My Top Five Trips of 2015

This post is just a look back at my travels during 2015.  I chose my top five trips and a few of my personal favorite photos.  I do believe that Oahu and Vermont made the list only partially because I have friends there and that tends to make vacations more fun!  I will say that Bora Bora / French Polynesia were at the top of my bucket list and I finally made it in February and March 2015.

Lake Garda,  Italy


Ko Olina Oahu Hawaii



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2015 c


Burlington, Vermont


Bora Bora - French Polynesia


 Sorry this is a photo only post.  If you've been following along you've probably seen these photos already.  Thank you for the visit.  Happy new year to all and I hope 2016 is your best year yet! 





Why I Visited Florence Italy Two Times in One Year

Perhaps it seems a little silly that I would visit the same city in Italy in just a little more than a year I actually almost stayed in the exact hotel I had in 2014.  At the last minute I decided to stay in a different location that was closer to the train station as I knew that I would be taking several day trips

When I visited Florence last summer it was very crowded on the streets.  It was wall-to-wall people on some days in some areas.  I was told that November was a very slow time there.  I noticed a slight difference in the amount of people but it was very slight. 

The good thing about my trip was November the weather is quite unpredictable in northern Italy and it did not rain a single day of the ten days I was there.  There were many days that I walked around with short sleeves on as it was close to 70°F.  When you're doing a lot of walking as I do in Italy you warm up pretty quickly, 

I took day trips to Cinque Terre, Rome  as Tuscany .  I left a couple of days open to visit Venice .  The weather, however, in that area of the country looked quite chilly and rainy so I decided not to go.   Although I am glad I saw Rome I would never go on a day trip to such a large area again the same goes for Tuscany.

  If you have been following my blog you know that I have visited Italy a lot and been to several areas.  I would have to say that Tuscany is on the top of my list for places I want to revisit.   I felt my trip to Rome was quite rushed. I did not get to see much of anything.  I did learn that it is a place I would like to visit for a longer period of time and spend at least five days there.  I was afraid of going to Rome as it is such a big city, but I won't be in the future.

   Florence also has pretty easy access to areas such as Tuscany and Cinque Terre.  There are several museums and offers everything a very big city does, but is not nearly as big as Rome.  Here are some of the photos I captured during this visit it is tough to go wrong with the Arno River as the architecture is so beautiful and interesting on each side of it and the sunsets are lovely. 

The Arno River is such a beautiful scene and a great place to have dinner or coffee:

Wandering and searchingAt sunset:

Wandering and searchingHere is the Duomo which is way, way too big to capture in one shot, but it literally took my breath away the first time I saw it!
Wandering and searchingMy hotel had a great view of the Duomo.  Below is a self portrait otherwise known as a selfie:

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Below is a carousel in the middle of town and I was lucky enough to see a couple of princesses riding it!

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Below is a photo of the Santa Maria Novella Cathedral.  I was lucky enough to witness another lovely wedding.

Wandering and searchingThe interior of the cathedral:

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Here is the ceiling of the breakfast room at my hotel.  No wonder I love eating breakfast in Italy which is something I never do at home!
Wandering and searchingMy hotel had a lot of lovely antiques (another self portrait)
Wandering and searchingHere is a lovely coffee shop I stopped in on my last day for a cappuccino.  I was sitting there relaxing after walking for miles when the owner brought me these yummy confections:

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The hospitality never fails to surprise me in Italy!

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog.  Have you ever visited a far away city two times in a short period of time?  I love hearing and reading your comments!  Have a great week. 






My Wonderful Stay at the Hotel Olivi Thermae and Natural Spa on Lake Garda, Italy

I really want to give a nice review to a wonderful hotel I stayed at in Lake Garda.  this hotel is in the area of Sirmione and is called the Hotel Olivi Thermae and Natural Spa.  The views from the rooms were spectacular of the lake and I could see the Scaliger Castle  as well. 

Some of the best things about this hotel where the people who worked.  The employee who worked at the reception desk helped me book my trip to Isola del Garda.  The employees went out of their way to make sure I  was having a good time and was comfortable.  They brought me champagne on my first day as a welcoming gift.  I regret that I didn't take a photo of their presentation on a silver platter.  I decided to not accept as I rarely drink and wanted someone else to enjoy the nice gift. 

The breakfast buffet was spectacular and on Sunday morning they had a piano player who played so beautifully that it brought tears to my eyes.  I would recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Lake Garda.  I will share some photos of this beautiful hotel.  As you can tell from the name there is a spa which I did not use but many other customers said it was spectacular. 

Thank you Hotel Olivi Thermae and Natural Spa for a wonderful stay and vacation!

Here is a view from my balcony at dusk:

BlogThere were many beautiful and healthy looking fruit trees growing on the hotel grounds
BlogThere were mature grapes all over the premises!

BlogThere was a gorgeous outdoor dining area:

BlogThe view of the sunsets over the lake were spectacular:
Here are a couple of photos of yours truly.  I'm standing on my personal balcony.  As you can see the pool area is very spacious and attractive.  There is a restaurant that serves a full menu and drinks all day.
BlogYou could easily see Scaliger Castle from my balcony:

Here area few photos of the lovely town of Sirmione which is a just a few minutes walk from the hotel:

BlogThe spectacular Scaliger Castle was only a 10 minute walk away as well:


One night when I was eating at this hotel's restaurant I told the waiter I was thinking about ordering dessert.  I didn't have to order anything as they surprised me with this lovely array of delicious confections!


I will leave you with my personal favorite view from my balcony.  It is a photo of the ferry (that runs throughout the day) returning to Sirmione at sunset.


Thank you for visiting my blog.  Please feel free to leave any comments or questions.  Have a great week everyone!


Scenes from the Charming Town of Sirmione on Lake Garda, Italy


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I visited Italy for the second time in September 2015 I loved it the second time as much as I did the first time.  It really just made me want to visit a third time!  My first trip was to Florence, Venice, and Cinque Terre.  This last visit was to Lake Garda.  

To get to Lake Garda I flew into Verona and then went to my hotel in Sirmione.  I loved this little medieval town. I thought it was so charming and colorful with the flowers everywhere.  This was one of very few places that I have visited on my own that I felt safe going out at night alone. 

Lake Garda is very large and the only thing I would do differently visiting again, which I might do, is to spend time in other areas around the lake.  I will say that I am very happy to have stayed in Sirmione.  Everyone was very friendly and the food was excellent as always. I am also very happy to say that I didn't see any stray cats or dogs during my stay!

I was a little worried that visiting in September might be a little chilly, but it was actually quite warm during the day it was usually in the 80's (Fahrenheit).  At night it would get cool but not until very late.  There is a ferry that runs all around the lake which stops running at some point in October.  Otherwise I think October would be a fine time to visit Lake Garda as well.  

Wherever you walked in town the castle was usually in view:

Untitled (1 of 1)-49I loved the colorful flowers and architecture:

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 I found this pink villa when I walked off the beaten path that I thought was lovely!

Untitled (1 of 1)-49There were grapes, lemons and lime growing all over as soon as you got out of the town:



 A garden I found not too far from the beach which is just a short walk from the town


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 Here is the pathway beside the beach which makes for a nice walk:

I had heard that glass washes up on the shore of Lake Garda and I didn't believe it until I saw it for myself!
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As with most areas of Italy there are gelato and pastry shops on every corner:
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There were also many beautiful churches:
Untitled (1 of 1)-67There were many fun shops and restaurants around town.  The prices were very reasonable!
Untitled (1 of 1)-67The sunsets and sunrises were nice every night I was there as it only rained for a few hours during the ten days I was there:

Sunset-959168_640Thank you so much for visiting.   Please feel free to leave any comments or questions as I value all of them.  Have a great week everyone.