Stopover in Oslo

One of the nice things of traveling trans-continentally fairly often is finding a place to do a little stop over. This time around I decided to stop in Norway for a few days on my way from the States back to Italy. 

Though I only stayed in Oslo, Norway was breathtaking. And I've heard it only gets better the further north you go. 

If you find your way to Oslo, stay in the Grünerløkka neighborhood. It's hip and cool and has awesome street art (ie: that psychedelic peacock). 

Visit their National Gallery to see Munch's Scream and Rodin's Thinker. 

Go to the Viking Ship Museum to see, well.. a viking ship. 

There are beautiful parks and waterfronts to stroll along. 

Anyways.. Norway is definetly one of those places I'll be returning to some day. 

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It's hay season

For those people who know me really well, they know how ironic it is when I say I grew up on a farm. And that's as much as I'm going to say about that right now.

I spent a few days in the Casentino valley of Tuscany last week. The pastures were full and the grass was tall and some was in the process of being cut and baled into hay. I couldn't help but think of my childhood, when I would run through the grass as tall (or taller) as I was. The scent of drying hay that passed through the valley reminded me of sitting on the front porch of my childhood home in the late evening, enjoying that very same scent. I watched a well tanned Italian farmer on a tractor raking the hay into rows about to be baled and remembered learning to drive a machine much like that one, well before I could even drive a car. I watched the farmer pass back and forth across his field in the summer heat and wondered if my dad was doing the very same thing back in Arkansas. And if he remembered to wear sunscreen this time. 

An old favorite, through new eyes

I go to Rome at least three times a year for my job and I visit the same places each time. Don't get me wrong, I love going back to the same places because it is impossible to take everything in during just one visit. But going back to the same places does make the trip feel a bit more routine, at least for me. 

This Spring, two dear friends of mine came over to Italy for a visit and for their first trip to Europe ever. After ever turn we made, down every step, over every hill, they couldn't help but be amazed by all that we saw and did. Their excitement and energy was contagious and made me shake of the "routine" lenses over my eyes that I had been seeing everything through.

Sometimes we need people to step into our world and give us a slap in the face (metaphorically speaking) in order for us to see just how amazing our "every day" lives are. 

Below are some memories from our time in the Eternal City. 

If you are looking to travel to Rome and wondering where to stay, I would suggest an Airbnb in the Trastevere neighborhood. It's quiet and quaint and a breath of fresh air after battling the masses in St. Peter's or the Forum. There are plenty of taxi stands and bus stops to get you around the city. Or walk along the Tiber to get from point 'A' to point 'B'. Our apartment was in a gated neighborhood right below Janiculum hill (Gianicolo in Italian). It was a short walk up to the top that offers spectacular panoramas of the whole city.  Don't miss the Isola Tiberina, the little island in the middle of the river, and it's pedestrian only. It's a great place to stop for a gelato, just sayin'. If you plan on going to the Vatican City, definitely reserve online even if you are only three people! It makes things much easier, trust me.