Labor Day - Tomorrow WE don't have to go back to work... our holiday continues.

We still don't have photos to post   - more coming soon. Batteries keep dying - we travel until late when we arrive back at the hotel and have no energy to upload photos.

We sleep in.

We still have no luggage delivered, and enjoy the new habit of traveling light.

We have Cappuccino and roll to start the day off right.

We take a beautiful, relaxing, scenic train ride from Rome to Florence via Tuscany.

We are driven down cobblestone streets barely wider than the car to get to our hotel.

We are in awe over our charming 8 room hotel. Fresco's on our ceilings are 15th century. Garden courtyard. Lovely staff. Feels like we are royalty in a contemporary castle.

We eat at a nearby small restaurant suggested by Sally, and it is the best meal we've had in Italy by far.  We have a special toast for our friend Priscilla, who has sadly lost her battle back home.

We travel down a street filled with many of the top Fashion Houses. Salvatore Ferragamo's store is a full city block. We remember we are now close to Milan. EG, This pump by Saint Laurent is $1015.00 USD. Well, since I don't have my luggage yet... I do need more shoes. But, cobble stone streets and stiletto pumps don't get along, so I had to pass on them.

We  tour the Duomo. Breathtaking. Actually beyond breathtaking. Built in 1296. Beyond comprehension.

We shop in the market area for leather. Hard not to find things we "need"! Have fresh squeezed OJ and a cannoli for a mid afternoon sugar rush. Enamored by the fresh food available.

We hustle all the way across town and the river to the top of hill to Piazzale Michelangelo to see the sunset over the hills, the city and river. We decide this lifestyle feels like we are in a movie, it is too good to be real.

We, on the way down, have a delicious dinner (set up by Sally) at a charming restaurant in a treed setting. We decide we like big lunches and lighter dinners. We also like being on vacation. Especially in Italy.

We explore the empty city streets on the way back to our regal hotel. We love Florence.


The teaser for Blessings.

Teaser text - no photo attached yet.

Not enough time or ability to upload photos so will just post a tease. Today is Sunday, its time for blessings.

How did we forget to pack toothbrushes in our carry ons?

Mi amore Roma! Viva la Papa! We get blessed. And offer up blessing needs, such as peace for the Raddatz family at home, and good health for all our family and friends. .

Dan and Pam finally catch up to us, 28 hours later than planned, that's a big blessing for sure.

It is big, beautiful, history like no other place on earth. Sunny, happy. Filled with beautiful people from around the world, but especially the charismatic Italians who we are blessed to  meet.

So many beautiful things to see, so Dan, Chris, and I are all out of phone battery by 5:30pm, yikes.  Thankfully Pam has no data service eating her battery, so she is our photographer for the rest of the night. Next challenge, getting her iphone photos to my memory full laptop to post here.
Clothes now turned inside out so we can wear them again. Luggage is found, still in Toronto.

A day full of blessings of all sorts.


Longest day of the year. 48 hours in 4 countries and 7 time zones

Departed KC 4:30 Friday, planned on going to Toronto and on to Rome. Dan and Pam Cravens (college friends), coming from NM and scheduled to arrive 15 min before us in Rome on Saturday am, find out their plane  was cancelled due to a gas leak, and they were now rebooked to arrive Sunday am.
Trip of a lifetime! 

En Route, prepping for what's to come

Our KC plane was late arriving, so we RAN through the Toronto airport trying to catch our flight to Rome - missed the doors closing by about 1 minute. Our choice was stay overnight in Toronto and miss our 3:30 Sat private Vatican Tour, or, head to Rome via Frankfurt and take the chance of no bags upon arrival. Who needs clothes? Within an hour of landing in Canada, we RAN to the new gate, and were on the flight to Frankfurt - squished in the center row seats, not together, but headed to Europe!
For 6 of the 8 hours on the plane my neighbor from India does not know her light is on ... 

Arrived in Frankfurt, no gate, so had to take bus from tarmac to terminal. RAN through customs and security, RAN through the big airport to the new gate to try to get new tickets and check in on Lufthansa. Stern German gate agent softens over our story, and fixes all the glitches - we RAN and were the last on the plane... up, up and away, we were Rome bound! Arriving at 2:05pm, hoping we might make that 3:30 Vatican Tour.... our travel agent Dyni Egner (college friends) and our KC born and raised Italian concierge Sally from A Slice of Tuscany are keeping up with us all the way, helping us coordinate everything. Love those girls.
Ahhh, tickets to Rome - finally we are on our way from Frankfurt! 

We arrive to Rome late, RAN through the airport to see if our bags arrived - they didn't, so we RAN to file a claim ( & find out our bags are in Toronto).  Coordinate with our tour guide, who says if we arrive by 4pm, not a minute later, we can still do the tour. We RAN to find a driver, and tip him big to drive fast to the Vatican - he's Italian, this is no problem! He makes the 45 minute drive in 35, we arrive at the Vatican 3:50! Voila! We make the tour. We RAN to coat-check our carry on bags, and finally breathe. Have a super knowledgable tour guide Valeria (thank you Sally!), and are in awe over the grandeur of  it all. Splendid, just splendid.

Gallery: The Hall of Tapestries 

Girl power

Gallery: Hall of Maps

Gallery: Hall of Animals, side one

A view from a Gallery of Pope Benedict's home at the Vatican
The Basilica is pure grandeur, and, the largest in the world. 

Valeria, Chris and I realize the coat -check is 15 minutes away (we have to get all the way around the walls of the Vatican), and we have 10 minutes until it closes, if we don't make it, we won't be able to go back until they open on Monday....  We RAN! And then, we hailed a cab realizing we would not make it in time on foot and he drives like Mario Andretti! We laugh the whole way while gripping anything we can to hold on. We RAN from the car to the entrance, and arrived 2 minutes before it closed.
Valeria our guide  - she was, well, splendid too! 

Arrive to our contemporary penthouse apt 6pm (I could live here!) with the charming agent Marcella. Near the train station, Roma Termini. Affiliated with a restaurant we adored, Tomoko Tudini.  Church bells ringing. Italians singing opera on the streets. Wide open doors to balconies at night. Rainstorm. The perfect end to a 48 hour day. We are charmed by everything in Italy so far....

Stunning apt on 7th floor with 2 terraces

Our view of the street below

Outdoor dining on every street

The Vatican is just beyond words. As is Rome. The history, wow. The people - so expressive. The food, incredible. The city, so historic. The streets, intriguing. The monuments, unbelievable. The weather, perfect.

It was worth every step we RAN to get here to do it right!

Next Post - Dan and Pam arrive! And, learning how to survive a long trip in Italy with our suitcases in Toronto. And how to make our phone batteries last more than 1/2 a day...


Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

2016. The Great Room. After.

The Great Room. Before.

The Great Room. After. 

The Great Room. Before. 

2010 AG. 
(After Gunderson)
2009 BG
(Before Gunderson). 
The previous owner's....




Changing with the times. 

Inherited purchase, added sparkle.

Camouflaging brass with bling. 

Ahhh, replaced. 

Long and lean. Dressed to kill. 


Transition Metal: Au

Our dining room. Oh, so, 80's. 

Seasonal camouflage.

Patience pays off. Yellow metal is once again vogue.

It's all in the details. 

Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, 
happiness dwells in the hearts of our home.

And, then, we saw the light.