Yum: Hanoi’s Addictive Street Food
Oh boy, where do I begin? Northern Vietnam had hands down my favorite cuisine of the 20+ countries we visited over the past year (note: I do not feel it would be fair to include Italy in the running for ...
Cat Ba Island: Taking the Plunge
With our time in Vietnam running a bit short, and having gotten our exposure to the countryside and mountains on our motorbiking trip, and to city life with a few days in Hanoi, we decided what was missing was some ...
Motorbiking in Northeastern Vietnam
Before visiting Southeast Asia, we weren't big motorbiking enthusiasts; in fact, Claudia's motorbiking experience consisted entirely of a few anxiety-ridden hours in Europe many years ago, and mine consisted of crashing a small toy bike into a fence in Portland, ...
Monkey Business: Ziplining Through the Jungle in Laos
Our first stop in Laos was a three-day adventure in the Bolaven Plateau in the southern part of the country. After an all day bus trip from Phnom Penh (Cambodia), we crossed the border and arrived in Pakse, a sleepy ...
All of my relatives except my mother live in either Italy (dad's side) or Austria (mom's side), so I only get to spend time chatting with relatives, reminiscing about the past, and eating classic family meals together about once every few years. After not having been to my father's hometown, Città di Castello, in twenty years, and not having seen my aunt since 2006, I was really excited to come back to Umbria. I wanted to spend our precious time here with family, looking at old photos, reminiscing over the times we spent here with my grandmother when I was a little girl, and walking around the town.
Many people haven't heard too much about Umbria, the "green heart" of Italy. It's in the shadow of its famous neighbor, Tuscany, and while it receives way fewer visitors, in my mind, it offers the vistas that are just as beautiful, food that is just as delicious, and towns that are just is charming, with the advantage of being much less crowded. But of course, I'm a bit biased.
Some of my favorite moments from our short time in Umbria include:
Catching up and goofing around with my Aunt Valeria and her cousin, Gabriella
Visiting the Chiesa di San Franceso, where a copy of Raffaello's painting Lo Sposalizio (1504) adorns a huge wall. This painting was commissioned by one of my grandmother's ancestors to commemorate a wedding in the family. It remained in this church in Città di Castello for over 300 years and is now displayed in a gallery in Milan.
Looking through old family photo albums
Receiving a very special belated wedding gift from my aunt
Checking out the impressive frescoes in the Basilica di San Francesco in Assisi
And of course, enjoying delicious home-cooked Italian meals!