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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Strahle & Smith Familes take on Italy 2017

Hi friends.  Long time no blog:))  My girls started school today and I always ALWAYS feel blue, so instead of moping I'm going to put up pics of my favorite part of our summer!  Still can't believe we did this...but two days after school let out we hopped a plane (with dear friends) and flew to 



Our first stop was Venice and it was everything you imagine and so much more!  I never really thought about there not being ANY roads!  So imagine a maze between buildings and zigzagging forever to get anywhere.  Yep!  That's Venice.  It's rubble and color and ancient.  Every single turn is a postcard.  I've never been anywhere like it.  Still can't believe it actually happened!  

I made an internal momma promise to myself that if we could swing it before the girls graduated we would take them to Europe and since my Big Chick is officially entering her Senior year it was go time.  It was also our 25th wedding anniversary, so the timing was perfect.  It's been a few months since we went, so I don't have a lot of details of exact restaurants etc... So this is not really a travel reference, but if you want pretty pictures and my opinion here ya go! Oh, but Grom I remember...get the grapefruit sorbet. I still think about it.  Our goals was gelato twice a day and we succeeded:)

We stayed at the Hotel American-Dinesen.  Very nice.  Very pricey! 


We spent two days in Venice then hopped a train and went to Florence!  On our train ride we pulled out our watercolors and became traveling artists.  Pinch me!  Italian countryside whizzing by our heads...paint brushes in hand and then when we arrived we're in a CITY with hustle and bustle.  Motorcycles racing right by our elbows, no lie.  You better not accidentally step off the tiny little side walk right by the narrow little streets or you will be mush!  I'm not exactly a city girl, but Florence grows on you.  Our apartment was bigger than our house!  We could sit on the veranda and hear the Italians converse and plates clink because of the little cafe right beneath us.  It was lovely and I truly could have just stayed in the apartment and gazed out the windows all day and been content as could be, but we had placed TO GO!  Duomo's to see! :)  **Oh and the best meal of our trip was on our last night at a place called 4Leoni.  We go the fiochetti.  It was a pear and cheese filled noodle in an asparagus sauce.  Sounds questionable, but let me tell you I DREAM about that dish.  It's worth flying alllllll that way!  If you go you MUST try it!


We stayed in Florence for a couple of days and then decided we just couldn't pass up the Amalfi COAST!  This is basically when I died and went to heaven.  We took a train to Naples. Not really a fan...think crowded, sirens NON-STOP.... and compared to the other places we had visited it was a little grimy.  But we ate at the FABULOUS pizza place in Eat, Pray, Love...which is supposed to have the BEST pizza in Italy, thus the whole world right?!!  And it did!  I can say it was delicious in every way and worth the taxi ride from hell.  After our quick bite it was onto the ferry and the most amazing ride of our lives...  Pulling up to CAPRI!

This was right before my girl Terrica (@terricajoy on IG) fell off the gluten free wagon.  The look on her face. Where's the laughing emoji??;)))  The pure excitement about what was to come... Still makes me giggle.  She suffered majorly after we got home and swore up and down it wasn't worth it, but I'm looking at these pies thinking man... If I could have one of these $5 beauties again I'd do it in a heartbeat, but then again I don't have the gluten thing.


Where do I even begin talking about Capri.  It was our friends Josh and Terrica's special place and they shared it with us.  It was magic.  Everything in bloom.  So lush and vibrant.  It was quaint and blue.  Even my pics all have a blue tint to them.  It was just blueeeee.  There were wealthy people in yachts and waiters that looked us up and down like we weren't dressed up enough to eat there.  There were gorgeous FIT tan Italian woman dressed in bikini tops and long flowy pants.  Cue frumpy, middle age, I don't belong here thoughts.  But aside from those things CAPRI WAS A PIECE OF HEAVEN ON EARTH.  No cars, except for trash and food little utility carts.  It was quiet.  And smelled good.  There were lemonade stands EVERYWHERE because lemons grow the size of your head there!  It was a joy. BLISS! We ate at the Lemon Trees restaurant and it was glorious.  An entire lemon grove as a restaurant. I know!  They had a DESSERT ROOM!  I can't even.  To tell you these memories are fried into my brain is truly an understatement.  It was lovely.


Positano has been on my bucket list for years and lucky for us was only a 45 minute ferry ride away from Capri!  I can't even tell you how giddy we were pulling up to that coast line.  It's like nothing you've ever seen in your entire life!  All those cliffside homes.  So full of color and charm.  We didn't have long.  Just a few hours, so we made the most of our time and took pictures of everything we possibly could.  If I could to it over again I'd love to spend a few days here really exploring.  The beauty is so overwhelming you need to sit with it and let it soak in.  The water looked like a swimming pool.  Everywhere you looked was a photo-op.  Repeat after me...when I go to Italy I won't miss Positano:)))


We ended our trip back in Florence and had the brilliant idea that we needed to see the Tuscan countryside before we left.  So in brilliant fashion we hired Marco.  Cue best idea EVER!  Marco was a private driver and he drove us to all the sweet little Medieval towns.  We went to Sienna and another town that escapes me.  We visited a vineyard and had a wine tasting in TUSCANY!  Yep, stuff of dreams.  I kept thinking about one of my very favorite movies Under the Tuscan Sun and it truly looked just like the movie.  Those towns are OLD!  The churches are beautiful. Nothing has changed in centuries except the throes of people taking it all in.  I'm so glad we made time to do this.  It was so fun!

The best part...

To sum up this experience is a little hard.  The entire time we were there we felt like we needed to pinch ourselves.  It was the trip of a lifetime and we were with friends who ushered the way.  They planned the whole thing, and we followed along just grateful for the memories.  So arrivederci summer 2017 you were really really good to us. Thank you Lord for new experiences.  I will always look back on this trip and think well done.  You did it!  A promise well kept:)

Be a blessing.

Counting my joy list:
25 years with my honey
Another school year and the girls are living large...Senior and 8th grade
We have lots of new fur babies...three dogs now and four cats
Hesed Hill has started to feel like home
Zinnias as tall as me
Hummingbirds and butterflies galore
Night after night of sunsets that blow my mind

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