Saturday, April 30, 2016

Italian Dream Trip

Mike and I just returned from an amazing adventure to Italy (thanks to our parents holding down the fort with our kids for WEEKS...including an entire week of cancelled school due to flooding). Blogging about our trip is going to take awhile, but a lot of people wanted to know our itinerary so I'm posting the outline here (I typed it up for our parents before we left) and will link to each destination's specifics as I get them blogged for easy reference.

Monday, April 11th
Fly to Chicago, then London

Tuesday, April 12th
Fly to Athens
overnight in ATHENS at
Hilton Athens

Wednesday, April 13th
Fly to Milan
transfer to train station with Suntransfers.com
train to VENICE
2 nights at JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa

Thursday, April 14th
walking and boat tour w/ Viator

Friday, April 15th and Saturday, 16th
train to MANAROLA
2 nights at Aria di Mare

Sunday, April 17th
train to FLORENCE
2 nights at Hotel Davanzati

Monday, April 18th
Tour Lucca & Pisa w/Red Cup Tours

Tuesday, April 19th
train to ROME
2 nights at Boscolo Exedra Roma

Wednesday, April 20th
Tour Vatican and Rome w/Red Cup Tours

Thursday, April 21st
train to NAPLES
at Renaissance Naples Hotel Mediterraneo

Friday, April 22nd
tour Pompeii w/ Antonio
Fly to SARDINIA (Naples – Cagliari)
Stay with Christina 2 nights!

Saturday, April 23rd
spend day with Christina and hubby
tour Nuragic Civilization

Sunday, April 24th
Fly to SANTORINI, GREECE
2 nights at Filotera Suites Santorini

Monday, April 25th
relax and explore Santorini

Tuesday, April 26th
Fly to ATHENS
at Hilton Athens

Wednesday, April 27th
Fly to LONDON
Time to explore

Thursday, April 28th
Fly HOME!!!
to Dallas then Houston

Much of our trip was made possible thanks to Mike's skill at accruing reward points. Besides booking many of our nice hotels for free, we got to fly first class on our long international flights, which was so amazing.
Here we are beginning our travels on Monday, the 10th, so excited that the day has finally arrived!
(there was TONS of prep work before we left to be sure everything was organized and ready to go for our kids for the 3 weeks of school we would miss, plus practices, school pick-ups, playdates, swim meets, etc.)
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It's always nice to get first class status for early entry and extra food but these seats were amazing plus we had a Cole Haan bag of goodies to help make our flight more enjoyable. The food was great and we enjoyed watching movies and turning our seats into beds to try and get some sleep.
The transition with time on the way there was rough. The flight from Chicago to London is only 7 hours and by the time we ate, etc. it wasn't really enough time to get any amount of good sleep (it seemed early to us to try!). When we arrived in London it was 6am and we just had a short layover before getting on the plane to Athens, so we basically went 24 hours with no real sleep.
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A little update that everyone made it home from school the first day we were gone :-)
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Monday, April 25, 2016

Masters Monday 2016

We were all excited to head back to Monday at the Masters again this year...especially with perfect weather being predicted this time around! I didn't take as many pictures as last year (no Tiger this year which was a highlight for me and the kids last time around) but we still had a lot of fun seeing the beautiful grounds again, eating, shopping...oh and seeing a little golf too ;-)!
We enjoyed our morning there and then headed back to Atlanta in the afternoon. It's a bit of a drive but we had a late flight so we checked into a lounge at the airport and relaxed a bit. Preston is now obsessed with "lounges" haha! The kids were SUCH troopers with the lack of sleep! We ended up getting home at almost midnight on Monday night and they survived school Tuesday and went to bed early the next night.
It was fun to have some good family time before Mike and I headed out on our BIG adventure trip!!!
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the highlight of the Atlanta airport is getting this front window seat on the tram between terminals ;-)
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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Stone Mountain!!!

The rest of our day at Stone Mountain was a blast! Since we had to be up early again the next morning to drive to Augusta we couldn't stay for the laser show that night and we got everything done before it started to get very crowded. I think people tend to come later because they plan to stay until the laser show, which worked out perfectly for us! We all did the ropes course and there were 3 levels. We started out on level 2 and I must admit that even I was a little nervous when we started out. I was SO proud of the kids who rocked it, especially Ella who is terrified typically of certain heights experiences. She made it all the way around and Preston did as well. Addie is our completely fearless one and she was flying through every obstacle. We all did level 1 and then all of us but Ella went up to the highest level. It was so fun and we totally beat the crowds which was a bonus :-). I wish I had some good pictures of us up there, but you aren't allowed to bring anything including phones.
The kids also played at a big playground and did a rock wall and we all went to a 4D movie (not great but worth it for the awesome picture we got in front of the green screen haha), rode the train around the park and then took the Skyride up to the top of the mountain and then back down again.
I would love to come back here again if we have more time in Atlanta again and hike up the mountain and take the Skyride down...and check out the laser show...and I still want to go to the Coca Cola Museum. Atlanta is a fun town!
We met up with Mike's family for dinner at a BBQ place we tried last year. The food is decent but we had fond memories of the strawberry cake. Our two tables got the last two slices, phew! We also tried the Vanilla Raspberry and I think I liked that one even better!
Then it was off to the hotel to try and get some sleep for another big day on Monday!
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We bought a print of this one and I totally left it in our rental car. I am sad not only because I don't have this gem, but also because I didn't get to see the reaction of the person who found it haha!!!
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stinker ;-)
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keeping them quiet on the drive with candy and getting gangsta to Vanilla Ice
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