I saw DEAD People in Palermo! And so much more!

Dead people? YES we did see them, but first we eat and drink café!

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After a busy first day in Sicily, and even though we were exhausted by the time we returned to our room the night before, we still stayed up until almost 2am, so when I awoke after 8am, I felt refreshed, and HUNGRY! We were very happy when we entered the breakfast room to see a spread of Amazing food all set out for us at our own table! The day before, when we checked in,  I had told Rosario that I was “Celiaca” and ate “Senza Glutine”. I could see that he understood, and was MORE than accommodating, as the selection for me to eat was above and beyond my expectations! 20160917_020252In addition to the regular pastries, meat and cheeses, he had gluten free cookies, rice cakes, 2 kinds of GF crackers, and a soy drink that also was labeled as gluten free!

20160917_02124720160917_020602We felt like queens with the delicious and generous spread of breakfast items, and whatever kind of café we desired!

On our agenda for the day were 2 important things plus a couple bonuses: Visit the Catacombe dei Cappuccini, the Cattedrale, revisit Quattro Canti, and the fountains from the night before before we pick up our bags then pick up our rental car at 4pm.

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Our needs are quite simple, but I must say that we are very easily distracted by some shops we were looking forward to seeing in Italy! We did take at least 1 quick pit stop to shop, AND a stop for café and an Affogato, after which we continued to get our sight seeing done.

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From the small amount we had seen so far, we didn’t feel that Sicily was much different from other places we had been in Italy, but then we came across the Cattedrale. It was different from other churches we had seen, including the lofty palm trees. The Normans started to build it in 1185, and also has Gothic, and medieval influences. It is said to be a pantheon for the Normans, and has 6 royal tombs inside the church, a museum, and crypts in the basement.  We paid the full admission price to be able to also climb the stairs to the roof, so that we could experience the breathtaking 360° views.

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The inside of the church was was beautiful and different from any other church we had seen in Italy before- evidence that Sicily absolutely is more of a melting pot of ethnicity than the rest of Italy.

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Cattedrale: √  Now to go and see dead people!

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We used our app City Maps2Go to supplement the signs that we periodically found to direct us to the Catacombes.

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You may be shocked to hear that once again we were distracted! This time by Yummy food!

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One of the Sicilian ‘street foods’ that I was wanting to try were Aracini balls, and as we passed by this nice looking Café with some yummy looking deserts, we went in to see if they had anything gluten free. Just my luck their Arancini balls filled with ragu were senza glutine! YUM! I was hooked! For those of you that do not know what Arancini is, they are rice balls that are filled with a variety of fillings, including cheese, ragu, meat and peas, etc, then deep fried. Another ‘food’ that is from Sicily are granitas, a semi frozen desert made from ice, water, and a variety of flavours, somewhat similar to sorbet, but better because it is Italian….. We each bought one to go, and continued on our way to find the Catacombes.

dsc_0225The Cappucin Catacombs, is the place where the living meet the dead! Not kidding!

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The pictures shown were found on Google Images! I DID NOT take them, as they were very specific about NOT taking any pictures or video once inside. That said, I was very annoyed to see others sneaking pictures.  I am a bit of a rule breaker, but when it comes to showing respect for other cultures, I try my best to observe and follow the rules. Yes, Mom, I would make you proud in this instance!

We paid the admission fee and went down the flights of stairs, and instantly you were in a place very unique and eery. There were rows, and rows, and rooms, and corridors of corpses in wooden caskets, display boxes, but mostly they were hanging! Yes, hanging! Some were all bones, and others you could still see some features! I swear that one was watching me! They were all fully clothed.

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There are several corridors dedicated to specific people including for whom this all began for, the Friars. Also were corridors for priests,  women,  families, and professionals including lawyers, surgeons, etc and a chapel for children.  The last body was that of a 2 year old girl named Rosalia Lombardo, who died in 1920. Her body is remarkably still intact as her body lays in a small casket, which is roped off and displayed on her own.  So, yes we did see dead people in Palermo!

Before we left for Italy, I found very little from Rick Steves on Sicily, but the one thing I did find  was of him visiting Palermo and the Cappucin Catacombes. If you want to see more, please watch his YouTube video.

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On we went to see the other things on our list including Quattro Canti, officially known as Piazza Vigliena. The octagonal square is the crossing of 2 main streets in Palermo, Via Maqueda and the Corso Vittorio Emanuele.

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The four corners each have a baroque building, each with almost an identical facade, but each has a fountain and a statue to represent each of the 4 seasons, the 4 Spanish Kings, and of the patronesses of Palermo. As this is not a traditional Piazza, to which is pedestrian only, if you are not paying attention to where you are, or know of any history of Palermo, you can walk or drive past this square without realizing where you are.

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Our final stop before collecting our rental car was  Fontana Pretoria, the large fountain that we briefly saw the night before.  The magnificent Fontana Pretoria is a work of art done by the Florentine sculptor Francesco Camilliani in 1554. One of the things that I love about Italy are the fountains. It is astonishing to me how 100’s of years ago with none of the technology we have today that they were able to build such beautiful fountains, all with unique statues.

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This square was once known as the “square of shame” because of the naked statues around the fountain. It is located next to Palermo’s Municipal building, which is in the heart of the historic center.

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The Piazza Pretoria, which was not shameless at all, was a wonderful place to end our quick 24 hours in Palermo.  I look forward to visiting Palermo again, and exploring the many beautiful sights!

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The World’s Best Pizza is in Naples!!!! And my bonus- some shopping!

I am a bit out of order for my posts, but I have had Naples on my brain this week, and I must first do some sharing about our trip to Naples, then I can go back to the order of our trip. I must also say how thankful I am that I blogged a good portion of our trip while we were still traveling. I have found that since we got home, that my “normal” life gets priority to my travel blogging…  But Today, I MUST write about Naples!

The first impression of Naples from the train station.

How and why we went to Naples for part of a day: We as a family decided when planning our trip, that we all wanted to visit Pompeii as a day trip from Rome. The high speed train took us from Roma to Napoli, then to Pompeii, and for the return I booked our train tickets so that we had 4+ hours in Naples for 1 reason- PIZZA!

Is pizza all the same in Italy? NO!!!!! Just like eating pizza at home from places like (YUK) Pizza Hut, Dominos, or even at a nice Italian restaurant, they will all be different in size, shape, and taste.  BUT, the one thing that I love about eating pizza in Italy is that you are in Italy, eating ‘real’ pizza. So when being so close to the birth place of pizza and not go to one of two restaurants that have been making pizza for decades, we had to make it work to stay for just long enough to experience the real thing. And as I write this, my mouth is watering thinking about THAT PIZZA! OH MY!!!

MY GOAL: To eat pizza at the following original Pizzerias!

From the book, Eat, Pray, Love. Serves only Marinara and Margherita pizza.

The other Pizzeria, Trianon- across the street from da Michele.

At the train station we found the TI to get precise directions for how to walk to both of the original Pizzerias- Pizzeria da Michele, and Pizzeria Trianon. What I did not realize was that da Michele had become widely popular to even more tourists since the book and movie, Eat, Pray, Love because this is where Elizabeth Gilbert went to eat pizza for the day. How I did not clue into this is beyond me, because I have read the book twice, and have also seen the movie. We were warned that it might be very busy, so on the way as I held my purse as close to my body as I could we discussed our plan of attack on these restaurants. Our plan was that we would eat first at the restaurant with the shortest line, then we would go to the next one after.  But one other deciding factor that ultimately helped us to decide where to eat first was that Trianon had air conditioning, which was welcomed by us all after a day in the sweltering heat at Pompeii.  Luckily Trianon had no line up, and da Michele did, and it was not even open yet.

Instead of explaining our choices of Pizza, here is a picture of the menu. Could there be a wrong choice? NO!

Oh my! Instead of each of us choosing our own pizza, the kids each chose one, and Kim and I decided to share so that we could save some room for more pizza across the street at da Michele.  After we ordered and were taking in the simple yet, thankfully cool atmosphere, I went over to the also simple pizza kitchen to take some pictures. What I was not expecting was being welcomed into the kitchen to not only take pictures but really be a part of our pizzas being made and cooked.  Follow the pictures to see the simple process from dough ball, to table process.

Dough balls being shaped.

Adding the toppings.

Posing for the camera

Time to go in the Pizza Oven

Each person has their own job. His is the kitchen greeter (at least to me) and to cook the pizzas.

Our pizzas cooking in the VERY HOT oven.

After only approximately 2 minutes, our pizzas were cooked!

Our Naples Pizza! YUM!

The pizza Kim and I shared. They were all HUGE! And they were better than we imagined they would be! The kids each had their own- our little piggies…

AHHHH…. Is how we all felt after finishing our cold beer, Fanta (Noah), and our Amazing Pizza. BUT, could we find any room in our stomachs for more pizza at da Michele?! Unfortunately no. We were stuffed! Plus, this is what it looked like outside of da Michele.

Da Michele was now open, and the crowds were getting bigger.

So off we went back on our journey back to the train station. Why I call it a journey is because,  Naples is hmmm, how do I describe it but a little crazy. On our way to find our pizzerias, we were stopped by someone on the street selling Ipads (most likely stolen), we saw many, many people selling knock off items like bags, watches, jewellery, etc on the street, and guys trying to make money washing windows for the cars stopped at red lights. The traffic was crazy, there was a tonne of graffiti and vandalism, and you could see the poverty everywhere. Naples was very different from any other Italian city I have been to, and not a place that was telling me to stay for more than just a pizza.

Unsolicited car window washers on the streets of Naples

Streets of Naples

I must tell you that we received many warnings from Italians about going to Naples. We were told to not wear any jewellery, including watches, there are pick pockets everywhere, and to be careful in general.  Filipo told us that many people, including motorists get their watches stolen when stopped at red lights. Whether the watch is on your left wrist, and your arm is resting on the side window, rolled down, it can be stolen. Or for those that have clued into this, and wear their watch on their right wrist, the thieves then burn the left arm resting on the window sill with a cigarette, and when you go to swap the hurt, they steal the watch from your right wrist while swapping what is hurting you. Crazy!   So, as Jordan bought a watch from a man on the street selling a variety of watches, we thought of Filipo’s stories of watches being stolen…  We were nervously cautious as we walked to and from the train station. We walked with intention when crossing the streets like we were told to, and we made it back to the train station, so that I could do some shopping. Yes, you heard me correct! They had some great stores that I had been waiting to find in Rome, and hadn’t yet, so with the extra time budgeted for the 2nd pizzeria, I did some greatly anticipated shopping. And once again I found myself saying AHHHHH!!!!!

Spending a day in Siena!

Tuscan Boar in Siena

On our first whole day in Tuscany, we decided to go check out Siena. I was very curious about Siena because Siena is compared a lot to Florence (my favourite), and it is a favourite city to many. We took the bus from the town of Monteroni D’Arbia, which took approx 30 minutes to get to our stop, which luckily in my broken Italian asked a woman on the bus,who spoke no English where to get off, and it was the very next stop (something Francisco). Between what she said and her charades, we got off at the right stop, and found our way to the center of Siena, Il Campo.

The many flags of the Siena neighborhoods

The City Tower- Torre del Mangia

Flags from the last Palio

Il Campo

Restaurants and shops surround Il Campo

The Fountain of Joy

Pigeons everywhere!

Fountain of Joy

Il Campo

Filling our water bottles with Potable water

Tower clock even has date.

City Tower, with Clock

Beautiful buildings

People sitting outside the City Tower

Siena is famous for Palio, which is a bareback horse race that happens twice a year- July and August. There are 17 neighborhoods, or Contrade in Siena, each with their own parish church, well or fountain, mascot, and unique colors as you can see in their flag. Out of the 17 neighborhoods, 10 compete in this medieval horse race, which gives the Contrade winner bragging rights for a year as well as a Palio banner made by a local artist for each race. This race is a HUGE deal in Siena, and it is apparent throughout the city. The square is packed with up to 60,000 people on race day, and explaining this to the kids was difficult until we showed them pictures of the square filled to the brim.

Palio pictures posted near the square.

One of my highlights from many places I have been is usually at the top of a tower and being able to take in the view of the city or town I am at, so we waited in the line (that did not move for 30 mins), to be able to climb up the City Tower.  It was definitely an amazing view. I must show you though, what you can not be in order to climb up the stairs…

No Giddiness Allowed! Lost in Translation?

Walking up to the top

All the windy stairs to the top of the Tower!

1/2 way up, and already great views!

Views of Siena and Tuscan countryside

Windy streets of Siena. Typically easy to get lost in.

View of the Duomo

Us at the top of the Tower

So, we made it up to the top of the Tower, and even though all the kids did not necessarily want to go up, they were glad they did. Now it was time to find the Torture Museum! Yes, you heard me right, the Torture Museum was on Jordan and Noah’s wish list. One thing that I really like in Italy is that in every town there is a TI- Tourist Information, and they always speak English, and they usually know where most things are, excluding the coveted coins Kalyna started collecting.

While at the Torture Museum, Kalyna, Kim and I decided to have a bite to eat while we waited. I was of course eager to check out the area and see how the shopping compared to Florence. While I was walking the streets looking for some shops, something caught my eye- a guy with a tripod, then another guy caught my eye. I did a double take, and can you believe it, but it was Rick Steves! Now if you do not know who he is, then either you don’t travel, you don’t do any research before you travel, or you live under a rock.  Rick Steves has literally helped me travel through Europe with his books, and now I was about to be face to face with him, or I hoped!

Me with Rick Steves!

So, here is how it played out: I saw him, started following him, pretending that I was taking pictures with my phone, because can you believe it, but the battery in my camera died! I was playing it cool, and getting candid shots of him talking to his crew for what they were going to be filming for one of his shows. COOL! Finally he stopped long enough for me to ‘cooly’ catch up and I asked one of his guys if he would mind it if I said hi. He told me that he was working, but to say hi anyways, and of course I did. I said to him, “Thank you so much for helping me to travel through Europe with your books!” He thanked me, sincerely, and was off.   UGH! I wanted a picture with him, but I could not keep following him, at the risk of Kim and the kids not knowing where I was, and losing them. Luckily Kalyna was there, so I told her to stay on the corner so that she could see me, and see if Kim came, and as luck would have it, Kim appeared out of nowhere with the boys. I quickly GRABBED my Rick Steves Italy book from Kim, and literally ran after Rick again. Yes, I had become a stalker! I went up to him again, and once he gave me permission to speak (he was working,  and it was kind of rude for me to keep interrupting him), I asked him if I could get a picture of him with me and his book. He was happy to see me with his book, and was nice enough to say yes to a photo session with sweaty, and sticky me. Now that was COOL!

This is the crowd and street that I spotted Rick Steves on.

Off to the Duomo! I discovered that the shopping is nothing like Florence. There are some shops here, but nothing like the variety you find in Florence for clothes, shoes and leather, and the markets with the variety of goods, especially the scarves I wanted to buy. So we went to discover Siena’s Duomo. Well, I must say that it was Beautiful! The dark green (which looks black), white, and pink marble, along with the statues, was a piece of magnificent art! We all sat and admired its beauty!

Siena’s Duomo

Door to the Duomo

The Duomo’s many magnificent statues and art!

Inside the Duomo (No flash was used in the making of these photos…) There are works of art by Michaelango and Bernini.

Inside the Duomo. Notice all the neighborhood flags.

Library of Centuries old books!

On the back side of the Duomo, we walked down some steep steps to the Baptistery. Kim, Kalyna and I went inside to look at the works of artists like Ghiberti and Donatello.

Steep steps down to the baptistery

At the bottom, looking up.

Baptistery on the back side of the Duomo

Baptismal font

Becoming bored with churches- boys waiting outside the Baptistery

So, what did we think of Siena? We liked it, but the crowds of a city we didn’t like, but that is the nature of the beast when you visit in the summer months. I did not find the shopping as good as Florence, but Jordan did pick up a sweet pair of Geox shoes, and Kim bought a watch, and I found my mom a beautiful necklace. Hmmm, something is wrong with this picture!  I will visit Siena again in the months when the streets will not be quite as crowded with tourists. Next time I will also have more time to just wander the streets getting lost, which can be half the fun of exploring.  Sometimes you just might find a GIANT pizza!

MMMM, Pizza!

Ciao Siena! Until next time!

Pisa in under 4 hours

We hesitatingly left Cinque Terre, but onward to the next adventure we went, armed with the most delicious foccacia and pesto in the world!
First stop- Pisa!

Pisa Centrale

We arrived at Pisa Centrale at 11am, checked in our bags at luggage storage, and headed out to find the tower, which we were told was about a 30+ minute walk from the station.

Oh my, as we are walking I am seeing stores- stores to which I like to shop in like Motivi, Calzedonia, Tezenis, and more!  You must remember that I have NOT shopped yet, and I LOVE to shop, especially in Italy! So luckily the boys reluctantly agreed to stop long enough for Kalyna and I to take a quick look in a few stores, and while we looked we also cooled down in the yummy air conditioned stores.  We didn’t buy anything, with the knowledge that we will be passing along these stores again on our way back to the train station- yes!

As we walk to the Field of Miracles, we cross a bridge, called Ponte di Mezzo, and along with the shops we came across, Pisa is starting to remind me a bit of Florence , my favourite city in Italy but with wider streets .  As we get closer, there are remnants of Roman ruins, and then we can see it- The Leaning Tower of Pisa. I am thrilled to be able to see this structure that needs no caption next to it for most. My first impression is that it is much smaller than I thought it would be. It is 8 stories tall and is definitely leaning.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

We arrive at the tower, and immediately retreat to the shade to look at it. This heat is Crazy! While Kim and Jordan stay in the shade, Noah becomes our photographer, and captures Kalyna and I doing what every other tourist is doing, and has done in the past-  takes a picture of trying to hold up the leaning tower.  Yes we know how corny we are- part of the experience!

Strong Kalyna!

Had to do it!

The field of Miracles, or Miracoli in Italian, you can see the Leaning Tower (the bell tower), the cathedral (Duomo), the Baptistery, the hospital (Museum of the Sinopias), and the Camposanto Cemetary, all of which you need an admission ticket to enter. We knew that you could climb to the top of the tower for E15, which we decided we did not want to do in the 40 degree heat. As we tried to enter into the Duomo, we discovered the need for a ticket, but when we saw we had to go WAY over THERE to buy the E5 ticket, so we simply looked from the outside in places with shade, or just quickly took pictures as we passed looking for shade.

The Field of Miracles

Duomo

 

Lots of vendors along the field of miracles

Ticket office and vendors

It was hot, and we were done seeing the sights, so we decided to make our way back towards the train station to sit and eat and have some nice Cold drinks. But instead of going the way we came, a brilliant idea was presented to go a different way. After walking for too long in the heat along a busy street with nothing to look at but traffic, I became very irritated. I thought it was a plot to keep me away from my loved stores on the street that took us to the tower. UGH.  We finally made it back to the street I wanted to be on in the first place, and found a small restaurant so that we could eat and drink, and cool off as much as you can without a.c. Then before we knew it, it was time to head back to the train station to collect our bags, and catch our train to Siena.

Next stop on our journey is Tuscany!

Why must this pigeon be on my head?

Crossing the bridge over the river

 

 

Map of Pisa

Oh la la! Ville Franche sur Mer and the Mediterranean!

I wrote this post 3 days ago, and then had no internet for 3 days.  So to try to not confuse you, we are currently in Tuscany- outside a small town, outside of Siena. Stay tuned for that post…

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Nice is nice but I LOVED Ville Franche sur Mer! Oh la la!
I am writing this blog to fill time on the trains as we journey to Italy- my other home.  I feel excited to be entering in to this part of our adventure. I actually could not sleep in anticipation of today. France was wonderful, but for some reason, I kept speaking french with an Italian accent, my kids kept telling me- and very annoyed at me for doing this.  This was amusing to me.

We arrived in Nice first, with the view of the 2 tones of the oh so blue ocean. Ahhh…. Oh how I love being by the water! Nice is quite the sight for the eyes. There are white, yellow, peach, shale, rose colored buildings in the hills surrounding the sea. You can feel the money here, as there are Mercedes, BMW’s, Ferrari’s, Lambourghinis, Porches, and every other kind of luxury car available in Europe driving in the streets here.  We drive along the boardwalk trying to find our way to Ville Franche sur Mer, and as we drive we find Nice’s port. Parked here are many sizes of Yachts, in addition to sail boats, fishing boats, ski boats, etc.
We continue to follow the sea, as we know that Ville Franche is next to Nice, and is also on the sea. As luck would have it, we follow the right windy road, and Hotel de la Darse appears just as we see the harbour. This is our home base for 2 days, and we are extremely happy to be here.

We have 2 rooms booked- 1 double with a sea view, and 1 triple with a garden view. It worked perfect for us. I could not have been happier to wake up in the morning to sit on our deck and have a nice cafe while admiring the Amazing view. The building is very old, but the rooms have all been updated, and are very lovely. I found out from the woman at the front desk that her husband was born on the 1st floor of this building and has been in his family for many years. I love stories like this. If only the walls could talk…
As soon as we arrived at our hotel we got our bathing suits on, and walked approx 10 minutes to the “busy beach” in the Old town. As Kalyna and Noah are my water babies, we did this first, and of course they had a blast in the water, while Kim and Jordan enjoyed the France beach views, that Noah was completely oblivious to. After spending a couple hours at the beach we walked back to the hotel, showered, and went for supper once again to the old city, as that is where Rick Steves had recommended a few restaurants. It is a neat town with many steps, curvy walk ways that lead to many restaurants, and shops. I am discovering that many of these beach towns on the Mediterranean are quite similar, just with their own personality. The history is especially appealing for me  to learn about, because as you wander around you find spaces and places that were once used for one purpose, and are now for another. A good example of this was as we walked up and down the lanes in the old town, we came across a tunnel, and later I read that this tunnel was used during air raids in WW2.

The beaches here are rocky, so I had a very hard time walking without sandals, but it did not even hardly faze Kalyna and Noah. Note to self: next time bring water shoes. The busy beach has smaller rocks on that beach, where the beaches in Nice and by Ville Franche’s harbour had bigger rocks and stones for a beach. It had its pros and cons. Kim liked the rocks, because there was no sand to stick to you. However you needed something more than just a towel to pad the hardness of the rocks to sit comfortably.  Our hotel was great, as they supplied us with beach towels, mats and umbrellas for the beach, so that was 1 less thing to think about.

Day 11: Today we must drive to Nice central train station to return our rental car full of fuel by 10am. Sounds easy…. The 15 minute drive took us 1 hour, and we had to stop twice for directions. Enough  said? No, we returned the car to Hertz, and then they charged us a E70 drop off fee. Fine print… WTF, then move on.
We brought our beach gear to try out the Nice beaches after we dropped off our car and did a bit of exploring. The kids actually agreed to go see the Marc Chagall museum, but when I got directions from a TI (tourist information), we discovered that it was closed that day, so off we went to find the church that had the machine that sold the coveted medallions that Kalyna had started collecting in every town that sold them. It had become a part of our routine everywhere we went to find where the machines were. Then off to the beach where Kalyna and Noah played in the water, Jordan read his Kindle under the umbrella, Kim discovered how to get a code in a McDonald’s to use a toilet, and I sat on rocks close enough to the water to constantly get wet to cool off, and when done, needing to get all of the smaller rocks out of my bathing suit bottoms that the waves had directed them into.

Did we like Nice? I guess so, but I am not sure that I would want to stay there, when there are many other smaller and more quaint options close by so that you can do day trips to take in the sights and what looked like Amazing shopping. I say, looked like because we walked passed all of the stores I LOVE to shop at, but did not have the opportunity to stop because of the GRUMPY boys attitudes towards shopping. Don’t worry, I will sneak away at some point to feed my soul. This trip’s focus is not about my needs, but the needs of my family as a whole.

Our last night in France we went for a nice meal at le Cosmo, which was recommended by Rick Steves. As we took in the atmosphere and people watching, I noticed that a large percentage of the diners were locals. To me, this is an ideal experience. Not only did we eat wonderful food, but it was authentic enough that the locals dined there also. As I have said before, travelling to me is not supposed to be all touristy, but in addition to doing things like visiting the Eiffel Tower, but also trying to experience where you are like those that live there. It was clear that the locals like to go to the beach- check, eat out- check, and have fun- check, and love life- check!!!

Now we are off to Italy- first stop Monterosso, Cinque Terre for 3 nights. No a.c. so pray that we don’t need it!
Blessings, Trina, Kim, Jordan, Kalyna and Noah
xoxoxo

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The kids have been great in the vehicle- minus a dvd player even!

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Kim loves the fast speeds on the France hwys

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Voila! Our hotel on the sea!

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The view from our double room

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Triple room

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Our view

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Walking to the old town along the sea, and Citadel

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Our next vacation, minus the kids?

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Ville Franche busy beach

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What are you looking at Kim?

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Old town along the sea

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Jordan smiling!

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House on the hill

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Nice

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Rocky beach

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Looking for colored glass like rocks

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Finding sea things. Do you know what this is?

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Great shopping in Nice...

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Ahhhhh, Italy!!!

Just landed, and already out exploring!

Yes, we are lucky, lucky girls! Yes, we were just in Italy only 5 months earlier, and here we find ourselves here again, and already!

The first stop on this adventure is Venice!

Now, I have to explain why this is the first picture I am posting. After returning home after this latest trip, I was looking at a photo album I bought just after our November Italy trip, and the picture that came with album on the front cover was of the Rialto Bridge! I understand that there are no coincidences, but WOW, how great to understand that I had just experienced something truly Amazing, yet completely a part of my destiny!

BUT, let’s score Destiny 1, Determination 4. Why Determination 4? Because we not only travelled to Venice, but to Milan, Cinque Terre, and Florence (again).  AND, because we made it to Italy twice in less than 1 year!

What you can expect from this blog is information on how and why to travel. How to travel on a budget and not on a budget. When, and where, and where not to travel.  I will give you recommendations on where to eat, drink, and be merry. I will give you some Amazing shopping tips, like where the deals are, what to buy, and who to NOT buy from.  And, scams, scumbags, and walking taxi drivers…

Balance is the game of life, and I am living it!

Ciao Bellas!