Bike Riding along the Tiber

It was our last day in Rome. Everyone elses’ flights left about 4 hours before ours so Sam and I opted to be responsible for getting ourselves to the airport so we could enjoy one last morning.

We decided to rent bikes and ride along the Tiber River.  We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful morning or a better way to end our trip.

Plus, I got one more opportunity to hone my selfie skills.

Pretty sure that selfies while bicycle riding is like pro level.

There was also time for one last gelato before turning in our bicycles.

We grabbed sandwiches for the road and began our journey back to Thailand.

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.

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.

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.

Last Day in New Zealand

Our last day in New Zealand and we had to get the caravan back about 10 hours before our flight.  Michael made arrangements for us to have dinner with the family of one of his old coworkers.  But first we had a few hours to kill so we headed to the beach.

After an afternoon at the beach we went for dinner.  We had a lovely dinner and a great visit.  I’m sad that I didn’t think to take one picture.  After dinner we were off to the airport and on our way to America – by way of Singapore, Bangkok, and Tokyo.

Glow Little Glow Worm, Glimmer, Glimmer

High on Michael’s list of things to see in New Zealand were the glow worm caves.  Not being able to take the main highway caused this to be a bit of a challenge.  But we weren’t going to be deterred from our task and set out to cover some ground.  Some really, really, beautiful ground.

We made it to the glow worms late.  Too late to go into the caves.  Michael had read about a smaller area to see glow worms.  A more secluded place.  A drive down a long dark road and a walk down a long dark path and over some long dark bridges and into a very dark cave.  We used some flashlights to find it.  And found ourselves disappointed because there were no glow worms.  Luckily, someone suggested that we might want to turn off our flash lights.  When we did there were glow worms!  Glowing in the dark.  Very cool.  I don’t have any pictures of it, because we don’t have the kind of camera that lets you take night time pictures of glow worms.

Weta Caves & Workshop

Our fourth day found us in Wellington and getting a little bit of a late start.  We had a scheduled time for our tour of the Weta Workshop and it had been arranged weeks in advance and missing out on it wasn’t an option.  You might notice how focused Michael is on the driving.  In the zone.

We were so focused on getting out of the motor park and on the high way that we might have skipped a step or two in the proper putting away the camper related stuff before you depart.

We accidentally got on the highway heading away from Weta Caves.  While we were correcting our course we noticed a guy waving us down.  Michael pulled over, rolled down the window, and was told that we were dragging our power cord.  Dragging it down the highway behind us like a tail.  Michael had to get out of the caravan, on a busy service road, gather up the cord, and stow it away.  He was pleased.  (Photos are a reenactment.  He kindly posed for me.  I knew I’d eventually blog this.)


The drive to Weta was beautiful.  Our first real view of the ocean.

We made it and we were late.  They were able to switch our time to a little later in the day so we spent some time looking around the gift shop.  Posing with props and wandering out to find some coffee.  Michael was paid the highest of compliments by one of the staff – “I mean this in the best way possible, you would make an awesome dwarf.”

After we finished at Weta it was time to hit the road again.  We were of off in search of glow worms.