Cinque Terre… Stunning. Breathtaking. Spectacular.
This often-sought and somewhat difficult place to access is all those things and so much more. The area of Cinque Terre, which translated literally means, five lands – is a section of rugged coastline that is comprised of five small fishing villages; Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The villages, coastline and surrounding hillside are all part of a National Park that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Each of the five villages offers something individually different from the others; yet the overall unique beauty of Cinque Terre would be entirely different without any one part of the whole.
Fishing boats tied off in Riomaggiore
Looking up the coast from Riomaggiore
When my parents recently came to visit (HERE and HERE), we knew that we wanted to take a mini-road trip. I had been to Cinque Terre over a decade ago and eager to go back. I had three vague memories of the most wonderful pesto, my favorite seafood dishes and the creamiest gelato I’d ever had. There seemed to be no better opportunity to go back than now. Continue reading Five Villages – One Day→
Julia has officially been our favorite little peanut for two years now! It seems like just yesterday that we were having fun at her first birthday party in DC and only a blink before that when she first held my hand in the hospital delivery room. And now it was already time for another birthday!
Our birthday girl one year ago
What a difference a year makes!
Also, what a difference a country makes – birthday cake last year, tiramisu this year!
Jen’s parents and sister were happy they were here for the big day. We’d already had tons of fun together, which you can read about HERE. We had just gotten back from a trip to Abruzzo the day before (HERE) and we had to make quick work getting everything together for her party. It was going to be low key – just some family over for a few snacks and cake. If you know my wife and mother-in-law, you’ll know that “low key” was not easy for them. Dominic and I had to keep reminding them it was just a small gathering – no need for their always impressive party-planning skills to be put to the test. Continue reading Our Piccola Principessa Turns Two→
I have no proof that when my sister, Michelle came to visit with her husband and daughter (David and Elsa) that he was the tallest man in all of Italy… but I’d say there’s a good shot! When I picked them up at the airport, I simply looked for the tallest/shortest couple combo possible (he’s a hair over 6’8″ and she’s a modest 5’2″). I spotted them instantly and helped them get some caffeine before taking them home for our big Italian lunch.
David, Elsa and Michelle – he’s crouching down to make it in the frame
Julia’s younger cousin, Elsa was her newest obsession and she had been excited all week leading up to their visit. She would wake up every day and scroll to some of the video’s or pictures we had on our iPad and scream “ELSA!” When the real thing walked (or rather, crawled) through the door – she was like a kid on Christmas. She couldn’t stop hugging and kissing her. Although, she had an awkward way of pulling her in by the neck – so much so that we dubbed Julia the, “Scranton Strangler” (you “Office” fans will get the reference).
The girls all reunited – Julia just wanted to kiss Elsa all the time
“Is my cousin trying to strangle me?!”
Michelle and David have a high-paced, action-packed lifestyle in Chicago and they were looking forward to a couple weeks of unplugging from their demanding jobs that they both do so well. We were happy to accommodate and show them a slow-paced trip filled with lots of good food and wine. We spent a couple days in the area, taking it easy. We visited the local park with the girls, we walked around downtown Como, we drove through many of the smaller lake towns. I showed David my favorite 5k loop and we went running together nearly every morning. Michelle cracked up one day after her privacy was invaded by our little Julia, somewhere in the beginning stages of potty training. She barged in and saw Michelle on the “potty” and declared to her, “Michelle… potty… YAHHH!” Continue reading The Tallest Man in Italy→
I just tell you – I am quite the romantic! I mean, so much so that I didn’t have a card, a plan or a clue this past Valentine’s day. But I just knew something would work out!
“Sure hope Daddy has something special planned for us”
I figured, what better way to start a romantic Valentine’s day than finalizing one of our last major tasks – car shopping. Thanks to my new best friend – the internet – we found a car in a town about 40 minutes away. So we piled in and headed over. After some intense negotiating (and let me tell you – your author was winning like Tyson versus Spinks) we built up an appetite. We asked the salesperson for directions to a local pizzeria (having not eaten delicious Italian-style pizza for a full week). He asked if we wanted pizza, or we wanted to eat like a local. That was a no-brainer and we answered at the same time in Italian (my accent, perfect – Jen’s not so much) that we wanted to eat like the locals. He gave us directions and we set our coordinates to GO.