These guys definitely are.
Their joy is infectious.
20 July 2011
On 4th of July weekend, we were lucky enough to have many members of our River family join us in a special tribute to my dad. The River is the last place I saw my dad, and if it wasn't special to me already, it is even moreso now.
We dedicated a bench in the bocce ball area, a place he was so excited to see when they first put it in, to him.
It has now been almost 11 months, and I can hardly believe it. Thankfully, we have a great support system everywhere we go, and his memory is alive all over the place.
14 July 2011
We decided on a class at the Food & Wine Academy of Florence, and booked through the Viator website. You can also book through other sites, but I always like Viator to keep all my tours together in one easy place (and, you can often find coupons, which is always a bonus!).
|Biscottis at the Central Market|
We started by making our tiramisu, as it took the longest and also needed to sit for a while to really build the flavor. Once that was done, it was time to start on the pasta itself. My brother did a fine job mixing up the flour and eggs to create a great doughy base. As that was setting for about 10 minutes, we started working on other parts of our meal. This was one thing I really liked -- often when you are in the kitchen, you are called on to multi-task so the food is all ready around the same time; in this class, we learned how to effectively manage all the dishes at once.
Of course, our group ended up being the last ones standing. We helped Giovanni polish off the wine (can't leave a wounded soldier on our watch) and got some details on where to eat that night! While I have seen some reviews complain about the lack of hands on activity, but I thought our class size was perfect, and we all got to contribute (if we wanted). And, most importantly, everything we cooked could be made easily at home. Cooking in Tuscany is one thing I would highly, highly recommend.
11 July 2011
I was going through my music the other day, and happened upon this song. I had forgotten all about it... but it was on an album pivotal to my college years, and reminds me so much of running with my lax buddy S (always at the back of the pack, the two of us chatting, much to the chagrin of our coach).
07 July 2011
Monterosso al Mare, and had the pleasure of wandering the towns both times. There are many trails around the CT, and many smaller towns that may not be as crowded as the main five, but I think you would be remiss to go to the area and not spend one day on the Blue Trail.
Most books I've seen have you starting at the most southern town of Riomaggiore and hiking north. I am not quite sure why, but I haven't seen many (if any at all) that have you start in Monterosso. I guess this would ease you into the hike, as that direction starts out rather flat, and that may be a plus for some people. I have started both times in Monterosso, which I think is the better way (there may be bias).
A few pointers...wear comfortable clothes, and LAYERS! Have a bottle of water in your day pack, and a few snacks. Eat a good breakfast before you head on the trail, and leave early. Oh, yes, and make sure to bring sunscreen and reapply during the day.
Corniglia is the only town not accessible by water. It sits perched on the hill, and even if you take the train, you may have a bit of a hike ahead of you...there are 382 steps from the train station to the town. There is a bus that will take you up there, included in your pass. We didn't realize that until it was too late! Since this town is all on a hill, you'll get a bit of a workout just walking around. It is worth it to walk all the way to the top and look out at the vista; it's pretty amazing.
Soon, you'll want to head to Manarola, another very picturesque town (and I think my mom's fave). If you head to the bottom, harbor area, you may find sunbathers lounging along the rock walls. It's another opportunity to dip your toes in the Med, or simply look straight down into the clear water and check out the fishies.
Both times I've visited Riomaggiore, it has been at the end of a long day, so I am not sure it gets the fairest shake from me. I am sure it is a lovely little town. For me, it has always been a welcome site that my day's journey is almost done.
Doing the walk + train took us about 4 hours. Doing hiking only, one way, is about 5-6 hours depending on your pace.