This time we entered the beautiful cathedral in Orvieto. While the facade of this cathedral is its most impressive feature, the inside of the cathedral is also stunning. Inside the cathedral there are two chapels covered in frescos. My favorite part was the Chapel of the Madonna San Brizio which is adorned with gold-toned frescoes by Luca Signorelli. We were not allowed to take pictures inside the cathedral but I did capture this shot of the facade in the late afternoon sun:
One night we decided to grill at the apartment but we were missing a key ingredient - meat! Therefore we were on the hunt for a butcher during our visit to Orvieto. Before we left, we looked up the Italian word for butcher which is macellaio. In and effort to remember the word, we walked down the street repeating macellaio - but all of us pronounced it in a different way. We kept saying it over and over for what felt like 10 minutes and then realized that all the Italian people around us probably thought we were crazy. Imagine if you were in the US and a group of 4 adults kept saying butcher in various accents over and over and over again. We eventually found the macellaio so while we may have sounded crazy, our efforts paid off!
After 2 days in Orvieto we drove back to Rome where we dropped Mom & Dad Barbier off at the airport. While we were sad to say goodbye, we were so happy and thankful they made the trip out to Italy to see us!
Verona & Lake Garda
From the Rome airport, we immediately drove up to Lake Garda in northern Italy, where we would spend the night before heading up to Munich. On the way we stopped in the fair city of Verona. We all know Verona as the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. There is even a tourist spot where you can pay to take pictures on Juliet's (supposed) balcony. We briefly stopped by the balcony but it was mobbed with tourists. Chris quickly wrote our names on the Wall of Love, as is custom, and we skedaddled out of there. We enjoyed walking through the colorful streets of Verona and decided it would be a very romantic vacation destination if we were ever to come back to Italy.
On our way to Munich, we took a small detour to see Neuschwanstein Castle. This is the castle after which Disney modeled Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disney World. However, do not refer to it as The Disney Castle if you are speaking with a German. I did this, simply because I didn't know how to pronounce Neuschwanstein and was immediately informed that this castle predates Mr. Walt Disney and the Magic Kingdom:) Our German friend Thomas did provide a tip that really helped me remember the German name for the castle: In German the name Neu-schwan-stein translates to New-Swan-Stone. The English and German words are very similar! When I first tried to pronounce it, I said the German words for New-Swine-Stone, which elicited a few more chuckles. I eventually got it right and now I will never forget how to say Neuschwanstien!
The castle dates back to 1892 and is definitely worth a visit. It's about an hour outside of Munich in Southern Bavaria and easy to reach by car or public transportation. Consider buying your tickets for an indoor tour in advance because you can only enter the castle with a tour guide at a set time. By the time we arrived, it was too late to book an indoor tour. However, we enjoyed seeing it from outside and walking around the little town below. Here are a few pictures of this fairytale castle: