Category Archives: Travels

Europe with Antonio Muñoz Molina’s ‘Sepharad’

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Being back in Europe is like coming home. After more than three years of living in Australia, I had not forgotten the pull Europe has on me, however, it had become fainter in its intensity. As the plane descended towards Schiphol Airport, it felt like I was coming home. Then over the next few days as I wandered through the streets and grachten of Amsterdam, with various friends and family members, the scents, sounds and scenes of the city enveloped me, filling me with heady and intoxicating memories and emotions.

Sepharad

While travelling through Europe I am reading Antonio Muñoz Molina’s Sepharad (in English), which a friend lent to me. I am rarely at a loss to describe my feelings about a book and to give an overview of what it is about. The last book that left me equally at a loss was Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. With Sepharad I once again struggle to explain competently why the book is so great and what it is ultimately about. Potentially contentious for some, I would have to say that I would put Sepharad above Shantaram. Maybe it’s due to the timeliness of my reading the book, during my return to Europe after a notable absence, while travelling and as I once more immerse myself in the history and culture of Europe which I have missed so much. They are such vastly different books, yet both are equally thought provoking and inspirational. Sepharad has launched me once again into the literary world of Europe, reminding me of books and authors I have loved and had somewhat forgotten about during my sojourn on the other side of the word. My knowledge of the culture and history of this part of the continent is suddenly being refreshed, and the cities of Europe, many of which I have lived in and grown attached too over the years are once again focal points for me.

The book is an epic journey through time of history, culture, passions and literature laced with the nostalgia experienced by many travellers returning to and yearning for their homeland from far-flung places. There are loose threads evident throughout the book but many of the characters stories stand alone, linked simply by a shared yearning for their homeland. Muñoz Molina lives and breathes history, bringing memories and characters to life in this thought provoking book.

As one of Muñoz Molina’s characters says, several days before leaving on a journey the traveler has already left in their mind. Similarly the day before leaving Australia I sat at my desk at school, watching the clock, already tuned out and ready to leave. Luckily for me, and my students, I did not have to teach many classes on that last day as my distraction was palpable. Like Muñoz Molina’s character I too had already left the school and Australia in my mind.

The excitement of travelling back to loved places can hypnotize you, as Muñoz Molina aptly wrote the pull of return is like ‘the strong current of time that carries you back at a speed greater even than that of the car on the flat straight highway’. Memories are indeed a strong trigger and as I walked through Amsterdam and later sat on the train to my grandmothers village in Germany with the constant stream of travellers entering and exiting, each engrossed with their own agendas and lives, memories came flooding back. The pull of return and the transition between languages and dialects so familiar, yet at the same time slightly foreign to me after years of solely speaking English enveloped me in memories of my childhood and adolescence in these places, and of people familiar and loved.

Muñoz Molina’s book is both nostalgic and new for me, a piece of edible literature which I find hard to put down and which sees me rereading and savouring certain passages over and over for their beautifully written images, metaphors and language. The English translation by Margaret Sayers Peden is superb, I can only imagine how beautifully written the original is in Spanish. If I ever learn Spanish well I will re read it in its original form. Reading Sepharad has also encouraged me to write again, something I have struggled with over the past few years, neither finding inspiration or the right words. But through Muñoz Molina’s book and while travelling through Europe I am inspired to write again. It almost feels as if I have emerged from a cocoon that has been incasing me for a long time, I feel emotions and passions returning that I had forgotten I possessed.

I have just finished reading the last few pages of the book while sitting on my grandmother’s balcony in Germany on a balmy July evening, accompanied by a glass of red wine. I cannot even feign to try and do this wonderful book justice, but I have tried to explain in some coherent manner why I love this book and how I related with it personally.

Reading it during a crossroads in my own life and on my return to Europe after a notable absence has been both a balm as well as an awakening of senses. Will the next stage of my life be governed by the passions I have constrained for so many years or will my pragmatic logic continue to persevere?

It is now so dark outside that I can only make out the silhouettes of the plants on the balcony and the peaked roofs of houses beyond the garden. It is time to finish up and retire for the evening. For those literary, culture, history and travelling enthusiasts, Sepharad is an absolute MUST! Just make sure to read it slowly, savouring each and every word.

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Victoria – a trip to Melbourne and Philip Island

Melbourne

Melbourne

With my mum visiting from Ireland my sister and I thought it was fitting to take her on a trip, somewhere where none of us had been before. So we decided on Victoria; Melbourne and Philip Island – or Penguin Island as my sister insisted on calling it – to be more specific.

Cowes Pier, Philip Island

Cowes jetty, Philip Island

Seeing the weather was good we decided to camp on Philip Island, something I hadn’t done in years. After a tedious but beautiful 10 hour drive through national parks and along the coast we finally arrived at the campsite which we were staying at just outside Cowes. Situated just behind the beach and a 10 minute walk from Cowes jetty and the village, it was ideally located.

Penguin Parade on Philip Island

Penguin Parade on Philip Island

Penguin Parade

Penguin Parade

Philip Island is renowned for it’s Fairy Penguins – or small penguins as they are now known due to someone taking offence to the name ‘fairy penguin’. They are between 6 and 12 inches tall and are too cute. They used to live all over the island but due to human interference there is only one part of the island that is conserved and where you can see them in their natural habitat. Every evening as the sun sets in the ocean the little penguins come ashore from their day of fishing. First one, then the next they wait till there is a good group on the shore before waddling up the beach, hopping up the rocks and into their nests for the night. This is known around the island as the Penguin Parade and one evening we went down to watch it, it was absolutely gorgeous. We saw hundreds of penguins come ashore. As no photography is allowed, these are not my own pictures but I just thought the penguins were too adorable not to post a few photos of them.

Sunset on Philip Island

Sunset on Philip Island

While there we visited a wild life park with lots of native animals. We got chased by emu’s, fed roos and wandered around, all of us enjoying it just as much as my 15 month old nephew. We sunbathed on the beach, built sandcastles, went go karting  on the islands famous Gran Prix  Circuit and go karting track and cooked on the campsite barbecue every evening, it was great.

Ca da Vin

Ca da Vin

Hopetoun Tea Rooms

Hopetoun Tea Rooms

After a few days of camping on the island we drove into Melbourne where we stayed for one night. It was 40 degrees when we arrived, pretty hot to be wandering around a city but it was nice to finally visit the city I’d heard so many good things about. True to what I’d been told it was very cultural and European in vibe, a foodie heaven with lots of quirky little cafes and restaurants down alleyways and

Paella

Paella

backstreets. We passed this gorgeous little tea room in the Block Arcade, the queue to which was too long so we just drooled from outside. For dinner we went to a lovely mediterranean restaurant, Ca di Vin tucked away on Postal Lane beside the GPO. The ambience was great and the food even better. We shared saganki and zucchini fritters as an entree and a gorgeous paella and pizza for mains. We let the waiter choose our dessert, which was a vanilla cheesecake with a pistachio base and basil dressing drizzled on top, it was very unusual and tasty.

All in all it was a throughly enjoyable few days away and we all had a really good time. We were back in Thredbo in time for Christmas and the festivities and copious amount of food that goes with it.

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Sunshine, the beach and BBQ’s in Newcastle

Merewether beach

Merewether beach

We finally had a very welcome respite from the snow, cold and the winter; a trip to the beach. Following a rather long car journey – through which I slept a significant portion of the way – we arrived in Newcastle. The closer we got to Sydney the warmer it got and upon arrival our jeans and hoodies had to be quickly swapped for lighter attire, which we were all more than happy to do.

You’ve no idea how nice it was to finally be at the beach after being in the country for five months and to have sunshine, something I’d missed this year as I left Europe just before the summer started. On the first morning I was woken with a cup of tea and ordered out of bed and down to the beach. So off we went, mugs in hand, down to the beach to drink our morning tea while looking out at the ocean; what a life!

The rest of the day involved car hunting – I was adamant to find a car to buy and drive back – lunch in the sunshine at Newcastle wharf and a glass of wine on the beach followed by the first of a few barbeques that weekend. I did in fact find a car, which I collected and drove back to Thredbo a few days later at the end of our long weekend.

Seafood basket

Seafood basket

Sunday saw my sister, nephew and I driving down to Nelson Bay. It was a perfect day; not a cloud in the sky, gorgeously warm and sunny and the seaside town was bustling with people out to enjoy the long weekend and the great weather. We wandered around the Sunday market, ate an absolutely gorgeous seafood feast of freshly caught fish and crustaceans, after which we even ventured into the rather cold water for a very quick dip.

That evening was the night of the all important Rugby League Grand Final between the Roosters and the Sea Eagles, I have to admit I was ever so slightly ignorant and lacking in interest in this big game. We watched it in front of the TV while eating a barbeque of scrumptious spicy pork ribs, delicious chicken wings and rather divine garlic prawns and of course a few beers to wash everything down.

The trip, as is always the case, was over way too quickly and Tuesday afternoon saw me picking up my new – used – car and driving it the seven and a half hours drive back to Thredbo. It was fun after such a long time to be driving again and the freedom of having my own car here is great. Road trips here I come!

But for now I’m back in Thredbo working for the summer and planning a number of trips around the country in the coming months, so lots to look forward to, the next one being back to Sydney at the end of November and then further along the coast.

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A ski season Down Under in Thredbo

View from BlackBear

View from BlackBear

I know I haven’t written anything in a while, it turns out that life Down Under is pretty busy. I’ve almost been here two months now and I’ve eased quickly into the Aussie way of life. Most people don’t know that Australia gets snow, never mind that you can ski here, which is what I’m doing for the winter, a ski season in the Snowy Mountains.

25 hours of flying found me, somewhat tired in Sydney International Airport. From there I caught a bus to Canberra where my sister, her partner and my adorable nephew picked me up. It was a bit bizarre coming from the British summer, to a warmer autumn in Australia. The trees were turning brown and red and the grass was no longer fresh and green. The further we ventured into the mountains towards Thredbo the cooler it got until we could see snow peaked mountains and finally we had arrived.

As you can imaging village life in the mountains is a major change from the hustle and bustle of London – one that I’m thoroughly enjoying – and time is totally different, so it feels like I’ve been here a lot longer than just two months.

BlackBear Inn

BlackBear Inn

When I left Ireland after university I swore I would never go back to waitressing and working in hospitality. That vow lasted a few years and now I’m back working as a waitress and I have to say it’s a very welcome change for now from a 9 to 5 desk job. I’m currently  living and working in BlackBear Inn, a lodge, restaurant and bar in Thredbo. It’s located up a pretty steep hill, which when it’s snowy and icy is the cause of a lot of stacks and cars driving into walls, it also ensures that I’m kept in pretty good shape. It’s a great little place; amazing food, great people and a fun bar which is filled with locals in the evening, there is always plenty of company to chat to

BlackBear possum

BlackBear possum

and have a few drinks and shots with after work. We also have a resident possum at BlackBear – actually there are two of them but they look exactly the same – who come during dinner every evening in hope of some food. They are a real attraction with the guests, in particular the children.

Skiing

Skiing

So far it’s been a slow season, only recently we had a proper few days on end of snow and it transformed the mountain, which now looks amazing and skiing is so much better. But more snow also means that we get busier in the restaurant and I have more hours to work. Despite that I still get plenty of time in the afternoon

Thredbo ski runs

Thredbo ski runs

to go up the hill for a few runs before my next shift. Having only skied once before when I was 16, I pretty much started from scratch again and two months into the season, I’m doing pretty good, at least I think so!

As for food, Thredbo has lots to offer but so far aside from my sister’s kitchen, BlackBear and the local pub I haven’t eaten out much. Being German/Austrian in origin, our best selling dish at BlackBear is the trio of schnitzel served on mash with coleslaw and cranberry sauce, it’s pretty epic and tastes great. The lodge next door does raclette and cheese fondue, proper European snow dishes which I’m dying to try out one evening. And being in Australia and in the snow, beer flows in abundance as do the shots, most of which come from the local Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery, which makes amazing schnapps.

There will be more frequent blogs in the coming weeks I promise but for now this is a brief download of life in the snow in Australia.

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Amsterdam; one of my favourite cities in Europe

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

As promised a post on my latest travels, this time I was in Amsterdam for a long weekend. I usually try and go back once a year to visit family and friends but I hadn’t been back in two years, so I was well overdue a visit and thoroughly enjoyed myself. From visiting family and friends, traipsing around Amsterdam and Marken and eating all my favourite Dutch foods, it was once again, a busy weekend.

Uitsmijter with ham and cheese

Uitsmijter with ham and cheese

Friday morning saw me taking another early flight, from Gatwick this time, with Easyjet. I was picked up by my uncle and aunt in Schiphol and after dropping my bag off we wandered to the Albert Cuyp market for a spot of lunch. I had an Uitsmijter – which literally means bouncer, – which is a traditional Dutch breakfast/lunch consisting of two or three fried eggs, sunny side up served on bread with ham and cheese, it was divine. I may have mentioned my partiality to Dutch cheese before, so much so that I even brought a great big slab of Gouda back to London with me.

I amsterdam

I amsterdam (city marketing)

Dam Square

Dam Square

Friday afternoon was spent wandering around Amsterdam, retracing the steps of many a previous wander through the city from when I lived there. I was surprised at how much I remembered and I didn’t get lost once. From Centraal, through Dam Square, the Kalverstraat, the Bloemenmarkt

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

(flower market), Leidseplein, the Vondelpark, Museumplein and the Albert Cuyp, we did a lot of walking around the city over the weekend. My uncle and I also went through the entrance of the newly re-opened Rijksmuseum, which had been closed for renovations for the past 10 years, it looked pretty impressive and very different. Next time I visit, I’ll be sure to pop in to see what the whole museum looks like now.

Marken

Marken

Marken lighthouse

Marken lighthouse

My friend picked me up on Saturday morning and we went to her and her boyfriends new house in the beautiful traditional, almost museum like peninsula town of Marken just outside Amsterdam. Marken is very pretty and quaint and their house is beautiful, they are in the process of doing it up spectacularly with lots of wood. The village gets a lot of tourists on

Marken

Marken

a daily basis, sometimes it feels like you are in the middle of an outdoor museum with crowds of people traipsing past and taking pictures of the houses. On Sunday morning before leaving we walked through the beautiful Dutch countryside along the dykes to the Marken lighthouse. It was a beautiful but windy morning, a great way to build up an appetite.

Applegebak

Appelgebak

The Dutch, among other things, are known for their great apple cakes, or

Vlaamse Frites

Vlaamse Frites

Appelgebak as it’s called in Dutch. Filled with flavours and spices, they really know how to make apple cake and yes I did indulge in one with a cappuccino on Sunday afternoon in a lovely little cafe on the Van Baerlestraat. But before the apple cake, and earlier in the day, I had a massive craving for Vlaamse Frites with mayonnaise, another traditional Dutch snack. Indulgent and carb heavy they were exactly how I remembered them!

As you can see it was another food heavy weekend, my uncle cooked my favourite dishes from when I lived with them, my friend had  baked a cake and made tasty snacks for her birthday drinks and I was determined to eat as much cheese as I possibly could. Unsurprisingly it’s a healthy diet for me for the next few weeks and a couple of weeks of quite before my next trip, this time it’s somewhat bigger but more about that at a later stage.

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Ireland; a nostalgic weekend with lots of new food finds

Gorse

Last weekend I took my annual trip to Ireland to visit my mum. As I hadn’t seen a lot of friends in years I decided that this time round I would also try and see as many people as I could. So between catching up with friends, sampling a lot of Irish fish and food, revisiting old haunts and driving – literally from one side of the country to the other – it was a pretty busy weekend.

On Friday morning I took the first flight out of Stansted to Cork, which meant a 2.30am start, something that never goes down well with me but has to be done on occasion  I have to say I always forget just how beautiful and green Ireland is in the spring and summer, especially when the sun shines which it did – I even got a bit burnt over the weekend. It was so lovely to be back.

English Market, Cork

English Market, Cork

My friend picked me up from Cork airport and we went for breakfast in the Farmgate Cafe in the English Market, somewhere we used to frequent on a regular basis for coffee and scones when I lived in Cork. And that’s exactly what we did. I had a delicious homemade brown

Brown scone and coffee

Brown scone and coffee

scone with rhubarb jam and a cappuccino, it was like old times and we chatted for hours. Situated in the hear of Cork city, the English Market is one of the oldest covered markets in Ireland and has been trading since 1788. It’s a really great place to visit and the cafe upstairs and market stalls are all really lovely.

UCC Quad

UCC Quad

The whole day and evening in Cork was rather nostalgic. I met another friend for lunch. On my request we stopped off in the local garage/grocery shop – Centra – where I got a hot chicken roll with spicy chicken, mayo, cheese and lettuce. It was my University hangover lunch and I’d had such an

UCC

UCC

irrational craving for it since I arrived that it just had to be done. It was carby and totally worth every bite. We spent the afternoon wandering around Cork and through the UCC campus where we both went to University. It was strange, I almost thought I’d see my younger self walking through campus on the way to a lecture with my girl friends.

Sea-bass

Sea-bass

In the late afternoon I met another old University friend for a pint – he loves his Beamish – so we went for a drink in another old haunt in Cork, The Oval. After which my friend who I was staying with and I took a trip to the new Oysters restaurant in the Clarion Hotel. The food was completely and utterly out of this world. We shared rock oysters to start with they were served with lemon juice and a shallot vinaigrette dressing, and were so fresh and delicious. I followed this with a chargrilled sea-bass served with orange and fennel stuffing, figs, potatoes and a delectable and very flavoursome vanilla sauce.  Honestly it was like I’d gone to food heaven, it was truly outstanding. The food was washed down in suitable style with a bottle of Prosecco and followed by a raspberry and lavender creme brulee and an espresso to top the dinner off. It was 11.30pm by the time we left, that’s how much we enjoyed it.

Bray Head boulevard

Bray Head sea front

Saturday morning saw me taking my old route back home on the Aircoach, however, this time I went all the way to Dublin. It was a stunning three hour coach journey through the heart of the Irish countryside which was in full bloom and at it’s greenest, it brought back so many memories. I met a few friends for lunch in Bewley’s on Grafton Street, another renowned Irish landmark. I hadn’t seen my friends for a few years and while they had developed a Dublin accent – all of them having lived in Cork before – I was told that mine had become somewhat posh, a jumble of English and Irish! I won’t say anything further on the subject.

Fried calamari

Fried calamari

I met my mum in the afternoon and before going to the theater in the evening, we stopped off for dinner in La Maison just off Grafton Street. Formerly a little French cafe which served divine cakes and pastries, the place has been turned into a Michelin starred restaurant, the current food being equally

Duck

Duck

on par with the pastries of yore. Sticking to what had become the theme for the weekend, fish, my mum and I both ordered the fried calamari for starters and I opted for the duck as a main, which was served with baked potatoes and gravy, it was delicious and very tender.  As we were indulging we decided to order a plum tart between the two of us to share for dessert. All I will say to that is the French really know how to make pastries!

Bray Head walk

Bray Head walk

Sunday was spent walking along the coast and enjoying the sunshine and on Monday we drove down to Holywood, stopping off in Belfast for dinner on our way back. Neither my mum nor I had been in Belfast in years, actually I’m not sure I’ve ever been into the city before. We used to drive to the north a lot to visit family when my sister and I were younger but that’s when they still stopped and checked every car at the border, both sides of the road were lined with gun carrying military and Belfast was a no go area. The city was a lot more pleasant than either of us expected it to be but it was rather quite and empty.

We stumbled across a gem of a restaurant near City Hall, believe it or not, it was a seafood restaurant, Mourne Seafood Bar. We just had really good luck with fish that weekend, the food was really awesome, I had a delicious fresh cod with a lobster sauce. Needless to say I’m fished out for now, but in a good way.

It was a lovely weekend on many levels; seeing everyone again, being back in Ireland and also finding out that Ireland has become a really amazing foodie place with loads of great places to eat out, it’s definitely a strong contender to bear in mind when considering a foodie holiday.

It will be a while before I’m back in the Emerald Isle but I had my fill for now, literally, and it was great. I’m off for another long weekend this week so watch this space for my next travelling food post!

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La vita è bella in Italia

Florence

Florence

San Gimignano

San Gimignano

As promised, a post on la bella Italia. Having not been in Italy since I was there on Erasmus almost five years ago, it was just so nice being back. I’d forgotten how much I liked the country, the people, scenery, food, language, everything really. My Italian was a bit rusty I will admit but not as bad as my driving, both of which started to improve – somewhat in the case of my driving – after a few days.

Thanks to Ryanair’s delayed flight both my mum and I arrived pretty much at

Tuscan countryside

Tuscan countryside

the same time at Pisa airport; me from Stansted and her from Dublin. We proceeded to pick up our little hired Fiat and on my insistence my mum drove the first leg of the journey to Rignano sull’Arno, where we were staying in the heart of Tuscany. Part of wanting her to drive was that I’ve never driven on the other side of the road before, the other being the fact that I hadn’t driven in two and a half years and was worried I would be a bit out of practice. My concern proved to be well founded seeing I did end up driving on the wrong side of the road one morning – although I’m still blaming that one on the lack of coffee before leaving. And more worryingly for my mum, the afternoon I got the car stuck on the side of the road while trying to park. Luckily we were rescued by a car full of young Italian’s who thought it was hilarious. One of them had to lift the front of the car up while I reversed back onto the road. Luckily for us Fiat’s are nifty little cars!

Green pea risotto

Green pea gnocchi

We stopped off for lunch en route and I have to say I’d forgotten just how amazing the Italian food is. The mozzarella in the caprese salad we had was so unbelievably fresh and tasty, none of that mass produced supermarket cheese you get in the UK. I ordered green pea gnocchi for mains and my mum a seafood Ravioli with a pumpkin sauce. As

Seafood ravioli with pumpkin sauce

Seafood ravioli with pumpkin sauce

per usual with us we shared our mains; it’s the best way of eating out, that way we both get to try more than one dish. It was a lovely lunch and to top it off we sat outside in the sunshine, a first for this year. Our rather extravagant – for us at least – lunch was finished with an espresso – or cafe as the Italians call it – for myself and my mum broke the Italian coffee drinking code by ordering a cappuccino after 11am, a big no no in Italy. But she enjoyed it nevertheless.

Poggia Tre Lune

Villa Poggio Tre Lune

After lunch I drove – after practicing in an empty car park –  the last few kilometers, without incident I should add, to Villa Poggia Tre Lune,  were we were staying with my mum’s friend and her

View from Poggio Tre  Lune

View from Poggio Tre Lune

family. Situated on a hilltop – hence the name poggio meaning hilltop –  the villa has a stunning view over the Tuscan countryside. Not only do they rent out apartments in the villa but they also have a biodynamic farm where they have a vineyard and olive grove from which they make and sell their own wine and olive oil. They also grow their own grain and make pasta, all of which we sampled during our sojourn there. We were very warmly welcomed and almost every evening we had a hearty Tuscan dinner with our hosts and their family; drinking home-made wine and eating everything from pasta to pizza, lasagne, gorgeous rustic Italian lentil and bread soup, and various other local delicacies. 

Siena

Siena

During the day we went on various excursions, taking turns driving along the beautifully scenic but rather windy Tuscan roads. We visited Siena, wandering through the stunning Duomo and it’s surrounding historic sites, we ate another scrumptious lunch and had gelato in Piazza del Campo where the Palio di Siena takes place every August. We visited Florence on a rather rainy day. As both of us had been before we selected a few places to visit, including Cappella de Medici and San

Siena Duomo

Siena Duomo

Marco which is full of beautiful frescoes. After traipsing around in the rain for a few hours we stopped in a delightful little bar, Enoteca Bevo Vino on Via di San Niccolò on the other side of the river to the Duomo, for a well deserved glass of vino rosso.

Our travels also took us to the the beautiful walled medieval hilltop town of San Gimignano, where we enjoyed the bank holiday Monday with half of Italy, wandering the streets of the town and munching on Panforte, a delicious  traditional dessert made from fruit and nuts. En route back to Rignano we made a short coffee stop off in the tiny walled town of Monteriggioni, which is just outside Siena. It’s absolutely tiny but very picturesque.

Antipasto

Antipasto

Pizza with prosciutto, rucola and parmesan

Pizza with prosciutto, rucola and parmesan

I know I touched on the food already, but it was just amazing. I don’t remember the last time I ate so heartily – and I’ve been swimming all week to make up for it. From antipasto to pizza, risotto, ravioli, gnocchi, lasagna, gorgeous bread, mozzarella and lots of gelato and coffee, we really did eat royally.

And then on our last day we drove to Pisa in the morning, parked the car and

Pisa

Pisa

wondered through the city in search of the leaning tower, which we had both seen years ago but didn’t remember very well, aside from the fact that it was very crooked. And I have to say it was a lot more off kilter than I remembered it being. After wandering around a bit we sat down outside in the sunshine for a final indulgent lunch before flying back to our respective countries of residence.

It was a fantastic trip. There is still so much of Italy that I need to see and it will take plenty more trips before I’ve seen my fill of this stunning country – if ever. If the Italian economic and political situation weren’t so bad I’d most definitely consider living there again.

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