Washington, D.C.

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We arrived in Washington D.C. at close to midnight on the 2nd due to being diverted to Boston because of the severe weather here.  We didn’t get to bed until like one o’clock in the morning but we did get up early.  We had breakfast in the hotel.  I had crepes with Nutella.  I wish they had Speculoos.

Our Capitol Tour was at 11:40 so we had to get to the office of Congressman Ron De Santis of Florida by 10:10 am which we did.

Our tour took in the Capitol crypt, Rotunda and Old House chambers.  Later we went to the House Gallery but no photos were allowed.  They  also showed us a film about Congress, the Capitol building and its history.

This is the office of our Congressman, Ron De Santis (R-6th District of Florida).  We arranged our Capitol Tour tickets through his office.  Thanks to Mary and Charlie.

This is the office of our Congressman, Ron De Santis (R-6th District of Florida). We arranged our Capitol Tour tickets through his office. Thanks to Mary and Charlie.

Inside the Capitol Rotunda.  Lots of different tour groups.

Inside the Capitol Rotunda. Lots of different tour groups.

This painting depicts the moment on June 28, 1776, when the first draft of the Declaration of Independence was presented to the Second Continental Congress. This is the first completed painting of four Revolutionary-era scenes that the U.S. Congress commissioned from John Trumbull (1756–1843) in 1817.

This painting depicts the moment on June 28, 1776, when the first draft of the Declaration of Independence was presented to the Second Continental Congress. This is the first completed painting of four Revolutionary-era scenes that the U.S. Congress commissioned from John Trumbull (1756–1843) in 1817.

In the Capitol Rotunda there is this statute of President Ronald Reagan.

In the Capitol Rotunda there is this statute of President Ronald Reagan.

The Capitol of the United States of America.  Makes you proud to be an American especially on July 4th, our Independence Day.

The Capitol of the United States of America. Makes you proud to be an American especially on July 4th, our Independence Day.

After the tour we walked down to the Air and Space Museum which we walked around.  I have been to the one at Dulles and it is much better because it has an SR-71 Blackbird and a complete Space Shuttle.  But they had the Wright Bros. 1902 Glider here.

This is the Wright Brothers glider that flew at Ktty Hawk in 1902.

This is the Wright Brothers glider that flew at Ktty Hawk in 1902.

That evening we had dinner at The Old Ebbitt Grill across from the Treasury Building.

This is Frederick and today, July 4th, we are going to watch some of the parade on Constitution Avenue before we come back and watch France V. Germany and Brazil V. Columbia in the World Cup.

Assisi

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On our way down to Rome for our last day prior to flying to Paris and on to Washington, D.C. we stopped in Assisi to visit the Bascilica of San Francesco where St. Francis of Assisi is buried.  We couldn’t take photos inside the church but it was awesome.  He is my favorite saint and we have statute of him as a fountain on our patio in Florida.  He loved animals and is the patron saint of animals.

View of Assisi after ascending by elevator.  More climbing to come.

View of Assisi after ascending by elevator. More climbing to come.

A street view of Assisi toward the main square.

A street view of Assisi toward the main square.

My favorite stores in all of Italy are the Gelateria with their merengues, ice creams and pastries.  If only we could have more of these in the States.

My favorite stores in all of Italy are the Gelateria with their merengues, ice creams and pastries. If only we could have more of these in the States.

Follow that nun!  She is going to the Basilica.

Follow that nun! She is going to the Basilica.

In front of the Basilica San Francesco where St. Francis of Assisi is buried.  He is my favorite saint because he is the patron of animals.

In front of the Basilica San Francesco where St. Francis of Assisi is buried. He is my favorite saint because he is the patron of animals.

The view below Assisi from the parapet on San Francesco Piazza

The view below Assisi from the parapet on San Francesco Piazza

We also stopped and visited the Temple of Minerva which is now the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.  It was also at one time a Temple to Appolo.

After our visit to the Basilica of San Francesco we came back to the square to visit the Temple of Minerva

After our visit to the Basilica of San Francesco we came back to the square to visit the Temple of Minerva

The beautiful altar of Santa Maria sopra Minvera dedcicated to the famous Dominican Philip Nehri.

The beautiful altar of Santa Maria sopra Minvera dedcicated to the famous Dominican Philip Nehri.

Later in Rome at the Airport Hilton we watched the Belgian v. USA WC game.  I like both teams and wore my Red Devils shorts and USA shirt in support.

For the Belgian v. USA game I wore my Red Devil uniform shorts and my USA shirt.

For the Belgian v. USA game I wore my Red Devil uniform shorts and my USA shirt.

This is Frederick and I am now in Washington, D.C. finally.  We had to stop in Boston on our way here because of very bad weather and lightning.  Today we take a tour of the Capitol and maybe some time at the Air and Space Museum.  Tomorrow we have a special dinner and fireworks watching from our hotel, the Hay Adams, across from the White House.

Glad to be back in the U.S.A.

 

Montecantini, Lucca, Pisa and Gaiole in Chianti

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It has been crazy and a whirlwind trip so far.  But on the 27th of June we left Firenze in a rented car for Montecantini Terme where a friend of my Mom’s lives.  He took us to the little mountain vista town of Montecantini Alto and then we had dinner with his family at his house.

By a wall overlooking Montecantini Terme from Montecantini Alto

By a wall overlooking Montecantini Terme from Montecantini Alto

The main square in Montecantini Alto

The main square in Montecantini Alto

The path from Montecantini Terme to Montecantini Alto.

The path from Montecantini Terme to Montecantini Alto.

At the top of the path to Montecatini Alto is the 14th Station of the Cross.  The pilgrims, each Good Friday make the climb from Montecatini Terme to Alto doing the stations along the way.

At the top of the path to Montecatini Alto is the 14th Station of the Cross. The pilgrims, each Good Friday make the climb from Montecatini Terme to Alto doing the stations along the way.

We stayed at the Grand Hotel & La Pace Spa in Montecantini Terme which was pretty neat.  Great bed and shower.

The next day we drove over to Lucca and Pisa then down to Gaiole in Chianti where we stayed 3 days at the Castello di Spaltenna.  From there we drove down to Siena for a day visit and over to Assisi on our way down to Rome.

St. Peter's Gate entry to the walled city of Lucca.

St. Peter’s Gate entry to the walled city of Lucca.

On the Piazza San Martino in front of the Duomo of San Martino in Lucca.

On the Piazza San Martino in front of the Duomo of San Martino in Lucca.

Here I am in the horse cart doing a tour of all the famous squares, churches and points of interest in Lucca.

Here I am in the horse cart doing a tour of all the famous squares, churches and points of interest in Lucca.

A typical street scene in Lucca.

A typical street scene in Lucca.

Inside the famouse Amphitheater of Lucca which is now a lively square but we were advised not to eat there since it is so touristy.  It was once a colosseum and then centuries later they used the old materials to build the houses and apartments.

Inside the famouse Amphitheater of Lucca which is now a lively square but we were advised not to eat there since it is so touristy. It was once a colosseum and then centuries later they used the old materials to build the houses and apartments.

One of the many towers in Lucca.

One of the many towers in Lucca.

This is the church of Santa Maria Forisportam which in latin means "outside the gate".  It was built in the 12 century to a Romanesque plan. [My Dad is telling me all this].

This is the church of Santa Maria Forisportam which in latin means “outside the gate”. It was built in the 12 century to a Romanesque plan. [My Dad is telling me all this].

The driver of "Hermie" asked me if I wanted to come up and join him on the driver's seat.

The driver of “Hermie” asked me if I wanted to come up and join him on the driver’s seat.

This is the fountain in the Piazza St. Pietro with the church of San Giovanni E Reparata in the background.

This is the fountain in the Piazza St. Pietro with the church of San Giovanni E Reparata in the background.

A door way arch with a beautiful bas relief fresco.

A door way arch with a beautiful bas relief fresco.

Lucca is the birth home of Giacomo Puccini, the great composer of Opera. There is a museum in the square where his house is maintained.

Lucca is the birth home of Giacomo Puccini, the great composer of Opera. There is a museum in the square where his house is maintained.

It is very common in Italy to fill up your drink bottle at the many fountains.

It is very common in Italy to fill up your drink bottle at the many fountains.

The Puccini museum is to the right.

The Puccini museum is to the right.

Down the street to the Church of San Michele in Foro.

Down the street to the Church of San Michele in Foro.

The Church of St. Michele in Foro built by Pope Alexender II in 1070.  It stands where in Roman times there was the city's forum.

The Church of St. Michele in Foro built by Pope Alexender II in 1070. It stands where in Roman times there was the city’s forum.

This is the Temple of the Holy Face which is inside the Duomo of Lucca in Piazza St. Pietro.

This is the Temple of the Holy Face which is inside the Duomo of Lucca in Piazza St. Pietro.

Inside the Duomo of Lucca.

Inside the Duomo of Lucca.

Some of the wall surrounding Lucca.

Some of the wall surrounding Lucca.

I don’t have a lot of time to post more information, so I will just post as many photos with captions that I can.  Assisi will have to wait until I am back in the States.

A quick drive to Pisa before we head off to Gaiole in Chianti.  There is the leaning tower.

A quick drive to Pisa before we head off to Gaiole in Chianti. There is the leaning tower.

This is the church connected to our hotel in Castello di Salptenna in Gaiole in Chianti.  There was a wedding there the day we checked in.

This is the church connected to our hotel in Castello di Salptenna in Gaiole in Chianti. There was a wedding there the day we checked in.

Looking north down the main street in Gaiole in Chianti. That is the church we went to for Sunday Mass in the background.

Looking north down the main street in Gaiole in Chianti. That is the church we went to for Sunday Mass in the background.

This is the main square of Gaiole in Chianti.  Small isn't it?

This is the main square of Gaiole in Chianti. Small isn’t it?

In Gaiole they have installed about 20 modern sculptures all around the little village.  This one is "The Cycloops".

In Gaiole they have installed about 20 modern sculptures all around the little village. This one is “The Cycloops”.

In Gaiole there was a ceramic shop where they hand make any design you want.

In Gaiole there was a ceramic shop where they hand make any design you want.

Ready for Sunday Mass at the church in Gaiole in Chianti

Ready for Sunday Mass at the church in Gaiole in Chianti

Down the walk to the main building and square of the Castello di Spaltenna

Down the walk to the main building and square of the Castello di Spaltenna

Then we have the beautiful city of Siena up on top of a mountain with all the pagentry of the middle ages.

We all bought Contrade or neighborhood scarves.  Mine for the tortoise or Tortuca, my Mom the Pantera or Panther and my Dad the Giraffa or Giraffe.

We all bought Contrade or neighborhood scarves. Mine for the tortoise or Tortuca, my Mom the Pantera or Panther and my Dad the Giraffa or Giraffe.

Flag Waving is a big part of the Siena Palio.  Here two guys are practicing their flag waving to the beat of a drummer you can't see.

Flag Waving is a big part of the Siena Palio. Here two guys are practicing their flag waving to the beat of a drummer you can’t see.

We parked in San Franceso then took the escalators, all five of them, up to Siena.  I am wearing my contrade scarve for the Tortoise neighborhood.

We parked in San Franceso then took the escalators, all five of them, up to Siena. I am wearing my contrade scarve for the Tortoise neighborhood.

This is Frederick and I am waiting to board my flight back to America. No place like it (except maybe Italy:)