Over Christmas break the whole family + my friend Katie, drove up to Minnesota’s North Shore for a weekend of skiing. We rented a cabin for the weekend, and it was perfect. We had some fresh powder and fabulous skiing. Whenever we can all be together is my favorite time.
We visited Split Rock Lighthouse – a Minnesota icon – on our drive home
Venice had been on my bucket list ever since I had a bucket list. A city with water ways instead of streets and boats instead of cars? I’m in. I think that Venice was the best way we could have ended our adventure, because we literally had nothing on our agenda but to get lost wandering. Gelato and the most beautiful pastries are for sale at every street corner. String quartets fill Saint Mark’s Square with music. Laundry hangs out of windows. White haired couples stroll hand in hand. Artists find inspiration at every turn. Fog rolls off the water by lunch everyday. Venice is idyllic.
After exploring Cinque Terre, we rented a car and spent a day driving through the rolling hills of Tuscany.
Forget Disney, Cinque Terre might just be the most magical place on earth. Stretching along Italy’s north-western coast, these five towns contained inside a national park, absolutely lived up to their hype. The inclines are steep if you’re hiking, but if you reward yourself with some fresh lemon slush or gelato, it’s so worth it. Colorful houses dot the cliffs and the salty Mediterranean is just a jump away. Hands down, this was my favorite part of our trip.
The water was so clear and blue and warm!
We watched the sun set over Manarola, perhaps the most famous of the five cities. Painters and photographers crowded the path as the sun sank into the sea.
“Italy. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see western civilization. It is such a happy place. Violinists and accordion players fill the streets with there beautiful songs. History practically smacks you in the face. You can barely walk 100 yards without running into something ancient. Laundry hangs from windows, golden light is around every corner, old men with white hair sit on park benches reading the morning news. Oh Rome, you are a dream.”
Our first night in Italy, we watched the sun set from the top of the Spanish steps, and ate pizza and gelato for dinner
We took a guided tour of the Coliseum – so incredible! There were 28 trap doors built under the floor, so the gladiators would never know where something would come from next.
Trevi Fountain and Manertime Prison, where Paul was imprisoned
Where chariots raced at the Circus Maximus
“Africa. It’s pretty crazy to step foot on five continents in five months. Africa is a sensory barrage. Walk through a crowded market street and you’ll encounter burrows pulling carts, motorcycles racing by, pedestrians window shopping, vendors vying for your attention, snake charmers, monkeys on leashes, not to mention the smells of the leather, spices, and food that are being sold there…”
Somewhere along the trip planning line, one of us – neither one of us is owning up to it- decided that Morocco would be a cool place to go. It was cool. For like the first two hours. And then I think we were both ready to be done. The heat, the noise, the smell, the constant pressure to buy things, quickly became overwhelming. Most afternoons we would return to our Riad exhausted, take a nap, cool down in the pool, and then work up the energy to brave the city to find some dinner.
One day, we escaped the hustle of the city and drove out to the desert for a hot air balloon ride.
After the hot air balloon ride, we went to a palm grove and rode camels. Although the whole experience was somewhat overpriced, getting away for awhile was definitely worth it!
Our last day we went on an architectural tour of the city, which was pretty cool too.