Once Upon a Passport (with never-before seen photos)

Ciao Readers!

Today I am going to wax nostalgic, so your indulgence is required (and appreciated).  As we were planning for our Winter 2015/2016 trip to Europe it dawned on me that my passport might expire before then.  I checked, and sure enough it was getting close – can you imagine going to the airport for a year-long awaited trip to discover your passport was no good?!?!?!  Egad!  In any case, renewing my passport (and looking through the nifty stamps in the old one) made me think about and marvel at everything we have seen and done (and eaten) in the past 10 years.

Ten years ago I did not have a passport; I had never seen a major work of art; I couldn’t have found Slovenia on a map to save my life.  It kinda blows my mind thinking about everything I’ve experienced since then….

Some things I have seen:  The Mona Lisa, The Sistine Chapel, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, Stonehenge, Michelangelo’s David, hundreds of works by Van Gogh, the world’s largest indoor Buddha, The Colosseum, Pompeii, Notre Dame and a thousand less-famous but spectacular monuments, churches and works of art.

Some things I have done: Run a 10K around a lake by Mt. Fuji in Japan, taken not one, but two cooking courses at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, marveled at Gaudí and Dalí works in Spain, been left stranded by an ornery bus driver in Croatia, ran into a family of bears hiking Mt. Koyasan, had a line in a movie, climbed the Eiffel Tower, marveled at Venice, discovered cool Slovenia, was stood-up by Green Day in Bologna, saw two versions of Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, ran my first (and 2nd – 7th) half marathons, carried cats across the ocean in the cabins of planes….and lived in Italy!

Some things I have eaten: deliciously stinky cheese in France (and amazing breads, and pastries, and….), succulent roasted pig in Croatia, spicy (yay!) Sri Lankin food in Florence, weird and wonderful octopus balls (takoyaki) all over Japan (and all-you-can-stand sushi for 3 months!), frites and herring in Amsterdam, divine Belgium chocolates (in Belgium of course!), everything I cooked at Le Cordon Bleu (Steve specially enjoyed this), the official world’s best gelato in Bologna and enough pizza to feed an Italian army!

Since I’m not getting any younger (who is?), it makes me happy to realize that most of the coolest things I have done, achieved, experienced, etc. have happened after age 30, even more-so after age 40.  So, as you read this and I recover from having my gallbladder out, let’s reminisce and know that there’s more to come!  Thanks for reading!

(Mostly) Never-before-seen photos:

Traveling in Europe

Okay, I have to admit after writing that packing post and thinking about all of the work this adventure requires I had fleeting thoughts of retreat.  To redirect myself I re-read some of my own blog posts and decided to contemplate even more cool things about this move… and whatd’ya know – my enthusiasm was renewed!  On that note – ya know another totally awesome thing about living in Italy?  The rest of Europe!!!

I was watching a “No Reservations” episode from Croatia and it really hit me (in addition to the fact that I apparently watch way too much t.v.) that we will be living just a train ride or a €49 Ryanair flight away from everywhere else in Europe!  The way we can now get to Santa Fe, Colorado or Las Vegas, we will be able to go to Venice or Paris.  How cool is that?

When we traveled in 2008 we got to visit many amazing places (and yes, eat lots of yummy food), so I thought I’d reminisce about a few of those and share a few pics from that adventure.  (If you think I am also subliminally trying to tempt you to come to Italy, you are right!).

There were the more famous places, where we had fabulous experiences, including Paris (I took a pastry class at Le Cordon Bleu, we saw the city and the Eiffel Tower decked out for the holidays and climbed the stairs at Notre Dame) and Barcelona (where we went to the amazing La Boqueria food market and spent days exploring the architecture of Antoni Gaudí).  Then there were the lesser known places, where we also had fab, though more “quirky” experiences, such as the breathtaking Plitvice park in Croatia (which we almost never saw as we got stranded in the middle of nowhere Croatia by an ornery bus driver, but were rescued by nice folks at a lodge, who served us the bbq, pictured below [one is a pig, the other…we have no idea!]), Ljubljana in Slovenia (funky cool Euro vibe meets old communist architecture), Brugge in Belgium (where the best chocolates in the world are made…and maybe somewhat known after the Colin Farrell movie “In Bruges”), Orvieto in Italy (where the incredible [and twisted] Signorelli fresco, “The Damned” is painted in a church, and the first place I ever tried real truffles [shaved onto my pasta] – YUM!), and Bath in England (a town so picturesque and storybook-like I seriously expected Hansel & Gretel to come skipping out of the houses).

Here are photos of the places I just described…  Come check it out for yourself!

%d bloggers like this: