Tuesday, August 2, 2016


My long weekend in Norway seems like a zillion travel days ago.

And, truthfully, it was. 

I've left the post about it looming since the beginning of June, so let's get to it!

Norway is a destination that's been on the "to do" list for awhile now. 

I've had the opportunity to visit many other major Scandinavian cities, but Oslo just hadn't made the destination list in the past few years. 

Our long weekend in June seemed like a prime time to head north, with the potential for great spring weather and the hope of avoiding the cold spells associated with cities at this northern latitude. 

Flights in and out of Oslo from Milan fly about once a day in one direction, so it's not easy to do a quick trip. Thankfully, we had a four day weekend, so we left late on a Wednesday night and flew back early Sunday morning. On our way there we were treated to a great view of the sunset from above the clouds.

In addition to the beautiful views during our flight, we lucked out with what has to have been one of Oslo's best weekends of weather. The skies were blue, the temperatures were just right...perfection!

We tried out the free walking tour during our first day in town. It didn't leave us with the best first impression of Oslo. The guide was difficult to understand, we were skipping things that we were interested to see and, at first glance, Oslo isn't outwardly beautiful.

Oslo's Opera House-
You can walk all around it and on its roof. Really cool!

The tour wasn't too long and we were able to explore on our own. We went back to the City Hall. This building was my favorite, for sure, and had the most impressive tapestries and details. This is the building where the Nobel Prize ceremony is held every year.

room where Nobel ceremony is held

We also wandered around the marina and then walked all the way out to the sculpture garden. It was actually so hot we took cat naps on benches before exploring around the park. I loved all the green space, but, quite frankly many of sculptures are super weird and not really interesting to me.

With the the Oslo Use-it map in hand, we walked through another part of the city the following day and found some handmade and vintage shops, along with some cool street art.

We took the metro out of the city to the end of the line and spent a couple hours wandering the Sognsvann Lake. So peaceful and clean! It was a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and easy to get to.

Lake water in Oslo. So clean!

That afternoon proved to be quite a fun day to explore Oslo. It was National Music Day so there were stages set up all over the city with varying types of live music being played. I thought it was really awesome and stopped to listen to several bands as I did a little shopping.

The first Saturday in June brings musicians out around the city!

We stayed here. This apartment was in a good location for us as tourists, so I'd definitely recommend it.

We ate here, herehere, and here. Two thumbs up for all four. The Indian place was probably the least exciting of all of them. And as you might expect, prices are high in Norway, so plan accordingly.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Dinner Around the City.

Recently some friends and I tried out the ATMosfera, the tram that serves dinner while driving around the city. 

Overall, we loved the experience and it was an awesome way to send Peggy off into retirement in style.

You meet the tram at Piazza Castello. Between the EXPO gates, facing the fountain, head to the right side to find this sign, the pickup point.

There are two trams that run most nights.

Inside the tram. There are seats for groups of two and four.

My dining partners.

Our waiter. He was super friendly and spoke both Italian and English.

Angela and I split the vegetarian and fish menus. There were things on both we wanted to try. This is a sampling of some of the courses.

Most of the food is prepared in advance and warmed or put together on the tram. I must admit, the food was not amazing, though it did look pretty good!

Us on the tram. It really is such a fun experience.

Want to dine on the tram while in Milan? Make online reservations here. You can find the menus here. I thought the online booking was pretty easy, but the menus were a bit hard to find. This would be a really nice experience while visiting Milan, so despite the average food, I highly recommend it!

Monday, June 6, 2016

a museum of things.

So, there's this place

in what's essentially the middle of nowhere

filled with things.

Stacia had been talking about this place for quite some time,

but I just wasn't so sure.

I agreed to go and see about this place anyways.

We took a fast train to Parma, and then a regional train to Fornovo.

And then we walked about 45 minutes to this odd museum.

I hope you notice me using that word loosely.

It is quite literally a museum of stuff.

Over the course of his lifetime, Ettore Guatelli collected things.

And then began organizing them to cover every space of his family home.

There are rooms of tools, rooms of ceramics, clocks, containers,  and more.

Stacia took probably 5,000 pictures.

She was WAYYYYYYYY excited!

I thought it was definitely...interesting...

...and if you happened to be near Parma with an afternoon to spare this might be worth taking a look.

But, I would definitely email in advance to make sure they'll be open.

And when the guided tours will be. A tour is the only way to see around the museum.

And it was in Italian...but someone was translating for their friend, so that helped us out too.

Have you ever seen anything like this?

It's like "Hoarders" on crack.

If you want to go see it for yourself...

Museo Guatelli

Email them for more information

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Odds and Ends. Volume III.

Let's see...

Latest happenings around here:

Caitlin, Sofia and I went to see Troye Sivan at Alcatraz at the beginning of May. It was like going to a Justin Bieber concert before Justin Bieber was Justin Bieber.

Lots of screaming teenagers.

But we still had a good time.

Can you even enjoy a concert through your eyes any more? It seems like it is easier to watch through everyone else's cell phone, which is frustrating.

I did a second round of Whole 30 recently.

I learned how to use cauliflower in a ton of new ways.

Like for the crust of this pizza. Unlike this recipe, I made it without cheese.

I finally put the comforter on my bed and made my new bedroom look amazing one day!

It did, in fact, only last one day, as I don't keep this comforter on the bed day to day.

I tried another well known gelateria recently.

La Bottega del Gelato is known for there many fruit flavors.

I had strawberry and peach.

It was delicious!

You can find this shop near the Loreto metro stop.

And Caitlin and I finally got around to trying Dry, a modern pizzeria we had read about. Since we had just finished the whole 30 we shared a pizza and a salad.

Our review: AVERAGE.

The pizza was small, but good. The salad was good. With 1 glass of wine for me and 1 beer for Caitlin, the bill came to €37.

And that's expensive!

My neighborhood is home to the Giardino delle Culture. Popcorn Blogazine recently held one of their garage markets in the garden and all kinds of vendors came to sell handmade goods and other vintage finds. A lot of the stuff was similar to what I saw at the East End Market a few months back.

Including these bags.

I had admired them back at the other market and resisted. 

This time I said yes!!


Other cool happenings in Milan to share? Let me know!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Paris in the Spring

Our Spring Break came fairly early this year.

And I had my big Learning2 conference happening the week we were back in school, so I didn't feel like I could travel the whole week.

I settled for a long weekend in Paris.

Oh, I know, I lead a horrible life.

My friend Marc and I agreed to meet for the weekend and see the sights of the City of Lights.

Marc and I met way back in 2013 in Cork when we both became Apple Distinguished Educators.

Our first afternoon we just wandered about, enjoying the super blue skies!

We found this oh-so-interesting man floating around outside a church. We actually walked around the block and circled back to sit down and watch him for a bit. He blends in a bit, but see if you can see his outfit near the street light.

Over the Seine.


We stopped in Gerard Mulot and bought some treats. I chose macarons.

What else would you choose while in Paris??

The next day we went to Versailles. I had wanted to rent bikes and just ride around.

So that's what we did.

The following day we strolled the market and a couple different areas of Paris.

We had one final day in Paris so we walked up to the 18th Arrondissement and Montmartre.

We strolled passed Moulin Rouge.

Sacre Coeur- These blue skies didn't last long! We were soon trying to dodge the rain and hail.

There are some nice views of the city from high atop the 18th.

This district of Paris is really quite charming.

Another of the world's most beautiful Starbucks. You can't even see it, but it's on the top level of this beautiful shopping mall.

Marc and I had a great weekend in Paris. I can't wait to go back!

Who wants to come with next time?