Freshly off the plane from the US and jet-lagged -- feels like 3am. We wait for our water taxi in Venice.
First day in Venice - the red wine marathon has begun.
What a terrible room we had at Santa Marina in Venice -- facing such a busy street.
The obligatory shot from St Mark's square.
Julie takes a drink from the fountains in every piazza in Venice.
Best pasta ever - in Venice.
Late night gondola ride.
I take a swig of a local Venetian concoction at the cafe near our hotel.
Great pizza and wine at where else? the Milan train station.
On the train to Lake Como.
Arrival in the Lake Como paradise.
The town of Varenna on Lake Como.
Approaching Bellagio on the ferry -- our place, Hotel Florence, is toward the left on the lakefront. Not pictured: Clooney's villa.
View from our "no lake view" room at Hotel Florence in Bellagio. We didn't complain.
About to have some dinner at the hotel's restaurant.
Julie scours a shop for scarves.
Cool wine shop we found in Bellagio called Enoteca Principessa -- load money onto a card, insert card into machine, sample any wine you like.
The sun disappears behind the alps.
Julie does a taste test on the rosemary.
Hydrangeas as big as your head.
The best way to not miss a ferry back to Bellagio is to take a picture of the schedule.
The sun sets on Varenna.
At the Varenna train station waiting to head to the Cinque Terre.
The Italian government has preserved every aspect of Vernazza in the last 11 years, except its solitude. Thanks Rick Steves for discovering, and then ruining, the cinque terre.
Having a drink in Vernazza.
Vernazza looked exactly the same as 11 years before, except now overrun with American tourists who quote chapter and verse from Rick Steves like he's the travel messiah.
The lip is an unfortunate place to get a mosquito bite -- unless you are trying to impersonate Angelina Jolie.
The mosquito-infested dump of an apartment we fled two days early for the comfort of a proper hotel.
Proper hotel, in Monterosso.
Riomaggiore, the southernmost of the five villages.
In 11 years I managed to grow a beard and buy sunglasses.
Large plot of tomatoes, lemons, and basil in the middle of Monterosso.
Chef cooks up tasty things from the sea.
Scoop o' the ocean dinner in Monterosso.
Kiwis growing in Monterosso.
Taking the train south to start our hike along the goat paths connecting the villages of the cinque terre.