Cooking School – Italy

One of the first things Sam and I thought about when we heard about the trip to Rome was cooking school, so I set about arranging it.  My mom came along, too.  Lots of food was eaten by all.

We started off with bruschette.  We didn’t make it, but we did see how easy it is to make.  Pretty sure the purpose of this course was to fill us up just enough that we wouldn’t be tempted to eat what we were cooking as we were cooking it.

After the bruschette we were put to work making broccolo romanesco (Roman Broccoli).

Learning some chef skills and finishing up the Roman Broccoli

After we got the broccoli going we went ahead and made desert.  Tiramisu.  It’s no bake, but does require some time to set.

Next up was the Saltimbocca all Romana.  Veal with proprosciutto and basil.

The only thing left to make was Le Fettuccine al sugo di pomodoro & basilico or Fettuccine with Tomato and Basil Sauce.

After we finished cooking it was time to enjoy it.  We enjoyed a fantastic meal.  A giant meal.  Starting with a very simple antipasto.   We didn’t cook this one, no cooking really required, but we did eat it up.

We haven’t tried any of these recipes since we’ve gotten home, but have plans to try them all.

Donuts, Trastevere, and the Capuchin Crypt

We started Sunday morning at a flea market of sorts where we found a giant donut.  It made an excellent breakfast.

Then we were off to Trastevere and Rick Steves was our guide – again.

We grabbed some pizza.  By this point I’m pretty sure that Paleo is stupid.

Once we had sufficiently carb loaded we headed out on our next adventure.  On our way we passed by an old favorite – the closed Trevi Fountain.  It was so amazing at night that we were glad to see it during the day.

There are ruins everywhere.  You really can’t avoid them.

We found what we were looking for – the Santa Maria della Immacolata Concezione dei Cappuccini church.  It was closed, but we were really there to see the museum and the Capuchin Crypt that are under the church.

It was a little creepy.  No photos allowed so I lifted this from here.

Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps

I am not exactly sure of what we did the morning of the 5th day.  The only pictures I took were of our suitcases

that's lots of suitcases for 6 people

that’s lots of suitcases for 6 people

some questionable gelato

and Ronald McDonald

That night we walked to the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.  We went a bit of a roundabout way to get to the Trevi Fountain.  We finally broke down and asked for directions.  The very nice guy said, “Trevi Fountain?  There’s a little problem, but you are close.”  He gave us directions.  We understood the directions and we found the fountain.

Pretty sure the “little problem” was that it was closed.  I can only imagine it’s really, really awesome when it is actually doing fountain stuff.  Oh well, on to the Spanish Steps.

We might have gone a bit of a roundabout way to get to the Spanish Steps, but that was okay.  We found them and that was our goal.

They, too, were closed.  But our step count for the day was impressive.

Wandering, the Vatican Museum, and the Sistine Chapel

Sam and I spent the morning of day 4 just wandering the city.  We started with a walk through the local morning market.

Then we were off to grab some breakfast.  I was developing a real appreciation for sandwiches.

After breakfast we decided to take a walk along the Tiber River.

We were due to meet up with everyone else for a tour of the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s, so we headed that way.

My spent several hours walking through the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel.  I did not enjoy any of this.  The crowds were too big.  I get a little anxious when I’m being herded like cattle and there is no end of it in sight.  I’ve been told that these crowds were nothing, which to me means it could have been worse.  I still managed to take some pictures.

These are from the Vatican Museum

A little too late I learned that you aren’t supposed to take photos in the Sistine Chapel.  I managed to miss the signs that said no photography, I also didn’t hear the security folks saying, “No photos.”  I blame it on how miserable I was at this point.  I didn’t even look at what I was taking photos of, just raised my camera and shot.

I ran into Sam in the Sistine Chapel and we skedaddled.   St Peter’s was next, but I couldn’t follow the crowd any further so we headed outside and appreciated St. Peter’s Basilica from the outside.

We wrapped the night up with a rousing game of Wizards and Jesters and a small sampling of desserts.

Naples and Pompeii

Day 3 in Italy had us up early (5am) to catch the 6:30am train to Naples. (I haven’t mentioned that we had 6 adults on our trip and only 1 bathroom.)

Sam wasted no time getting comfortable on the train.

Sam wasted no time getting comfortable on the train.

We arrived in Naples and took a quick detour out of the train station in search of breakfast.  We settled on McDonald’s.  It’s kind of fun to see what’s on a McDonald’s menu in foreign countries.

After breakfast we grabbed coffee.  I loved that coffee was everywhere.  The best coffee I had was in Naples.  It was probably the best because it was made with love.

After coffee we headed back to the station to catch the train to Pompeii.  I had no idea it was such a bustling city in it’s heyday.  One more time Rick Steves was our guide.

We left Pompeii and headed back to Naples.  I don’t know if you can tell in the pictures of Pompeii, but it was drizzly and cold, so by the time we were back to Naples 1/2 our group (me, Sam, and Esther) were ready to sit in a cafe and have some coffee and snacks and wine.  (I probably only had wine and some snacks.)  We spent an hour (maybe two) talking.  The other 1/2 of the group were busying themselves in the museum across from the cafe.

We ate dinner and caught the train back to Rome.

The Coliseum and The Forum

Sam and I just returned from 10 days in Rome.  We were there to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.  The first day in Rome was a bit of a wash.  It was a travel, find the apartment and just get situated kind of day.

The start of day 2 – dad, Mike (my twin brother), mom, Sam, and me. Behind the camera is Esther, my brother’s girlfriend.

Day 2 in Rome involved walking to the Vatican Museum, St. Peters, and the Bridge of Angels before heading to the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument.  I also managed to fit in a bit of selfie practice.  Sam appreciated it.

When we got to the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument we rode this elevator up to the roof.

From the roof you have an amazing view of the city of Rome.  It’s an excellent place to practice your panoramic photo taking skills.

Our next stop was lunch and then off to the Coliseum and the Forum.  The Coliseum was amazing.  We put in our earbuds and listened to Rick Steves’ guide us through the Coliseum (my dad had strongly suggested that we download all of Rick Steves’ Rome podcasts).

After the Coliseum we regrouped at the Arc de Triomphe.  You might notice my selfie skills are improving while Sam’s tolerance of selfies seems to be flagging.

Next up the Forum.  The Forum was probably my favorite site.  It helped that the weather was cool and there were no crowds.  We were guided through by Rick Steves.

Days 1 & 2 in Rome done and we only thought we were exhausted.

Summer with Aly

We left New Zealand for America.  We were going as a family of 4 but we’d be returning to Thailand as a family of 3.  Well I’d be returning alone and 2 weeks later Michael and Sam would follow.  Aly would stay in America.

I’m not going to catch up to all that happened while we were in America, but here are some photos of the stuff we did with Aly this summer.