A Photoblog on Siena, Italy

Siena is by far one of the most enchanting medieval cities we have ever visited.  It is spectacular and charming and is nestled in the heart of Tuscany. I know I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but the most advantageous way to explore a gem like this one is on foot for hours, over several days.  Yes, Siena can definitely be seen and enjoyed in one day.  It’s a relatively easy day trip from Florence.  Once you realize how special it is, however, I’m guessing you’ll want to spend… Read More

Exploring Florence, Italy

Florence in a day?  No way!  While you can Google many sample 1-day itineraries for a visit to Florence (really, do it now), there is NO way you would even begin to scratch the surface of this beautiful city in such a short timeframe! I first visited Florence while backpacking through Europe over 20 years ago with one of my best friends.  I had no idea how special Florence was, as I was not into art and architecture.  I had no appreciation for it at that time.  What a missed opportunity!  I… Read More

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

Danny in Capri, Italy

Capri is one of the most beautiful place I have seen!  Capri is very very small, and it is an island near Naples, Italy.  Capri has great views, everywhere!  If you climb up the mountain, there is an amazing hike you can take, and when you are at the top, you can look down on the ocean!  It is so beautiful! Capri also has lots of alleys that have tons of houses lined up.  Most of the houses are in the wall actually, well a lot where I was, that is what… 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

Dining in Sonoma and Napa Valley, CA

We have had the opportunity to dine in many different countries this past year, and I can unashamedly say the Sonoma and Napa Valley restaurants rival some of our favorites!  We lived in Southern CA for six years but for some reason, I was never made aware of how enjoyable to dining experience was here.  Had I known, I never would have waited so long to visit.  Below are a few highlights: Le Bouchon Bakery in Napa:  Some of the most amazing food I’ve ever tasted.  We read about this bakery and then heard… Read More

Sonoma and Napa Valley, CA

We have finally settled back into life in Chicago.  Ryan recently began a new job at Glassdoor, and flew out to California for a 3-week training.  What a perfect excuse for me to hop back onto a plane and fly to the West Coast!  After all, three weeks is just a little too long to be separated, isn’t it?  Is it my fault the training was changed to two weeks AFTER I purchased tickets to CA?  🙂 Interesting but after living in CA for six years, having three of our four children… 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