Julia Celebrates Her Second Birthday

Sipping Espresso Turns One!


Wow!  We did it!  SIPPING ESPRESSO officially turns one today.  I distinctly remember starting our blog one year ago today.  Jen had the idea to use a blog in order to maintain a “virtual journal” of our time in Italy.  She also wanted a vessel to share our photos and stories with family and friends.  I was intrigued by the idea of maintaining some sort of project and so I was happy to jump into the blogosphere.  Over the past year that we have been posting – our tiny, insignificant blog has grown into something much, much more…a little, insignificant blog.
Grover Helps Us Celebrate

Over the summer, we took a cruise that concluded with a goodbye letter from the captain, along with “fun facts” about our time at sea.  For example, they listed the number of crew on board, the amount of food consumed in terms of weight, our nautical miles traveled, etc.  It gave me the idea that it may be fun to also look back at our own blogging voyage and break down the numbers from this past year.

So without further adieu… here you go.

Sipping Espresso by The Numbers

Number of Blog Posts
87 (including this one)

I couldn’t make it to the even 100 – even though I have a few half-written posts in the pipeline. Sometimes all I feel like I’m doing is sitting in front of my computer… blogging!

Total Number of Page Views

I was shocked and awed by the number of people that have visited our blog.  Thanks, mom and dad for clicking on the blog 25,645 times and getting your friends to click on the links the remaining 310 times.

Most Unique Countries That Have Visited the Blog
Ukraine (we’re huge with the Ukrainian crowd), Russia, China, Japan, Korea and Australia.  We also have a good amount of visits from our European neighbors  – France, Spain, Norway, Germany and Denmark.  Of course, our biggest base is still the good ‘ol U.S. of A.

Post With The Most Page Views
The View Overtop Como (link) – 1,114 page views

I was really surprised by this.  It’s definitely not one of the better posts or subject matters.  I think it must have some combination of key words that rank it fairly high in google searches about Lake Como.

Greg’s Favorite Posts
Scotland – Where Real Men Wear Skirts (link)
Kiss me, I’m Irish in Dublin (link)
I’ll Take a Pint of the Black Stuff, Gov’na (link)
Recreating a Photo 63 Years Later (link)

This was a tough one for me.  It’s like choosing among your children.  OK, that’s not true at all – it was much easier than that.  I liked these particular posts because I had such fond memories of the events, there was usually a good combination of food/travel/photography in the story and there was most likely a quip or joke I made that I still find to be particularly witty today.

Jen’s Favorite Posts
Beaches, Wine and Pasta Making – What a Vacation (link)
Make My Order of Haggis a Double, Please (link)
Recreating a Photo 63 Years Later (link)
Five Villages – One Day (link)
Our Final Days at Sea (link)
Oktoberfest…What More Can I Say?! (link)

Revenue Earned Through Blogging

Well, I guess I won’t be making a profession out of this anytime soon.Blogging Doesn't Pay The Bills

Our Time Abroad… In a Nutshell

Number of Visitors

We have had the good fortunate to have shared many of our adventures with friends and family. Here are the people that came to see us.

Diane (2 visits), Dominic, Jessica, S David (2 visits), Deborah (2 visits), Nathan, Danielle, Michelle, David, Elsa, Giovanni, Sonny, Stefani, Lauren, Josh, Abby, Dave, Jill, Matt and Lindsey.

Average Days in Between Visitors
5.9 days*

When you have that many visitors in a short period of time, it doesn’t give you a lot of time to change the sheets.  To our guests… I promise, they were changed (wink, wink).

*This average was taken from the last day of our first visitor and the first day of our last visitor.

Total Amount of Euros Spent on Traffic Violations
€1,710.78 ($2,318.44)

UGHHH!  That’s a lot of cannoli’s!  This wonderful figure includes the fines themselves as well as the “convenience fee” our local government charges in order to pay the ticket, the mailing fee I have to pay to receive the ticket and the commission I have to pay to use a credit card.  I may not be paying taxes in Italy, but I’ve sure given more than my fair share.

Breakdown of tickets
•Speeding – €1,369.48
•Limited Zone – €288.80
•Parking – €52.50Pull Over

Approximate Grams of Pasta Consumed
44,200 grams (97.44 lbs of pasta)

This [somewhat shocking] math was fairly simple.  An average serving of pasta is 80 grams per person (although, I usually have a little more).

2 people (Greg and Jen) eating pasta 4x week = 640 grams per week
+1 child (Julia) eats a third portion = 210 grams per week 
Total of 850 grams per week

850 grams x 52 weeks = 44,200 grams of pasta

I’d venture to guess it’s a little more than this (let’s call it a ‘cool’ 100 pounds of pasta).  Wow… that’s gross when you add it all up!

Approximate Number of Pizza’s Eaten
208 pizzas

Pizza in Italy is thin and served in individual portions.  So if we both want pizza, we will order two pies.  Not only is pizza delicious – it’s quick, mess-free and simple when you’re on the road.  You can always find a good pizza place anywhere in Italy.  Apart from that, we discovered an amazing brand of frozen pizza that we enjoy probably once a week (Jen cooks amazing lunches, we’re usually more low-key for dinner).

This was also simple math.
4 pizzas per week x 52 weeks = 208 pizzas

I actually think my average my be higher, but I don’t want to embarrass myself any further.Pizza Image

European Countries Visited 

Traveling as much as possible was always a major goal in moving here.  Over the past year we have seen Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Vatican City, Greece, Turkey, Montenegro, Croatia, Switzerland, Scotland, Ireland and Monaco.

Regions Visited Within Italy

There are 20 regions in Italy, each of them remarkable in their own way.  Every region could make their own argument for having the tastiest food, producing the best wine, boasting the most magical scenery and on and on.  Truthfully, your opinion may be swayed in favor of the region making it’s case… until you visit another region and have to decide all over again.  Seeing each of Italy’s 20 diverse regions is an important part of our experience here.  Even though we may only be able to get a “flavor” of the local place, we’d like to see them all.  We’ve just tipped past the half-way point and we’ve got our fingers crossed that we’ll be able to see all 20.

We have visited:

Lombardia (Lombardy)
Piemonte (Piedmont)
Trentino Alto-Adige
Emilia Romagna
Toscana (Tuscany)
Sicilia (Sicily)

UNESCO World Heritage Sites Visited

World Heritage Sites are places that have been listed by UNESCO as possessing important cultural significance.  They all share one thing in common – they are beautiful and awe-inspiring.  Viewing these magical sites has been a highlight of our time abroad and a blessing that only Europe can offer in such abundance.UNESCO Logo

Cathedral, Torre Civica and Piazza Grande, Modena
City of Verona
Historic Centre of Florence
Historic Centre of Naples
Historic Centre of Rome
Historic Centre of San Gimignano
Historic Centre of Siena
Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto
Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands
Venice and its Lagoon
The Dolomites

Pont du Gard (Roman Aqueduct)

Historic Centre of the City of Salzburg

Acropolis, Athens
Archaeological Site of Olympia
Old Town of Corfu

Historic Areas of Istanbul

Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor

Old City of Dubrovnik

Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch

Old and New Towns of Edinburgh

Number of Grappa Bottles Acquired

We have acquired (and drank) more grappa in our first month here than either of us had consumed in our lifetimes.  It’s just how it is… we love it!  Plus, we love making our guests try grappa to gauge their reactions.  These 26 bottles have either been purchased, received as gifts or made at home.

Number of Grappas Made at Home

It’s surprisingly easy.  If you’d like to try, click HERE

“Strange” Foods Tried by Julia
Julia is quite the adventurous eater.  She’s always happy to eat off our plates and we are happy to expose her to new things.  Among the dishes she’s tried this year are:

Foie gras (goose liver), caviar, pigeon, pâté, haggis (heart, liver and lungs encased in a sheep’s stomach), black pudding (mixture of pork fat, onion, oatmeal and pig’s blood), goat, rabbit, lamb, boar, octopus, squid, freshly shaved truffles, lardo (cured pork fat), fondue, mussels, king prawns and lobster.

These were the only facts and and figures that I had the foresight to include or the smarts to calculate.  If I’ve left anything out, please let me know!  I look forward to Sipping Espresso making it another year and entering our “terrible two’s”.  Thanks for coming along on this voyage with us!

5 thoughts on “Sipping Espresso Turns One!”

  1. Hi there! I found your blog during the Expat Blog contest…perhaps your parents helped to write the zillion of comments you received to earn that gold medal! I had to settle for bronze! ; ) I enjoy reading expat blogs so much because I can empathize with all the trials and tribulations we experience and the joys of traveling to so many wonderful places! And, 80 some posts in one year…not bad…I’m only at 78 after almost 3!! You can find my blog at http://51500.blogspot.it/


  2. Thanks for the post game recap or maybe it’s just a half time review, hopefully the latter. Thanks for taking us along to so many fun places. Ciao

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