Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ringing in Spring at the Beach!

Okay so it wasn't at all the beach trip that Luke remembers us taking only 7 months ago. I thought it would be fun to go and walk the beach, get our feet wet and look for sea shells. We tried to warn the kids mainly Luke (but Mason too was all ready to slip into his swim suit) that it was going to be way WAY to cold to go swimming in the ocean. However the beach can still be very fun even if we can't swim. It was a beautiful first day of spring with temps into the upper 50's. We were wearing shortleeves and pants, but all the Italians that were visiting the beach were in their winter coats and scarves still, they all thought we were silly.

It was fun seeing all the stuff that the wind and high tides washed up on shore. There was a small canoe and lots of sea shells that you normally wouldn't find on the beach. We came across many dead crabs and a star fish!

Even though the boys had a fun time at the beach, they all can't wait to be able to go back when the weather and water are nice and warm!!

"The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see." ~ GK Chesterton

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Carnevale di Venezia


Carnevale di Venezia is an 11 day party. It starts two weeks before Ash Wednesday and ends on Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras) the day before Ash Wednesday. It is said to have brought in and estimated 160,000 visitors this year and they only had 2 accidental drownings.

Carnevale started as a time for celebration and expression throughout the classes, as wearing masks hid any form of identity between social classes. It used to be a nice low key event for children, but has since grown into a huge party with lots of drinking especially during the night hours.

During our Friday visit to Carnevale we found many people dressed in glamerous traditional Venetian costumes, but not much more than that. Guess all the excitement is during the nights and weekends. We had a good day taking in all the beautiful costumes, masks, and scenes. We stopped for a YUMMY lunch at Hard Rock, met up with Clark's boss who came in from Germany, and then headed back home.

Throughout the end of February and most of March each little town in the area has their own little Carnevale celebration. We decided to take the boys to the one in Pordenone, but it was cold and so the boys weren't to happy. It was fun seeing how the Italians do parades, and they don't throw candy they just shower the crowds in confetti!! It was fun to see how "Americanized" their parades are and it was neat being able to stand in the crowd and sing all the American songs they were playing. I got flashed by an Alien from Planet Maron, and a drag football player. I really must have stood out as AMERICAN amongst hundreds of Italians!! :)

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."
                                        ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day Trip to Switzerland!

Over President's Day weekend we ventured to Switzerland for a tour of a Chocolate Factory and the town of Lugano. Since we had driven thru Switzerland on our way back from Paris over Christmas I was good with saying that we had been to Switzerland. However, Clark was adament about going on this trip, and since there were a few neighbors going with their kids, it made me feel better that my child wouldn't disrupt the whole bus! Our neighbor Diane is SO great with all the kids....Luke sat on her lap for the longest time before giving in to sleep!! :) Then of course not to long into his sweet dreams the bus stopped for a break!!! It was a fun trip, and we came home with some yummy liquor, chocolate, and chocolate with liquor in it! LOL

Our first stop was the Chocolate Factory. It was supposed to be a guided tour of the factory, but since it was Saturday the factory wasn't in production. Oh well we enjoyed sampling the chocolate anyway, and we bought enough to bring back to last us awhile!!

Luke and Mason milking the cow!

Our next stop was to the heart of the city to have free time for the rest of the afternoon. We walked around and then found a nice Italian reseraunt to stop and have lunch at. Yeah go figure that we go to Switzerland to eat Italian. We were all starving and it looked like a nice place to eat. Which it was and the food was good, but the waiter was R-U-D-E!! :( Then he thought he would ask Clark for a tip.....BBBBAAAAAAAAA The city itself was very pretty and quaint....certainly a beautiful place to settle down in!! We stopped in a store that sold wines and liquor and had some samples before buying a couple bottles to bring home!
I can't write a blog without giving you a little history lesson!! Lugano Switzerland is the biggest city in Ticino, the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. It lies on Lake Lugano, and is surrounded by mountains, including Monte Bre, Monte San Salvatore and the Sighignola. The name of the city comes from the Latin "Lucas" meaning sacred forest. The weather is perfect with mild winters and warm summers. The city seems to be a huge attraction to many celebraties, entertainers, and big name athletes, whom have dubbed Lugano as the "Monte Carlo of Switzerland."

I am glad that we made the trip, as much as I hate taking Luke on a bus for such a long time. It was a long day, but we can now say we have been to the beautiful country of Switzerland! With only 17 months left of our European adventure we have to take advantage of all the trips we can!!

The journey not the arrival matters." -- T. S. Eliot