Since the moment my wife Jennifer laid eyes on her baby sister, Jessica, they formed a strong bond that has only developed over time. Sure, Jennifer usually acts more like her mother than her sister and yes, there have been a few lively battles resulting in a couple “boo-boos”, but they are as close as any two sisters I have ever known.
That’s why we were thrilled when we learned of a last-minute vacation Jessica planned with her boyfriend, Matt. We were doubly excited because not only were we going to spend time with Jessica, but we were finally going to be able to meet Matt. Living in Italy comes with its obvious benefits, but we do miss out on a lot at home and so we are thrilled any time “home” comes to us. Continue reading Our Lil’ Sis Comes to Visit→
When you are young, the world is your oyster. You can do anything… be anything. Many kids have grand plans to become a cowboy or a princess or even travel through space and time. Most kid’s plans become a little bit more grounded in “this” world as they get a little older. But that doesn’t mean they can’t still be grand. I specifically remember sitting in my seventh grade Spanish class, penning a list of activities that I absolutely had to do in my lifetime. This list included activities such as climbing Mount Everest, sky diving and hang-gliding, running with the bulls in Pamplona and skiing the Swiss Alps. I think even then, I knew that I would be lucky to complete more than a handful of the activities. The one activity that persisted most in my mind was skiing the Swiss Alps. All throughout high school and college, my friends and I spoke of the day we would make this dream a reality. But after a decade and a half of dreaming, I started to believe that was all it would ever be. Sometimes the real world (jobs, kids, schedules, finances) just get in the way. Continue reading A Lifelong Dream, Realized At Last!→
I have a love-hate relationship with running. I love the feeling of finishing a five or six mile run. I hate the agony I get in my calves the next day. I love pushing myself to run a distance further than I’ve ever run before. I hate pushing myself through that first mile after foolishly taking four months off during the winter. Currently, I’m learning to find a proper balance in my on-again off-again relationship with running. Since living abroad, I’ve discovered a renewed commitment to running. I am lucky enough to have some of the most amazing routes in my own backyard – a benefit that definitely keeps me on the trail a little longer.
“Please, come join me along my run”
Julia loves to join me on an occasional run
We have been really lucky with some wonderful weather this fall. Just this morning, I went for a jog in shorts and a lightweight jacket. I understand it’s a lot colder at home, so I would like to invite you to “come for a run with me”. I have several routes that I take on a regular basis depending on how long, how far, or how much of a vertical climb I want. Or sometimes, I’ll just go out and try to find something new. Continue reading Would You Like To Join Me For a Run?→
I did it! I saw my first castle. It was wonderful – so tender and caring. And it lasted all morning! A first I’ll never forget!
When we drove into Austria, the hardest part after visiting Innsbruck (read about it HERE) was choosing which castle to visit. We had already planned on visiting Salzburg next, so I carefully chose among the four major castles near the city. I settled on Hohenwerfen Fortress about 40 km southeast of Salzburg. The plan was simple – leave Innsbruck early and drive straight to the castle. We would spend an hour or so at Hohenwerfen Fortress and then head to our hotel in Salzburg. My plan was solid – but I underestimated how much fun we’d have at the castle, and we ended up staying nearly four hours. Continue reading A Castle? OK… I’ll Take Two!→
Strange… not only do they not say, “g’day mate” in Austria – they speak German! Oh well, what’re you gonna do?!
After we spent four wonderful days in the Dolomiti mountains (which you can read about HERE and HERE), we planned an impromptu trip to Austria. The Dolomites span across the northern end of the Italy, just south of Austria. A quick google search confirmed that we could arrive in Innsbruck in under three hours and the opportunity was too good to pass up. Once we explained our plan to visit Innsbruck to Claudia’s cousin, Angelo – he suggested we also stop by Salzburg. Well, what’s another couple hours drive and another day or two? After all, we didn’t think we’d be back in Austria anytime soon. Continue reading "G’day Mate" from Innsbruck, Austria→
You may have recently read HERE about our trip to the Dolomiti (Dolomite Mountains) to visit Franco and Claudia over Easter weekend. What I wasn’t able to fit into that post, was all the imagery we captured of the most spectacular mountain range we have ever seen.
Hilltop view – I had to trespass to get this shot
Mountain view from “Claudia’s” bridge in Canale D’ Agordo
We extended our trip in Canale D’ Agordo (Claudia’s hometown) by a day, because the three days we planned was barely enough to just scratch the surface in this region of Italy. Claudia wanted to show us not only her town of Canale D’ Agordo, but also the surrounding towns. We would like to now share them with you. Continue reading Dolomiti e Una Macchina Fotografica→
This year we took full advantage of living in Italy and went to the Pope’s Church for Easter! Only, it wasn’t in Vatican City and it wasn’t the current Pope. But it was still his church! If I may explain…
Jen and Julia in front of the church in Canale D’ Agordo
If you’ve read a few posts (or know us), you’ll know that we’ve been fortunate enough to live in Jen’s parent’s condo while in Italy. Even more fortunate is that Jen’s Zio (Uncle) Franco and Zia (Aunt) Claudia live above us. This means we’re eaten countless meals upstairs (she’s a wonderful cook), have built in baby sitters, tour guides and translators… basically we have a third set of parents and new besties. Continue reading Easter in the Pope’s Church→
No, we didn’t oversell it in the title. This meal was
LEGEN…wait for it…DARY!
Like Odysseus who fought heroically in the Trojan war and embarked on a long journey rife with cyclops, lotus-eaters, sea monsters and hostile giants; we too fought our own heroic battle of hunger and embarked on a journey rife with wrong turns, communication challenges, unpaved roads and hostile baby cries. In the end however, it worked out better for us than Odysseus.
We decided to visit the neighboring town of Lecco and grab a bite to eat. When I quickly opened my browser and selected a restaurant from Trip Advisor based solely on someones comment “good food, family friendly” – we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We plotted our course in the GPS and set out to eat at Osteria Belvedere Montalbano, a thirty minute-minute drive.
Lecco – a lake town on the east “leg” of Lake Como
A panoramic of the lake that I stitched together – the view on our way to the restaurant
Thirty-five minutes later, we pulled up. To a house. This couldn’t be right. We tried again. Twenty minutes later we ended up in the woods. Hmmm??? Twenty five minutes later we pulled up again. To another house. How many Via (Street) Montalbano’s could there be?! Jen dug a little deeper and translated a few google posts. She discovered that the restaurant is in fact, in the woods. So we were right when we were in the woods??? We tried that route again and hit a dirt path that looked to be traveled only by horses. As frustrated as you are reading this, you can imagine our displeasure. We’d had enough… time to throw in the towel. Continue reading A Culinary Odyssey of Epic Proportions!→