Italy & Zurich 8/09

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A summer father-son week in southern Italy, then a quick stop in Zurich...

Our return to Italy after nine years was longer and broader than when we visited Rome and Venice in 2000. Italy certainly didn't disappoint with its history, rich wines, beautiful scenery and chaotic flair. Craig and I spent six days based in Rome including two 13 hour day trips - north through Tuscany and south along the Amalfi coast. Enroute home, we also spent a day and night in Zurich, Switzerland. Between the two of us we took almost a thousand pictures that I've culled into these four humble pages. You can click on the map on the right or use the navigation buttons at the bottom of this page to view individual pages for each area.

Getting oriented...

Leaving Chicago on a night flight on Swiss Air we flew 8 hours to Zurich, connecting there for our one hour flight to Rome. Rome is 9 hours ahead of Pacific time. Arriving in Rome early Thursday afternoon, we met our driver Alberto in the arrival hall and were checked into our hotel, the Grand Flora by 3pm. The Grand Flora's greatest virtue is its location. Perched at the top of Via Veneto just south of Villa Borghese bordering the ancient Aurelian Walls, much of Rome was within walking distance. The weather was hot throughout our trip (~95°F highs), which was no surprise. We hired a driver we found through for our airport transfer and for our two long daytrips. The driver added expense, but allowed us to cover a lot of ground outside of Rome. We found the Italian people to be friendly and helpful and didn't experience any language difficulties speaking only English.



After unpacking on Thursday afternoon, we walked a few blocks down Via Venito for an early dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe followed by a walk to the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and Piaza Popolo before retiring early for a long night's sleep. The first picture above was taken at the base of the Spanish Steps. We spent Friday, our first full day in Rome, at and around the Vatican. On Saturday we did ancient Rome around the Colosseum and Piazza Navona. The second picture above was taken from Palatine Hill with the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine in the background. On Sunday we did a full day road trip north through Tuscany to Florence and then Pisa. The third picture above was taken in Pisa on the "Field of Miracles". On Monday we picked up two missed spots in Rome, Santa Maria del Popolo and the Pantheon. On Tuesday we did a full day road trip south through Pompeii and the Amalfi coast. The fourth picture above was taken along the Amalfi coast road above Positano. Wednesday morning we flew to Zurich and toured the Old Town area. We returned to LA via Philadelphia on Thursday.

Following the tradition started in the 1954 movie, "Three Coins in the Fountain", on our last day in Rome we both tossed a coin backward over our shoulder into the Trevi Fountain ensuring our return to the eternal city.

Click on the buttons below to go to the individual pages for Rome, Tuscany and Amalfi:


 Last day of the trip in Zurich, Switzerland...

Arriving around 11am Wednesday after our short flight from Rome, we bought two Zurich Cards for 19 Swiss Francs each (~$20 US) at the train station below the airport which gave us unlimited public transportation throughout the city, our roundtrip airport transfers, free access to museums and discounts on tours. We boarded our train to the city center and were walking the few blocks to our hotel within 10 minutes. The Zurich Marriott was well located just across the Limmat River from the main train station and had the best executive lounge I've ever experienced at a Marriott - open 24 hours with a wide variety of free drinks and food. The first picture below is the view from our room. After unpacking, we headed back across the Limmat (second picture below) to the Tourist Information office to buy 3pm guided Old Town walking tour tickets. With a couple of hours to kill before the tour, we explored the streets on the east side of the river and enjoyed a leisurely lunch at Tre Cucine on Niederdorfstrasse.


The two hour guided Old Town tour was a bit slow, but covered a lot of ground, winding through medieval streets (third picture above with St. Paul's Church tower in the background) while providing background on Zurich's history. The fourth picture above is a view of both shores of the Limmat looking north from Lindenhof Park. The first picture below is of St. Paul's square. For a size perspective, St. Paul's church has a clock face larger than Big Ben's. Crossing the Limmat at Rathaus-Bruke (second picture below) we walked up to Grossmunster church (the two towers in the background of the second and fourth pictures below), the birthplace of the Reformation, where the guided tour ended. We walked back to our hotel along the park-like east bank of the river (third picture below). That evening we enjoyed our last dinner of the trip at Dialog restaurant on Munstergasse before taking some final nighttime shots along our way to the hotel. The fourth picture below (a bit blurred because I didn't have my tripod with me and used a slow wide angle zoom lens) was taken through a 77mm Tiffen Northstar Filter that gives single points of light an exaggerated star pattern.


On Thursday morning we boarded our train to the airport and flew back to Los Angeles via Philadelphia. All in all, another excellent father-son European adventure.

Home Up Amalfi coast 8/09 Rome 8/09 Tuscany 8/09

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