The Croatian Coast

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.

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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]

I Had Turkey Too!

Turkey!

Bobby told me a story about one of his first experiences as a commissioned officer after graduating from the Air Force Academy.  After coming back from Thanksgiving break to an introductory course for all lieutenants, he had a conversation with another young lieutenant.  It went something like this:

Lieutenant: “So did you have fun over break?”

Bobby: “Yeah, I spent some time with family.  I ate too much, watched some football, etc.”

Lieutenant: “What’d you have to eat?!?”

Bobby: “You know, the usual….turkey, po…<interrupted>.”

Lieutenant: “Oh my gosh! I had toy-key (turkey) tooo!”

Bobby told me he was thinking, “wow we both ate turkey on Thanksgiving!”  So now, anytime the word “turkey” comes up, Bobby says “I had toy-key toooo!”  I think this may only be funny to us.  Anyway….

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Basque-ing [and other French travels]

Rosaries

While in Biarritz, Bobby I and I decided to take a couple day trips to neighboring towns near the French Basque region.  Lourdes, the first of the two cities, sits at the base of the Pyrenees mountains an hour and a half south of Biarritz.  It is known as a pilgrimage site for the Catholic faith.  Over a span of time (beginning in 1858), “Our Lady of Lourdes”, better known to us as the Virgin Mary, appeared to a young girl 18 times.  Now, some 5 million visitors flock to the town each year to see the grotto where the apparitions took place and drink its holy water, which is said to have natural healing powers.

The second of the two cities, Bordeaux, is well-known for its vineyards.  According to some sources, Bordeaux earns 14.5 billion euros each year with its wine sells/exports alone.  The city is also a large university town, which boasts a young vibrant culture with many bars, shops, and restaurants.

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Becoming Spanish Conquistadors – Seville, Spain

I wonder if the horse likes his hair braided? Probably not.

I love southern Spain.  It’s warm, the people are friendly, and there is lots to see and do.  Our next stop took us to Seville (Sevilla in Spanish, Siviglia in Italiano), the fourth largest city in Spain after Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia.  I was pretty excited about this trip because I have heard so many great things about Seville.  We timed it perfectly – the Feria (or Festival) of Seville was going on while we were there, which meant that there was lots of eating, drinking, and flamenco dancing.

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Becoming Spanish Conquistadors – Madrid & Cordoba, Spain

This is quintessential Spain

A couple days ago, Bobby and I celebrated our three year anniversary.  Spending it in Madrid was wonderful!  We booked a nice hotel, spent most of the time relaxing (and eating!), and took in a few museums.  Although it was difficult to leave our almost-home-like accommodations, we left Madrid after 3 days and traveled on to Cordoba, a small, but charming (and MUCH) warmer city in southern Spain.

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Becoming Spanish Conquistadors – Barcelona, Spain

Two main houses at the front gate

Shortly after meeting each other way back when (ha!), I learned that Barcelona is Bobby’s favorite city in the world (well, at least so far).  For our anniversary this year, I planned a week long trip to Spain so that we could experience the country together.  I figured that since he had been there several times before, he would be the perfect tour guide!  A day before flying out, Iberia Airlines sent us a message telling us our flight had been cancelled and we could either a) fly out the next day or b) get a full refund.  Ugh. We took the refund.  Our 7-day Spanish trip quickly turned into a 14-day excursion when we simultaneously declared “let’s road trip!”  We are determined to become Spanish conquistadors, seeing 8 cities in 2 weeks and logging 3,100 miles/50 hours in the car.  Yikes!  First stop – Barcelona!

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Making History – USA beats Italy National Soccer Team!

And the USA wins!

For the last few days, Bobby and I have had house guests, Mark and Marla, from Seattle.  Bobby went to high school with Mark, so I was excited to meet the couple and spend some time showing them around Florence.  I don’t know how they knew me so well, but they came bearing the best gift I could ever ask for – a dozen doughnuts from Top Pot Doughnuts (one of best doughnut places in all of the US in my opinion!)  Marla hand carried the delicious treats on the plane from Seattle to London and then on to Florence.  Bobby and I ate 3 each the very first night.  Yep, that’s right, 3.  And they were to die for…. [Read More]

Venturing East – Ravenna, Italy

ravenna

Ravenna is a city situated right on the Adriatic coast (Italy’s east coast), and has ties back to at least 90 BC.  During the summer months, I’m sure the city gets a hefty influx of tourists and Italian vacationers because of its beaches, but during the winter, we found it to be rather quiet.  That was perfect for us, as we wanted to visit 5 major sites with the greatest Byzantine mosaics in all of Italy.  … [Read More]

A Sunday in Siena

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We were very embarrassed to admit to our language school professors and visitors that we hadn’t visited Siena yet.  Siena is a city only an hour south of Florence and one of the most visited cities in Tuscany (and in Italy),  so we didn’t have a good excuse as to why.  So, today was the day.   There were two major sites to see: Siena’s Duomo (of course!) and the Piazza del Campo, where the Palio is held every year.

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