Places we've been:

  • Cinque Terre
  • Florence


Since there last, I have remembered Florence as the city that smells like leather and warm waffle cones toasting on the open streets. This time several weeks ago, the air was a bit friskier and the shops not quite so exposed, and yet, the mystery behind the cobbles and closed wooden doors on every alley drew me in yet again. Third time, and still such a charm. We arrived via train from Nice fairly late our first evening, and queued up for one of what seemed like only three taxis in town. Our…


Cinque Terre by boat

Back to our morning on the boat, the highlight of our travels through Cinque Terre! When my mother-in-law mentioned we'd like to take a boat, Stephano, our hotel owner, told us we might not find one this late in the year but to head to the harbor to see. We took the train from Monterosso (home base and the northernmost town) to the southernmost of the five, Riomaggiore. The train announcements sounded like rio-ma-CHEE-or-ay; love how they drag out the vowels. We walked down to the harbor, just…


Cinque Terre, Italy

Italy will always glow like a bright orange ember in my heart for its romance, because it was during my first trip to Italy with a college friend that I was just starting to date Walker. We spent every spare, and not spare, minute searching for (cringe) internet cafes, so that I could type wobbly letters to him, across an ocean, telling of our adventures through glass factories and marmalade pastries. Our stops included Venice, Florence, and the Cinque Terre, a huddle of five ancient villages…



True story: I once called Walker ‘Walk-Dawg’ before we were dating. He took it well. I’m wrapping up our latest Europe trip here today, so I thought I'd throw a little snoop-dawg into our Europe trip. So, then. Here's something you don't know about me. I love hotels. I mean, I really love staying in hotels, reading about hotels, and wheeling my suitcase into a fresh hotel. I love the smell of the hallways, and pulling back crisp sheets. I love not making the bed and reading the flavors of soap…


When in Rome

We're being woken by birds and sunshine these days, and walking through weather almost as warm as Italy. Here it is, over a week since we've been back from our travels. No joke, we're only about halfway through the photos. If you've missed them, check out our latest travels here: Overview of all 9 cities Sorrento Pompeii Amalfi Coast Mozzarella factory Florence and Tuscany (and a couple in-betweeners here and here.) Rome is an epic destination, with pagan, Biblical and early Christian…


under the Tuscan sky

There's a place where the sun is always rising or setting, brushing long strokes out over the hills stacked like sheets of translucent vellum. The air is heavy with sweetness, the fields grafted with olives and grapes. Gold dust has been shaken all over Tuscany, my favorite part of Italy. We spent 4 days in the region, and our base was Florence, the caramel-chocolate of the box. We searched out the best gelaterias, ate gnocchi and risotto and ribollita (bread soup). We shopped for leather…


Tuscany, tomorrow

I'm bursting to share what we shot along the Arno River in Florence and in the square in Siena, on the streets of San Gimignano, and coasting through those layers of blue Tuscan hills. I've gone through almost 700 photos of Tuscany tonight, and have found gems of decadence I'd not even noticed while there. The variegation from golden flowers to green grasses to blue hills to pink skies that is coming your way is bello. Molto bello. But my eyes have tired and it's time to rest. Buonanotte.


the birth of mozzarella

My cheesemonger destiny was calling me (I mean, imagine having your name followed by 'cheesemonger' on your business card. Amazing.) We took quick trip to a family-owned cheese factory near Sorrento two weeks ago. I like cheese, a lot. But the rennet in raw milk combo, plus sloshing through cheese water, may have halted my destiny instantaneously. Whatever, because it was wicked fun. I've got to show you. Promise, it will be quick. We were 'required' to wear paper aprons, hats, and booties…


the most spectacular drive in Europe (Amalfi)

(some say.) On the upper ankle of the ever-fashionable boot that is Italy there is a stretch of splendor called the Amalfi Coast. The drive along the precipices started a mere ten minutes from our hotel in Sorrento. I simply have to show you. It was rainy and warm there, and it's sunny and cold in Scotland exactly two weeks later as I write, and I’m just going to let the photos do their thing. Because this place is gorgeous (no pun). The weather was a bit less than pristine, and the fact that…


the lost-and-found city

For three days, the ashes were so thick you couldn’t distinguish faces six inches from yours (Pompeii, AD 79). Two weeks ago, my nerves remained taut when our tour guide informed us, with an air of complete ordinariness, that Vesuvius was due to explode again. Please may this tour go fast, I thought. (There Volcano Vesuvius sits, cool as a cuke, in the background.) What Italy does better than anywhere is a history so deep you cannot reach the end of it, no matter how hard you feel for it.…