The French Riviera

Now that we are back in the States, I’m finally getting to our last Olmsted blog.  Luckily, we went out in grand fashion which eased the pain of leaving, finally visiting the Provence region and the French Riviera.  When researching the area to find the best places to see, Bobby came across a whole list of awesome places – Baux de Provence, Arles, Cannes, Nice, Eze and of course, Monaco.

The first stop, Baux de Provence, is home to a unique museum called Carrières de Lumières.  The Carrières was an active white limestone quarry around the turn of the 20th century.  It was built for the large-scale stone production need in the Saint-Rémy area and a nearby chateau.  In 1935, the quarry closed.  However, the Carrières was given new life in the 1960s when Jean Cocteau decided to film “The Testament of Orpheus”.   The transformation continued in the 1970s, when Joseph Svoboda, a famous scenographer, decided the large, smooth rock walls would be the perfect backdrop for sound and light shows.  The museum now shows famous artwork from around the world, combining the visual part of the show with custom complementary music…. [Read More]

The Croatian Coast

And we even found someone to take a photo of us

After Bobby took over duties for the last few blogs, I figured I should get back to my normal blogging routine (although he is a better writer than me)!  Last week, we took a ten day trip down the coast of Croatia, through Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and then back to Italy.  It ended up being quite a bit of driving, but well worth it.  It’s no wonder that Croatia has been on Nat Geo’s list of places to visit the last couple of years.  We started out in Zadar (after a short pit-stop in the Italian city of Aquileia), traveled through Split and Trogir, and then ended our Adriatic coast trip in Dubrovnik.

… [Read More]

Spanish Grand Prix

DSC_8675

Although this trip into Spain was dedicated to the Grand Prix of Spain, that didn’t stop us from seeing other sites in the area.  Our first stop was the tiny country of Andorra.  Leaving Florence, I mindlessly drove north towards Bologna instead of hugging the Ligurian coast.  Like Kumar in Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, when I realized the error of my ways, I declared “we’ve come too far” and pressed on.  The mistake proved costly and tagged on an hour and a half of driving to an already long first leg.  By the time we pulled into the mountain town, I was destroyed (hence the lack of photos).

… [Read More]

Sicily – Stepping Back in Time [Part 2]

Scala dei Turchi

Carrie is currently working some other web tasks so I decided to pinch hit for her again.  Now that you’ve officially been warned, let’s talk about Sicily!

Our western loop continued with a trip to the Scala dei Turchi (the Turk’s staircase), a stark white rock formation that juts into the Mediterranean.  On our last trip to the Valley of the Temples, we passed really closed but didn’t quite make it there.  This time we vowed to see the calcium and clay formation that’s been a popular sunbathing spot since the Greeks populated the island.  Unfortunately for us, the wind was ripping and a storm was on the horizon so we didn’t get to layout.  We did however admire it from afar and above…. [Read More]

Our 2nd Italian Anniversary

First night on the water

I know I’m a little late, but September 6th marked our 2nd Italian anniversary.  This means we have passed well over the halfway point of Bobby’s Olmsted experience.  Wow!  I’d like to highlight some of our favorite travel spots we were fortunate enough to see this year (see our first year favorites here). First though, we’d like to reiterate to the Olmsted Foundation how incredibly grateful we are for this amazing opportunity.  We never thought we’d get travel like this as a couple, nor have the chance to learn a second language while experiencing the culture first-hand.  We can’t express our gratitude enough – thank you, thank you, thank you!… [Read More]

The Beaches of Gargano

Sunset on the beach in Vieste

This summer, we set out to visit some of the “less traveled” areas of Italy, including both the Molise and Abruzzo regions.  However, we started out in Puglia, known for its long coast line, beautiful beaches, and sunny disposition.  While most people visit the “heel” of Italy (like we did last year), we stuck to the lesser known “spur” area of Puglia.  Home to the Gargano National Park, the spur is a virtually untouched area with the best beaches we have ever been to in Italy.  The two largest towns, which aren’t very large by most standards, are Vieste and Peschici, both of which are summer havens for Italians, Germans, and Austrians.  How can you go wrong when the sand feels like flour and the water is almost bath water? … [Read More]

Olmsted Ladies Trip 2013 – Mallorca

Welcome to Soller!

Every year, the Olmsted ladies (wives and female scholars) from Europe and Africa travel to a different destination for a little girls-only fun.  Last year, the girls joined up in Edinburgh for some relaxation and site-seeing.  While absolutely beautiful, it was a wee (okay a little more than “wee”) bit cold.  Remembering all too well our frozen hands and toes, we opted for a warmer destination this year.  My friend and fellow Olmsted wife, Jen Hensarling, planned our trip this year.  After a few rounds of voting, seven Olmsted wives and one scholar decided on Mallorca.  The island is the largest of the Balearic archipelago and is practically a German colony in the summer, with most of the flights coming from either Spain or Germany.  In fact, my flight went from Florence to Frankfurt and then to Mallorca.  It is also a common vacation destination for the Irish and Polish, and I can’t say I blame them!… [Read More]

The West Coast is the Best Coast

Pastoral land

Bobby always says that the “west coast is the best coast” and in Ireland (okay, and in the US) I can agree!  After tackling the whole driving on the left side of the road thing, the four of us – Bobby, me, and my parents – piled into our rental van (yes, we rented a Euro minivan) and we set off for the Irish countryside. It was about a 4 1/2 hour from Belfast to Kylemore Abbey near the west coast of Ireland and we have never seen so many sheep in our lives!  We were not disappointed with the rolling green hills, little while houses dotting the landscape, or the hospitable nature of the Irish people.  From the abbey, we drove south to the famed Ring of Kerry, where we saw more beautiful (and surprisingly very diversified) landscapes.  … [Read More]

D-Day in Normandy

View to Omaha Beach

Being an American, and especially an American who has a family member in the military, there are several historical/military sites that are sacred.  These places give us perspective, give us a better understanding of our past, and allow us to be thankful to live in the best country in the world.  One is the Normandy region of France.  (Others on my list include Pearl Harbor, Arlington National Cemetery, Ground Zero, etc.)   Spending a few days in Normandy was well worth the out-of-the-way travel.  We had the opportunity to see several WWII battle sites: Pont du Hoc (the site where the Army Rangers first took the French coastline), Omaha Beach (the famous beach where 3,600 Americans were killed), Longues-sur-Mer Battery (an essential site for German artillery), the American Cemetery and Memorial, and the German Cemetery.

… [Read More]

Le Frecce Tricolori

Wavy flag

A little while ago, while we were visiting Greece, Bobby and I saw a televised performance of “Le Frecce Tricolori,” Italy’s version of the AF Thunderbirds or Blue Angels flying squad.  We both love airshows, so we immediately went online to see if they were doing another show near us.  Turns out, we found one in Porto Recanati, a town on Italy’s Adriatic Coast, and they were to perform the day before our big trip to southern Italy kicked off.  So, we tacked on another day to our vacation and off we went!

… [Read More]