Friday, July 22, 2011

keeping busy at home: San Diego County Fair

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This is a little late, but 4th of July weekend was the last weekend of the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar. Eric's mom and brother Ryan and I went on the morning of the 4th in hopes we would beat the crowds (which we mostly did).

fried koolaid

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tried the hyped up fried koolaid (basically koolaid flavored dough) Really disappointing.
and these Australian fried potatoes

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We checked out scottish dancers

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and pig races

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the garden show was my favorite part. Lots of pretty flowers and displays of succulents
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While it was a fun morning, I have to say I much prefer the smaller scale county fairs in IL!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lake Garda

Two years ago, when we were planning our honeymoon I had on the top of my list to visit the Cinque Terre, five coastal cities on the Italian Riviera, connected by a rocky path with a gorgeous view.  When we attempted to spend a day here on our honeymoon, our plan was foiled due to a train derailment and repairs leaving only a couple of hours in Riomaggiore (no time for the hike). I was really disappointed, but E promised to take me back.

So, when we knew we were going to Italy for this summer and would have one day off a week, I was really hoping we could get there. A neighbor who is also in the English class asked if we wanted to spend a day with them so they could practice English, and they would drive wherever we wanted to hike! We immediately suggested the Cinque Terre, and made plans to go in our last week.
Unfortunately the night before we were supposed to leave they phoned us that their teenage daughter was hospitalized with bronchitis and they had to stay home....
Strike two for Cinque Terre.

Instead, the Ferarris suggested we visit Lake Garda, the easternmost of the three large lakes in the Lombardy region north of Milan. Without other options or energy to plan, we booked train tickets and took off the next morning.
We took a train to the southern central portion of the lake, Peschiera del Garda.
(there is an old military fortress here, picture below)


monument to fallen soldiers

After wandering around the town and the marina, we decided to rent bikes and ride to Sirmione - a beautiful little town on a peninsula in Lake Garda that we stopped at on our honeymoon, and we could resist visiting again.

I would recommend this bike ride to anyone and everyone. (You can see on the map where Peschiera is and then out to the peninsula of Sirmione.) It's about 7K of biking, and was the most relaxing gorgeous bike ride - on the lake front going through sleepy towns. we loved it.


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the views needed no enhancement.

We'd decided at this point in our trip (based on the fact that we were eating so well with the families in Milan), that we weren't going to spend our limited funds going out to eat. So on our bike ride we stopped in a local market and picked up beer, bread, meat, cheese, fruit and chocolate for lunch (spent less than €10!)
dipped our toes in the water and enjoyed this view.


Sirmione is gelato central, with a shop every where you look. We may or may not have had two servings while in Sirmione. :-)

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Check out the size and the amount of flavors at this shop!

We decided to make it our life goal to come back and stay in the Palace Hotel Villa Cortine.

We were so glad we came back to visit Sirmione.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Girls’ Night Out: Italy Style

On the last Saturday of each month the men and the women of the church takes turns going for a night out to fellowship and eat.


This past Saturday was the girls turn, and we met for bowling and pizza.

It was so natural and I was struck again that I was so far from home – it felt just like a regular girl’s night out! [Despite the language barrier…but that’s for another post] There was chatting, laughing, cheering, consoling, and encouraging.


All the women of the church means all – babies included!
Martina -- Vittorio's daughter, with Giulia, Alisia's daughter.

In Italy, the way they eat pizza seems really different from ordering pizza in the US. Here, they only have one size (about 14” in diameter?), there are about 50 different varieties, and everyone orders (and eats!) an entire pizza themselves!




Thankfully I got some good advice and menu translation and loved my pizza, Sfiziosa (sausage, mushroom, mozzarella, gorgonzola—like nothing you’ve had before)



It was a delightful evening.

(a gelato cake from Calabria)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Anniversary party

Last Sunday, Eric preached for the first time. He's spending the summer preaching through the epistle of Colossians and started with an introductory sermon to the whole book preaching from Col.. 1:1-2, and then in the evening on Col 1:3-14 with the topic of Gospel-Empowered Growth.

Things with translating went really well -- although the service lasts at least 1.5 hours because translating is so time-consuming (and the Italian language almost always requires more words than English).

I snapped a couple photos during the introduction in the morning so you can get a feel for what it looks like during the sermons



When we walked into church for the Sunday evening service, this is what we saw... the church surprised us with an anniversary party!


Two ladies in the church particularly put a LOT of work into this event: Sabrina and Daniela. (They are sisters - Sabrina is married to Tony, the deacon. Daniela is married to Vittorio, one of the elders)

They're such generous hostesses!


After the evening service, we had food: rice salads, fritters, a type of quiche, cheese and ham rolls, etc

Cristina helping prepare the food



Eric enjoying fellowship with the men

The decor was beautiful, complete with a huge bouquet, signs, streamers, and balloons

Then, a beautiful cake! (and champagne)




We were also gifted an exclusive 2011 espresso set from a well-known company in Italy, Thun.

Vi ringrazio per il vostro affetto! We are so grateful for your generosity and kindness!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Visit to Venice

We got an extended day off this week as it was our anniversary
[and I am only here for one more week :-(]

So we headed to Venezia!

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Pastor Andrea recommended that we book a night at Hotel Noemi, which was a nice hotel with a great location, just a 1 minute walk from St. Mark's Square.

venice hotel

Milan 30 for 30: Day 19 [Venice]

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We didn't make any plans, or see almost any of the sites we felt compelled to last time, just wandered the streets and canals.

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Instead of going out to eat (you've seen the amazing food we've already gotten to eat), we decided to picnic while here. We had lunch with this view, and ate dinner at sunset on the mail canal [I forgot my camera!]

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Accademia bridge
Milan 30 for 30: Day 20 [Venice]

Eric was in his element: gelato 2+ times a day, a kebab, and we even found Coke Zero!

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We headed to the west side of Venice, a place we didn't get to explore on our honeymoon and found some really quiet and sweet neighborhoods, as well as a beautiful public park!

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Thanks for a lovely getaway, Venice. 

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