beef rolls

The next stop on our culinary tour of Italy was Rome. I was quite excited about Rome and it really was a wonderful place to visit. It was spectacular to see so many ancient sites. Rome is home to some of the best restaurants in the world, however, I’m just not into spending hundreds and hundreds on a meal. Instead, I am always seeking restaurants that are somewhat casual with just damn good food. I was hoping Rome would provide that.

The photos in this post are appearing a bit ahead of my descriptions (since there are so many!), so I hope you won’t mind reading and then looking up to see the corresponding photos.

Day One

Fettucine with meatballs

We arrived in Rome before lunch and checked into our hotel. The hotel clerk was very helpful and friendly, so we decided to ask him for a lunch suggestion. He told us the Spanish Steps were within walking distance of the hotel, so we asked for a place near there. The map of Rome that we had makes everything seem close by. Getting to the Spanish Steps alone was quite a hike. Once there, he had us walking blocks and blocks and blocks. The streets and writing on the map were miniscule, and as always, the GPS on my husband’s

Cured meat with ship’s cheese

phone was useless. We got to where we thought the restaurant was supposed to be. We asked one person where it was; he pointed straight ahead. We walked and walked and finally asked someone else who pointed us back in the direction we came from. At that point we gave up. We took a cab to the Trevi Fountain area and ate in a bar (a “snack bar”) where we ate pizza at some tables crowded inside it. I gave that pizza a discerning look because they had sheets and sheets of different varieties just


sitting in the case (unrefrigerated) and they quickly heat them up in an oven when you order. It was about 102 degrees there that day and the thought of those pizzas sitting out all day made me wary, but we did survive.

For dinner, we decided to talk to the desk again, assuming we were idiots and just couldn’t find the lunch place. They recommended a place just down the block (perfect since we were exhausted from walking), Ristorante La Pentolaccia. It looked to have the

My very sad, very overdone lamb

same kind of vibe as the places we loved in Venice and Florence (old, family-owned, “real” food).  The place was crowded and loud, which detracted from our meal. We enjoyed an amuse bouche of spinach and ricotta quiche in puff pastry which was light and tasty. Then two of had fettucine with tomato sauce and meatballs. We had to ask for Parmesan cheese (they don’t normally have cheese on the table in Italy for pasta). The pasta was excellent (it is chewier and more flavorful than our pasta – even though I cook it al dente, I cannot quite replicate it), however we found throughout Italy that their tomato sauce lacked the hint of sweetness we are used to in sauces here at home, and which we prefer. We also had tortellini in beef broth (this was so simple, but so amazingly delicious), cured meats and cheese (the menu described it as “ship’s cheese” which is how Italians pronounce “sheep’s cheese.”

Chocolate fountain

This has now become our standard family pronunciation) with ambrosia honey (amazing). Another item was air-dried beef rolls with bleu cheese and walnuts. This was a nice combo and the beef was aged and had a deep flavor. Also on our table was roast lamb with the ever present potatoes and oxtail with carrot, tomato, and celery (my husband grew up eating oxtail soup, so he had to get this and did enjoy it: basically a roasted piece of meat with a bone through it).

The worst item was the lamb. It was served well-done and was simply awful: dry, chewy, stringy, and flavorless. As always, our waiter was

Spaghetti Pie near the Vatican

deeply concerned if we did not finish every last morsel on our plates (they were always very upset and thought we didn’t like the food if we didn’t finish it: we explained over and over we loved it but didn’t have room!), however I had to tell him I thought the lamb was overcooked. He insisted it was perfect. I explained we normally eat lamb that is at least pink or medium rare. So odd, considering you can’t get a piece of beef that is less than bloody anywhere in Italy that I could find! This was the worst item we were served on our entire trip.

Dessert that night (and each night in

Fried Mashed Potatoes

Rome!) was at a gelato shop around the corner that had dark and white chocolate “fountains,” really just a stream of chocolate that was running continuously from a little faucet. Our hotel desk clerk told us to go there. He was in awe of the “fountains.” They didn’t excite us much but the gelato was excellent (even if everything was completely in Italian and they did not have it out in mounds so you could see it, so you had to try to ask what the flavors were). You would order your gelato and they would hold a little wafer cookie under the “fountain” then stick that in the gelato. It was puzzling to us because it simply wasn’t that wonderful. If they had made gelato sundaes with it, I would have been more interested.

Day Two

Amazing pizza in 4 styles

Our second day in Rome was a very busy one, with our tour of the Vatican. The tour was in the early afternoon, so we headed to Vatican City to shop and eat lunch beforehand. We had a hard time finding a lunch venue. Everything was very touristy, with the dreaded picture menus that scream bad food. We ended up in one place where we had some pizza and a spaghetti pie that was unlike anything I saw anywhere else in Italy. It was pretty good, but it was clearly made ahead and reheated, so it just wasn’t as fresh as I would have liked.

We arrived back at our hotel that night completely wilted (it was incredibly hot inside the Vatican) and worn out, but decided

Delicious drinks at Ginger

that we wanted to have some really good pizza for dinner. Again, although I had done months of research, we wanted to hear what the desk clerk recommended. We explained we wanted the best pizza in Rome and what did he recommend? He gave us directions to a place a few blocks away. He gave us his card and said to give it to the restaurant and also promised to call ahead and reserve a table. We were excited – good pizza recommended by a Roman. We arrived at the restaurant and it

Baguette sandwich

was completely empty. It was rather formal looking. We handed the card to the hostess/waitress who didn’t seem to care much. We were seated and the menu had ONE pizza on it. ONE. This was not a pizzeria. We felt terrible, but had to get up and leave. We could not face another meal of pasta and meat. By this time, we were in full hunger meltdown and needed to feed everyone quickly. We recalled passing a place as we walked from the hotel and decided to head there. This was called Al Forno della Soffitta Via Piave. It was exactly

Snacks with the drinks at Ginger

what we were looking for. Tons of amazing pizzas made in a wood oven. A busy, happy restaurant with friendly servers.  Jackpot. We started with fried mashed potatoes (kind of fun, but similar to what my grandma used to do with leftover mashed potatoes) and a Pollo salad (with chicken and corn) and a Toto Salad (with parmesan and artichoke). Delicious, fresh, and amazing, and as always so much better than salads at home. I still can’t get over how good all the salads were and how stunningly fresh the ingredients were as well. In Italy, there is no such thing as yellow lettuce, brown edged lettuce, unripe tomatoes, or wilted greens.

Then it was time for pizza. You could order small pizzas or get one

Gnocchetti with red prawns

giant one with 4 types on  it. We did this and got Margherita, Fume (smoked mozzarella and ham), four cheese (with a cream sauce) and Funghi (mushroom with anchovy). The pizza was fabulous and we got to sample all four kinds. All was right with the world — we finally had some outstanding pizza! I loved the smoked mozzarella and ham and the Margherita was classic. The crust was crispy on the bottom yet soft enough to enjoy chewing it. It had a fab woody flavor from the oven. A true experience.

Day Three

The third day was another busy walking day: Colosseum and the Forum. And again, hot as hell.  We


grabbed a quick lunch this day at a snack bar: this time we had sandwiches. One was a tomato and mozzarella on white bread and one was a salami and cheese. The snack bars serve identical sandwiches all over the city. They’re fast and easy and so much better than fast food you get at home.

For dinner that night, we decided to wander around the Spanish Steps. We poked in some shops and stumbled upon the perfect restaurant. It is called Ginger. It was my ideal restaurant. First of all,


everything was organic. OMG. We have one organic restaurant in Buffalo. I am sure there are many others in Rome. It was also all locally sourced. Everything was creative with a  fusion attitude. AND they had wonderful fruit smoothies. We had died and gone to heaven. I had an Alessio smoothie: passion fruit, apple, and strawberry. My daughter had a mojito passion cocktail (and I could have actually drunk this, it was so good): rum, lime, brown sugar, mint and passion fruit. Delish. My son had a Caffe latte shake. The drinks came with a lovely little board of meats and cheeses that was lovely to

Spaghetti alla bottarga

nibble on.

One of their specialties are these great sandwiches on super skinny mini-baguettes, so we had to try one of those: Lungarhette (cured ham, figs, and arugula): I really love figs combined with savory elements! The baguette is made on the premises and was the perfect texture. I had the gnocchetti with red prawns, cherry tomatoes and basil (not a sauce: they were fresh) with shaved cheese on top. Husband had spaghetti alla bottarga with dried tunafish, eggs,and clams and really enjoyed the flavors of the fish. Daughter had carpaccio of swordfish, salmon, tuna with avocado, tartar sauce and sprout salad with a side of the ubiquitous potatoes. The fish was fresh and silky and complemented by the avocado, something you don’t see with fish at home. My son had tortellini with meat and pecorino and then entrecote (steak) with potatoes and rosemary. The food was all fun, flirty and delicious.

We left Rome feeling well-fed and happy. Someday, when we are traveling without kids, I would love to go to Rome and seek out more hidden dining gems (and maybe I’ll spring for one of the super-pricey spots!).

The next stop on our culinary tour of Italy was Rome. I was quite excited about Rome and it really was a wonderful place to visit. It was spectacular to see so many ancient sites. Rome is home to some of the best restaurants in the world, however, I’m just not into spending hundreds and … Read more

I’ve titled this post SPQR, which stands for Senātus Populusque Que Rōmānus (the Senate and people of Rome), and is an abbreviation you see on manholes all over Rome and which was used in ancient Rome. My husband and kids all bought t-shirts that say this. Rome was really about history for us and we really enjoyed this city immensely.

Spanish Steps

Spanish Steps

We started our visit by walking to the Spanish Steps. They’re interesting, but really, it’s just a big bunch of steps (if you go, plan so that you emerge at the TOP of the steps and can walk down them. You will definitely enjoy your visit here more: this is what we did in a burst of genius because there are a LOT of steps). There is a lovely fountain in a piazza at the bottom of the steps that is a big tourist gathering place. If you go at night, beware of the aggressive vendors trying to sell roses. They were literally hitting my daughter with roses saying, “You are so special to me,” trying to get her to take one so we would have to pay for it. This is a lovely area though and a nice photo op. The streets surrounding this area had some shops and we stumbled upon one of the best restaurants of our entire trip in this area (coming soon in a post about the food on the trip!).

Trevi Fountain

We also visited the Trevi Fountain, which is within walking distance of the steps. This is a

Trevi Fountain

mob scene, particularly at the height of summer when we were there, but if you are patient, you can get a spot on the edge of the fountain where you can toss two coins in and take a nice picture. People tend to move in and out of this area pretty quickly, so even though it looked really crowded, we didn’t wait very long. While we were there, some star (athlete, movie star, we don’t know!), walked through the piazza, followed by screaming girls. It was quite a site!



While we were on our own, we went to the Pantheon, which is a beautiful round temple, originally Roman, and converted to Catholicism. The architecture was stunning, as was the scale of the building (we also found some great shopping nearby).

Capuchin Crypt

Beneath a church in Rome, there is a museum of artwork made of human bones. Can you tell I have a teenaged son? This was a must-see on our list. (photos were not allowed, so you can watch this video if you’d like to see it). This little unassuming church has a museum you pay to get into, filled with religious artifacts and some religious history. Underneath the church are rooms where the bones of monks are used to create designs and art. Each little “room” used a specific type of bone, so there was a femur room and a skull room, etc. The idea was to remind us all that we will all be reduced to bones one day. I found it to be quite creepy, but the rest of my family thought it was fascinating.

Bus Tour

We had not planned to take a bus tour of the city, but after we arrived and were blown away by the architecture we were driving past (not knowing what any of it was), we decided to pay for a hop-on-hop-off bus tour with a recorded message telling you what everything was. It helped us get our bearings in the city and it identified a few buildings, but overall, it was a waste of time and I wouldn’t recommend it. The headsets did not work sometimes and it seemed they spent a lot of time giving too many details about some buildings and then not identifying other places we were passing by. So, I don’t recommend the Trambus for this, unfortunately.

Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini

Another bit of the trip that was lacking was this new museum that seems to be run by the tourism department for this region of the country. It wasn’t in any of my guidebooks and I happened upon a mention of it on TripAdvisor.  The web site is a bit deceiving. The general idea was supposed to be this: they found an actual Roman villa (home) underneath another building and it was pretty well preserved. They excavated it and you get to go in and using virtual technology, they show you how the rooms used to look, so you can experience a real Roman home. That’s what it was supposed to be. In actuality, they built glass floors over some ruins. They shine lights on them and use lighting to complete some mosaics that are partially destroyed. It did not bring it to life for us very well at all. The tour lasted an hour and a half and we simply stood on glass floors the entire time (not a bench or chair in site at this place), until 15 minutes before the end, when we were shown a movie about a nearby monument that seemed completely unrelated. The tour didn’t make a lot of sense. If they had shown us a map or given us information about the layout of the home it would have made more sense. At this point, I just don’t recommend this museum.

The Vatican

St Peter’s Square

We took two guided tours that we greatly enjoyed. The first was of the Vatican Museums. We decided to go with this tour because it allowed us to skip the line to get into the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. It also took us to see some of the art in the Vatican, which frankly, we weren’t that interested in. I did enjoy having someone tell me what to look for when I was looking at the Sistine Chapel and in the Basilica.  Of all the art we saw, I enjoyed the tapestries and maps the most. A lot of it is a blur: it was incredibly hot and crowded in the museums and just keeping up with the guide was a challenge.

The Sistine Chapel was impressive, but was somehow smaller than we thought it would be. The room was packed with people. There were no signs directing people to be quiet, yet there were guards who would say “shhhh” and “silence!” occasionally – then the noise level would slowly build again until they would say it again. It seemed a bit silly. We were pleased to be able to see this important work of art. The Basilica was beautiful and I thought the Pieta was moving.

We did walk around the Vatican area and shopped and had lunch nearby. We saw lots of nuns, but only one priest in a cassock. The grounds of the Vatican looked gorgeous from what I saw of them and St. Peter’s Square was fun to see in person.

Ancient Rome


Our other guided tour was of ancient Rome. We started at the Collosseum. It may have been one of the most impressive things on the entire trip. It was fascinating to stand inside it, gaze down at the stage, and imagine the stadium filled with Romans, an emperor, and gladiators. To be in such a place with such a deep history was really a moment I won’t forget. And our guide allowed us to skip the line to get in, which was also terrific (he said people wait 2-3 hours often just to get inside). This was a not-to-be-missed stop in our trip.

The tour then took us into the Roman Forum, which is not as well-preserved at all. To walk

Roman Forum

down roads that the ancient Romans walked on was quite a feeling! We saw the tomb of Julius Caesar (which gave me chills, because he has always seemed like such a fictional person, but to feel his humanity was really something), the Arch of Constantine, and the remains of many buildings. It was a remarkable place to walk through. I took 4 years of Latin in high school and so did my daughter, and my son will also. Being able to walk through an ancient place that you learned about in school makes it so much more real and important.

Rome Overall

We really loved Rome. It had this great quality of delivering the unexpected. You would turn a corner and there would be ancient Roman ruins next to (and in some places actually built around) modern buildings. It had the feel of a very cosmopolitan city, yet it felt completely accessible (we felt this way about London too, perhaps because it is not filled with skyscrapers like American cities?). We found the people to be friendly and the streets to be very walkable. We loved the sense of history, coupled with the feeling of a very modern and with-it city.  I would have loved to see the Appian Way and to find more shopping, but we used our time well here. It was a beautiful city with a deep history that spoke to me.

Still to come: posts about Pompeii, Capri, Sorrento, FOOD, and hotels in Italy.


I’ve titled this post SPQR, which stands for Senātus Populusque Que Rōmānus (the Senate and people of Rome), and is an abbreviation you see on manholes all over Rome and which was used in ancient Rome. My husband and kids all bought t-shirts that say this. Rome was really about history for us and we really … Read more

Ornaments and egg cups from Rome

I’m halfway through my posts about all of our stops in Italy, so let’s take a rest stop and talk about shopping (don’t worry, there will be lengthy foodie posts to come as well!)


Before I leave on a trip, I try to find out what the specialty items of the area are. For Italy, I determined that I should look for handmade glass and lace (and locally made lace is hard to find and expensive since most of it is just made in factories in Asia now) in Venice, handcrafted paper and leather in Florence, and lemon products and custom-made sandals in Sorrento. Cameos are another specialty in Italy. I also read about glass or stone mosaics throughout the country.

I have several specific collections I am always looking to add to: bookmarks and magnets are the cheapest, although bookmarks can be hard to find. I always am looking for Christmas ornaments, Easter eggs and cups, handmade baskets, locally made soap, fun food items to bring home, and watercolor paintings depicting the area. It helps to have specific things to look for.


The shopping in Venice was fantastic. There were so many stores, it was hard to focus. This was also our first city, so we were jet lagged and trying to adjust to the terrible heat! We took a vaporetto to the island of Murano which was

Murano glass

an amazing place to visit, but they had so much glass that is made there on the island that it was hard to choose! Some of the glass is very expensive. One shop had a few glass mosaic pieces, but none were right.

I found two great bookmarks in Venice, one with a tassel (which they sell many of in Venice) and one with Murano glass.

We bought our Venice painting from an artist in the campo right in front of our hotel, next to a canal. It was one of those perfect settings.


Tray from Florence

There was a lovely shopping section in Florence on the far side of the Arno, just past the Ponte


Vecchio, but I wish it had been bigger. This area had some terrific artisan shops where we bought leather items and a beautiful painted tray. My husband bought a wallet and we got the leather trays I photographed. I found bookmarks here and little books of paintings from each city which will hang on my book tree in my office.

I bought my painting in Florence (the long narrow on in the front of the photo below) in a small courtyard outside the Uffizi where artists were selling their work. Artists were also selling things in the Plaza Repubblica at night. I find that areas where


tourists gather in the evenings are good places to find local paintings that are inexpensive. I rarely pay more than $20 for paintings like these.

I looked at gorgeous stone mosaics in Florence, but could not bring myself to spend a minimum of 250 Euros for one. So those have now taken up residence in the museum in my mind (all the things I wished I had bought and didn’t on all of my trips!).


Rome was a challenge for shopping, but we did find a nice little grouping of shops near the Pantheon. Everything else was junky souvenir shops or expensive designer shopping. There were several shops with nice pottery in Rome.

I bought a painting in Rome, but it’s a print that I saw lots of street vendors selling. I could not find any artists selling original paintings.

I saw a gorgeous handpainted leather purse I came very close to buying, but the back of it had some scratches. They didn’t have any others. Another item added to the museum of my mind.


We took a tour of Pompeii and I did not expect to buy anything there other than my fun little cheap magnet (I buy one every place we go and they decorate the file cabinet in my office). However, our guide took us into a cameo store, where an elderly man sits hand-making cameos.  They were beautiful and my daughter and I each bought one (ok, I bought two). The artist signed them on the back and also wrote our

Murano glass jewelry and handmade cameoes

initials on the back. I really wanted a blue cameo, but they told us those are always made in factories. The ones we bought are handmade from shells.


Sorrento had a wonderful shopping section, very quaint with narrow

Daughter’s custom-made sandals, hubby’s leather bag and belt from Sorrento; leather dresser catch-alls from Florence

alleys and cobblestone streets, just off the Tasso piazza. It was a shopper’s paradise. There were so many shops selling leather purses that I was dizzy!

My daughter had sandals handmade for her here (you go in and pick out the elements you want on them and they have it ready the next day: they do not actually hand-make the sole however – they just put together the pieces you select). Limoncello is a big product here, but I bought lemon soap and honey since we don’t care for alcohol.  My husband bought a beautiful leather bag and a belt here.

We had dinner one night down in Marina Grande, a tiny little beach area. There was an old woman selling lace just behind the beach. She was sitting and doing lacework, so there is a chance the lace I bought did not come from Asia, so I bought one lace doily.

We also stumbled upon a truly fantastic HUGE store called Gargiulio and Januzzi. They sold inlaid wood boxes and plaques, some glass jewelry and a big room of amazing Italian pottery and linens. Downstairs was a big room with marquetry inlay furniture which was gorgeous. I had to get out of that room or I would have had the entire thing shipped home. I bought some pottery and a table runner, as well as an inlay wood box (all still being shipped home, so no photos). Very high quality items and very good customer service. The shipping was free which was a nice bonus.


We visited the island of Capri on a tour, but only went to the town of Anacapri where the shopping was rather limited. I had high hopes for Capri, but didn’t buy much, other than the beautiful hydrangea glass plate I’ve photographed with my Murano glass. My daughter and I bought the lace bracelets I photographed with the lace doily here.

I could not find a painting on Capri (there was one shop in Anacapri with paintings and the owner was so aggressive, I could not even really look at his work. We ended up buying one in Sorrento of Capri the next day, so that worked out ok.

Pasta, regional soaps and lemon honey from Sorrento

Not pictured are t-shirts and sweatshirts other members of the family brought home, as well as a couple pairs of earrings my daughter bought and promptly put into use!

We also had to make an emergency suitcase purchase at a train station! My daughter’s suitcase zipper broke. The train station in Rome had a big suitcase shop and we got a nice one for about 50 Euro, which was a nice bargain. We tried to throw out the broken suitcase, but everyone we asked told us to just set it outside the main doors of the station and someone would take it!

Overall, it was a successful trip in terms of shopping and now I am trying to figure out where to put it all! I have to get the paintings framed, which is always a challenge. I can often find frames and mattes at Michael’s but sometimes they are not standard sizes and I have to have them framed.

I always feel as though I am buying a ton, then I get it all home and it really isn’t a lot. It’s always so nice to have lovely little items to remind me of our trips!




Lace bracelets from Capri; lace doily bought on the beach in Sorrento





Tie, Murano egg, mosaic plate and frame from Rome; tiny books that fold out with pics of the cities from Florence, to go on my book Xmas tree


My cheapest buys: magnets





I’m halfway through my posts about all of our stops in Italy, so let’s take a rest stop and talk about shopping (don’t worry, there will be lengthy foodie posts to come as well!) Pre-Shopping Before I leave on a trip, I try to find out what the specialty items of the area are. For … Read more

Grand Canal in Venice

We are just back from a magnificent two week trip to Italy. While I’m still recovering from jet lag and dealing with the laundry mountain, I want to start to share the trip with you. Be patient with me, dear reader! After 2 weeks away, I have lots to tell you, so I have many posts planned.

For today, I want to give you an overview of our trip. We decided to go with an escorted tour, which meant the tour company was responsible for arranging our air and train travel, hotels and transportation to and from airports and train stations. We then chose some specific guided tours of things we wanted guides for. The rest of the time we were on our own.


Our trip began when we arrived by plane at the Venice airport. Our guide met us and took

Florence from the Piazzelle Michaelangelo

us by water taxi to our hotel. We spent 3 nights in Venice and explored the Rialto Bridge, the Grand Canal, San Marco, Doge’s Palace (guided tour of these last two), the island of Murano, and many little corners of Venice. We took a gondola ride that was almost surreal feeling. Our guide took us by water taxi to the train station at the end of our stay.


We enjoyed the train trip through Tuscany (I would love to go back and explore the countryside). Three nights in Florence were wonderful. Our guide met us at the train station and took us by van to our hotel, on the banks of the Arno. We explored the Ponte Vecchio, Pitti Palace, and took a guided tour that took us by bus to the Piazzelle Michealangelo (for the view) then to the Duomo and the Accademia where we saw the David. We took a train on our own to Pisa for an afternoon to climb the leaning tower. My husband managed to sprain his ankle coming down, so we didn’t get to explore the town.

Spanish Steps in Rome

Our Florence guide took us back to the train station from our hotel.


The train ride to Rome was relaxing and we had our first glimpse of the Mediterranean on the way. Our guide brought us to the hotel for our three night stay. Rome was a magnificent city. We explored the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain (where we threw coins in) and took guided tours of the Vatican and ancient Rome. We also visited the Pantheon. Our guide took us to the train station.


We traveled by train to Naples , where our guide met us and took us to Pompeii. Once there, we had a private guided tour of these impressive ruins. Our guide then drove us to

Sorrento harbor

Sorrento for our 3 night stay, and we enjoyed the stunning views of the Bay of Naples, Mount Vesuvius and the mountainous Amalfi coast. We took an all day guided tour to the island of Capri (this was quite a day and involved 4 buses and 4 boats) where we went to the Blue Grotto and traveled up to Anacapri. On another day, we explored Sorrento’s seaport and swam in the Mediterranean with Mount Vesuvius behind us. Our guide took us to the Naples airport and we flew home from there.

It was the most memorable vacation we’ve taken, I think and my mind is swimming with all the experiences. There was lots of good food (there was only one really bad meal the entire time), I did some great shopping, we took some beautiful photos, and we learned so much about Italy. I will be sharing all of that with you in coming posts. I kept a notebook this trip so that I would be sure to remember the things I want to write about.



We are just back from a magnificent two week trip to Italy. While I’m still recovering from jet lag and dealing with the laundry mountain, I want to start to share the trip with you. Be patient with me, dear reader! After 2 weeks away, I have lots to tell you, so I have many … Read more