A Snapshot of Venice, Italy

Venice. It’s such an extraordinary city. I’ve always thought of it as a romantic destination – so much so that when my best friend from college and I backpacked through Europe, I declined taking a gondola ride with her. I wanted my first ride to be with my husband.  Isn’t that crazy? And yet…almost 20 years later, it finally happened!  I got that first gondola ride, and it was indeed with my husband! Of course, this many years later, we also had our four kids with us, but it was still romantic…. Read More

The Italian Riviera and Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre, translated “Five Lands”, is located on the Italian Riviera, just west of La Spezia and an easy train ride away from Florence.  It is made up of five beautiful seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline. Colorful homes cling to steep terraces, fishing boats float in azure water, and brave villagers dive from rocky cliffs into the cold sea water. While you could definitely spend a few days here, we chose to visit Cinque Terre in one day, and it was definitely doable, given the fantastic transportation system, a… Read More

2015 Reflections of Gratitude

“From His fullness we all have received Grace Upon Grace” John 1:16 As I reflected on this past year, I was reminded of God’s goodness to us in so many ways.  My dear friend, Cindy, shared the above verse and it mirrored our sentiments exactly.  Much of His goodness has come in the shape and form of people!  God has surrounded us with so many warm, loving, kind-hearted generous souls who have opened their homes and hearts to us throughout our year on the road.  While I would love to list each and every one… Read More

Pompeii Photoblog

Pompeii is a popular day trip from Rome, though we prefer to visit Pompeii as we leave Rome and wind our way to the Amalfi Coast.  It’s a perfect stopover spot between the Eternal City and the Amalfi Coast and/or Capri and takes about two hours to visit. According to History.com, Pompeii was a flourishing resort town five miles south of Vesuvius, where the wealthy would escape the bustling city life and enjoy soaking in the sun.  Elegant villas dotted the paved streets of Pompeii and even today, you can envision what the… Read More

The Amalfi Coast and Capri, Italy

The “Amalfi Coast” and “Capri”.  I’m curious to know what images and thoughts are conjured up when you hear these words.  Please take a moment to share that with me. My relationship with Italy grew when I first set eyes on the Amalfi Coast.  The stunning beauty of the coastline, the azure blue water, the houses clinging to the edge of the cliffs, took my breath away.  Try as I might, I could not capture the beauty in a photo. The love deepened when I met Capri, a picturesque island off the coast… Read More

Rome Highlights – The Spanish Steps and All Things Vatican

We’ve already visited the Colosseum.  Here is a Photoblog of some of my other favorite places in Rome: The Spanish Steps! The Sistine Chapel The Vatican St. Peter’s Basilica   A few additional shots of this incredible site: And one last glance back as we say good-bye.

Gladiators and the Colosseum

Imagine…it’s the first century.  The hungry crowds are clamoring to catch a glimpse of the gladiators, sometimes slaves, more often criminals, or even prisoners of war!  Occasionally there were free men (and even women), who longed for the glory, the praise, the spotlight.  Wedged in tightly between 50,000 of their closest friends, the crowd erupts as the first animals and/or gladiators appear out of nowhere, emerging from hidden trap doors and a complex set of lifts, ropes, and pulleys.  The excitement is palpable! The Colosseum, completed in 80 AD, was used mainly for gladiator… Read More

Football, Friends, and Family

Let’s take a moment to step away from Italy.  I promise we’ll return…and up next will be the Colosseum and more about the Gladiators!  I just wanted to share one of the biggest joys of being back in the States again!  For the first time, our oldest son had an opportunity to play football and he loved it.  The truth is, we all loved it. It was made all the more special, however, when his grandparents (who live 12 hours away in Pennsylvania) surprised him by showing up at the last game… Read More

Hidden Intrigues of Piazza Navona, Rome

Meandering through the narrow, cobbled streets of Rome late one evening, we stumbled upon this masterpiece of a location… Piazza Navona!  It is a spectacular piazza, filled with gorgeous architecture, open air restaurants, musicians, vendors, and “starving” artists.  It also boasts a beautiful fountain designed by the renowned Bernini, and named Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (aka the Fountain of the Four Rivers). The story of Bernini and his Fountain of the Four Rivers alone is quite fascinating, though there are several versions.  Bernini was one of the most talented artists of his… Read More

The Refugee Crisis: Stepping into the Story

As we slowly say good-bye to the Middle East, to Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and Greece and head farther west, it’s impossible to not take time to reflect on the Syrian Refugee Crisis that has been intensifying over the past four plus years and affecting all of these countries and more. While in the above mentioned countries, we enjoyed the history, century-old traditions, the cultures, and delicious food.  And let’s not forget the fresh hummus, the lamb gyros and falafel, or the creamy Gelato.  Our memories are intense and we were at times overwhelmed by the… Read More