Friday, October 26, 2012

Cole's Pizzeria...

Watch out, U.S.A.! We may be headed back with a new business plan. Cole finally attempted Giovanni's recommended pizza recipe last weekend - and he did a great job! Whew were we stuffed by the end of the night. We had plenty of dough - so much that he let me experiment with the last pizza and I made a knock-off Gambino's-style dessert pizza. I'm sure the Italians would disapprove, but it was yummy! Here are some photos of our first experiment with pizza from scratch!

We definitely have some things to learn - but sort of shocked ourselves by not totally screwing up the pizzas! Yay, us! :)

I may look like I know what I'm doing, but that's not true. I was picking flour and dough out of my eyes all night long. :) 

Road Trip - Genoa!

On a mission to see the Mediterannean coast, we hopped in the Punto and hit the road. It was about a two hour long drive to Genoa, the 6th largest city in Italy. After a stressful hour or so, trying to figure out where we were and where we wanted to be, we finally found the beautiful coastal walk we had read about online. Aaaaah! It was peaceful and calming! There is just something about the sound of waves on the shoreline that is good for the soul! Here are some pictures from our final excursion with Kent and Kate in Genoa! Enjoy!

Rome - Repeat!

Our seats were actually very close to the pope-mobile route! Cole took some great pictures!
Our second trip to the eternal city had a pretty similar itinerary to the first trip, with a few exceptions. We spent most of our day Wednesday at the Vatican, and while there we got to hear the pope speak! That was especially an exciting event, although Eva was not exactly a happy camper during his time at the pulpit... She and I left the crowded seating area and found some shade... She just couldn't take the group of cheering and singing Spaniards sitting in front of us. They were very enthusiastic about seeing the pope! :)
St. Peter's Square - getting in line to enter St. Peter's Basilica.
Afterward, we entered St. Peter's Basilica and toured. WOW! It's truly an amazing church - calling it a church seems silly, though. It's absolutely enormous. You could visit ten times and still not see everything! We also managed to make it into the Roman Forum this trip. Rome is just so big! Honestly, a 10-day trip wouldn't be long enough to see everything!

Fortunately, the temperature was much more mild and that made a huge difference in our energy level! Rome = walking, walking, walking! Whew! Here are some more of my favorite pictures from our time in Rome! Prepare for picture overload...

Inside the Colosseum.

Inside the Vatican museum - headed to the Sistine Chapel.
The Vatican museum's famous exit...
Of course, we also made it to the Spanish steps and Trevi Fountain! :)  Here are some more shots of those stops:

Finally, no trip to Rome is complete without GELATO, PIZZA & COFFEE! :) Yum!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bellagio & Brunate

During Kate and Kent's visit, we also took the ferry and funicolare! We rode the ferry  - stopping at Lecco and then re-boarding and riding on to Bellagio, with a picnic and some hiking around small lake towns in between. The weather was awesome - sunny and mostly clear, so our views of the lake were gorgeous. Lake Como is situated in (what we have been told) are the pre-Alps. It's one of the deepest lakes in Europe and is dotted with beautiful little Italian villages. The two-hour boat ride is definitely scenic!

Looking for fish! 

We also took the cable car up to Brunate for an afternoon/evening of awesome views. Even though it was an overcast day, we left shortly after dark and saw the lights of Como from above, which was a special treat - it was amazing how much of town we could still see at night.

Going up!
Here's where the cable cars go around each other... One going up, one down.
One of my favorites - inside the cable car.

Como at night! :)

In & Around Como

You mean I ordered THIS?! Shells and all?
While Kent and Kate visited, we had some really fun adventures right around Como. Originally, we were planning to spend a night in Lucerne, Switzerland (which is about 3 hours from here) but Eva's and my paperwork is still not complete. Our immigration consultant recommended staying in Italy! So we stayed. It's taking forever for the paperwork to be processed, and we're beginning to wonder if it'll even be done by December - and how that will effect our trip home for Christmas. So we continue to wait...

It was great to get to celebrate Kent's birthday here in Italy! (We also got to celebrate Dad's birthday during my parents' trip in August! A fun coincidence.) We went out for a birthday dinner at a restaurant recommended by many of Cole's coworkers. Kate even tried a seafood dish! This was stepping way outside of her comfort zone... We're talking about clams and jumbo shrimp still in their shells. Eyeballs present. ;) You get the drift!

We also took a hike near Como to Baradello Castle - along the route we finally found chesnuts! Cole's boss here had been telling us we could gather them and then roast them since it's chestnut season right now. So we gave it a try! We weren't too impressed with the flavor, but it was fun. I also bought some from a street vendor in Rome to compare ours with his... His definitely had a better flavor, but still weren't a hit with the group... Anyway, here are some more photos from our hike.

Eva's favorite place to be... 
Reading about the castle...
The view was pretty awesome! :) Looking down over Lake Como, towards Switzerland and also the Po Valley.

Gathering chestnuts...
They were excited! :) 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Visitors - Round II

Kent's birthday dinner! 
Our second round of visitors left us Sunday and it was tough saying good-bye once again. Seeing Cole's parents interact with Eva was really neat! It also made us feel guilty for having her so far away from our families... We are counting down the days to our trip back in December - and looking forward to all the fun times to be had once we're back in KS! Here are a few of our favorite photos of Eva with Grandma and Grandpa Eilders. More stories and photos of our Eilders' Italian adventures to come...

What is that furry thing on your face, grandpa?
Headed up to Brunate on the cable car!