Well, we didn’t run into Edward Cullen, Bella Swan or that creepy little girl that can induce pain in people’s mind (I suppose the world’s largest and most powerful coven of vampires was in hiding) during our visit to Volterra in Tuscany.
Now this is Tuscany!
For the Tibetan monk that has been living in isolation in Bhutan… and my sister, the only two people in the world that haven’t a clue who Edward or Bella are – I am making a playful reference to the Twilight Series. Buddhist monk and Michelle, listen up – the premise of the fictional story is simple. Girl falls in love with boy. Boy happens to be a blood-sucking vampire. Girl also falls in love with another boy. Boy happens to be a shape-shifting werewolf. Love triangle ensues. They all get in trouble when the Volturi (fictional Vampire royalty from the non-fictional town of Volterra, Italy) get involved. Giant battle rages. Extend story over five books. Produce six movies and collect hundreds of millions of non-fictional dollars. You know – your classic love story. Continue reading Edward and Bella – We’re Here!→
Facebook is great for a lot of things. First of all, it’s a wonderful time killer. It is a spectacular medium for sharing funny videos about cats. The site is also great for shameless self-promotion of your unimportant blog (ahem). Facebook keeps me and Jen apprised of popular youtube videos and trending pop-culture stories we would have otherwise missed living in another country. But perhaps best of all – it helps reconnect people after many, many years.
Apparently I’m the only person in the world to forget that, “The Sound of Music” took place in Salzburg, Austria. I base this observation on the countless number of tour operators and tourists we observed visiting and posing at key movie locations. However, thanks to a quick iTunes movie download in the hotel, we were quickly singing our doe-ray-me’s along with the rest of the cheese balls.
Not only was this classic movie set and shot here, but a fairly famous musician was also born and raised in the city. Perhaps you’ve heard of him… Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Salzburg is an amazing city filled with a rich history and jaw-dropping beauty. We left northern Italy for Austria on a whim two days prior. We continued riding that whim and drove further into Austria to see Salzburg on the suggestion of family. Since our expectations of the city were nonexistent, they were easy to surpass – but I would think this city could have easily leapt the most lofty of them all.
I recently realized that our “Home Cooking” section of the blog was growing the slowest throughout the entire site. I’m only partly ashamed to admit that the one consistent about our trip is that we’ve been indulging in some of the most amazing food we’ve ever had. However, my OCD recently kicked in when I noticed all our food posts landed in the “Restaurant” or “Jen’s Kitchen” sections. So, in an effort to right this wrong… here is one very memorable home-cooked meal we hosted a little while ago.
Eugenio brought a wonderful Champagne
Jen has a warm and wonderful family, with whom we love spending time. Recently, her cousin Eugenio drove from Torino to spend time with us and get reacquainted with Julia. He brought his lovely girlfriend, Barbara as well.
Day three in Dublin brought no less excitement than either of the first two days. If you haven’t read about the first couple days and are interested in reading about this wonderful vacation in sequential order, you can read about Day One HERE and Day Two HERE.
Julia getting ready to go outside for some fun
We had booked a return from Dublin on Monday morning so that we could enjoy the famous Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and all the corresponding festivities on Sunday. We had heard for quite some time that the People’s Parade was a wonderful sight to behold and that we should arrive early. Fortunately, our hotel was directly along the parade route. Even more fortunate was that we were given a room with a direct view of the parade. Continue reading Mardis Gras’ Got Nothing On Dublin→
We arrived in Dublin on Friday with plenty of time to enjoy the day, which you can read about HERE. We woke up Saturday even more eager to get started after everything we had seen the day before. We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast of eggs, soda bread and black pudding (blood sausage) in our hotel’s restaurant. As Jen drank her fresh-squeezed orange juice, I poured over my cheesy, hyper-animated tourist map of the city. I came to two conclusions – animated graphics of tourist attractions are as helpful as pictures on a menu at Denny’s. That, and we were going to do a lot of walking! Continue reading I’ll take a pint of the black stuff, Gov’na!→
We had exactly two trips pre-planned before we moved to Italy. One to Scotland with Jen’s family this coming June and the other; something way to good pass up… Saint Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Ireland! Jen suggested we participate in one of the largest parties in the world and I happily obliged. We booked a flight on a local carrier and headed to Dublin for a long weekend. I’m going to publish three separate posts dedicated to Dublin – too many stories and photos to fit all into one!
On our way to Dublin
We boarded our flight on Ryan Air from a small, regional airport. As it turns out Ryan Air (an Irish Airline) is simultaneously the coolest and the absolute worst airline on the planet. They offer low-cost airfare throughout Europe (great), but those flights are tricky to find and they nickel and dime you to death (not great). When you book your ticket, you have to navigate through 5 pages of extras that they try to trick you into buying (“would you like trip insurance for your goat?”). By the end, you’re too burned out to read their luggage policy and you might end up in a pickle like we did. Continue reading Kiss me, I’m Irish in Dublin!→
Last week, we received a visit from our Uncle S. and Aunt Deborah who were traveling through Europe on business. They had planned a stop over visit us before traveling by train to their next destination. We had also coordinated with Jen’s mom, who was departing on the same day they arrived, which saved us a trip to the airport and allowed us to spend the day in Milano (never a bad thing). Whoever said planning is overrated never had traffic and a two year old to contend with.
Julia with her great-uncle S.
Julia was sad to see her Nonna leave, but excited to have new visitors to play with. She instantly recognized S. and Deb as they arrived through customs. Since it was early evening when they landed, we took them back to our condo and had a “light” dinner of bread, salami, salami piccante (spicy salami) prosciutto, cheese, a cannelloni bean salad, acciughe in salsa verde (anchovies in green sauce), insalata finocchio (fennel salad) and insalata caprese with some wonderful buffalo mozzarella. Franco and Claudia came downstairs to join the party and brought some additional goodies of their own. Of course, we had more than a bottle or two of some good vino along with grappa and limoncello to wash it all down. Continue reading Eating On Top Of The World→
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.