Our First Stunning Baltimore Sunset

We always enjoy seeing sunsets and since we have some wonderful views from our new place, we enjoyed watching the sun go down from our rooftop deck. Sunsets near water are almost always very vibrant due to the humidity in the air and this one was no different. We will certainly have the opportunity to see many more, but we will definitely remember our first sunset in Baltimore. The sun set near the downtown area of Baltimore, which silhouetted the skyscrapers with an orange hue that was quite stunning. Obviously, we enjoy seeing sunsets during our travels, but seeing them at home can be equally calming and relaxing.

Last Hints of the Sun
Sunset and the City View
Focusing on the City

Top of the World in Baltimore, Maryland

As we continue to get acquainted with our new location and finish the process of moving in, we decided to take some time this weekend to be tourists in our new city. One of the things that we did was to go to the observation deck of the World Trade Center near Inner Harbor that is called “The Top of the World”. This is the type of thing that we would do anytime that we visited a city, regardless of where we are in the world, as these observation decks provide amazing views. In addition to the views, the deck also provides quite a bit of history regarding the city and information on many of the famous citizens that have lived there.

Views of Baltimore
Looking Out Towards Our Neighborhood Off in the Distance
Submarine That You Can Explore
National Aquarium

Like many cities located on the eastern coast of the United States, Baltimore has a rich history that goes back hundreds of years to the birth of the nation. Clearly it has evolved over time into the modern city that it is today. Inner Harbor is just a short distance from the city center of Baltimore, so the views from the observation deck include both views of the harbor as well of the city center. One of the things that we found interesting was that we could see the landmark of the local brewery in Baltimore, National Bohemian (Natty Boh), which is located near our new location, so we could almost see our new home from the deck.

Historic Ship
Inside of the Observation Deck
View of the Harbor
One of the Many Landmarks in Baltimore

There are many recognizable landmarks that can be seen from the deck, including the baseball stadium where the Baltimore Orioles play named Camden Yards. In addition to the navy and commercial ships that can be seen in the harbor, there are also several ships that are part of the living classrooms in Baltimore that people can tour that can be seen from the deck. It was definitely an enjoyable way to spend some time getting acquainted to Baltimore. It was also a clear and sunny day, which made the views even better.

More City Views with Camden Yards
Another Ship
We Love Walking Along the Harbor
One of the Many Plaques in the Observation Deck

Making the Most of a Half-Day in Lucca, Italy

One the things that we did during our trip to Florence, Italy was to take a day trip that included going to Lucca and then going to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. The trip itself was certainly worth it, but as fascinating as the Leaning Tower of Pisa might be, we found Lucca to be the highlight. We enjoyed walking the narrow streets and seeing the wonderful architecture of the Tuscan city. Lucca is only a short drive from Florence making it a perfect place to explore during a visit to the area.

Walking the Narrow Streets of Lucca
Statue of Giacomo Puccini
Architecture of the City from the Guinigi Tower
Lucca Cathedral
Colorful Ceiling Within the Cathedral
Changing Colors of the Bell Tower

Of the different places that we spent time visiting while we were in Lucca, several of them certainly stood out. First is the Lucca Cathedral with its unique bell tower, which has different colors due to the different materials that were used in its construction. The base of the tower is made of quartz stone, while the top floors are made of white limestone, making for an interesting contrast. Another interesting feature of the cathedral are the three arches that are part of the entrance. One of the arches is smaller than the other two due to the fact that the bell tower existed at the time of the construction and the architects reduced the size of the third arch to accommodate the tower.

Marble Statues Inside of the Cathedral
Cathedral Entrance
Beautiful Artwork in the Dome in Lucca
Rooftop Garden and Shade Trees
Nearing the Top of the Tower
Looking Out Through the Trees

Another must see location is the Guinigi Tower, which is visible from throughout Lucca. What makes it unique is the garden on the roof with its oak trees providing shade. Built in the late 1300’s by the Guinigi family, who were wealthy merchants in the area, the tower certainly stands out amongst the other buildings in Lucca. The climb up the 235 stairs to the top of the 125 foot tower is certainly worth it as you are rewarded with amazing views of the historic city. One can imagine the wealthy Guinigi family sitting on the rooftop to escape the heat of city below with its warm breezes and wonderful shade trees.

Looking Down at the Stairs of the Tower in Lucca
Rooftops of Lucca
Fresh Zucchini Ravioli in Lucca
Buca di Sant’Antonio Restaurant in Lucca, Italy
Rabbit Salad

We also stopped for a traditional Tuscan lunch at the Buca di Sant’Antonio, which dates back to 1782. Since the restaurant is known for their handmade pasta, which is made fresh every day, we had to get an order of their ravioli in addition to a rabbit salad. The copper pots hanging from the ceiling add to the ambiance of the restaurant. It was certainly a wonderful way to end our half day in Lucca before heading to Pisa and returning once again to Florence.