Audrey Kadis


Audrey Kadis

We just came back from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Paris with the MJs (Matt & Jess and Madeline and Josh). Great food, great experiences and best of all great company.

Europe » Italy » Umbria » Orvieto June 1st 2015

Yoav and Orr, our Israeli friends who lived in Rome for 2 years, said we had to visit Orvieto. I took their advice, but only left a day for sightseeing and it was not nearly enough. We started by driving to Bolsena Lake. It is a huge lake formed from volcanic activity. The town of Bolsena seems to have minimal tourist activity. The market was really a market more for locals than tourists. In one area there were stalls selling used clothing. The people at these stalls were all North African immigrants. It really struck me that 600 years ago the sellers would have been Jews. I couldn’t resist some booties for TBD and replaced the sort-of leather belt I had with me that is falling apart. The woman who made it, adjusted it for me ... read more

Europe » Italy » Umbria » Orvieto May 31st 2015

We left Florence mid-morning in our brand new Fiat 500. There have been remarkable improvements in the past 40 years and according to Jack it is a fun car to drive. As we left we realized that we had plenty of time to make a stop and still arrive in time for our 1 PM lunch reservation at Alforno's. The restaurant was recommended to us by Yoav and Orr who lived in Italy for two years and have great taste in food. Leaving Florence, I said that I didn't want to go back to Siena or San Gimignano, not because I had been there and checked them off a list of places I've been, but because I have such good memories of being there with the kids and I wouldn't want to tarnish them. We spent ... read more
Local church near San Gimignano
Our new Fiat

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence May 30th 2015

When I wake up and the sun is shining, I’m so appreciative of warm, sunny weather. At home the weather doesn’t matter that much, but we are traveling it has a huge impact on how we spend our time and enjoy the place we are visiting. Today is an especially good morning to appreciate the sun because we are going on a 4-hour Vespa tour in the hills surrounding Florence. OK, we were going on a 4-hour Vespa tour until we got on the Vespa and Jack decided he wasn’t comfortable with me on the back. So we traded our Vespa for a teeny, tiny 1970’s Fiat 500. You can see how little it is in the picture. There were 3 other couples on the tour. Two were sort of our age and they both used ... read more
I don't think an Escalade would fare very well on these roads
Just like on the postcards
Following the other Fiat off-road in an olive grove

Europe » Italy » Tuscany May 29th 2015

We met Laura Greenblatt, our guide for a tour of Jewish Florence at 10. Writing about our time with her reminds me of how appreciative I am that we have had four wonderful women guides. They have all been well educated, insightful (they can do more than recite facts) and friendly. The two women in Venice are Italian and the two women in Florence ex-pats who are married to Italian men and have been here 15+ years. While there were all excellent guides, it was easier to connect with the two Americans. We began our tour on the south side of the Arno where the original Jewish settlement was located. There has been a small, generally a few hundred, Jewish community in Florence since 200 BCE. Most of the time, they experienced plain vanilla anti-Semitism and ... read more
Fried artichokes at Ruth's
If only I had a place to wear them...

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence May 28th 2015

We met Alexandra at the Horne Museum. This is a small palazzo from the 15th Century that was fully restored by Herbert Horne in the late 1800s. As the restoration was completed, he died of tuberculosis and left the museum and his entire collection to the state. It is now managed by a foundation. The palazzo was charming and most of the time we had the museum to ourselves. Leon Battista Alberti in his Della Famiglia laid out the rules for family life (even though he was not married) and the Palazzo's layout clearly reflected the rules. Husbands and wives had separate bedrooms with a connecting private corridor so they you have discreet visits. Men had safes or entire rooms where they could stop papers that their wives shouldn't see. While holding several banquets each year ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence May 27th 2015

We woke to overcast skies. Maybe I shouldn't complain because we had sun in Cinque Terre and it isn't as cold as Venice, but it would be really nice to have some sun. Anyway, we met Alexandra, out guide at Piazza della Republican 9:30. She explained that the area that had once been filled with medieval buildings that had been erased and the area had been rebuilt in the 1890's after the unification of Italy. Florence was one of the two capitals of Italy and the leaders wanted it to look more like other European capitals. The large arch reminds me of Paris, a different scale but similar nonetheless. This renovation was in the tradition of Florence where the citizens and rulers had great self-confidence and embraced modernity. Especially after the start of the Renaissance they ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence May 26th 2015

When we got up this morning the forecast for Florence was 80 and sunny. Yeah! After schlepping our suitcases up two flights of stairs to catch the right train, about 10 minutes before the train was due, a clerk came rushing out of the station, yelling "to Pisa, track 2 not 3" with great waving of arms. So with the dozens of other folks, went carried the bags down and up again. We got on the first train and within an hour it got very overcast and the forecast had changed to 80% chance of rain by 3 o'clock. Is there a rain cloud following us? We'll get to Florence about noon, ditch our bags and head to the market and the photography museum and I'll change into sneakers and socks and bring my rain poncho. ... read more

Europe » Italy » Liguria » Cinque Terre » Monterosso al Mare May 25th 2015

We headed out for our hike about 9:30. The first leg of the hike between the 5 towns is from Monterosso and Vernazza. Some guide books say it takes 2 hours and some say 1.5 hours. With tons of stops for photos we made it in 2 hours which is pretty good for folks on Social Security. The trail wasn't that busy or that difficult. In some places the stairs were steep and it was a little tough for Jack's knees. He found it more difficult than Petra, but it probable had more to do with his overall fitness, than anything else. The view are spectacular which is why so many people come here. We arrived in Vernazza to find it was as crowded at Monterosso. ... read more

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice May 23rd 2015

We woke this morning to a cold steady rain. The high was in the upper 50s and there was no way to avoid walking in puddles...lots of big puddles. We were cold and wet before we even met our guide. There was some miscommunication and we ended up waiting for one another in different places. While Cristina came to meet us we found an outside table under an awning with a heater, cappuccino and a croissant. Since we were at the foot of the Rialto bridge, everything was twice what we were used to paying, but the croissant was head and shoulders better than what we'd been eating.We decided that we wanted to focus on the ... read more

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice May 21st 2015

We hustled over for a 9:00 am tour of the Doges Palace. When we got to the vaporetto stop there was no way to buy a ticket. We'd noticed that trains and the vaporetto system run on the honor system. You buy and validate tickets or passes and then no one ever asks to see them and there are no gates that bar you from entry without inserting a ticket. In desperation, we hopped onboard and bought a day pass 3 hours later so we wouldn't be cheaters. Our guide in the ghetto had complained about "cheaters who don't pay their taxes or transport fares" and we didn't want to be in that category. Can you imagine if the subways and trains in the US ran on the honor system? The Doges were the titular heads ... read more

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