Left our place only to eat dinner—Mexican Fusion. We had bacon and cheese fries as an appetizer. I had a steak burrito. Rebekah had a chicken taco. We drank Jarritos. I had pineapple. Rebekah had guava.
Yup. We’re in NAPLES!
Today was one of our busiest yet!
Woke up at 6:30a. Made sure all of our bags were packed.
Picked up by our shuttle at 7:30a to be taken to dock.
Boat for Capri left at 8:30a. Arrived in Capri at about 9:15a.
Took a fairly long walk up to the main Piazza in Capri. Enjoyed epic views.
Took a train back down.
Rented two chairs and an umbrella at the beach. Rebekah dipped her feet in. I swam. It was WONDERFUL!
I finished reading C.S. Lewis Voyage of the Dawn Treader while, on the beach, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea! Are you kidding me!
Ate lunch. I had a salami pizza. Rebekah had a prosciutto sandwich. Good food.
Boarded our boat at 2. Boat took us on a tour around Capri. Amazing how blue the water was out there!
Headed back to Sorrento. Arrived back at Sorrento at 3:30.
Got our stuff. Took a taxi to the train station.
Boarded the train for Napes at 4:30. Arrived in Naples after 6.
Settled into our Air BnB.
Went out to dinner. I had Rigatoni and sausage. Rebekah had risotto. Once again, great food. Rebekah and I couldn’t help but talk about how blessed we are to be able to take a vacation like this. God is so gracious and generous to us!
Went back to our place. Watched the new Dave Chappelle special on Netflix. IRREVERENTLY HILARIOUS!
Slept real good.
Today was Rebekah’s birthday. She turned 29 of course!
Went on a walk down to the harbor. Looked into taking a day trip to either Capri or the Amalfi Coast, but decided to do it tomorrow.
Ate gelato. Went on a “train” ride that gave us a brief tour of Sorrento.
We had lunch on the main plaza in Sorrento. Enjoyed people watching. I had a bacon and ham omelette. She had fried calamari and fries.
Rebekah stayed downtown and shopped a bit.
I went home and took a nap.
Bought our tickets for tomorrow’s day trip to Capri.
Went to a Japanese spot for dinner. She had Yaki Soba. I had Yaki Udon. We also had a pretty good sushi roll and gyoza.
Great day. So thankful for my beautiful wife!
Wandered around the streets of Sorrento.
Ate a delicious lunch on the harbor. I had Sorrentine Gnocchi. Rebekah had a seafood pasta she enjoyed.
Went back to our place. Rested and chilled.
Wandered around the streets of Sorrento looking for dinner. Got a bit frustrated with each other. (Don’t think for a moment Rebekah and I have not our fair share of frustrations with each other on this trip!)
We, once again, had pizza and pasta fatigue so we settled on a Hof Brau. i had a steak. Rebekah had chicken wings and fries. Decent.
Checked out of our place in Rome at 11a.
Took a train to a more central train station in Rome where we waited until 3p to board a bus to Sorrento.
Enjoyed lunch at the train station. A salami sandwich and rigatoni with bacon!
During our wait at the train station I worked on the cover page and free bonuses page of my website for Only God. I’m loving how it’s coming together. I heard from the publisher today that pre-orders will be available in January and the book will officially be published in February of 2020! I can’t wait.
Boarded a very nice bus for Sorrento. It was a great ride. Slept. Read. Enjoyed the scenery.
Arrived in Sorrento shortly after 7pm.
Walked to our place. Settled in.
Had a couple of phone calls about preaching engagements I have immediately after we return from our trip. Though I only have a couple of weeks left on my sabbatical, I am very excited about going back to work. I feel refreshed, and can’t wait to get back and preach God’s Word again!
Had pizza for dinner. Good, but not as good as it was in Rome.
These are pictures from yesterday’s walk around Rome.
No new pictures from today. Instead, I want to tell you about an adventure I took back to Florence!
Yesterday, when we were shopping, Rebekah was saddened to discover that a designer bag that she had seen in Florence was not available in Rome nor was it available in Naples (a city we’re going to visit later on our trip.)
So, she called Florence to see if they had any remaining. They said they did. She put it on hold.
With that in mind, in an effort to be the best husband I could be, today, I boarded a train, all by myself, from Rome to Florence to pick up this bag for my wife.
I left at 7am in the morning and didn’t return till after 3p. (Florence is 170 miles from Rome)
Keep in mind, Rebekah’s birthday is coming up in a couple of days and we are also going to be celebrating our 15-Year Wedding Anniversary on September 4. This is her gift.
While in Florence, I picked up another surprise gift for her as well.
Then, I went back to the steak place I went for my birthday and treated myself to a filet. (This trip wasn't completely altruistic. Ha!)
I then boarded the train back for Rome.
I came back home pretty exhausted, but Rebekah loved and was surprised by the additional gift I bought for her.. It was all worth it.
We went out to dinner at the same place we had lunch the day prior. More pizza. More pasta.
Slept like a baby.
Today was a whirlwind!
We walked from our place to the inside of Vatican City.
Went into St. Peter’s Basilica and on a whim decided to pay 20 Euros extra to go to the top of the Dome.
Then we climbed 24 flights of stairs to get there! It was intense. Great pics though!
When we exited it was 10 minutes till noon and people were gathered all around St. Peter’s Square, looking in the same direction. When I asked a security guard what was going on he said that the Pope was about to address the crowd! We had no idea.
Then, at 12 on the dot the Pope Francis appeared in the window (pictured above), the crowd cheered, and he proceeded to give a 10-minute talk (in Italian) as thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square looked on. It was surreal! What a moment for Rebekah and I to enjoy together!
We then ate lunch at a great restaurant just outside Vatican City. I had another Diavola pizza and lasagna. Rebekah had fried shrimp and calamari. Once again, we experienced the unique, fresh, tasty crust of Roman pizza!
After lunch is started pouring rain. We waited it out and then proceeded to walk all around Rome to hit up many of the historic sites — Piazza Venezia, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, and we even accidentally came across the Quirinal Palace ( the President of Italy’s residence). Seeing all these historic sites was also pretty surreal.
Then, we went shopping. Again. Rebekah and I love shopping!
We concluded our day with some decent sushi at a Japanese restaurant.
We took Uber home again. Clutch. Again.
Great day in Rome. I love the unplanned nature of how we explore each city.
Got in one more run in Florence before departing. 5 miles at a 9:49/mi pace. Felt real good.
Brought back croissants for breakfast.
Showered. Packed. Made the 1-mile walk with all of our luggage to the train station. No joke. Luggage is getting heavier!
Ate McDonald’s for lunch! C’mon somebody!
Took a 2-hour train ride to Rome.
Place we’re staying was only a 5-minute walk from train station and on the second floor. Clutch.
Watched YouTube videos to decide where to eat.
Went for a walk around the exterior of the Vatican City to eat at a popular Roman Pizza Joint. Pizza was tasty. Best part was the crust. It was so good!
Took our first UBER ride back home. Super clutch.
Made a ton more progress on my e-books. (If you’re wondering if this feels like work for me, the answer is absolutely not. Using my creativity in this way is life-giving!)
Got another morning run in. Ran to the famous Piazzale Michaelangelo to get enjoy the view of Florence pictured above. It was breathtaking.
Brought home donuts for breakfast.
Worked on some ebooks I’m going to offer as pre-order bonuses for Only God. Super excited about these!
Had a delicious pasta lunch, and gelato for dessert.
Came home and continued working on ebooks.
We wanted Japanese for dinner, but both restaurants we tried were closed! After walking nearly two miles we ended up eating poke a quarter of a mile from our place!
Gelato round two.
Came home, knocked out.
Traveling to Rome tomorrow!
After a full day indoors, I woke up and knew I had to get a run in. Definitely was feeling sluggish as I ran 3 miles. Steak was weighing me down!
Brought back ham and cheese croissants for breakfast.
For lunch Rebekah and I had the most hyped up sandwiches in all of Florence at ALL’ANTICO VINAIO. They were absolutely DELICIOUS. Unlike any sandwich I’ve ever had! I had their ham version; Rebekah had their salami.
Then, we boarded a bus for THE MALL—a designer outlet mall 45 minutes outside of Florence.
Let’s just say Rebekah left the experience a happy camper!
Ate dinner back in Florence at the Central Market Food Court. I had fresh Chinese pork dumplings and noodle soup. Rebekah had a bacon cheeseburger.
After nearly 20,000 steps walked for the day, we came back home exhausted.
Went to bed early. Great day.
These are pictures from yesterday. No new pictures today.
Today, we didn’t step foot outside of our Air BnB!
Woke up early. Made a spreadsheet of the value of my Air Jordan collection. 31 pairs valued at about $12,000. Contemplating selling a bunch of pairs. Ate instant ramen for lunch. Netflixed. Napped. Ate leftover steak for dinner. Netflixed. Napped. Blogged. Slept. My kind of day!
First day where we didn’t spend a dime! Second day where I haven’t eaten pasta or pizza. Today was a good day!
Today was my 37th birthday. Getting old!
Woke up early and did a 5 mile run before 8am! Felt super good.
Walked into the downtown area for breakfast. I had eggs, bacon, and two pancakes with strawberries. Rebekah had avocado toast. It was delicious!
Went shopping. Rebekah is getting closer to choosing her designer bag! I’m still contemplating buying some designer Italian dress shoes. No purchases yet!
Believe it or not, had poke for lunch! It was good!
Came back home. Rested.
Went to an incredible steak restaurant for my birthday dinner. Rebekah and I had our first glass of wine while in Italy. Red. it was smooth! Ordered a massive t-bone cooked Florentine style (medium rare!). INCREDIBLE. Whole restaurant sang me happy birthday! Waiter brought out tiramisu on the house. Delicious. Such a great experience!
So blessed to enjoy another birthday. So blessed to enjoy it in such a beautiful country in such a beautiful way. I am BLESSED. God is worthy to be praised!
Got a short, early morning run in before our departure. Run was great, scenery was better!
Boarded the first of our 3 trains for Florence!
Arrived at our place in Florence at about 1. 3 Floors up. Luggage. No elevators. No joke!
Ate a late lunch. I had Fettuccine Alfredo and a Magherita Pizza. Rebekah had Eggplant Parmesan. (It was great, but after eating this meal I vowed to NOT eat pasta or pizza tomorrow!)
Had a call with my publisher about the cover design for Only God! Can’t believe my book is actually going to be a reality!
I didn’t eat dinner. Rebekah ate some Nissin Korean noodles we found at a little Asian market!
Went to sleep early.
Started early with the goal to visit all five of the seaside villages in Cinque Terre.
Hopped on the train and went first to Vernazza. This village was Cinque Terre’s most highly recommended, but I didn’t quite understand why. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful, but each of the other villages had their own unique charm as well!
We then boarded the train again for the most northern village—Monterosso. This is the village most known for its beach and it was packed! On a whim, we decided to rent a paddle boat. It was a great idea! It got us away from the crowds and out on the sea. i went for a swim and it was refreshing!
Had lunch. Pizza and pasta of course!
Then, we boarded the train for Riomaggiore. We spent the least amount of time in this village. Had to hike a bit to get the picture taken above.
The final village we visited was Campiglia. This is the only village in Cinque Terre not on the water. We unexpectedly had to climb about 30 flights of stairs to get there!
Though we didn’t end up hiking any of the trails, 18,000 steps and 8 miles later we did accomplish our goal of visiting all the villages!
We came home, showered, and went out for dinner. I had lasagna. Rebekah had anchovies and a seafood spaghetti.
Tomorrow morning, we head out for Tuscany. God is good!
QUICK SUMMARY THOUGHTS ON CINQUE TERRE
Food - Great. I think I’d like the food a lot more if I enjoyed seafood!
Scenery - Incredible. How are the buildings staying up on the side of the mountains?!
Vibe - Beachy. It’s all about enjoying the water here!
Locals - No comment. Didn’t deal with enough of them to know.
Overall - Glad. Glad we decide to come here. Glad we decided to visit all five villages. Glad we only decided to stay here two nights!
Woke up early to catch the first of three trains to Cinque Terre.
Made a stop at the Moleskin store at the train station in Venice. Fun fact: I love Moleskin products!
After roughly 6 hours on trains we arrived in Manarola.
Settled into our place. Went to dinner. I had pesto pasta. (It was good. Very rich in flavor.) Rebekah had fish.
Took in some beautiful views at sunset.
Did our best to get to bed as early as we could (sleep schedule is still a bit off) for the full day ahead!
Woke up embarrassingly late into the day - 2pm!
Sat along the Grand Canal for awhile and continued reading The Knowledge.
Ate a late, late lunch. I had gnocchi. Rebekah had a salad.
Then I had my first Italian gelato. Strawberry and Raspberry. Delicious.
Came back home and slept some more.
Left for dinner around 8. Bought tickets for boat ride that we will need to take in the morning to get to the train station for our trip to Cinque Terre.
Rebekah had pasta. I ordered a Cesar Salad. It was…disgusting. Hated to do it, but had to ask to have it taken back. (Didn’t the Cesar Salad originate in Italy?! Just googled it…it originated in Mexico! No wonder Venice couldn’t get it right!)
Didn’t end up eating dinner. Honestly, I have a bit of pasta/pizza fatigue at this point. (I need to suck it up though. We’re in Italy for another 20 days!)
Went on one last long walk through the city. Absolutely beautiful night.
Came back home. Finished reading The Knowledge. Caught up with these blog posts. About to pack. Can’t wait for the next leg of our journey!
QUICK SUMMARY THOUGHTS ON VENICE
Food - Decent. We both found ourselves a bit unimpressed.
Scenery - Beautiful. Everywhere you turn, another perfect IG picture awaits!
Vibe - Busy. The streets are all pretty crowded all throughout the day.
Locals - Accommodating. So thankful so many of them spoke English!
Overall - Satisfied. A great start to our trip!
Finished my morning run by by 9a.
Brought back ham and cheese croissant sandwiches for breakfast.
Rebekah and I read and talked about Psalm 1 together. (Planning to read through the Psalms together on most mornings during this trip and beyond. I have to do a better job of leading us to have times like this together!)
Had my first spaghetti in Italy for lunch! Rebekah had some fried seafood over polenta. We then walked by a place that had Chinese dumplings. I couldn’t resist. They were decent. (What was I really expecting?!)
Went to Gucci. Still considering. Haven’t pulled the trigger on anything yet!
Went on a gondola ride. I agree with a statement I heard on a documentary about Venice, “The best views in Venice are from the water.”
Came back home. Rested.
Stepped out at well past midnight for dinner. Went to a 24/7 pizza/pasta joint. I had tortellini with red sauce. Rebekah had some sort of other pasta with white. We also had our first cannoli. It wasn’t very good.
It started pouring rain. We had no jackets and were wearing sandals! In order to stall, I ordered a slice of pizza. By the time I was finished it was still pouring. We were nearly a mile away from our place! We had to go for it. Using Google maps while traveling through the maze that is the streets of Venice is quite a challenge in the pouring rain. The picture above shows how happy Rebekah was about the experience. Me on the other hand am thankful for a memory we will never forget!
Got home, showered, and didn’t go to bed until the sun rose because I finished The Authentic Swing by one of my favorite authors Steven Pressfield and started another book of his entitled, The Knowledge. He is an incredible writer!
Went for a run at about 9:30a.
Brought some pastries back for us for breakfast.
Had my first pizza in Italy for lunch! (Went with the Diavola - Closest thing to pepperoni you will find. It is a spicy Italian salami.)
Shopping. Shopping. Shopping. Couple fun facts. 1. Luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci are significantly cheaper than in the US because many of the items are made in Italy and other parts of Europe. 2. When flying back to the US you get a 12.5% cash rebate on any purchases made exceeding 150 Euros. All of this to say, we are very likely coming back from this trip with a couple of luxury goods!
Went back to our place to rest up for a bit.
Went out again in the evening and crossed the Ponte degli Scalzi for the first time. It is one of the four bridges crossing the Grand Canal and the second most famous after the Rialto.
Then, we had McDonald’s for dinner. Don’t judge us!
After a 9ish hour flight from New Jersey we arrived at the Venice Airport at about 10a.
Boarded a boat and was at our Air BnB by about 12p. Our host was so kind to pick us up from the dock and walk us to our place.
Slept till 6p. We were exhausted.
Woke up and went to dinner. Bek had pasta with squid ink. I stayed on the safe side and went with lasagna. It was delicious. Had to pay for bottled water. No tap water available.
Went for a walk over the Rialto Bridge. Views are stunning.
Rough first night sleeping. Woke up in the middle of the night several times. Jet lag is real.
Over the next several months, I will be focusing a majority of my writing energies editing Only God - a book that I have the privilege of having published by Lucid Books in the Fall of 2019.
To receive updates, preview chapters, free bonuses, and free resources prior to the launch of the book, visit onlygodbook.com.
Thanks in advance for your support!