The Hawkins Family

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I promise that I am uploading pictures and finishing them up so that I can post about the rest of my trip to Italy, but I stumbled upon this today.

It is a story about the first Afghan C-27 mission just completed on March 24th.  Thought it was nifty to see Afghanistan rebuilding.  Check back soon for more pictures...I promise.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Day two was spent wandering around the town of Ravello...just a short bus ride down the coast from Amalfi.  They have this beautiful church and in the summer they offer an outdoor concert series.  The public transportation that we were relying on kept us from attending the concert (opening weekend), but we enjoyed the town anyway.  We stumbled upon a little store that made me want to go in because the name was so strange...Wine and Drugs.  (It seemed to be such a strange combinations.)  Needless to say, I should have just let my imagination wonder because the man waiting for you on the other side of the door is one smooth salesman.  We spent time, sampled a little, and purchased a lot.  You can go to his website here, but to say the least it is very minimalist.  (I guess you just have to visit.)  We got back to Amalfi and had dinner at a quiet little spot down the road from our hotel.  The eatery is La Preferita and it was phenomenal!  Best food at the best price while we were here.  A must visit if you find yourself in the area.  Ok, enough words...on to the pictures.

view from Ravello

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Amalfi Coast

Being in the city, we were ready to get away from all of the riff raff and just get away.  The closest thing to peace and quiet is the Amalfi Coast.  We had three great days to escape and unwind.  Wow!  Love this place.  Ready to get a vacation home here and never leave!  I am the type of person that thinks that you should come home from vacation needing a vacation.  If I wanted to relax, I would stay at home and save my money.  But, the Amalfi Coast may have changed my mind.  We stayed in Amalfi, although if we come back we will probably stay in Ravello.  We were there at the end of the off season, so I can only imagine the insanity when the heat picks up and the little bit of beach gets full.  There is really only one main highlight of Amalfi...the church.  (I might be about churched out these days.)  I won't bore you with more writing, I will let all of the pictures speak for themselves.

on our way Sorrento

Naples and Mt. Vesuvius


St. Andrew...the saint of Amalfi

Supposedly Andrew's bones are here...brought in from the Crusades
(By the way, that is Andrew from the of the original apostles.)

Church sanctuary

The ceiling...amazing!

This was the fountain outside.  It was just way to bizare not to take a picture of.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I had such big plans for us to see all of Pompeii AND climb Mt. Vesuvius.  Obviously, I forgot who I was going with.  We had to make decisions and sacrifices and we sacrificed Vesuvius for the ruins.  Taris had a marvelous time going inch by inch.  (Don't get me wrong, they were really interesting the first three hours, but all of the house start to look the same as the day wears on.)  We took the Circumvesuviana train out there and back and opted to go full public transport to get to the train station as opposed to paying the extra 2 euros each to take the Alibus.  I am really getting into the adventure of it all these days.  Pompeii was nice, quiet, and very historic.  Enjoy the pictures.

Vesuvius in the background

The baths

Beware of the dog

hydrating in the middle of the ruins

used to grind wheat

one of the many bakeries found

great hand mosaic work and got Taris and I in the picture

another mosaic piece

the Pompeii colosseum

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Back blogging

That is what I call it, when I want to cheat on my updates.  That is what I plan on doing to catch up on: my spa day, Rome, and our visit with The Walsh's.  So, just keep scrolling below this post to get updates on everything...starting now!


Friday, March 12, 2010

St. Peter's Bascillica

On our last day, we got up early and headed toward Vatican City.  We were under a time crunch...public transportation was going on strike.  (I swear no one is going to want to go on vacation with me ever again.)  We went to St. Peter's Bascillica first.  It was early and quiet and I SO recommend getting there by 8:30 am.  WE spent so much time in St. Peter's that by the time we made it to the Vatican Museum it was going to take two hours to get through line.  That would have put us at getting in at 12:15 and for 15 euros each, with no picture taking allowed of the Sistene Chapel, knowing that there was NO public transportation, and our train was to leave at 1:30...we walked away.  I am embarrassed to say that we made it all the way to Rome and missed the Chapel.  With that said, please enjoy the pictures of our final day in Rome.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Rest of Rome

After I drug Taris out of the Colosseum and Forum, we hiked up the hill to Capital Hill and museum.  We continued down the road and came across the famous steps at Santa Maria in Aracoeli.  Roman women used to climb all 125 steps on their knees in hopes of a child.  (Taris tried to get me to do that.  I told him I wasn't that desperate yet...although he offered to do it for me.  Ha! Ha!)  We went to the Victor Emmanuel Monument.  The monument is the largest equestrian statue in the world.  Victor Emmanuel is the first king of Italy.  (To put it into perspective, the mustache on Victor Emmanuel is five feet long.)  At this monument is Italy's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Eternal Flame.  From the monument, if you turn around with your back to it you can see the balcony that Mussolini gave his fascist speeches from.  We made it to the Pantheon and on to the Trevi fountain as the sun was setting.  (Which I recommend...the fountain looked great all lit up.)  Enjoy all of the pictures!

In the background is a Michelangelo statue of Marcus Aurelius

The famous 125 steps

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Victor Emmanuel Monument

The Mussolini Balcony

The Pantheon

The roof...the hole in the top is open.  It was raining.

where Victor Emmanuel is the Pantheon

Trevi Fountain...down the road from our hotel

Colosseum and Roman Forum

This is taking a LOT longer than I thought it would, but I know that if I don't continue going in order I will never go back.  So, to continue on...

On Wednesday morning, we headed over to Ancient Rome and to the Colosseum.  Wow!  It is so much more in person.  According to Taris, it has been updated with much more to look at since he was here last.  (A plus for him because he loves to read every single thing...much like my dad.)  I will not bore you with any history on the I am sure you already know about it.  We walked from the Colosseum to the Roman Forum...equally impressive.  Enjoy the pictures below.

The Forum

Taris insisted on taking this picture