Both of my parents had Italian grandparents who moved to the US in the early 1900s. They grew up eating Italian food, so trying the food on a trip to Italy held even more meaning for them. I wanted to show them how regional Italy is when it comes to food, and that the food in Rome is different from some of the things they grew up with. (My mom’s Italian grandparents were from Calabria, and my dad’s were from Abruzzo.) I had heard wonderful things about Eating Italy Food Tours, so Andy and I decided to sign the four of us up for their Trastevere food tour.
“Please don’t let us die! Please don’t let us die! Please don’t let us die!”
This is what ran through my head in a loop for nearly the entire two hour taxi ride from Tangier to Chefchaouen. This was our introduction to our relaxing, laptop-free, work-free vacation in Morocco. Our driver seemed to think he was in a race car, and yet he jerked the wheel and over-corrected when going around curves in a way that reminded me of a teenager learning to drive.
Our time in Pisa has finally come to an end. It’s not a bad city, I promise. There really is more to it than just the tower. But it just wasn’t the right place for us. Although sometimes we need to struggle in order to really see what it is that’s wrong and what needs to be changed or fixed. There are a lot of things not quite working in our life right now, but it probably would’ve taken us a lot longer to realize it without this stressful month.
When my parents told me then wanted to go to Italy when they came to visit, I started making a mental list of all the places I thought they should see to get a good feel for the country. It’s a very regional country with distinct differences from north to south, region to region, city to city. So as I got down to actually planning out the trip, Florence easily made the cut.
I’ve been struggling to write blog posts over the past few weeks. I had some scheduled to go up while we were traveling with my parents, and I’ve been doing a decent amount of paid writing, but with my two sites, I’m blocked. So I thought maybe if I got all of this out of my head and dismissed my normal attempt at being chronological, it might help. Andy and I are a little more than halfway through our month in Pisa, and it’s not going so well.
Nuremberg and Bamberg might not be on everyone’s travel wish list, but they are really interesting Bavarian towns. Andy and I had a great time exploring them in September, despite the rain, and I’d highly recommend spending a few days there if you’re taking a longer trip around Bavaria. We spent three nights in Nuremberg and took a day trip to Bamberg, and here’s how much we spent.
Of course it was raining. It seems like it always rains in Germany, and this summer especially was colder and rainier than normal. We were in Nuremberg for a long weekend for WEBMU, which stands for Whiny Expat Bloggers Meet Up, an annual gathering of expat bloggers in Germany. Andy went a few years ago while I was on my round the world trip, but we haven’t been able to make it since then. I was excited to see a new city, and even a day trip to nearby Bamberg, but of course that rain followed us around most of the weekend.
It’s been about a year and a half since Andy quit his job and became a freelancer. A year and a half since began our Beyond Vacation life. A lot has happened in that year and a half, but like most things, they have happened gradually enough that we don’t always notice how far we’ve come until we look back on how much we’ve accomplished. My 400th post seems like as good a time as any for reflection.
One of the many things I like about living in Europe is that there’s so much history all around me. The US has plenty of history, but there are buildings here that are older than the US, buildings that were built before Columbus ever even thought about sailing west across the Atlantic. And to me, the best reminders of that history are castles.
Recently I spent a couple of days in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland and nearby Interlaken. I was visiting my friend Gigi (and her adorable dog Luna) for a fun girls weekend and, as a bonus, I got to see a little more of Switzerland. I could never live in these small towns – sometimes Freiburg feels too small for me – but I certainly don’t mind visiting now and then to relax and enjoy the gorgeous scenery.