VENICE – Reagan

Two days ago my family and I were in venice for my mom’s birthday. I’ll tell you what we did… first we got in the car to go to the train station. Then, we got on the train for about twenty five minutes. Next, my family and I got off the train and began our journey!!!!

So, then we walked and walked and walked. Since we had woken up early to go to Venice and had NO food we were SUPER hungry. So my dad  had looked at restaurants the night before and he found one and we went there. GUESS what WE had from the menu!!! Here I’ll tell you.. we had  a FULL three course lunch!!!! We were so full after all that food.

Then we paid and left then we kept walking for many hours and found a guy that had painted many pictures of gondolas on the water. They were so pretty we even got one! Next, we found a BEAUTIFUL church that had a Huge painting on the ceiling and many beside it. We sat on the benches and stared for a while then all of us walked out of the wonderful building

After that, we found a place with gelato and my siblings and I got some. My sister Kaitlyn got chocolate, my brother Liam got strawberry cheesecake, my older brother Peyton got hazelnut and lastly I got dulce de leché. Next, we got on a water bus, which is pretty much just a boat on water. Then we got off and found a fancy place with macaroons and we sat there for about 20- 30 minutes then we left.

After we left my family and I got back on the water bus and walked. Filially, we found a gondola and got on one, it was 100 euros. Anyways it was a beautiful ride and the 100 euros I thought was worth it! Lastly we got off and walked back to the train station, where we got on and left.

My favorite part was the gondola ride because of its prettiness. And my least favorite part was all the walking but I was ok. It was a Great day!! My family and I had LOTS of fun!!!!!!! 🙂

Keys

So–one wouldn’t think that such a small thing as keys would be so important…or maybe they would? They are very handy when you need to get back into your home…but what about getting out?

The house we are staying in has a sort of double entry system. One key gets you into the entryway and the next key gets you into the hallway leading up the stairs and into our flat. Five of our family was waiting down in the entryway for our eldest son and as he shuts the door to the hallway into our flat I hear my youngest son ask my husband if he can unlock the door from the entryway to the street. It was like a slow-motion movie as I watch my eldest son shut the door to the stairs, hear my husband say, “I don’t have the keys” and I know I do not have the keys.

My husband looks at me and I say, “I thought you grabbed the keys.” To which he replies again, “I do not have the keys.” So, I think this is ok. I will just message our host saying we cannot get back into our flat, we’ll head out the door and go to Venice and wait to hear from our host. As I reach for the door to the outside, my husband says, “That’s locked.”  It now dawns on me that we are stuck…in the entryway of our flat. There’s no way in or out. No bathrooms and it’s 10:00am and we haven’t had breakfast and it’s my birthday. I immediately start imagining which corner of the room we’ll use as our bathroom and how on earth we’re going to entertain our children all day in this small little room (yeah, I can be a little over-dramatic in my head sometimes–I would never have shared what was going on in my head at that exact moment in the moment, but I sure think it’s funny now).

My husband begins to look around the tiny room for any spare set of keys that could get us out while I’m messaging our host about our predicament. I first try messaging her on the Airbnb messaging system. I wait about 10 minutes for a reply and after we hear nothing, I try texting her…but I realize that I just texted someone with a 303 area code number in the States in the middle of the night…so I’m sorry if that was you!

As my husband is looking up the country code number for Italy, I hear my youngest son come up to me and say, “Mom, hold out your hand.” Now, I’m pretty busy right now trying to figure out a way from this predicament, but I hold out my hand anyways and he hands me a small piece of cardboard paper. I look at it strangely and say, “What is this Buddy?” To which he responds, “It’s your breakfast.”

I’m completely confused at this point, to which he seems to catch on to so he says, “See? I’m eating some and now you can eat some. I’m really hungry and now we can eat some cardboard for breakfast.” He sticks out his tongue as he says this and sure enough, he’s eating cardboard.

After a few minutes, I call the host, to which I’m very grateful she answers my call, and says she’s on the way to let us out. Our rescuer arrives and we laugh and smile gratefully, saying, “Are we the first ones this has happened to?” “No,” she shakes her head. Oooh boy.

So, the lesson we learned here was always make sure someone has the keys before you leave your flat….and a nomadic life-style wouldn’t be much fun if you didn’t laugh at yourself a lot.

Jet-Lag x6

This week has been a “let’s get over the jet-lag” week, which, in our book means “let’s not plan anything.” For this I’m thankful! In between school and sleep, I think that’s about all I’m up for. There is a park right by our flat, so I have taken the kiddos there a few times to let them get some of their energy out.

Jet-lag is the pits. Thankfully our kids are sleeping through the night now–unfortunately they aren’t going to bed until past 1am and then sleeping until 12pm–little by little it’s getting better though. I’m looking forward to when we are all back on Central European time!

One thing I have been surprised and grateful for is that Edinburgh seems to be a late-night city. By this, I mean restaurants and pubs are open late as are the grocery stores. This makes it much more convenient for us as we continue to adjust to this new time zone–although you can’t buy alcohol at the grocery store past 10pm in the UK, so if you’re running to the store because you’re in the mood for a glass of wine you’ll be out of luck and have to settle for Ben and Jerry’s…which I guess isn’t so bad.

 

Gratitude

Well,  leg 2 of our journey is done and I’m constantly amazed at what geat travelers our kids are! After watching a movie on the plane, both of our youngest kiddos made their little beds on the floor of the plane and slept the whole way–without Benadryl! 

So, as we sit in the Starbucks at the Stockholm airport, I’m thankful. I’m thankful for the wonderful friends and family we have back in Reno. I’m thankful that we can travel together as a family. I’m thankful for kids who travel well. And I’m thankful to be back on the road again, seeing new places and meeting new people. 

Yes, to say I’m tired would be an understatement. There is an unexplainable God-given peace that goes along with this tiredness and no matter how exhausted I am right now, I wouldn’t change what we’re doing for the world. 

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers this far! 

Top Restaurants

I recently saw an article that listed the best restaurants and food in Naples, Italy. Of all the places we have been, this city has the absolute best Italian food we’ve had anywhere (of course…it’s Naples, home of the Napoleon pizza!)–and as I read through the article I didn’t recognize any of the names of the restaurants it recommended. So, it gave me a thought and that is where this blog is coming from. This year of travels, I’m going to include the restaurants we go to that I think are amazing.

So, here I am digging back into my memories of our travels last year trying to remember the memorable places we ate at. There are actually quite a few that stick out as amazing. Bellow, you will find a list of restaurants that I would highly recommend to anyone visiting the areas those restaurants are in.

  1. If you’re looking for what, I believe, is the best pizza in the world, head over to the heart of Naples to a little hole in the wall pizzeria called Pizzeria Concettina ai Tre Santi. This little piece of heaven was recommended to us by our Airbnb host and we were not disappointed. Their pizza was absolutely the best pizza I have ever had in my life! FYI: the staff doesn’t speak much English and the menu is in Italian, but they are very friendly and broken Spanish/Italian words and arm motions work wonders :).
  2. As for Paella–oh man! The best place we’ve found is at a small restaurant in Palma de Mallorca called Peix Vermell. Paella will never taste right after coming to this amazing restaurant (and this isn’t even the area paella is originally from)! Reservations here are highly recommended!
  3. If you’re looking for a memorable evening and you are in Lisbon, head down to Alfama and check out Restaurante Esquina de Alfama Fado. Enjoy some traditional Portuguese food called Cataplana de Marisco while local musicians entertain you in the traditional Portuguese style of Fado music. It is quite the memorable experience!
  4. If you find yourself in Paphos, head over to Hondros. It’s tucked a little bit off the main tourist strip and they have wonderful hummus and pita bread. If you are in the mood for a good Greek meal, check out Hondros.
  5. When we were in Dubrovnik we were quite disappointed with food inside the city walls–but then we discovered two wonderful gems outside the walls that I would highly recommend. One is called Peppers Eatery. They have wonderful cocktails, their food is tasty, and the ambience–romantic but also family friendly. The second one I would highly recommend is Pantarul. Their food is fantastic and if you decide to come here, make sure you make a reservation.
  6. If you find yourself in London and you are craving some authentic Greek food–we found a fun little restaurant in Camden called Daphne. Their food is fantastic and their service wonderful!

Only a few of the restaurants have websites, so you can click on them and be directed to their sites for more information. I was bummed about the ones that don’t–but maybe that means those are less touristy, thus you get more of the local feel.

 

Synopsis of 2016-2017 in Pictures

As we prepare to take off again, I thought having a synopsis in pictures of our last year of travels would be fun to look back on. I haven’t edited any of these–as there’s just too many and with preparing to leave next week, I haven’t the time to do it. So–here are some candid shots of where we’ve been–a lot of these are posed shots–and there are a few candid shots. I hope you enjoy looking through them as much as I have :).

2016 – 2017 Scenic Favorites

One of my goals this summer was to finally organize all of our photos in Lightroom. As I’ve gone through them, there are some that stick out to me as some of my absolute favorites from our trip this last year. Honestly, I don’t know the first thing about what makes a picture good or bad, I just know what I like. That being said, I thought I’d share them in no particular order.  So, enjoy them—or not :).

Favorites from 10-16 to 06-17-3

Pulling away on the ferry during sunset from the Amalfi Coast photo credit goes to my husband.

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Home near the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence

Favorites from 10-16 to 06-17-6

The Eiffel Tower lit up at night in Paris

Favorites from 10-16 to 06-17-10

Looking out onto the the London Tower Bridge, from the Tower of London

Favorites from 10-16 to 06-17-11

A cannon at the Tower of London

Favorites from 10-16 to 06-17-13

Watching the birds flying over a pond at a park in Dublin

Favorites from 10-16 to 06-17-14

The tide coming in in Paphos

Favorites from 10-16 to 06-17-15

A priest talking on his cell phone at Agia Paraskevi, Paphos

Favorites from 10-16 to 06-17-19

A poppy held up to the Mediterranean in Paphos

Favorites from 10-16 to 06-17-21

A house in the walled city of Dubrovnik

Favorites from 10-16 to 06-17-22

Looking across the the water at the walled city of Dubrovnik

Favorites from 10-16 to 06-17-23

Looking out onto the Adriatic Sea

Favorites from 10-16 to 06-17-24

A sea-saw in a park outside the walls of the walled city of Dubrovnik

2. Favorites from 10-16 to 06-17-04543

Looking out onto the waters in Palma Mallorca, Spain

2. Favorites from 10-16 to 06-17-03404

Coral Bay, Cyprus

2. Favorites from 10-16 to 06-17-01733

London Tower Bridge

2. Favorites from 10-16 to 06-17-25

A canal in Amsterdam

20 Days

I just got an email today from Norwegian Air reminding me of my upcoming flight to Stockholm in 20 days. Wow! While I’m looking forward to getting back to our ever-moving way of life, I’m reminded of all the things I have yet to do that are on my to-do list before we head out.

I’ve been busy loading up our Amazon cart with things like a new carry on size suitcase and toothbrush covers and a few other things that lasted through our last year of travel, but need to be replaced. 

I’ve been to the DMV 3 times, trying to register our truck and I’m hoping that Tuesday when I go it will be the last time. Registering an out of state vehicle is not easy! Maybe 4th times the charm?!?

Even though I’ve gotten a lot done these last few weeks to prepare, it’s hard to not get discouraged at the mound of items on my list that have yet to get done. Little by little I’m checking its off that list, although more items are being added at a faster rate than being crossed off 😳. So, I’m moving forward, one small step at a time, accomplishing one task at a time, sometimes procrastinating, trusting that it will all get done before we do get on that plane. 20 days and counting!

Happy September 1

Ok! So, things are coming together for our trip back to Europe and I am getting excited! We’ll be flying directly from Oakland to Stockholm, arriving October 5. Next, we’ll be taking a flight from Stockholm to Birmingham where we will be spending the night at a hotel. The next morning we will be taking the train up to Edinburgh, Scotland and staying the week in a little town called Leith. I’m hoping to see a friend I haven’t seen in maybe 15 years–so, Christine, if you don’t use Facebook messenger anymore, message me on here!

After Scotland, we will be heading down to Venice. My husband will be running the Venice marathon–of which I’m so proud of him and all the hard work he has put in to train for that! We found a neat flat in the small town of Padua, Italy that will be perfectly located to visit the places on my to-visit list such as Venice and Verona–and I would love to hear other little town suggestions of where and what to see around there! Maybe I’ll be romantically inspired and write a book? I’m also excited to be there for my birthday!

Next we will be heading back up to London where my husband will be teaching a public on-site class for the week. Whew! That’s a lot to cram into October!

So, as far as things we need to get done before heading back out–I would ask for prayers that we would be able to sell our home-on-wheels for the summer. I was going to take the time to explain all of our reasonings for doing this, but have decided I don’t need to share all the details at this time.

 

Mid-August

Here we are nearing mid-August already. We have made it to Yosemite with my side of the family, Lake Almanor with my husband’s side of the family, and Burlington with my sister and her family. Although we have had such a wonderful time reconnecting with family and friends, I think I can honestly say that I am ready to go back to our nomadic European life-style.

There hasn’t been a whole lot of work since being back…which has been a little disappointing. With only 2 weeks of online training and one week of on-site training on the calendar for the entire summer…I’m thankful that our expenses have been minimal.

Living in a 5th wheel has been…cozy. While it has been nice to have our own space to call home, it does have its drawbacks. With a family full of introverts, space…or the lack there of has been a bit of a challenge. That being said, the internet has, yet again, come through with teaching us all about RV toilet clogs (otherwise named “pyramids”) and how to fix them (pour boiling water down into the toilet until the “pyramid” dissolves). Yes, gross. Need I say more?

The tight living quarters have forced us out into the blue skies. Bike riding, walking, swimming, playing catch, and running have become our summer go-tos–which actually has been really good!

As the schedule begins to fill in for the fall, I’m beginning to look at flights and Airbnb’s again. It’s looking like we’ll be headed to Athens and then to Bangkok. Of course, things change so quickly when it comes to my husband’s work schedule, I have not bought any tickets as of yet–I’m hoping to within the next few weeks.

Anyways, that’s all for now!