Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Deciding Where You've Been

Written by Adam
It sure is interesting to discover what comes up in conversation when you are simply chatting with a waiter.  It was just after he brought us the bread and butter while we were dining in Nice, France.   Upon learning that we were visiting from California, the starstruck waiter regaled in telling us about his desire to some day visit Hollywood.  He then proceeded to recount many old movies starring such classic Hollywood starlets as Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor.  Of course, most might consider these actresses to be photogenic symbols of the Hollywood of imagination, fantasy, and a place that to a European represented much more about America than it probably does today.  We were actually in Hollywood just this year, but I did not have the heart to tell the waiter that the only star we saw there was a guy in a Spiderman suit standing on the corner posing for pictures with the tourists.  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Meet Our Little Guy - Hyundai i20

Written by Karen.
As the days pass, we are really warming up to our little guy, the Hyundai i20.  After a bit of an antagonistic start to our relationship, Adam and I have reached an understanding of sorts with the little guy.  Bottom line?  We've accepted our mechanical limitations and re-adjusted our expectations.  We'll stay off the super fast highways and autobahns as much as possible.  Our little guy just can't hang with those fire-breathing monsters - much to my chagrin - we get blown off the endlessly smooth black asphalt each and every time.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Italian Art of Parking - Part Three

Written by Karen.

This is the final segment of a three-part story.

We began walking down the street in a dazed jumble of thoughts and reactions. Adam asked rhetorically, "Can you believe it? He just ripped it into pieces!" All I could muster was, "Unbelievable!"  Adam continued unabated, "And then he crumbled everything up and threw it in the gutter!  Who does that?! "Unbelievable," I offered my contribution to the conversation.  "Unbelievable!" I could see our unpaid simple administrative, no-big-deal 28.50 euro parking ticket multiplying over time as quickly as a happy pair of rabbits.

Monday, October 14, 2013

In Case You Missed It....Sunset Over Lake Como

The Italian Art of Parking - Part Two

Written by Karen.
For the next five days, we made a daily evening trek over to our hidden parking place to make sure that our little guy was still there.  We breathed a sigh of relief when he was and there were no parking tickets plastered to the window.  Maybe white and yellow parking areas were just like white parking areas?  In any case, it looked like we were home free.  

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Checking Out La Dolce Vida - Back Roads Style

Written by Karen.
Now that we're off the high-speed highways, our little guy, Hyundai i20, is starting to grow on us.  Sometimes you have to go down an unknown road for awhile before you can actually decide if you are going in the right direction.  

The Italian Art of Parking - Part One

Written by Karen.

This is the first segment in a three-part story.

"It might be a little 'forbotti', but I have never had any problems. EVER!", Isabella said with extra emphasis.  I looked over at Adam, who was also trying to process the broken and rapid-fire mixture of English and Italian.  What does forbotti mean? We raised our eyebrows at each other and shrugged.  Isabella impatiently grabbed my arm and said, "Andiamo!"  Let's go!  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Cinque Terre, Italy

Written by Karen.
Along the rugged western Italian coast lie tiny fishing villages that hang on the rock outcroppings like barnacles in the sea. The most well-known villages in this area are called Cinque Terre, or the Five Lands.  These historically old villages still plant and harvest vegetable gardens, herbs, olive trees and grapes on the old, rocky terraces carved into the cliffs to supplement their bounty from the sea. And although old, these villages are beautiful in both their natural surroundings and with their ancient traditions.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Driving Slowly Up the Italian Coast

Written by Karen.
We drove into La Spezia, Italy during the magical evening twilight hours and promptly decided to try and find a place to spend the night. La Spezia, a port town, was exactly like the images that I harbored in my imagination and hoped for in reality: families and couples quietly strolling down the paved pedestrian strand alongside the Mediterranean Sea; tiny shops offering gelato and espresso for sale; and, people sitting on benches under the gently swaying palm trees surrounded by gardens of scented flowers looking out on the endless horizon - talking, thinking, dreaming - as the soft orange sun slowly begins its descent into the intensely colored turquoise sea water.