Italy, Holland & Bruges

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hotelsnooping

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…

Bruges2011-27

chocolate and cows (hello, belgium)

After a four-hour train ride from Amsterdam, we pulled our suitcases off the platform in yet another new country, regretting our 6th hotel switch and 9th city of the trip. Into a taxi we went, and pulled onto a motorway as ordinary as peanut butter. In the words of Charlie Brown: good grief. But, we were wrong. We pulled into a city that I can’t wait to mosey around again here on the blog. For starters, we stayed in the historic house of a stained-glass artist. Around the corner, and just…

Amsterdam2011_5271

the city with the famous airport

The word that strikes instant adrenaline into any traveler’s heart? Schipol. We’ve spent a fat-apple-pie-slice of our married life in the Amsterdam-Schipol Airport, the layover destination of choice for Delta. When Walker suggested that we stay in Amsterdam for a few days after his parents left from our Italy trip, I braced for a world that I only knew by the airport. Instead, we flew into an evening land of twinkling canals, copious windows, and stately canal homes. It's pretty! I actually…

Keukenhof2011_0679

7,000,000 and storing

This place is seriously enchanted. My mom often reminds me that beauty, the most refreshing instants of life, can be stored up. When those times of routine and boredom and monotony seem to fill your days, that’s when you bring back the refreshing times. Remembering these is a form of renewal, enjoying the beauty in a fresh way, in light of new circumstances. The idea is similar to Wordsworth’s spots of time, moments that seem significant and monumental, that, coming back to, you appreciate in…

Rome2011_0629

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…

Tuscany2011_4505

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…

Tuscany2011_4472

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.

Sorrento2011_4223

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…

Amalfi2011_4292

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…

Pompeii2011_4198

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.…