Thursday, June 2, 2016

Verona

As everyone knows, travelling is always an exciting experience, I don't think anyone ever gets tired of travelling, when we travel we learn so much, we learn about new surroundings, new traditions and the history of the locality we are visiting.

When I travel one of the most important things I look for are places to eat, and by that I don't mean those touristic menu restaurants which I avoid at all costs, I like to eat where the locals eat, try their specialties and traditional dishes even if it means spending a little more which is almost never the case because if you go prepared or even ask around you'll discover that finding good eateries won't be a hard task, locals are usually always willing to help out and tell visitors where to go to eat well!

Which brings me to the topic of this blog entry, yes, Verona, last September my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and much to our surprise our sons gave us a wonderful gift, a trip to Verona all expenses paid by them, they booked us in a 4 Star Best Western just a five minute walk from the Arena, I must say it was the best present ever!  Hubby and I had a great time, Hotel was great in every sense, I remember telling my husband, "for me just the hotel room itself is the vacation...haha" it had every comfort, well goes to show you how much we are not used to 4 Star Hotels, I mean 3 stars yes but 4 star is a whole different ball game, here in Italy at least.

Every night we'd go have dinner and then walk around the Arena, we were so awestruck by it, so beautiful all lit up at night, then we'd sit in the park just outside the Arena, it was so romantic, such a beautiful memory, I will never ever forget it, during the day we'd do sightseeing in the historical centre, there was so much to see, one of the must sees is Julliet's house, set in a romantic medieval building with Julliet's balcony looking onto the courtyard where all the tourists enjoy taking photos standing next to a statue of Julliet, legend has it that if you rub Julliet's left breast it will bring you good luck, so you see all these tourists rubbing her breast whilst taking a photo, it's actually quite an amusing sight to see, oh and by the way I too didn't miss out on the experience haha.

In the central Piazza, called Piazza delle Erbe, located just off the Arena you will find a very characteristic open air market, where they sell anything from t-shirts to souvenires to food stuff, ice cream and so on, around the piazza are many shops,  ice cream parlours and Cafès, there was one Cafè that really struck me, it was called Cafè Wallner, it was so refind and elegant, so relaxing and beautiful decor and they had such delishes pastries, it was like a step back in time to the old ice cream parlours of the fifties in the U.S.A.  I highly advise you to pay this Cafè a visit if you go to Verona.

Verona is definitely one place I will certainly enjoy seeing again, it's like Rome, Venice, or Florence, one of those cities you most certainly never tire seeing, and if you do go to Verona remember to make it a point to go see a concert in the Arena, an experience like no other, we went to see Il Volo in concert and it was an unforgettable experience that one can't explain in words, this ancient structure full of beauty and romance fills the air with It's' magic, a feeling you will only understand when you're there.
Arena di Verona

Monday, October 5, 2015

So What Have I been Up Too

Hi Everyone, I know, I know, it's been a while since my last entry, so much has happened since January, first of all my older son finished his first 3 years of University, so proud of him, Architecture is certainly not easy but he loves it and that's what's important, here in Italy when they complete the first 3 years of University it's their freshman diploma, now he will go on to get his specialization diploma, which means 2 more years so 5 years in all!!!

In the last 6 months we've also taken a few trips, 1 to Rome, hubby is Roman so we go at least twice a year to see family and friends, that was in May, we also had my niece's first holy Communion, it was just beautiful, foid, weather, venue everything just was so amazing, will post a photo of the Venue later!

In the end of July we wento Laigueglia, Liguria for some fun in the Sun and sea, that was another wonderful experience, never, ever get tired of the beaches here in Italy, we were there for 7 days and had perfect weather too, doesn't get better then that!!!  Not to mention the great seafood, yum!

We also took 2 other trips but I will speak to you about thise later, I'm runnung late, keep your eyes ooen for my photos later today, have a nice day and always remember to smile 😀

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Italian Carnival 2015

Now that the holiday season is behind us it's  time to pull ourselves together and face the new year, hoping it will bring us health, happiness, peace and prosperity, after all it's always, in my opinion, better to think positive.  Living in Italy I have learned that worrying about what will happen tomorrow is useless, it's always best to live day by day!  But today's post was not my intent to talk about positivity but to tell you about a festivity that in Italy goes way back to Midevil times, Il Carnevale or as we would say in English, Carnival!

The Italian Carnivale is celebrated starting from January 6th all the way to Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, almost every city or town have a traditional parade and traditional costumes, in the bigger cities like Torino, Milan, Venice and Viareggio the parades have really spectacular floats, they have nothing to envy with the Thanksgiving Day Parade or the Rose Bowl Parade in the States!!!  Seeing is believing!   Usually children go to the Parades dressed in a favourite costume, i.e. Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Minnie Mouse, Ninja Turtles, Batman and so on ....,  they also love to throw streamers and coloured confetti to each other and the fliats as they go by, it's actually quite exciting.   Even the schools usually have Carnival parties in class, until a few tears ago the children could go to the class Carnival parties dressed in their favourite costume, wether store bought or homemade but in recent years to avoid class distinction amongst the children the Board of Education decided to have the children make the costumes at school as a class project, this is common in many parts of the world these days.

Another great aspect of the Carnevale tradition are the traditional baked goods and sweet fritters, they vary in shape and name, each reagion has a different name or specialty, but I can assure you they are all super yummy!!  Below I will post some photos of the floats, costumes and goodies!!  Have a nice day and Buon Carnevale! 😀🎉🎊



Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hi there,  it's been a while since my last entry, in the last month much has happened, Christmas has come and gone and we are embarking on a new year hoping all goes well!!
As I mentioned much has happened in the past few weeks, one of the most exciting things that has happened is that I finally orginized a wonderful Luncheon for Canadians living in Italy, and what more perfect setting to hold such an event than in Rome!  Needless to mention it was a huge success and from the goings of it, it was the first of many more events like this one!  There were 23 of us, some came with their families others with a friend, they came from all over Italy, well me from Torino, a couple from Vicenza, a few from the Lazio region and also from Bari, one came all the way from Qatar to be present at our Luncheon!!!  I personally thought it would be a good idea to give a small part of the fee as a Donation to the Sick Children's Hospital, Bambin Gesu' di Roma.  All in all everyone came away from this event happy and satisfied to have finally met in person their fellow Canadians who like them live in Italy and have got to know through the Facebook page Canadians in Italy.  I have made a video collage of our Canadians in Italy Luncheon and I hope you will enjoy it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Christmas Will Soon Be Here!!

Hi friends!  I know it's been a while since my last post but have had so much going on since I last posted an entry on my Blog!!  The main reason being that my mom fell ill at the begining of this year and after various tests we found out that she had cancer, she went into hospital in mid March only to never return home, after many ups and many, many downs she quietly left us on July 17th/2014 with me by her bedside 😔 It was the saddest moment of my entire life!!!   But life goes on, right?!  After mourning and feeling depressed for weeks, at times not even showing it, since I have 2 sons who were devastated by this loss, I had to naturally grieve with them but also try to keep going for them!
I have just lately started to embark in new little projects, one of which is getting some friends together from different parts of Italy to meet up for a luncheon in Rome around the Holiday season, mom would've wanted me to go on as she did many, many times in her life.

My other little projects are simply putting together my little Christmas gifts for friends and family and buying my supplies will be part of the fun of doing so, anyways have to go now and continue my daily routines, will chelck in with updates on both my luncheon preparations and xmas projects, hugs and ✌️❤️☕️ Oly!!  This is a photo of my beautiful mother Carmela, taken in her youth when she lived in Genova, Italy, love and miss her tons!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Holidays are Over but not Forgotten




Although the Christmas and New Year's holidays are over the memories that we've created will linger in our minds and in our hearts.  My holidays were blessed with the warmth and love of my family and friends, both near and far, cooking was also a big part of our traditional Christmas celebration, who could forget my mom's almond bark or honey sweetened Struffoli, yum.  I delighted my family with my homemade Lasagna and roast Salmon not to mention my vol au vent filled with pink cocktail sauce and prawns, our pastry chef Panettone was none the less, moist and covered with a crunchy Almond crust, yum, yum, so inviting, worth every calorie...lol :)

Just so many special moments to remember, New Year's Eve, the boys went away with their friends and hubby and I stayed home and had our soecial candle lit dinner, so romantic, I made Farfalle shaped pasta with fresh Salmon sauce and fillet of sole with creme fraiche sauce, Panettone was the crowning glory of this wonderful dinner with a bottle of bubbly of coarse, Spumante! Midnight was filled with happiness and love as we rung in the new year, goes to show you that you don't need a crowed to be cheerful and have fun!

Our time spent recieving our loved ones were moments to treasure forever and my husband's and I walks in the cold winter sunshine was a real treat too, not to mention our afternoon at the GAM (Gallery of  Modern Art in Torino) to view the Renoir painting exhibit, a real treat for both of us, we love art and this was a super exhibit!

Amongst the things we visited there were also the local Nativity Scenes sponsored by the city of Collegno, Italy is famous for the most beautiful Nativity Scenes in the world, doesn't surprise me since this is the country where they originate.  Every year my husband, Danilo and I love to take one afternoon during the Christmas break and go and visit the local Nativity Scenes, some are just plain statuettes with Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus and the lot, and others are mechanical scenes, with all the charecters moving and the day that becomes night and vica versa.  These Nativity Scenes have a lot of hard work and time and effort put into them by local volanteers, they are just breathtaking! I take my hat off to these volanteers for the dedication and passion that they put into making these Scenes without earning a dime, if not the praise of their admirers.

In closing I want to say so long Christmas Holidays, you maybe gone but surely not forgotten.

Monday, December 16, 2013

I Hate Modernday Christmas shopping!

Well it's Christmas again, and along with it comes all the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping.  Today I finally Decided it was time to do my holiday shopping so off  I went to the Mall thinking that since it was Monday morning not too many holiday shoppers would be there, well surprise surprise, it was packed!! as soon as I got there It didn't take me long to find a parking spot for my car, luckily someone was leaving and so I quickly sped to occupy my much desired spot.  It's often unbelievable how cars in mall parking lots follow shoppers with overflowing carts around the parking lot, hoping to get a parking space and so frustrating when sometimes after all that following and patiently waiting for the shopper to unload and put away his/her cart they signal with their index finger swaying back and forth to say no, their just unloading and not leaving yet.  All I can say is that today was my lucky day, I found parking in five minutes flat! Must've had someone watching over me, thanks dad, I always thank my dear old dad when things go my way.

Once inside the Mall I decided to browse around comparing prices and picking up some ideas, as I walked around I was dumbfounded at how many shoppers were on their smartphones consulting with friends or family on which gifts to buy as if they were deciding the next move towards world peace, gosh your buying a gift not wether to have open heart surgery or not! It was evident that aside from grocery shopping and the odd hop over to the neighbourhood stores I hadn't been out Mall shopping in a while.  I was totally feeling like a fish out of water, mind you I love modern tech, I have my own IPad and smartphone wich I use everyday but all this pushing and shoving to get where you had to go at all costs in order to get what you want was just too overwhelming for me, not to mention all the angry worried faces I came across, just one salesgirl was very sweet and curteous, guess I'm just getting older but not old haha, long story short I decided on a couple of trinkets for mom and niece and some clothes for my sons but I just couldn't wait to go home, hubby's gift will have to wait till later this week, just enough time to get my nerve up to go to the Mall again, unless I decide to just take a hop over to the local perfume shop or bookstore, hahaha. Just can't get over on how much confusion and forgetting what this holiday is really all about.  I miss when I was younger, when yes we went shopping and there was a lot of Christmas hustle and bustle but there was also a human side to it, when salespeople would wish you a Merry Christmas and help you in choosing the best gift to give for that special someone. All I can say is I'm so happy I was young when I was and my warm Christmas memories will keep me happy for a long time coming. Happy shopping everyone!