Monday, March 28, 2016

Italy - Eurotrip Day 2

Today we went to four different villages in the Cinque Terre Region of Italy.  It is so beautiful - so picturesque (no filter needed).  It's exactly like the intriguing photos you would see in a magazine.  

Cinque Terre means five lands; it is a cluster of towns "perched on the dramatic cliffs of the Mediterranean coast" (EF Tours).  These five Italian villages include: 1) Monterosso, 2) Vernazza, 3) Corniglia, 4) Manarola, and 5) Riomaggiore.  We visited four of the five villages, each similar yet very unique, with spectacular views and charm.  We traveled to each village by train.

Each village had unique boutiques and shops, some of which were closed because it wasn't their busy/tourist season yet, but the few that were open were quite quaint.  It is here that I ate the very best pizza I have ever had in my life (prior to this trip Chicago pizza was my favorite).  

Cinque Terre is a wine making region as well, where two types of wine are made from the same three white grames: bosco, albarolo and vermentino, labeled under 'Cinque Terre D.O.C.' (http://www.littleparadiso.com/2013/02/wine-in-cinque-terre-primer.html).   

We enjoyed lots of walking and hiking in the villages of Cinque Terre, especially at our last stop, Monterosso, where we found a fort-type structure seemingly something from the Roman era.  We have no idea how long it has been there but we enjoyed climbing on it.  Monterosso was so neat with random statues, paths, steps, walkways; we had a blast - nothing beats feeling like a kid again.

This evening we returned back to our hotel in Lavagna just in time for dinner which consisted of pasta with a type of red sauce, then some veal.  Dessert was the best, of course; a very moist and delightful type of chocolate cake.  

We walked and hiked a lot on this day - 2,000 steps would be a huge understatement - more like 10,000, and our steps were quite literal.  

Another beautiful day in Italy in the books, March 8, 2016.

Ciao!


















Friday, March 25, 2016

Arriving in Italy - Eurotrip 2016

My daughter and I recently returned from our spring break trip to Europe.  It was so beautiful - there aren't enough adjectives to express the feeling of awe that we encountered daily.  We traveled via Delta Airlines out of Springfield, Missouri with layovers in Atlanta and Amsterdam; destination: Milan, Italy.  The worst part of the trip (and really only negative experience) was the eight hour flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam.  It was an overnight flight, but we couldn't sleep.  However, the movie options Delta provided were top notch.  It was like having your own personal free Redbox.

On this leg of the trip, Atlanta to Amsterdam, I had the pleasure of meeting and sitting by the most charming man from Brussels.  In light of the recent events in Brussels and terrorist attacks, I think of him and his family often.  He was returning home after visiting his daughters and their families in Pensacola, Florida.  He was ready to be home to see his wife.  They were home for a week, then taking holiday in Italy.  I hope he was not traveling when Brussels endured terrorism on their beautiful land.  He gave me a lot of pointers about traveling in Europe - pasta in Italy, wine in France - he spoke five languages (German, French, Italian, Dutch, and English) and was very kind (and he didn't snore - haha)...

Upon arrival in Milan, Italy we were picked up and driven to our first destination of Lavagna, Italy.
The views were stunning, very picturesque, but as we would discover, the views were stunning throughout all of our trip.  We stopped at a little place along the way - almost like a convenience store, but with a deli/coffee counter.  We ordered our first 'real' cappuccino and a sandwich called a Capri.  OH MY GOSH - the bread was incredible - everything I had hoped and dreamed it would be.  I look around...we are in Italy, eating and drinking local flavor; Heaven in a C-store.

The cappuccino is not like here in the States.  It is served in a small coffee cup (not a to-go coffee cup; Italians do not take their coffee to go...or in their words 'take away'), and it is not a sugary drink.  If you want sugar, you have to add it, and it is strong - that being said, the kiddo did not like hers, so I had two.

Arriving in Lavagna, our hotel was within walking distance of the beach.  The weather was quite cool while we were in Italy, so we did not going swimming, but if you have never seen the Mediterranean Sea, I suggest you make it a destination at the top of your list.  The views of the Mediterranean are breathtaking, with cool blue waters, rugged rocks and cliffs, and miles of beautiful shoreline.  While in Lavagna we stayed at the Hotel Doria (www.doriahotelcavi.com).  The hotel was very nice, but the rooms are quite small as compared to hotel rooms in the United States. Our room had two twin beds (which I believe is common in Europe, because that is how all of our rooms were at various hotels), and the bathrooms are even smaller, but hey, it's ITALY - no need to be greedy!!

At this point my only regret is not signing up for the Italian language lessons that I intended on signing up for a year and half ago - shame on me.  This just proves, don't put things off...the opportunity might pass you by.  Lucky for us, most of the Europeans we encountered along the way spoke English, with the exception of just a few.

Our first dinner in Italy was at the hotel restaurant - we ate here each evening we were in Lavagna - which consisted of Pesto Pasta (delicious) and bread (delicious); the second course was a type of pork chop with a mystery sauce and some "pudding", which was a type of mashed potato (delicious). The third course was dessert, a type of butter cake (delicious) - very moist and full of flavor.

All in all, although it had been a very long day (we left Missouri at 2 PM on Sunday and had this dinner on Monday evening at 6 PM) it was a successful day.

Monday, March 7, 2016 is in the books.

Ciao!
Mother-Daughter Eurotrip 2016 - SGF Airport

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Layover in Amsterdam









Sunday, March 6, 2016

Europe - The Final Countdown

Europe: Italy, France and Spain, here we come.  Spring Break 2016...we leave today for our first destination, Milan, Italy where we will transport via train and bus to Cinque Terre Region - visiting various small towns and villages.  I'm so excited to see this vast and beautiful region of Italy...and eat pasta, pizza, and explore Italian coffee and wine. Be sure and follow my website - I plan to blog daily about my #Eurotrip with my daughter, +KallieJones ... We are so excited.