My Dream Trips – And Yours! (An interactive poll)

Ciao Readers!

So, starting this blog back up has me thinking about traveling (even more than usual, if that’s possible).  There are so many places left to go…and so many places to which I want to return!  (Do you think it’s weird with so many new places to explore it seems we keep going back to places – Italy, France, Belgium, Hawaii….?)   I have to admit, I am in awe and feel a little lame for not truly venturing out like our friends from goal42.  In the three years they travelled they braved such things as elective hernia surgery in Vietnam, being hustled in Egypt, and exploring throughout Southern Africa.  Makes me feel pretty timid since I wouldn’t even consider living in an apartment in Italy without a/c!!!

In any case, we have one great trip planned (in reality) and several others planned (in my mind). I thought it would be fun to share those trips in the form of a poll and ask you to pick your favorite.  It will be nifty to see what interests you and other folks as I give you a peak into the adventures to come.  By the way, I have been thinking that you all must wonder how we can afford all of our super cool adventures.  Well, one of the main ways is that we fly, a majority of the time (I’d say 75 – 80%), using air miles.  Which then got me to thinking that a very useful future post would be “how to travel on air miles”  (trust me, it’s an art-form I am still learning).  So, that’s exactly what I plan on working on!  Until then:

Fur Coats (or how New York is [and is not] like Florence)

Ciao Readers!

In my last post I mentioned a trip to New York we took in January.  Part of the reason I love going to New York is because (in some ways) it reminds me of Italy (most importantly the food!).   Which got me thinking, as I often do, about the similarities and difference between places I have been (I have even compared Japan to Italy, which on its face seems absurd, but I’ll explain in some future post).  My observations are completely random and superficial, but here are some similarities and differences I couldn’t help notice while wandering the streets of New York:

Similarities:

– The sidewalks are packed with people who seem to be oblivious to anyone but themselves, their companions and/or their cells phones; stop paying attention and you will surely be mowed down!!! (though you may find it more endearing when it’s by an Italian nonna and not a man in a $10K suit….or not)

– Fur coats!  That’s right, there are at least two places left on earth where wearing full-length mink coats is not only acceptable but apparently very fashionable.  Funny, I remember thinking in Florence during the winter “parade of pelts” that you could never get away with that in the U.S. as your coat would be unceremoniously doused with red paint (or worse) immediately upon exiting your home.  Was I wrong!  I had no idea that in New York fur coats are as common and as fashionable as in Italy – who knew?!?

– Delicious Italian food (of course I have to talk about food!).  Is it wrong to travel across the country for a really good pizza? Okay, before you answer that, have you ever had a John’s pizza in New York?  Seriously, I have no idea why, but only New Yorkers and Italians know how to make really good pizza (I’ve been trying like crazy, complete with a pizza stone and “peel,” but without the 800 degree stone oven I think it’s hopeless).  And then of course are the salumerias, the lovely little places with cheeses and meats and wine (while we did enjoy a fabulous meal at Salumeria Rosi in NY [and previously at Eataly], Italy wins hands down in the availability and affordability categories).   By the way, did you know that Italy also has several “Eatalies”?  Strikes me as weird to have a specialty food shop specializing in the food of the country you are in (at thrice the price of the salumeria down the street)!!!

Differences:

– Food choices.  In Florence you can get Italian food, between the hours of 1:00p.m. and 2:30p.m. and 8:00p.m. and 11:30p.m.  Monday through Saturday.  Period.  Okay, you could also get some really sad Chinese food or a hamburger if you hunt them down (see my old “foreign food” post).  Even if you are craving a pizza, in Italy, you will likely have to hold tight till 7:30 p.m. when the pizza shop begins to come back to life (this was a regular ritual for us in Florence).  In contrast, in New York you can get whatever you want whenever you want it.  AND, you can have it delivered to you!   When we were in New York, one morning it was just too darn cold to venture out (recall it was 8 degrees), but I was craving a good old-fashioned egg bagel with cream cheese and lox.  Googling my options for close places to bundle up and run out to, a revelation hit me – these places deliver!  And viola – about 20 minutes later I had exactly what I wanted brought right to the comforts of my hotel room.  (I am fairly confident if my craving was more exotic – tom yum soup or lamb curry, that would also have arrived at my hotel room with very little fuss.)

– People choices (“diversity” as they say).  New York is truly a melting pot; people come in every shape and size and color and background and financial status…and any other category you can think of.  Walking through NY is like walking around the world, all within several city blocks.  It’s what makes New York, New York.  And – and maybe I’m being naive here – New Yorkers like it that way (technically I am a native New Yorker and I like it that way).  In contrast, Italy is populated mostly with Italians (not counting the tourists of course) and Italy would be just fine (and likely more happy) peopled with nothing but Italians (this is actually one of the ways Japan and Italy struck me as similar).

There are many more similarities and differences, but I’ll leave those for you to discover and debate.  We need to get on to the photos afterall!

I never had the chutzpah to walk around talking pictures of people in their fur coats (either in NY or Florence), though I wanted to many times.  So, instead, I thought I’d give you some more food photos (I do that a lot huh?) and let you guess which ones were taken in New York and which ones where taken in Italy (answers at the bottom).  Man, I always end up making myself hungry….

Okay, so here’s how it goes…I did a NY/Italy comparison for the first 10 photos (NY, then Italy) (btw, the Grom hot chocolate in NY is not even a close cousin to the ridiculously yummy and thick Italian cioccolata calda); the next 3 photos are all Italy (how did I not take ANY pictures of our John’s pizza in NY, especially since we ate it more than once?!); the last one is a trick question – that was our dinner in the middle of nowhere Croatia – a roasting pig….and a mystery animal….

Cheers!

New Mexico to Italy Blog is Back (sort of)!

Ciao Readers!

I’ve missed you!  And I’ve missed blogging!  So….

I’ve decided to get back to blogging with an updated name – “New Mexico to Italy …and beyond!”   I hope you’ll stick around as I tell tales of recent travels and travels yet to come (including travels back to Italy, of course!).  Since you likely subscribed to my blog for more than just my personal vacation photos, I’ll try to continue to blog with a slant towards cultural observations, handy travel tips and humor-filled “OMG” moments.  And I may take the liberty of “traveling” back to Italy, if only in my mind, to revisit the experience of living there now that there’s been some time and distance.  If you have any other thoughts, do tell!

Some of the recent travels to be blogged about include a trip to New York in January (it was eight degrees fahrenheit! [-13 C]) and a road trip through Vegas to the coast over Spring Break (can you say seafood photos?).  Some of the upcoming travels include Hawaii, and – after almost two years – back to Europe (including a tiny town in the middle of nowhere Netherlands, Otterlo, where the second largest collection of Van Gogh’s is housed)!!!  Did I mention we are on a quest to see every Van Gogh painting in the world?  (I thought about renaming the blog “In Search of Van Gogh,” but decided it was too narrow).

In any case, welcome back readers!  It’s great to “chat” again!!!

What 8 degrees in the Big Apple looks like:

Hope in NY

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