Thursday, May 7, 2015


 July 2014

Birthday week for Sue is about to begin with the whole family. We already had a ton of fun in London with them, but now we are meeting up with the boys and girlfriend to my younger brother.
We took the fast train from Paris to Barcelona with my parents and it was really fun. OK, some don't like having their picture taken at hour 6 of the 8 hour train ride. Oh well ;)

My older brother is a travel blogger and has a site called Go, See, Write. Costa Brava is one of his favorite places in the whole world. So, we all had very high expectations. Luckily, they seemed to be met and early on in the trip we understood why this was a favorite spot for him.

We found this gorgeous home called Mas Saline with the most fabulous couple who hosted us there. When I say hosted, I mean they greeted us upon our arrival and made sure we had absolutely everything we needed and stopped by to say goodbye on our last day.

We stopped for gelato every chance we got and it was always amazing.

We also stopped to have our first fish pedicure. You must try it once in your life. It is the strangest feeling, but your feet end up crazy soft when it's over.

Every town had amazing charm from the coastal village of Pals to the medieval village of Torroella de Montgri, which were close to the home where we stayed.

Girona is a wonderful town full of cafes and shops. You could spend all day here just strolling through the town. Keep in mind that the siesta is not an urban myth. Stores close down like clockwork for 2-3 hours every day. It seems like a nice tradition for the locals, but when you have a bunch of women who want to shop, you need to plan your day accordingly.

The world’s largest collection of Dali’s work are in three locations in Costa Brava - Figueras, Portlligat and Pubol, which together are known as the “Dali Triangle.” You cannot leave Costa Brava without visiting at least a couple of these places. We went to his home and the museum in Figueras and they were both quite amazing.

It was a fabulous birthday week for my mom and the family created some great memories in an amazing part of the world.

Copyright 2015

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


July 2014

Paris is one of my favorite places to visit. The beauty of the city is hard to describe and every time we go I love it even more. We decided to rent a little (very little) apartment in the 11th arrondissement and it was quite an experience. We also happened to be there during one of the hottest weeks of the year and we had no A/C. So, this gave us a great excuse to explore the city as much as possible.
Here is our youngest in our tiny little kitchen.

We ate at every little cafe we came across and the food was quite extraordinary. I have always found most of the people to be rather sweet and wanting to help you with the language as long as you show a little humility. We had one man stop us on the street when we were trying to figure out the subway system and after a lot of hand gestures and laughing, he just gave us four tickets to use (from his wallet). So sweet!
We also had one of the most entertaining cab rides I have ever had from the train station when we met a hilarious Parisian who is an aspiring rapper. We couldn't have asked for a better experience and loved every minute of it.

We decided we wanted to visit Claude Monet's home in Giverny and found this great bike tour through a company we have used before called Viator. We rode through town and stopped to pick up all of our picnic supplies. We followed a couple who spoke French fluently and basically just copied everything they bought. I think one of the girls thought of that and it was brilliant.

We found Monet's house and the water lillies!!

 It was a little warm, so we took a lot of breaks in the shade.

It was a long bike ride, but every turn was prettier than the last.

I  love this little French boy blowing bubbles who was walking slowly in front of us enjoying every last bubble.

When we were back in Paris, we decided to seek out a book store that I have always wanted to visit, Shakespeare & Company. Shakespeare and Company is an English-language bookshop in the heart of Paris, on the banks of the Seine, opposite Notre-Dame. If you like bookstores, you must stop here. I could have spent all day there.

Notre Dame is really a must see if you are visiting Paris. I think that is all that really needs to be said about it. Just go. You will be in awe.

I never feel like we have enough time in Paris. We will just have to come back again soon!
Next stop, Spain...

Copyright 2015


July 2014

To celebrate my mother's 70th birthday, my family was going to meet up in Spain for a week. But, we decided to take our time getting there since we flew into London with my parents. We would meet up with my older brother, younger brother and his girlfriend in Spain.

We started our adventure in the middle of London. We rented a fabulous apartment through Airbnb just outside of town for four days and it was a great decision. It was spotless and housed the six of us perfectly.

When I was younger, we lived in London for 18 months, so my parents were very familiar with the city. With than in mind, we thought we would try to do some things that they may not have done before. Our first adventure was a guided tour, London Rock music tour. It was really fun and well worth the touristy feel for the day. Everyone has to visit Abbey Road at least once in their life.

I have always wanted to visit the Globe theater. Of course, the original Globe theater burned down in the 17th century, but American actor and director Sam Wanamaker spent over 20 years to rebuild it as close to its original design as possible. The production that week was Julius Caesar in the theater adjacent to the Globe named aptly enough, the Sam Wanamaker theater. We had dinner before the show at the restaurant next door, The Swan, and they brought our bill in a book. Loved it. The production was in the evening and completely lit by candlelight. It was amazing.

Also, if you are visiting London you can't miss seeing the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London. It's worth the wait.

You must also stop at one of the many pubs for a pint or a spot of tea and see all of the sights you  can possibly fit in to the time you have there. It's one of my favorite cities to visit. Our girls absolutely love it because they don't have to try to speak another language and well, it's London!

Next stop, Paris for us and Bruges for my parents...

Copyright 2015

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Rome is such an amazing city. We were there briefly a few years ago, but had a chance to stay for a few days last summer. We stayed right in the middle of town and loved our hotel - Hotel Mascagni.
We had so much to see... so, let's get started.

Of course, the girls wanted to see the crypts and catacombs. So, we took them to the Capuchin crypts in the center of Rome -- don't miss it. It was quite disturbing and amazing at the same time. Touring them is unlike anything I have ever done before and probably unlike anything I will ever do again. They do not allow photos or video inside the crypt, but you can read about them here.
This blog does a great job of capturing the crypt though (and they have some amazing photos as well).

We also visited the Catacombs right outside of Rome... It was quite fascinating. The girls were a bit disappointed though -- no bones. Read here to see why.

Then, it was on to other parts of Rome. We decided to visit the Vatican and take a guided tour. This was a great decision since the crowds can really make the journey unpleasant without some knowledgeable guidance, especially with kids. Splurge on the Vatican tour - you will be glad you did.

We also bought an all day bus pass to explore all of the ruins of Rome. You can hop off and on throughout the day. The kids liked this. You must stop at the Trevi fountain and toss a coin in the fountain (with your back to the fountain, of course).

Then, it's off to the Spanish steps to one of my favorite new discoveries in Rome -- the Keats Shelley house. It is at the bottom of the steps and very small. But, if you love Keats or Shelley like my husband and I do, you must stop here.
One last piece of advice... eat gelato every day!! I'm serious. You will thank me later...


Copyright 2012

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Positano, Italy

This was our first trip to the Amalfi Coast. We found this lovely B&B (La Fenice) right on the outside of town. Positano accommodations can be grotesquely expensive and although this B&B is not right in the middle of town, the walk to town is gorgeous and takes 10-15 min. Here's our daughter taking the stroll to town...

The room rate was 180 euro per night (cash only) for 4 people and that included a fabulous breakfast made each morning by the hosts. I talked to many people who have visited Positano and this was a great deal. My favorite review of the property was this one:
"If you are looking for a 5 star luxury hotel experience with snowy white bed linen, fluffy towels, bathrobes and expensive toiletries then La Fenice is not a place for you. La Fenice is perfect for what I imagine Positano to be... perfect in its simplicity: basic amenities; very clean but mismatched towels and linen (adding to it's quirkiness); lovely, clean airy rooms with lovely tiles, old world furniture... ours had a huge balcony with full view of the Mediterranean Sea. Bliss." 
I could not agree more. What La Fenice lacked in luxury it made up for in charm. Here was the view from our room:

Afternoon snack time overlooking the Mediterranean. 

We decided to take a boat charter to the island of Capri for the day. You must do this if you are visiting the Amalfi Coast. Don't miss the Blue Grotto tour. You might feel like they are ripping off the tourists a bit here as each of the "boats" charge to take you into the Blue Grotto, but that is the only way you can get inside. It's a once in a lifetime experience, so go for it!

Take a dip in the Mediterranean afterwards... what could be better?

Constantino and his family were the hosts at La Fenice and he offered to make our dinner plans every night. Most of the restaurants in the area offer complimentary shuttle service, which is highly recommended. We tried one of his favorite restaurants called Constantino's (no relation, he insists). This was quite an experience. The food is fabulous and the family who runs the restaurant are extremely friendly and entertaining. The girls loved it, too.

Positano is a fabulous town. We spent 3 days here and thought that was the perfect amount of time for us. Others might want to extend their stay to 5-7 days and really embrace the laid back and relaxed feel of the Amalfi Coast.

Copyright 2011