Monthly Archives: April 2012

Quattro

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so our first trip to Italy in 2009 we called “UNO.” Our second trip in 2010 we called “Due.”. The third trip was a solo trip, as you know, and called L’avventura grande di Telma e Luisa. so now I’m on my fourth trip, and I guess you could actually say this is Don’s fourth trip because he was here when he was in college, so officially this trip is QUATTRO.

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Our hosts, Marialuisa Sillitti, met us at the airport, and what a welcome site they were!! Our flight was an hour and a half late and we were just draggin’!! They drove us to their wonderful home, which we had found through homestaybooking

Our beautiful room and bathroom. . .

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Me, just a little tired. . .

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Dinner was ready for us in 15 minutes, and we were grateful for delicious warm soup, fresh bread and fresh cheese, wine, and a cannoli. The bed was perfect and we slept for 12 hours!!!!

This morning after a wonderful breakfast, we learned that we were within walking distance of the famous EATALY, the origin of the slow food movement which has traveled worldwide. So off we set. First we had to walk through the now- deserted Olympic village. Quite spooky, actually. To think that the eyes of the world were on this exact spot just 6 years ago, and now it’s virtually deserted and graffitied.

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But just behind this ghost town is the world famous. . .

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Combine Wegman’s, Southern Season, Harrod’s food halls, and mix in steroids ( well, no, you couldn’t because everything here is organic, beautiful, and drug-free!!). . . . Well, you get the picture. It’s a gastronome’s delight. We ate lunch, roamed, and bought a few things for a “spuntini cena” ( snack supper) tonight.

Prosciutto heaven. . .

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Don inspecting the cheese. . .

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The parmigianno reggiano rounds. . .

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OK, that’s all for now folks. We walked home, had our snacks, and are now sitting in bed, catching up, and getting ready to sleep another12 hours!!! Buona notte!

Biking Holland. . . The final out-takes

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The trip was great and sometimes arduous. Honestly, if we hadn’t trained for it, we would really have been in trouble. Some days after we got back to the barge I was so tired I could hardly get undressed!! But now that it’s over, I can truly say that it was an exhilarating experience.

Some photos never made it into regular blog posts, but before we get on to the next chapter, let me finish out Holland with a few more photos. . .

Relaxing on a street in Amsterdam. . .

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a sweet little girl we met on the cheese farm. . . A bit younger than our G, but made us miss her. . .

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a horse and rider with matching purple duds. . .

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the wall in the subway station near Rotterdam. We took the photo so we could remember where we were!!

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My bike seat, which was really quite comfortable. . .

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Leila, the barge pooch. . .

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Me’n’ patate frijtes. . .

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One final bridge to cross!!!!

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a view from the top of the Amsterdam library where the four of us had a final dinner. . .

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playing in the library. . .

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Cool lighting. . .

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“Green Bike”. . . .

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One last apple pie at the airport. . .

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And a final, silly laugh in the airport, waiting for our flight to Torino, Italy. . .

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Biking Holland. . . .Uithoorn back to Amsterdam

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We had a great night’s sleep last night. I didn’t take any chances. . . .two extra strength tylenol and two melatonins. READY TO ROLL today. . .

7 am. . .sunrise over the barge. . .bikes ready. . . Get your key!!!

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We were off to Flora Holland, the largest flower auction in the world. It was truly massive, with trolleys of flowers moving like a specialized ballet.

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We watched the flower ” stock exchange” where flower deals are made and flowers shipped out to florists worldwide, from the tiniest corner shop to large wholesales.

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After an hour and a half at the auction we set off To

MEANDER

as Suzie says. . .

Through the woods on the outskirts of Amsterdam. . .

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The ride was beautiful and peaceful. . .another one like others that took us through serene countryside. We were headed to a pancake house ” in the forest. ” as Suzie said. She also said that it was about 4 miles. That probably means at least 8 miles in Suzie-speak!!!!!!

But soon we were there, and it is truly delightful. . .

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And the pannekoeken were even better. . . .

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the day was beautiful and we biked through outlying neighborhoods and in to Amsterdam. Along the way we found our final windmill and a statue of Rembrandt.

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and finally, back to oosterdock and the Feniks barge. WE MADE IT!!!!!!

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More to come. . .

Biking Holland. . . Gouda to Uithoorn

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Well, the day started out sad for us. I had a hard time sleeping last night, thinking about Rosalie, regretting what we never got to do together. Praying for her family. . . Missing being at home. We biked into the town of Gouda, just a short distance, and I realized that I had
1) forgotten my travel pack which never leaves me, and
2) realized that my camera battery was ready to die.

I’m just not myself today. Sorry, the wont be many pictures, but as the day progressed, there was little time and effort for anything but pedaling.

But first, a little glimpse of Gouda.

You know, the Universe works in amazing ways. One of the first places I saw was an almshouse with this name. . .

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Read the rest of this entry

Biking Holland. . . An unfinished blog day

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If you think that the previous day’s blog seemed unfinished, you’re right. In the midst of writing the blog, we received the news that our daughter-in law’s mother, Rosalie, passed away. We’re deeply saddened.

We first met Rosalie when our son and Cat were engaged and we were invited to their house as a surprise. she flung open the door, greeted us with a bear hug and yelled, “Meet the Fockers, Meet the Fockers!!!” We were overwhelmed with food, fun, conversation, laughter, food, and love!! Rosalie was an effervescent spirit, a loving mother and wife, and just a doggone nice woman. I never got to know her well enough.

We wanted Rosalie and Louie to take us to Brooklyn, their old stomping grounds. we tried to plan it last Easter, but couldn’t get our act together.

We last saw Lou and Rosalie at the surprise anniversary party our kids gave us in August 2010. Rosalie and I emailed occasionally, hoping for a time when we might be grandmas together, or hoping for a visit together.

We’ll miss Rosalie. It was a privilege to know her. Farewell to a wonderful mother who opened her heart and her home to three kids who have all grown into amazing adults.

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Biking Holland. . .a day of windmills and apple pie. . .

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so the day started in uncertainty. . .do we barge down the canal, do we bike, do we take the water taxi? Last night Suzie said we would leave the boat around 10 am. . . so, I padded into breakfast around 8:15 to learn that. . .

Change of plans

We’re leaving at 8:45. Gobbled breakfast, made lunch. . . .then

Change of plans

we’re going to relax on the boat, take a little walk around town, then leave around 11 am. Then. . .

Change of plans

Quick. . . Get your stuff, get the bikes off, we have to get to the water taxi!!

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Once off the water taxi, we started to bike, once again into a headwind. Honestly, I’d rather bike in rain than in this doggone wind. But I guess that’s why in Holland they have. . .

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The first glimpse of the UNESCO site was truly breathtaking. . . Akin to coming around the corner in the Academie and seeing Michaelangelo’s DAVID.

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We biked, biked, biked, and marveled at the charm and beauty of the countryside… Just right out of everything you’ve ever read or seen about Holland.

Suzie, can we stop for lunch??

Well, we need to go just a little bit farther ( by the way, a Suzie mile or a little bit is WAY more than normal!!). Biking onward. . .and truly, just around the corner we found. . .

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    do you believe in miracles? After this, I sure do!! Apple pie and coffee, unexpected, delicious, warm, and a bathroom, too. . .

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    Ooh, warm, dry, full of apple pie. . .off we go. . . And more windmills!!!

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    And a most delightful house. Historically, the landowner lived here. . .long before America was even a country!

    Soon, another crossing into. . .

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    biking Holland. . . A Day in Rotterdam

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    New OPI color. . . I Don’t Give a Rotterdam. . .and that’s where we are. I had no choice but to paint
    My nails!!! As an aside, I gave Betty “Gouda, Gouda Two Shoes,” and I gave Suzie

    Pedal Faster Suzie</. . . Although we really DON'T want her to pedal faster.

    So, Rotterdam. . . Well, it's a big, new city, bombed unmercifully in WW II. honestly, we were just happy for a day to rest our butts and legs. After a short morning walk, we braved the metro and found our way to the market. what a market!!! 450 vendors, we heard. everything from flowers to bras to food to fabric to antiques to junk. . . .Here's a little flavor. . .

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    Patate frites with peanut sauce. . .

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    Dragon fruit from Vietnam. . .

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    Lunch was a quandary. . .what to eat of the wonderful array of international foods. We chose a deep-fried concoction of veges and bean sprouts.

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    The public library was a great spot for a potty break and watching a chess game. . .

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    What would a market be without a colorful character playing music. . .

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    Walking back to our barge we passed by Delfshaven, the port from which the pilgrims left for America. . .

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    Back at our barge, we took naps, played games, ate dinner, and are now awaiting a movie. . .a chick flick in Dutch. Happy day!!!