You Look Great

We had an early start this morning, so I skipped the make-up and threw on my sunglasses. When I took ’em off later, my oldest [brat] exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, Mom! You look TIRED!” This one, though, said, “Mom? You look really great today.” This one is getting extra ice cream. Continue reading

On the Road Again

Thank goodness for headphones and technology! This road trip would have been very different without ’em.

Belly-scratchin’ in the sunset.

We found a park where these two could burn some serious energy.

Our next stop is near the village of Polverigi, in the middle of Italy’s calf along the Adriatic Sea. There are rolling hills and many sunflower fields like this one across the street from where we are staying.


Go Here. Eat This.

Pic of L and J in front of the restaurant where we stuffed ourselves silly in Alberobello

If you haven’t been to the Itria Valley in Italy, we highly recommend. We wish we scheduled extra days here. There is so much to explore, drink, and taste, for both kids and grown-ups.

For our fellow ex-pat friends, check out the discount flights to Bari or Brindisi. There are roundtrip flights for less than 100€ throughout the year.


This was her reaction when her Dad said she’s giving her Grandpa Larry some competition as the family’s food disposal system. Before this, she cleared four veggie courses, her main course of roast beef, part of her Dad’s meat rolls, and the rest of her sister’s pasta and cheese. We have no idea where it goes. Ahhhh, the metabolism of the young!


We visited the only two-story trullo house, Trullo Sovrano, in Alberobello. It is a museum showing how life looked in there in the 18th-century. Today’s “tiny house movement” clearly came from here centuries ago.

There’s a theory that people were skipping the mortar to avoid higher taxes. This appeals to Martin’s quest for a discount.

Another theory says people went without mortar so when the taxman came to inspect the property, the roof and walls could be quickly dismantled.

Property? What property? There’s no property here.



Family Dinner

EVERYONE is coming over for dinner today, so it is all hands on deck to help prepare the feast. One cousin is making the pasta, another two carried up an extra table, there will be veggies and meat, and pastries…I skipped breakfast today.


Aeolian Islands

Exploring the Aeolian Islands today by boat!

When you are on an island volcano that reeks of sulfer, you order for breakfast the brioche and granita, which is a sweet roll with flavored melted shaved ice (like margarita mix) and cream.

Martin didn’t budget for a yacht, so we chartered a paddleboat with a slide attached for 15€ an hour and paddled out around the bay where the kids got to splash around water so clear we could see the fish and rocks down below.

Swimming with Tante Bärbel in the bay. That’s the active volcano Stromboli in the background.

Another view of the bay. The black sand is soft and fine and hot as hell. It’s been entertaining watching the crazy few (kids and adults) run from their towels to the water with no shoes or flip-flops.

This boy insisted on dragging the roller suitcase all over the island. It made him feel grown up and professional. He didn’t realize his big sister was behind him gently lifting it above all the steps and curbs.

She also snapped this picture.



A Night on the Town

We ran away from the circus and headed to the coast for a dinner by the sea.

Being off the mountain and in a city means being connected to consistent Internet again…and catching up on news.

Reading up about the attack in Turkey now while sitting in an Italian restaurant decorated with Jewish and Catholic art, being served by a Muslim, surrounded by tourists from all over the world.

Sicily is truly a melting pot of people and cultures.

If we allowed fear to guide us, my kids would not know this place. Continue reading

Mt. Etna and Catania

Tiny steps climb big mountains! Today’s mountain was the active volcano, Mt. Etna.

Walking along the rim of one of the volcano craters. This one poured out lava in 2001. “Mom, why we gotta be so close to the edge?” “Because it’s the only way to LIVE!”

Family group pic on a volcano!

Martin’s cousin is an opera singer in Catania. She gave us a tour of her office, Teatro Massimo Bellini. There was a ballet rehearsal going on.

My children were unusually quiet here. We were so fortunate to stand in that gorgeous place and watch.

The ceiling of Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania.

The ceiling of Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania.

There’s an outdoor concert tomorrow. We get to watch the rehearsal. Front row seats.