A place for family and friends to keep up with the Carlson's!

The Carlson Family

The Carlson Family

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Luxembourg National Day

Today, June 23rd is Luxembourg National Day. It is a public holiday and everything is closed today. They began the celebration last evening with music and fireworks, however we didn't go because the fireworks didn't start until MIDNIGHT!! Crazy! But we heard that they were very good from friends of ours who went. Today we took the girls to the parade and met up with some friends from Chicago. The parade wasn't quite what we are used to back home, but the girls still had fun. The Luxembourg military (yes- Luxembourg does have a small military) and all of the police, fire and rescue personnel were there with all of their gear and equipment.
As our time is quickly coming to an end in Luxembourg, we are trying to experience all that we can before we return to the U.S. Luxembourg is a beautiful little country and we will definately miss it!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Venice, Italy

The last stop on our trip through Italy was Venice. All of the canals and gondola's were amazing. We of course had to take a gondola ride and eat more gelato during our time in Venice. The girls enjoyed feeding the pigeons in San Marco square, and taking the water buses. The girls were pretty tired by the end of this trip, and the last picture was taken on our drive home.

Tuscany region of Italy

Our six nights in the Tuscan countryside were spent visiting small towns such as San Gimignano, Siena, and Castellina. It was beautiful seeing the rolling countryside with all of the vineyards and olive trees. We stayed at a bed and breakfast with a swimming pool- which I think was the highlight of the trip for the girls. We ate wonderful food and had some very good wine as well. In addition, we had Gelato during our time in Italy, and of course I had to include a picture of just one of the hundreds of gelato stands we saw. YUMMY!!!! :)

Mark insisted that we spend one afternoon and drive the two hours to Pisa to actually see the leaning tower. It was rather funny to see all the people taking pictures of each other pretending to hold up the tower. There's really nothing else to see in Pisa except the tower- but there were sure a lot of tourists! I guess they were all just like us and wanted to say that they actually saw the tower in person.

Florence, Italy

After Rome we headed to the countryside of Tuscany for the next 6 nights. The sun and warm weather continued, however it cooled down at night which was a relief for all of us. During our time in the Tuscany region we spent a day in Florence.

Florence is full of restricted driving zones where you need a special permit to be able to drive on certain streets or you get a ticket. There are cameras everywhere on these streets to get a picture of your license plate, and many tourists get ticketed for driving unknowingly down these streets. We were no different! I read about these restricted driving zones prior to heading in to Florence, however our GPS took us on some of these streets to get to our parking garage. It was too late to avoid these streets by the time we saw the signs! Now we just need to hope that we are no longer residences of Luxembourg before our tickets arrive.

Florence was a lot of shopping and art. We saw the Duomo (the cathedral),the Point Vecchio bridge, and Michealangelo's famous statue of David while we were there. The last picture of Lauren asleep in her stroller pretty much sums up how we were all feeling at the end of the day!

Rome, Italy

We just returned from spending the past two weeks in Italy. Wow- what an amazing trip we had. Our first stop was Rome. They were having record heat while we were there- 95 degrees and humid. It definately reminded me of Minnesota in late July and August. While we were thankful for the sunshine we had- it was VERY hot!

We spent time at the Trevi fountain (1st photo), the Spanish steps (2nd photo), and the Pantheon (3rd photo). We also spent time at the colosseum and the forum as well (3rd and fourth photo's). An amazing site to see all of the old roman ruins in the middle of the city. The last day in Rome we spent at the Vatican museum where we saw the Sistine Chapel, and then headed over to St. Peter's basilica. It was all very beautiful!