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.



Pisa, Road Trip Items & Naples

The day we left for this trip, each kid got a shopping tote with coloring & work books inside, as well as a journal and photo safari checklist, which includes things like books, flowers, police officer, flags, books, something old, something funny, etc.

The twistable colored pencils are thick like crayons, but won’t melt AND are too long to roll under or between seats. Not shown: a travel pillow and Dramamine for Kids.

Continue reading

Jasmine & Higher Education

I posted a question, asking about this particular bloom. My friends informed me it is jasmine.

It is so fragrant! I think it is a type of honeysuckle and the scent reminds me of pink lilies. The kids think the blossoms smell like vanilla. The last two homes we’ve visited had this growing like crazy near their front doors. It perfumes the whole house! Continue reading

Out of Office

Photo from 2006 … it may be 10 years old now, but still accurate, especially for today.


Turned on the “Out of Office” when I left for work today.

Summer vacation starts NOW.


We went on a volksmarch over the weekend. It was perfect weather for it. Warm sun. Cool breeze. No humidity.

It’s been so hot and humid this summer. The dip in temperature was refreshing. We weren’t the only ones who thought so. The paths through the woods were full of people: casual walkers, runners, cyclists, even people on horses. Continue reading

Fresh Air

A few days ago, farmers smeared several layers of fresh manure on the fields surrounding my village. The heat and humidity make it necessary to keep all our windows open. It gets intense when the breeze kicks up and into the house. On days like these, I can’t decide which is worse: mouth or nose breathing?

And let’s not forget the flies that are almost too fat too fly, so they decide to take a break and land on you…