Europe · 46 Days · 66 Moments · June 2018

3 August 2018

❤️❤️❤️Home Sweet Home❤️❤️❤️ Today we arrived back in North Carolina. The girls were happy to be reunited with friends and left right away. Before Makayla headed out the door, she hugged us and thanked us for taking her to Europe for the Summer. As I reflect on the past 6 weeks, I am beyond grateful. Soon, Breanna will graduate college and start a career. Makayla will head off to college. Life is changing so fast. Pete and I both appreciate the opportunity to get our little family away together. It was a sacrifice but it was worth it. My hope is that the memories of this trip last us a lifetime. Keeping this journal was an attempt at preserving as much as possible. Thank you, Bre and Kiki, for letting us steal your summers. You girls bring us more joy than we deserve. Thank you, Babe, for spoiling us and loving us beyond measure. Ti amo la mia famiglia! 🅛
It was time for the last leg of our journey home. Here we are in our taxi headed to Heathrow Airport this morning. 🅛

2 August 2018

Family photos are in! Tonight, we came back to the hotel and ate cookies while we viewed our family photos. Out of 319 pictures, here’s a few of our favorites. 🅛
London has been a delightful surprise. It’s been almost 20 years since our last visit and it’s changed so much. I’ve never seen such a mix of architectural styles in one place. Upon arrival, our hotel served us coffee and tea. I’m not a coffee drinker but Pete and Bre remembered how subpar non-Italian coffee is - even without the ice. After a typical English lunch of Bangers & Mash and Fish & Chips, the girls shopped on Oxford Street while we followed them around. Due to our limited time, we booked an evening panoramic bus tour of London. Normally, we are not a bus tour type of family but the girls both agreed this is now their favorite way to tour. The weather was perfect and we learned so much. It was great to be in Europe with everyone speaking English after 6 weeks of Italian. We enjoyed our visit so much that Pete and I think England might need to be our next sabbatical. 🅛
Today, we left Italy and landed in London for our overnight layover. I’m already missing Rome but looking forward to getting back home. 🅛

1 August 2018

Today we arrived in Murano - an island near Venice. We are pleasantly surprised at how quiet it is by comparison. Murano is famous for its glass-making but most things were closed by the time we got to sightsee. Our hotel, LaGare, is a former glass factory. The girls love how modern it is. We checked out a piazza called Campo Santo Stefano. It’s known for its Comet Glass Star made from Murano glass. We had our final Italian dinner that included plenty of pizza and pasta. After some souvenir shopping and an unsuccessful search for gelato, we’re turning in for our early morning tomorrow. 🅛
It felt bittersweet when we left Rome this morning. I took one final look at our apartment before starting our journey home. I’ve loved living here. 🅛

31 July 2018

We also made time to say goodbye to Christos, the homeless gentleman we came to know that sleeps in front of the church just outside our apartment. Christos has been on all our minds this trip. From the few conversations I had with him he seems like a great guy who has had a series of bad luck. Every night we would see him reading books before bed so Breanna decided to buy him a book. She said a book can be like a friend. We gave him the book and some other gifts and said our good-byes. I pray that God will bless Christos and help him find his way. 🅟
Wow, I can’t believe our last day in Rome is here. That went way too fast. We tried to pack as much into this last week as we could but still didn’t have time for it all. Tonight we did some last minute shopping (and returns) and had our last supper. We discussed having a truly authentic Italian meal and found a restaurant right in front of the Capitol. After ordering, we noticed the menu said “Top Quality Frozen Food” 🅟
Today we toured another American college - John Cabot University. The girls are taking their summer class here so we thought we knew what to expect. We underestimated this beautiful school. Our host, Sonia, was sweet and fun. She grew up in Rome with an American dad and a Finnish mom so her English and knowledge of the area was quite helpful. We saw all 3 campuses filled with marble, frescos, and too many terraces to count as well as a dorm overlooking a lovely courtyard. It was impressive to hear that they hold graduation at a gorgeous villa on a hill overlooking Rome. Makayla plans to study International Affairs so attending a school that’s only one-third American would give her a unique perspective in her field. Afterwards we had lunch at a corner cafe and discussed how much we all liked JCU. 🅛

30 July 2018

For dinner we had our last meal on the terrace. We talked about the things we missed and did not miss about the States. Things missed included Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, Bojangles, friends, and family. 🅛
Today we learned you can go to the top of the Capitol building. What a view! From up there the buildings looked like doll houses. Props to our photo bombing friend in front of the Colosseo. 🅟
Today, we did our first College Tour with Makayla. We checked-out the American University of Rome. Our guide, Melanie, was a very friendly American woman living in Rome who called herself a crazy cat lady. After the tour, we grabbed lunch across the street and agreed that AUR wasn’t a good fit. 🅛

29 July 2018

After church and lunch, we visited the Villa Borghese Park. It was gorgeous but we realized early on that it was too big and too hot to walk so we grabbed gelato and rented a cute, red golf cart. We toured the Borghese Galleria Museum which was filled with beautiful statues and paintings. We had planned to tour the Modern Art Museum as well but ran out of time so we have that to look forward to next time. We ran into the girls’ professor while checking out the lake and then watched the sunset before trekking back home. It was a full, hot, fun day. 🅛
After church, we made a final stop at our favorite brunch place, Coromandel, and said good-bye to our favorite waiter Paolo. We also grabbed a photo of the girls at their favorite McDonalds. I don’t think they were into this photo but they certainly seemed to love this place. The majority of the time we checked in with them, they were here. I feel a tiny bit better that McDonalds in Europe is healthier. 🅛
I have been wanting to try an American church in Rome and today we found one. We consider ourselves non-denominational but we enjoyed worshipping with Rome Baptist Church. It was sandwiched between Vitti dal 1898, a cute cafe we happen upon every time we visit Rome, and a Louis Vuitton store. We arrived early so we grabbed some pastries for breakfast. The pastor was friendly and I loved the international congregation. A lady in front of us visited from South Africa, a family behind us was there from Ottawa, and a young British couple was on their honeymoon. 🅛

28 July 2018

We had previously walked by a light show in the Roman Forum so Pete found tickets and the girls met us there. We learned about Augustus’ and Caesar’s Forums. 🅛
The girls ditched us again and went shopping so Pete and I decided to do some exploring. First, we checked out Trajan’s market. It was built around 100 AD and was the first shopping mall in history. We then headed to an area called Monti to tour the famous Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. Unfortunately, they closed the gate right as we arrived even though we were 45 minutes early. We found a cute place called Black Market Hall that had lots of cozy rooms on different levels that spilled out onto leafy terraces. I look forward to returning to this area on a future visit since we didn’t have much time. 🅛
Today was finally Family Photo Day. Our photographer, Mike Kire, met us at our apartment where we started on the terrace. We took photos in the Jewish Ghetto around our apartment and then headed over to Capitoline Hill for sunset. 🅛

27 July 2018

After our 2 hour photo shoot, we headed to dinner. Breanna ordered Amatriciana pizza - the best pizza I’ve ever tasted. Then we found a place called Make My Magnum where you create custom hand-dipped ice cream bars using various coatings, toppings, and drizzles. I’m not sure if we have these in the states but we should. We were stuffed and exhausted so we waddled home after grabbing a few photos at the Trevi fountain. 🅛
Today, we spent our morning shopping at our favorite market in Campo d’Fiori. There were fresh spices, fruits, smoothies and more. Though it took plenty of coaching, Pete created iced coffee at breakfast! 🅛

26 July 2018

Tonight, we ate at a yummy ristorante near the Trevi Fountain. We also found a cool rooftop lounge to relax and enjoy the beautiful view. 🅛
Today was a fun day in Italian class. Our teacher, Federica, surprised us with a treat - Cornetti Salati. We previously learned the word “cornetti” which means “croissants”. I asked her if Italians had croissants that weren’t sweet because I’ve only seen them filled with Nutella, custard, or marmalade. She said not really because Italians love their sweets for breakfast. She was shocked to recently see Cornetti Salati (savory croissants) in the grocery store. She said she had to get them for me. So thoughtful! I’m glad we took Italian lessons. We’ve learned so much. 🅛

25 July 2018

The girls took a field trip with their class today. Their professor, Donald Winslow, took them to see a photo exhibit at a museum called Palazzo delle Esposizioni. 🅛
Early this morning Makayla and I made a trip to Vatican City and climbed to the top of the Duomo of San Pietro. That was a lot of steps but what a view! We tried to get Breanna to come with us but apparently waking up at 6:00 AM is “non bene”. Afterwards we had breakfast on the roof of the church and then toured the Sistine Chapel. Then we hurried back so I can work and Kayla can make it to class on time. It’s great to be in a place where you can see and do so much and still have time to work and go to school. 🅟

24 July 2018

Today, like most mornings in Rome started with a trip to the gym. I get my cardio in and then relax in the hot tub for a few. Afterwards I grab a cappuccino from my new friend, Santo. I enjoy trying to read the Italian paper (with the help of Google Translate). Early on I noticed that this little fearless bird would come up to me looking for bread so I started feeding him every morning. So in a nutshell, much like an old man, I sit outside, sipping my coffee, reading the newspaper and feeding breadcrumbs to birds. Getting old isn’t as bad as I had imagined. After my cappuccino I met up with Latrelle and we cruised Piazza d’Fiori for some daily essentials before heading back home to start my workday. 🅟

23 July 2018

For today’s morning stroll we headed over to the Pantheon. Latrelle is a student of architecture and couldn’t wait to see the inside of the largest unreinforced concrete dome. It really is quite an amazing building to see. After about 70 failed selfie attempts we grabbed some souvenirs and started our daily search for English breakfast with uovas (eggs). I’m really starting to get used to our morning strolls before I start my workday. I need to find a way to replicate this back home. Unfortunately in the time it took us to walk to the Pantheon we would barely make it out of our neighborhood back home. 🅟

22 July 2018

Trastevere is a cool area mostly inhabited by college students. It’s where where the girls go to school (John Cabot University). Pimms restaurant is really cool. The entire building is covered in greenery and the molten lava desert was pretty amazing. Yet another district in Rome that has its own vibe. We are really enjoying discovering all of them. 🅟

21 July 2018

Well today, we got to practice our family photo shoot. By practice I mean that I mixed up the days of the family photos and we got ready before I realized it. 😁 So we snapped a few photos that helped me and Pete realize we wanted to tweak our outfits a little. We decided to go somewhere nice for dinner at least. Since we were already in the Jewish Ghetto, we went to Nonna Betta and tried the Jewish artichoke. They proudly displayed Anthony Boudrain’s photo to let folks know he ate there. After dinner, we found a place that made yummy home-made desserts. 🅛

20 July 2018

It never ceases to amaze me just how much beauty there is to be discovered in Rome. In just a simple trip to the corner store you can discover ancient ruins, places of historical significance or even just beautiful architecture. If I had a picture for every amazing thing we discover on a daily basis here it would fill this blog. I am so thankful that we have this entire month to discover the beauty this city has to offer. 🅟

19 July 2018

This is the Jewish Ghetto where we live. It is definitely not a ghetto in the sense that we use the word but it is very Jewish. I love how they have managed to preserve their culture, tradition, and sense of community in the heart of a big city. Our entire area shuts down from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday for Shabbat. It’s beautiful to see everyone emerge refreshed after a whole day of only rest and family time. Powerful memorials mark the horrible atrocities the Jews suffered in this area. Remarkably, they’ve taken the worst area of Rome where they were forced to live in walled-in squalor and turned it into one of the most desirable areas to live. Still, it feels funny when asked to respond with, “We’re staying in the ghetto”. 🅛

18 July 2018

Getting an iced coffee in Italy is not as easy as you would think. This morning they brought me a cup of coffee with 1 ice cube. After explaining I need “multo ghiaccio” (lots of ice) and milk they brought me an ice coffee starter kit. 🅟

17 July 2018

Italian class with Nostro insegnante Angela. This class is really helpful. I’m learning helpful conversational phrases. Breanna is laughing at me because I didn’t do my homework. She is such a better student than I am. Tutto chiaro (all clear). 🅟

16 July 2018

When the World Cup is on, the streets of Rome are empty and everyone is at the bar cheering. Judging by this morning’s paper this guy named “Elysees” had something to do with it. 🅟

15 July 2018

Tonight was date night with my best friend and soul mate. We had dinner at our favorite restaurant, Aroma. The sunset views of Colosseo are fantastic and the food is even better. It seems that ghiaccio (ice) is in short supply at most restaurants, but not at Aroma :) I was so happy to return to Rome, and Aroma with my beautiful wife. I pray this won’t be our last time. 🅟
The girls’ professor suggested they attend Sunday Mass with Pope Frances while they’re here. So, today we got up early and made the trek to the Vatican to get our papal blessing. We aren’t Catholic but I can appreciate what Pope Francis is doing for Catholicism and for the world. 🅛

14 July 2018

Today was a lazy Saturday. We need more of these! It’s just so hard to see Rome outside your window and not want to go exploring. Today we stayed in and played a new (to us) game called Ticket to Ride - Europe. We had food laughs at Breanna competitiveness and harassed Makayla for hoarding the wild cards. Also, I learned it is dangerously easy to make nutella brownies with just flour, Nutella, and eggs. I had to do some conversions and make some guesses but it worked! 🅛

13 July 2018

Pete and I love escape rooms. We try to find a new one to try whenever we travel so I was happy to find that Rome has plenty. Today, we made our way to Game Over Escape Room for the Mission Impossible room. Our guide was unusually eager at his job and jumped in at some funny times. With less than 10 seconds to spare, Breanna and Makayla saved the day and we escaped! 🅛
Breanna and I took a morning stroll to the shopping district by the Spanish Steps. Visiting all the high end fashion stores was Bre’s idea of sightseeing. I’m told that Rome is ahead of the fashion curve so it was fun to see what the latest fashions are. One thing is certain, Breanna has expensive taste. The glasses were only $400 and the shoes were a bargain at $500. What a deal. It was really fun to learn more about the world of fashion with Bre today. She had so much passion in this area and it was shining through. The store clerks were wondering why she was snapping so many photos of their clothes. I must say, Versace makes some really nice clothes, but I might need to get a second job to afford them. As my baby girl is on the verge of graduating college and moving to the next stage of her life I covet days like this where just the two of us get to spend time together. 🅟

12 July 2018

I enjoy taking an after dinner stroll to watch the beautiful Rome sunset. There’s a great little garden just in front of our neighborhood with amazing views of the Capitol and the Rome skyline. Tonight Kayla shared that one of her favorite things to do is walk around Rome at night. We took a small break from walking to sit at the steps of the Capitol. Makayla decided to lay down for a moment and gaze at the stars. The Carabinieri (Italian Police) did not approve. :) 🅟

11 July 2018

Just across the street from our apartment is an amazing courtyard called the Palazzo Mattei di Giove which was built in 1598. The palace now houses many things including the Centre for American Studies. I feel so lucky that we’ll get to pass it every morning as we leave our apartment. Fun fact: Latrelle and I had some photos taken a few years back in this courtyard and didn’t realize it was here on our street, Via Dei Funari. One evening while walking back from the grocery store we stumbled across it and immediately recognized it from our photos. 🅟

10 July 2018

Later this afternoon, I found a place called Clarilo’ and got a shellac manicure by Sara. She said she enjoyed practicing her English and I tried practicing my limited Italian. 🅛
Today, we started Italian lessons with Angela from When in Rome. We realized immediately when she arrived that she knew very little English. Thankfully, Pete knows a little Italian and that helped some. We’ll only have 3 weeks of lessons but I can tell it will make our time here a bit easier. 🅛

9 July 2018

One of our favorite discoveries this trip is Lungo il Tevere. Every summer vendors fill the banks of the Tiber River with restaurants from around the world, games and live music. It is a lively atmosphere and yet another district to discover here in Rome. So far we’ve had Mexican and authentic Spanish tapas, and there are plenty more cuisines on my list. They even have a whole section of foosball and air hockey tables. Latrelle has been boasting her air hockey skills for years, but tonight we tied so I’m feeling pretty good. 🅟

8 July 2018

Today was Move-in Day (take two). We moved to Rome on July 1 but there were issues with our old place and we had to relocate. Airbnb was wonderful and handled everything. It was a good lesson for me to learn. I did so much planning for Rome and we wound up in a place I hadn’t seen in all my research. Anyway, due to the last minute booking, we got a great deal on a charming place in the Jewish Ghetto across from Chiesa di Santa Caterina dei Funari. We are already so comfortable here and don’t want to leave. We have tons of room, 3 terraces, and lovely views. The location couldn’t be better as we’re in the heart of the city and less than 10 minutes from the girls’ school. Our host, Alessia, is a sweetheart and we feel so blessed to be here. 🅛

7 July 2018

Today we found a delicious breakfast place called Coromandel. Not only was it visually delightful but the food was scrumptious. This is the way pancakes should be made. Italians don’t eat this American style of breakfast so it was a surprising find. Our waiter, Paolo, was friendly and spoke great English. We’re going back tomorrow. 😂 🅛

6 July 2018

This morning Makayla and I did some early morning sight seeing. In a few hours we saw Piazza Novena, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and Colosseo. What a beautiful city. It seems smaller than I remember. We were surprised at just how many of these places were in walking distance from each other. I feel so fortunate that I get days like this to spend quality time with my girl all before work even begins. 🅟

5 July 2018

I found my new morning spot, Omega Fitness, and they have a stair master. As if Rome doesn’t already have enough stairs for me to climb. I think I’m going to enjoy this hot tub though. I will say some (not all) of my Italian brethren don’t value deodorant as much as I do and that could be a bit of a challenge especially in a sweaty gym, but no complaints. Every day this trip I will have the privilege of working out in a really nice gym with a spa. 🅟

4 July 2018

Happy Independence Day! It’s the 4th of July so we felt like we should eat something patriotic. In the end all we found was a Tex-mex restaurant with tiny American flags. I’m not sure what the Trump sign says but we found it posted on a statue in a piazza today. We did a little house hunting earlier in the day as we’ve realized that our current place isn’t going to work for the month. There are many issues with the home and the host and Airbnb thinks we should relocate. 🅛

3 July 2018

We discovered our local grocery store today. Carrefour was confusing and stressful but also fun and interesting. I like knowing that none of the food has artificial coloring, synthetic hormones, or other chemicals since they’re illegal here. It was also much cheaper than foods without those things in the states. We couldn’t buy much since the refrigerators here are so small but that’s okay since these pocket grocery stores are everywhere. 🅛

2 July 2018

The girls started their Summer semester at John Cabot University today. They’ll both study Photojournalism twice per week while we’re here. They texted after class to say they’d stopped at McDonalds and we’re headed to so some shopping. I think they adjusted pretty fast! Pete and I went to brunch in Piazza Navona where we were serenaded while we dreamt of what the next month would look like. I’m so excited! 🅛

1 July 2018

Welcome to Rome! We are so happy to be settling in. After traveling around for 10 days straight, we are all ready to put our clothes away and cook our own food. We did a trial run tonight of the girls’ 20 minute walk to class. We found a tiny store for snacks, candy, and water before heading back to the apartment. 🅛

30 June 2018

Only 15 minutes away was the town of Assisi. It’s here that St. Francis of Assisi was born, worked, and died. Upon arrival, we entered a parking lot with a really high ticket dispenser. It seemed odd but even moreso once we parked and realized we were stuck in a bus parking lot. Once we broke a few rules to get out, we finally made our way to appropriately sized parking and then to the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi. The ceilings had lovely frescoes that told the story of his life. His life and the reverence people had for him was inspiring. We had lunch in lovely Piazza del Comune before people watching a spectacular wedding. My laugh of the day was Breanna’s souvenir from such a sacred place was - an American Horror Story t-shirt. 🅛

29 June 2018

After cooking class, we went for a swim at a nearby pool that our host arranged for us. You’d never guess it was in the middle of an industrial park. Afterwards, we toured more of beautiful Spello including the Santa Maria Maggiore Church. What a beautiful town. We’ve started dreaming about how great it would be to live here and manage Airbnb homes. 🅟🅛
Today we had a cooking class at our apartment in Spello with Zoila from Italy Loves to Cook. Our wonderful host, Monica, arranged it for us even meeting with her before we arrived to ensure the kitchen was stocked with all our needs. We learned how to make fresh gnocchi and Nonna’s Ciambelli, which translates to grandmas donuts but they were actually delicious cookies. We also learned how to use an Italian coffee maker. Italian coffee is so yummy but Breanna and I think the “Nespresso” pods from Rapallo were the best. Everything we made was so delicious and fortunately we made enough Ciambelli to last a week. Yum! 🅟🅛

28 June 2018

❤️I love Spello! I did not expect to love this Umbrian town so much. Tonight, we went for a walk and discovered lots of charming alleys and nooks. It felt as though we were walking through a postcard. Our little apartment with its covered tower could not be more perfect. Our host, Monica, is awesome and had a warm, freshly-baked cake waiting for us. I’m starting to understand the appeal of Airbnb. Things in Umbria are cheaper since most prefer it’s more expensive neighbor, Tuscany. We also found some less-Italian food here. I have a feeling 3 nights will not be enough for sweet Spello.❤️ 🅛
After leaving Sienna, we made a quick stop in Castiglione del Lago. This is a gorgeous little town surrounded by a lake. After a quick gelato and some espresso we made our way to Spello. 🅟

27 June 2018

Siena horse races this week. On the way out we stopped by a town called Monteriggioni that inspired a video game that Breanna plays all the time. She felt like she was in the game. Then after a week of only Italian food the girls were excited to eat at McDonalds. French fries, air conditioning and American music put everyone in a good mood. 🅟

26 June 2018

San Gimignano is one of our favorite little towns in Italia. Staying outside the city walls has beautiful views of the Tuscan countryside while inside the walls is filled with cobblestone streets, churches and the plenty of good shopping. We were in the main courtyard and I may or may not have dropped an entire plate of food on the ground right as it arrived. 🅟

25 June 2018

Quick stop in Pisa!!! Kayla and I climbed to the top to grab a photo. Lots of steps and no elevator but the view was worth it. Latrelle and Breanna opted for the view from below at a nearby restaurant. Next stop, San Gimignano. 🅟

24 June 2018

Today we arrived in Florence during the annual Festa di San Giovanni, a time when the entire city celebrates their patron saint, John the Baptist. We had lunch before attempting to find ice coffee for Bre. By now, we’re starting to realize that it’s just not something they do here. It’s the same reason I haven’t seen one Starbucks here - Italians take coffee very serious. We checked out the famous bridge, Ponte Vecchio, and watched a festival parade before splitting up. The girls wanted to shop and I wanted to see the Duomo of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. They were successful but sadly, I was not. The Duomo closed early today so we sat and people watched at a lively cafe in Palazzo Vecchio. We were again surprised at how many Americans there were. Tonight, we watched the festival fireworks on the tower of our hotel. I love how serious Europeans take preserving traditions. Tomorrow we get a rental car! It’ll be great not to carry this luggage everywhere. 🅛

23 June 2018

Today, we explored parts of Cinque Terre. There are 5 of the terre or lands but we only made it to 2 of them. We took the train into Monterosso where we were greeted by sparkling clear water and rows of bright orange umbrellas. We found a boat tour and sailed to Manarola. The girls wanted to swim and we wanted to climb to the top of the hill so we split up. After about an hour we met up and we’re amused to find that the girls were stuck at a restaurant because their food hadn’t arrived and they couldn’t figure out how to inquire about the delay. All they could figure out how to say was, “Attenzione non sto mangiare” which translates to “Attention, I’m not eating”. 😂 After we rescued them, everyone but me went for a swim. They decided that natural swimming looked more fun than reality. Both girls came out bleeding from the sharp underwater rocks. Thankfully, our boat crew had a first aid kit. We had hoped to stop in Vernazza but we decided to get our injured daughters home instead. 🅛
After dinner, we took a beautiful bus ride to Portofino. We admired all the yachts in the bay before splitting up. The girls wanted to look for shopping and we wanted to hike. Later, we met back up and decided we liked SML better so we headed back for some late night dessert. On the way home from SML, we stopped at an Italian grocery store to get breakfast food for tomorrow. It seemed odd that they kept their eggs on the shelf instead of in the fridge. I learned that Turkey is “tacchino”. Sadly, there was no tacchino bacon. We found plenty of other things though. Today was beautiful! 🅛

22 June 2018

Today, we explored Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino. We asked Francesco how to get there and he insisted on taking us. I didn’t expect to love SML so much. It was too beautiful for words. The buildings were embellished with trompe l'oeil that was so realistic, it tricks your eye until you get close. It’s hard to believe its just paint. Apparently, this is common all over Liguria. The whole place felt happy and I didn’t want to leave. We relaxed at the beach for bit before heading for dinner. 🅛

21 June 2018

Today, we arrived in Rapallo. We had planned to stop in Milan for a bit but we didn’t feel like struggling with our suitcases. Thankfully, our fantastic Airbnb host, Francesco, met us immediately after we stepped off the train and helped with the luggage. The villa is adorable and stocked with everything we could need. I enjoyed the luxurious linens and furnishings that were evidence of our host’s years of working with Ralph Lauren. He bought us some amazing pasta with walnut cream sauce from a specialty place where the locals stand in line to buy it fresh each day. In the evening, we walked along the boardwalk and ate yummy gelato. This is the perfect place to enjoy the Ligurian Coast. 🅛

20 June 2018

Here we go! We have officially kicked off our summer trip with our arrival in Venice, Italy. We squeezed as much as we could into our single night here. After a delicious dinner on the canal under our bed & breakfast, we relaxed on our gondola as we admired the city. After an exhausting day of traveling and carrying luggage up and down bridges, it was exactly what we needed. We got dessert to go and ate on our terrace as we chatted about our trip. We all agreed that high season might not be the best time to come to Venice. There seemed to be more tourists than locals and didn’t quite feel like it did even on our last trip 4 years ago. I’m glad we’re staying in the island of Murano when we fly home. I’m looking forward to seeing another side of Venice. I’m so glad we’re here and so grateful for this time as a family. 🅛