of wine and the TV going.  Trying to figure out how we are getting to the villa Saturday night since the last train out of Rome is 6pm, and we arrive at 5:50pm.  ugh!

On the up-side, tomorrow if breakfast, Tate Modern, probably some other good stuff, Norman is working for a few hours, then dinner out! 

I do miss my kiddo terribly!  She seems to be doing well though, keeping busy with Girl Scouts and her Science Expo project (such a proud mom moment, her first Science Expo!)

Good night London, thanks for having us.

Vacation Kick-Off

Trying out WordPress app on my Windows 7 phone! To let you all know posting on this vaca, daily, is one of my goals. I want to capture to adventure, fun and friends. Probably get some pictures in here too.

We are boarding in about 2 hours to our fabulous British Air business class seats. Truly a treat (and a helluva lot airline miles!) So, now contemplating another drink, after finishing up my Bailey’s and coffee.


So stay tuned…

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