Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Today I learned...

That when chopping peanuts, you pound - not chop!
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

This is a cucchiaino.

Say, "coo - key - i - eeno".

This is my favorite word that I learned in Italian on our Italian vacation. It is a little spoon, used for lots of good things, such as, stirring caffe or eating gelato.

Me piache cucchiaini.

This is a phrase you hear everywhere. This is my least favorite word from Italy. While I agree, Italia is bella and the Lago is bello - I do not want to hear these two words for a while. EVERYTHING is bella/o in Italy, and sometimes I just didn't agree. The word bella and the word bello are not belli.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Last, but not least!

My new mantra is, "I am not jet-lagged, I am not jet-lagged".  And I almost believed myself until I realized that I have been falling asleep earlier than my baby niece Izze for more than a week now.  This is the first night since getting home from Europe that I have been awake past 830pm!

And without further explanation, I would like to formally blame the tardiness of this entry on the jet-lagging.

Imagine me waving my hands and magically turning back time a week and a half

Hi People! We just left Sicily, via airplane, and arrived in Venice.  Best idea ever!  We arrived in under two hours and headed straight for St. Mark's square.  We found a fancy hotel and rented out the smallest, teeniest, tiniest hotel room (made for one person, squeezed in another) for two nights.  We found that Venice really sucks during the day - one too many king kong sized cruise boats dropping off hoards of crazy tourists to really enjoy.  Venice by night however is just magical.  To avoid this tourist-madness we took a day trip to the island of Murano and bought lots of gifts.  Then came back and enjoyed a peaceful, tourist free, evening in Venice.  Our favorite activity in Venice was getting lost.

canal ways instead of alleyways.

"Feed the birds, tuppence a bag..."


From Venice we hopped on a train and rode west then north to Lago di Como - the best place on earth.  No - seriously.  Lago di Como (also know as Lake Como) is the most picturesque, serene place we went the whole trip.  It really felt like the 'sit back, relax and have a glass of wine while you enjoy the view' kind of vacation we hadn't yet experienced.  We stayed in a small town called Varenna, but kept confusing people by calling it Ravenna - derrrr.  This little town is directly across the lake from Bellagio.  Our hotel was up the hill and had PERFECT lake views.  The lake is not only perfectly blue, but then is also surrounded by tall peaking, snow capped mountains and those are layered with green lush trees. I am nearly shedding a tear right now for how much I miss Lake Como.

Varenna - Ravenna?

Ugh. Italy was waaaaaaaaaaaay better than work.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sicily is great for many things, but not for internet reception.

Apologies to my devoted readers (Nicole, Allie and maybe Lindsay and Rachel?), I have left you curious of my whereabouts and happenings for over a week!

We left from Salerno last week on an overnight train to Palermo. We woke to the sunrise, ocean & mountain views, and the smell of cigarettes from the old man smoking in the cabin next to us. Glorious Sicily welcomed us with a smile and the prospects of not carrying our bags again for a week.

We jumped on the first train out of Palermo to Bagheria and the first bus from Bagheria to Aspra, the small beach town just east of Palermo where Vince's father was born and raised. We didn't want to be a burden on any family still living in Aspra, so we figured we get a hotel and then go find them. Well... We found them first and they refused to let us stay anywhere but in their extra home above their store with perfect ocean views. Their generosity went far beyond this with family dinners, day trips to perfect beaches, boat rides around the coast, and LOTS of gelato (one cousin owned a gelateria and I was in heaven!)

Vince's father's cousin took us in and his children showed us the best time, only one gimmick - they spoke nearly zero English! Vince got to practice his Sicilian and by the end of the week I was even sleep talking in Italian!

We were totally immersed in Sicilian culture and we soaked up every minute of it. We ate lots of seafood, homemade vino and felt right at home. Vince even got to see his grandfather's farm - quite significant if you know Vince.

Added bonus to an already perfect trip : Vince took me to the top of the local mountain and once we had a view of the ocean and Aspra - he asked me to marry him! Happiness followed :)

Next blog entry on our brief but enjoyed stay in Venice.

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Then we went to the island of Capri

Just 20 minutes off the coast of Sorrento is the beautiful - I mean bella - island of Capri. We traveled by boat there and back, but in between rode the ski lift up the mountain for spectacular views, zipped around tight corners on small cobblestone roads in an oversized bus and laid out/played on a pebble-y beach. Ahhhh the good life!
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