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Saturday, July 28, 2012

A week ago









It was a week ago that we packed our bags and made our way back to Germany where we would then catch a plane to come back to the states; however, before we left Sicily we headed to the Turkish Steps located near Agrigento.  The trip to the Turkish Steps was well worth the hours spent in the car getting there.  They are simple stunning.  On our way there from Catania we drove past the Valley of Temples.  I would have loved to stop and get out and explore, but we wanted to spend the few hours we had exploring the beach. The water was so blue.  We ate at a restaurant located beachside.  I had spagetti and clams and the boys enjoyed a plate of spaghetti bolognase.   Yummy!  When we got on the ferry my husband sighed a huge breath of relief and was completely amazed he didn't get into any accidents.  When we arrived in Milan he commented on how civilized it seemed in comparision to Sicily. Now home since Wenesday: I have been busy putting away clothes, restocking the pantry, took Addy for her one year old check-up, spent time trying to reclaim the money from a second plane ticket I had to purchase for Addy.  I am not sure why, but her reservation was not showing and they told me I would have to purchase a second ticket if I wanted to go home.  I tried to explain to the agent it was impossible for us to have flown over without a ticket, and she agreed but said without it showing in the computer there wasn't anything she could do. Ugh!  So frustrating.  Well, I better go!  I keep nodding off!  Do you plan to watch the Olympics this weekend?   I love watching the gymnastic events and the swimming.  Tomorrow, I am off to get my hair done.   Harris is going to help his friend work on his Eagle Scout project.  They are doing sevice out at a horse ranch.  The littles are going swimming. Hope you have a great weekend!   

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Going home and "Grass Corner View"


We are on our way home!  We have had the most amazing three months here in Europe.  The other day Roman said, "hey mommy, take a picture of the statue."  I turn around and he is totally naked.  I guess Europe has had an effect on him.  I couldn't help but laugh.  The boys have learned so much and really soldified their German.  Most important is the time we have spent together as a family.  When we get home the boys will have two weeks before school starts.  Then crazy life begins again as lessons will resume and homework needs to be completed.  Roman will be a Kindergartner.  I can't believe it!  It seems like yesterday he was a sick little boy in the hospital.  As we drove home Saturday from Naples this was my view.  Isn't Tuscany gorgeous!  I don't think I can ever get tired of this view.  I now know why people move to Tuscany and write books about it!  See you soon.  It may take me a couple days before I get back on line.  Hope all is going well with you.  Hope you are enjoying the last few days of July.  I feel like summer is slipping away.  I want to savor it just a little bit more.  Do you feel the same way?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Acitrezza

On Thursday, we followed the coast northward to the city of Acitrezza.  There you will find the most charming coastal town filled with fishing boats, sunbathers, and these rock formations known as The Cyclops. In Homer's book the Odyssey it tells how Ulysses lands on the island of Sicily and is greeted by giants.  He and his men are captured; however, as Ulysses men escape the giants throw stones at them, but are not sucessful in recapturing them.  These are the stones that they threw.  Another legend has it that there was a shepard (Aci) who was in love with a beautiful girl the daughter of Neuro named Galatea.  These two were madly in love; however, Polifemo (a cyclops) was very jealous.  He crushes Aci with a giant boulder.  Jupiter has pity on the two and turns Aci's blood into a river and the girl into sea foam.  These boulders symbolize their eternal love.  Which story do you like best?   Afterwards we headed up the coast to our favorite beach spot in Taorima.  We enjoyed a delicious meal of proscuitto and melon followed by pizza, and of course you have to have gelato while in Italy.  It would be a sin not to have some.  Wink!  Well, our trip in Sicily has ended.  We are on our way home. We will stop by the Turkish Steps and the Valley of Temples before catching the ferry back to Naples.  Sicily is such a beautiful island with so many interesting things to see.  I am so glad we have come here even with all the hair raising driving moments.

 The Cyclops
 Eternal Love "Amore"

 Yum!
 Champion Pizza Eaters!



Endless Gelato








La Playa Beach, Catania, Italy




Just 2 miles from our hotel and north of the city you can find sand beaches; however, in the trade for sand you give up the view.  The boys had a great time playing at this beach.  There are many beach clubs to choose from.  Sadly, I can't remember the name of the one we went too.  It was one of the larger ones and offered a swimming pool, a play ground, had a snack bar, beach chairs and umbrellas, and even offered beach Zumba.  It was a great way to end the day after visiting Siracusa earlier in the day.  We were hot! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Siracusa


Roman not to thrilled.  He was hot and only wanted to drink orange juice!


Can you see the ocean in the back!  The view from above was gorgeous!



Just an hour south of the city of Catania is the city of Siracusa though plan about an 1 1/2 hours to get there if there is traffic.  Siracusa today is probably most famous today for archeology with its Greek Amphitheater.  Definitely worth the visit.  The city of Siracusa is 2,700 years old and played a major role in Ancient times and was occupied by the Greek's until taken over by the Roman's.    The Amphitheater can hold up to as many as 19,000 people.  Today, I believe they hold summer concerts in the theater.  Make sure you have a couple of euros in your pocket for a fresh squeezed glass of orange juice.  Amazing!  Tell me, How are you spending your summer.  I have very limited Internet connection this week, but I promise I will be around to visit all of you next week when I am back in the states.  Sounds so strange to say.  I can't believe our trip is almost over.  Hope you are having a great week!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Catania!







Sitting in the shadows of Mt. Etna lies the city of Catania. A city of 300,00 with another 350,000 living in the suburbs of the city.  The island has a total of almost 6 million which is about the size of my home Atlanta, Georgia. The best way to describe the city is large, loud, crazy, beautiful, extremely friendly people, dirty, a little scary.  I say a little scary because to drive here you have to have nerves of steel.  Road signs are just a suggestion and if you hesitate you could loose your life.  Bonking cars may be a sport because most of the cars have dings in them if not a bumper barely hanging on.  Also, the first day we were here we were hit up by the mafia to pay them to watch our car.  The guy told us if we didn't pay him he would slash our tires.  At first we thought he was just some thug taking advantage of the fact that we were tourist, but my husbands colleagues later told him that you have to pay these guys just a euro or two and that they are apart of the mafia.  I guess the mafia knocked off two judges last year.  We now have our car parked in the hotel parking garage.  Otherwise, we have felt pretty safe here.  The people are so friendly and they love children.They call Addy "Picolini" which I think means little one or something to that effect.  Of course though we play it smart.  We don't drive after dark and we don't have any jewelry nor do we have very much money on us very little with us.  We haven't seen a ton of tourist, but I wouldn't let this scare you from coming here.  We haven't found it difficult to communicate with the people here and most seem to know a little English or some German.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Taorima







Taorima is a small village along the coast just north of Catania  Need I say more!  So gorgeous!  We have been enjoying the last two days at the beach.   The beach is a little rocky, but the children don't seem to mind.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sicily

Hello from Sicily! We made it! Cinque Terre was kind of a bust after being delayed in Milan due to some car troubles, and major traffic. What should have been a 3 hour drive ended up taking us 6 hours and by the time we reached Cinque Terre it was too late to see anything. Then next morning it was pouring down rain, but we were determined to see at least one of the 5 villages that make up Cinque Terre. I wasn’t really that impressed. I guess after seeing Positano two years ago, Cinque Terre isn’t that spectacular. If I were to ever go back, I think I would take the train. The drive is a series of switchbacks and while pretty is not as lovely as the drive along the Amalfi Coast. After leaving Cinque Terre, we headed down to Naples where we caught a ferry to Palermo, Sicily. I wanted to go to the pizza place where the Margharita pizza originated from, but my husband was worried about navigating the streets of Naples and that even if we were lucky enough to find the restaurant that it would be jammed packed with tourist. The ferry ride was smooth. It takes 12 hours from Naples to Sicily. Shortly after pulling out of Naples we passed the island of Capri. It is on my list of places to visit, but I think I will visit there without children. Now we are in Catania! Sicily is really lovely. It is dirty; however, no dirtier than Milan. The traffic on the other hand is crazy. The streets are really narrow and it appears that the traffic signs are just a suggestion. As we drove to Catania we saw Mt. Etna. I don’t think we will be visiting it up close while we are here. It has been smoking from the top and today there were some fires along the north slope of the mountain. Well, it has been a long day. Off to eat dinner. I hear Spaghetti with baby clams calling my name. Hope you are having a great week.

Frank and I on the ferry.
Mt. Vesuvius in the Background

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Leonardo Science Museum Milan


The hardest part of having children of different ages is making sure that everyone is happy.  What might interest Roman  most likely is not going to interest Harris who is 13.  On Thursday, we headed to the Museo Nazionale Della Scienza E Della Techologia Leonardo Da Vinci or as I am calling it the Leonardo Science Museum.  Roman was a little bored because most of it was beyond his comprehension, but Harris was in heaven.  He loved looking at all the replicas of Leonardo's inventions.  If you love science, then you will love this museum.  The museum seems to focus on how art and science collide.  You come to understand really how amazing Leonardo was.  I am pretty sure he must have felt really alone at times because no one understood him or his inventions.  I am sure that most people thought he was crazy.  I can just imagine him waking up in the middle of the night searching for a paper and pen as new ideas came into his head.  He loved music, he painted the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, he pioneered the way for human anatomy, he studied Botany, and the list goes on.  One of the cool things I learned about him was that after he studied the human heart he came to realized that a man he was studying had hardening of the arteries.  What is also cool is that they have real scientist in the bottom of the museum, who you can talk too, though they must have been out to lunch by the time we got downstairs.  Also if we lived here, I would totally send my boys to one of their science camps.  What is also cool is that the museum is housed in an old monastery.

Located at San Vittore 21, Milan.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Milan Aquarium






While I think the children wouldn't mind going to the art museum, I have been keeping our activities here in Milan pretty kid friendly.  On Thursday, we headed to the Aquarium.  You can get there by taking the red line on the Metro and getting off at Lanza.-Viale G.Gadio n°2.  It isn't a large aquarium, but still made for a fun morning.  One of the cool things we saw were these egg pouches that you could see through.  The babies were inside.  It looked like something from a sci-fi film, so  interesting to see but at the same time kind of creepy.  Afterwards we walked over to the park located behind the Sforza castle where we played earlier in the week.   This time Roman road the motorized train and the coin electric cars.  I can't remember where we ate for lunch, but one of my favorite areas to eat at in the Brera district.   There you will find a lot of great restaurants.  I had spaghetti carbonara and the boys spaghetti.  Addy loves prosciutto, so my dish was a hit with her.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A day at the pool




 After transferring to the hotel on Monday afternoon, we decided the only thing to do was to go swimming..  Have I mentioned, it is hot here!  Just a mile from our hotel is a great public pool.  I guess swim caps are required to swim, so we purchased our caps and off we were to swim.  I didn't have to buy one since I didn't get my hair wet and didn't go beyond the baby pool.  The boys were not too thrilled about the caps , but given the option to wear the caps or go home they reluctantly put them on.

Via Ampère, 20 
20131 Milano Mi 
Tel. 02.70600224