Tuesday, August 25, 2009


This is the view from where we parked - the Piazzale Michaelangelo - nice eh? And we found yet another David. Florence is a beautiful city -


"No Harleys Allowed" - or so it seems - look at all the scooters! Anyway - we did some shopping and browsing on the way back to the car - bought a great pink leather purse -


We walked the streets some more and arrived here - the Piazza della Signoria where the building in the picture -the Palazzo Vecchio- is located. Here is David number 2 - just below and to the right of the flags on the building. This is where the original David stood until 1873. The old palace still fulfills its original as town hall. It was completed in 1322 when a huge bell, used to call citizens to meetings or warn of fire,flood, or enemy attack, was hauled up to the top of the imposing bell tower.


Just outside of the main entrance sits the Duomo's Baptistry. Lorenzo Ghiberti's famous bronze Baptistry doors were commissioned in 1401 to mark the city's deliverance from the plague. Jake is next to one of the panels depicting the Fall of Jericho. They are so detailed - these are copies though - as the original doors have been put in a museum for their safekeeping.


From the Galleria we walked thru the maze of streets to the Duomo - Santa Maria del Fiore. This cathedral is Europe's fourth largest church. The exterior of it is richly decorated with white,green, and pink Tuscan marble and reliefs. Brunelleschi's dome, finished in 1463 was the largest of its time to be built without scaffolding. The Last Judgement frescoes (1574-1474) by Vasari are amazing to view -


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Today -we all got in the truck early and drove to Florence - we had a date with David. I had bought our tickets weeks earlier so we did not have to wait in line. They don't allow cameras but we couldn't resist. Michaelangelo's David is housed in the Galleria dell'Accademia - the Academy of Fine Arts. David stands at colossal 17ft. tall. It is the biblical hero David who killed the giant Goliath. It really is a masterpiece. Michaelangelo sculpted David at the age of 29.


We stayed on the beach all day - Scott and I walked to a small store store and grabbed some lunch for all of us and we dined at the beach on some fresh Capicola and cheese, fruits and drinks - and even some gelato.


What a great time! Swimming in the Mediterranean - awesome! The water felt great!


Getting chairs and an umbrella in May was easy - later in the summer - this would have been nearly impossible. It was really great - they assign you your chairs because many of them are owned by season passes and cannot be rented by the day. So - we just followed the walkway down to the sea-


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Today was our day to relax - in the Med! Our town of Camaiore is very close to the beach so we enjoyed a day at the Lido di Camaiore - and got some chairs at ARGO.

Friday, June 20, 2008

We left Pisa and drove north to the town of Camaiore where we checked in to our lovely inn - Locanda Le Monache. The Le Monache Inn, that takes its name from a monastery of Carmelite cloistered nuns (1590 -1901) that was located in the adjoining building, is in the heart of Camaiore's historical centre.The Inn was opened in 1923 and was a place where travellers and rovers could rest.The building has recently been renovated by the Bertozzi's who have always run this business and who have have been handing down the art of hospitality for 4 generations.This was the view from our window - the town square, where earlier this day - one of the stages of the Giro d'Itlalia took place.


The tower is 183 feet high - 8 stories tall. I suppose this is why Galileo conducted his experiments on the velocity of falling objects from here - it's a great drop! (Side note - CRAZY that we are standing where Galileo did hundreds of years ago, I love Europe).The lean in 1995 was 17ft 6 inches from vertical. It has been worked on in recent years and the lean has been decreased by 19 inches. It was a beautiful view, well worth the climb.


Two views from the top- the kids with Pisa in the background and the other is of the Duomo and the Baptistry. It was really strange at first walking on the top along the edge that is leaning.


The first picture is of one of the seven bells in the belfry, tuned to musical scale. The narrow steps in the next picture are the final steps that lead to the top of the tower. The last picture gives a good view of the open belfry.


The Tower of Pisa is the bell tower of the Cathedral - pictured in the background. Begun in 1173 on sandy silt subsoil, the Leaning Tower (Torre Pendente) started to tilt even before the third level was finished in 1274. Despite the shallow foundations, construction continued and it was completed in 1350. The top can be reached by climbing the 294 steps which rise in the form of a spiral on the inner side of the tower walls. It was a climb!


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

We all hopped in the truck this morning, left Vicenza and drove across Italy to Tuscany. Before going to the town where we will be staying, we made a pit stop in Pisa. There is not much to see in Pisa except for - of course - the Leaning Tower. Although, it was fun and scenic driving there - we missed the correct exit off the Autostrada, which meant I had the pleasure of driving through the city of Pisa to get to the Tower. Wow - that was a serious test of skill with the Expedition on those NARROW roads. We made it though and had a little time for some fun pictures before our ticketed time to climb the tower.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Another fabulous day in Venice! We ate some pizza at a place that we have eaten at before and the kids loved it - called Ae Oche, (www.aeoche.it). After dinner we drove back to Vicenza to get ready for more travelling tomorrow. Ciao Venezia!


While shopping we went into a few of the glass factories and watched the show! It is amazing to watch them make things so effortlessly and quickly from the molten glass. While on Murano we found a little cafe to eat some lunch and have a beverage or two -


Time for some shopping on the island of Murano!


During our last visit to Venice, this was covered up undergoing cleaning. It is the Torre dell'Orologio on the north side of the piazza. This richly decorated clock was built in the late 15th century. The face of the clock displays the phases of the moon and the signs of the zodiac. According to a gruesome local legend, once the clock was completed, the two inventors of the complex mechanism had their eyes gouged out to prevent them from ever duplicating the clock. The gilt and blue enamel face are beautiful. On the upper level, the winged lion of St. Mark stands guard. At the very top there are 2 huge bronze figures, known as the Mori, or Moors, that strike the bell on the hour - which we happened to view from the top of the clock tower!

Our visit would not be complete without feeding the kids' feathered friends!


This one of the lagoon -

Besides being used to aid those on boats, during the Middle Ages, the tower took on a less benevolent role - when offenders were imprisoned in a cage that hung near the summit.

Thankfully today,it only tells the time and allows us tourists a great view.


It offers stunning views from the top - this one is of Piazza San Marco.


This is where we got off the vaporetto - San Marco's of course! Scott and I took the kids up the Campanile(clock tower) in the picture while grandma and grandpa went inside the church. This tower is not the original - the first was completed in 1173 as a lighthouse to assist navigators on the lagoon. It was from the top that Galileo demonstrated his telescope to Doge Leonardo Dona in 1609. In 1902, with little warning, the foundations gave way and it suddenly collapsed. The new tower was finally opened on April 25, the feast of St. Mark, 1912.


I love looking at all the beautiful old palaces that grace the canal. The one behind the gondolier is my favorite - look at the details on it.


Monday, May 21,2007

Ta-dah - Back in Venice! This morning we got up and drove a quick 30 minutes over to Venezia! We hopped on a vaporetto and went up the Grand Canal. We all just love this city - it's Kaitlyn and Jake's favorite European city.


The kids had fun too - chasing the peacock around the vineyard. From here we went into town and had a delicious dinner.

Apparently the winery was already closed but the gentlemen was very kind to let us taste and buy some wine. He spoke no English but we understood each other with no problems! We tasted a few from the vats. Scott and I bought a case of their yummy Marzemino.


We arrived in Italy, checked into our rooms on post in Vicenza, Italy. From there we followed a map (written/drawn by our neighbors) to a great little winery - Muraro - nearby. It was a little tricky to find but well worth it!


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Liechtenstein for lunch anyone?

We set out early this morning for our week long trip to Italy. The last big trip for the Meiers! We hit one more country along the way - the Principality of Liechtenstein. We had lunch in Vaduz - just below the Prince's castle (in the picture). Very friendly place to stop - even got the passports stamped! Next stop - Italy!

Friday, July 06, 2007


After exploring the Hatten site, we drove along the Maginot Line for a while. It was cool riding along these winding country roads and then off to the right or left you would see the forts in the hillside. We grabbed some lunch near the border and then headed for home.


Here's Jake and Grandpa looking at some of the vehicles.


Here's Jake on top of the fort. It was really cool exploring the area. On this site they have lots of old planes, vehicles and a room full of old Nazi propaganda. Here is a link to the Hatten official website:



This diagram shows how the fort was set-up and divided into various rooms.


Located 35 miles (50 km) north of Strasbourg and 25 miles (40 km) west of Karlsruhe, the "Abri" (shelter) is an underground barracks. Built in 1930, the "ouvrage" offered all the facilities needed to feed and accommodates a company of soldiers during war-time: dorms, toilets and showers, a well, a boiler room, an engine room, protection against poison gas, close defence.French troops occupied the "Abri" from 1936 to 1940.The "Abri" is a subterranean fort, built into the slope and invisible from the surface. The two thick armored doors piercing its massive blank 60 meter-long exposed face were covered by four machine gun positions. The diamond ditch, or moat, designed to collect the blocks of concrete splintering off the facade in case of a bombing attack, created an additional obstacle. Other standard features include two half-caponnieres (machine gun positions at moat level) equipped with crenels supplying close defensive fires and tubes for ejecting grenades into the ditch. Two GFM (Lookout and Machine Gun) "cloches" (cupolas) located on top of the structure served as observation and defensive positions. The fort was equipped with an antenna for radio transmissions.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Today we all went out to France to explore the city of Hatten and the Maginot Line. Scott rode out on his Harley and I followed with mom and dad in the car.

And here are the kids with their fabulous teacher - Georgiana Vidican-Teohari. We are going to really miss her!


A few shots after the concert -


There were 22 students that performed at the concert. Grandma and Grandpa Talluto were even able to attend! They had gotten into Germany the day before for a visit.

And here is Kaitlyn:

Go ahead - have listen to concert!!


Kaitlyn performed three songs: The Musette, The March (from the Nutcracker Suite)by Tchaikovsky, and Jagerchord. She was just wonderful!


Friday, May 18, 2007

Today, the kids had their piano concert at our chapel on post. They both played beautifully! We are really going to miss our teacher. Georgiana has been wonderful! Jake played five songs this time: Shooting the Rapids, Sailing, Olympic Games, The Tarantella and Romanian Rhapsody.

Friday, May 18, 2007


We had a fun time exploring the windmills. Then it was back to Mannheim. We did stop in Nijmegen hoping to find some memorial or something to the 82nd, but we saw nothing and kept on trucking. Another great trip and another country visited.

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