Jim & Lisa


Jim & Lisa

Traveling the world in search of fun, food, historical sites, and beer.

Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Como June 8th 2014

Day 24, Thursday, June 5 This is our last full day of spending the day in one place without traveling so we took the slow boat ferry from Como to Bellagio on Lake Como. The one-way trip takes 2 hours. The ferry makes about 8 stops on the way and it is a wonderful way to see all the small towns that are nestled right next to the Lake. Lakeside are very large villas and we overheard a guide tell his customers where George Clooney’s villa is and it was not long before everyone on the ferry was snapping pictures of a large home on the side of the Lake. For all we know it could belong to anyone but it made for a good story. As the ferry reached Bellagio we could see the five ... read more
Lake Como
Looking toward Switzerland
Lake Como Villa

Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Como June 6th 2014

Day 22, Tuesday, June 3 Our last full day at the farm stay and the weather was very nice so we decided to hang out there for the morning and then venture out after the afternoon siesta break when all the stores reopen. Our first stop was the blog bench to post our latest blog and check email. Our next stop was a spot Jim noticed on our way to Parma a few days earlier, another cheese and cured meat store called Fattoria. The store specializes in cured meats of all kinds but also sells Parmesan cheese of various ages, and local wines. Jim was surprised to find the store had shopping carts and he wished he could fill one up and take it all home. Unfortunately U.S. Customs laws do not allow cured meats to ... read more
Parmesan Cheese Kettle
Castle in Fontanellato
Castle in Fontanellato

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Salsomaggiore Terme June 5th 2014

Day 20, Sunday, June 1 Since our arrival at our farm stay we have talked about walking into the city of Salsomaggiore is about a 2 mile walk. Getting there is not a problem as most of the walk is downhill. It is the trek back that we were not looking forward to. After a cup of coffee and breakfast we headed toward the city center. The road to get there is narrow so looking out for an Italian driver is a must and Lisa is once again on high alert. Not only for drivers, but snakes as well even though we have not seen one since we got here. After about an hours walk we were in the city center but since it was Sunday only the cafes and restaurants were open. On Saturday we ... read more
Jim's lunch at Porchetta

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Parma June 3rd 2014

Day 17, Thursday, May 29 See the pictures from the previous blog, Jim jumped the gun on posting the pictures from our day, he was on a meat and cheese high! This is our first full day in the area and it has been reserved for a full-day food tour to see how Parmesan cheese, prosciutto, and balsamic vinegar is made. The email we had received advised us to meet our personal guide at a restaurant just off the Autostrada in Parma but the instructions were not very clear so we left a little early just in case. There are three exits for Parma and our instructions were to exit off the Autostrada in Parma and look for a particular restaurant and wait in the parking lot for our guide. We decided to split the different ... read more
All sizes of porcini mushrooms
Veggie van selling at the market
Lisa in Salsomaggiore

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Parma May 31st 2014

Day 15, Tuesday, May 27 The weather was not the best but we decided to take a drive north to the Chianti wine region. Again our friendly GPS took us on some back roads but eventually we found the Autostrada that took us to an exit to Greve in Chianti, a small town Jim read about that is in the heart of Chianti. Once again we found ourselves on tiny country roads that meandered through small hill towns with roads just big enough for one car to squeeze through which made Lisa very nervous. In addition it rained on and off, sometimes heavy. About an hour after leaving the farm we arrived in Greve in Chianti, parked the car and found a small trattoria to have lunch. Since it was a little cold the outdoor seating ... read more
Chianti Hill Town
Farm Stay in Salsomaggorie
Farm Stay in Salsomaggorie

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Parma May 30th 2014

Day 13, Sunday, May 25 The weather on Sunday was warm and sunny so it was a chance to sit out on our patio and enjoy the sun. Lisa was on high alert looking for Frank the snake but he was nowhere to be found. There were however a number of small lizards all around us, and ants of various different sizes. Flying insects are of various sizes included some large bumble bees that sound like 747s and Jim swore he saw numbers and letters on the side of one. With no real plans for the day Gianna suggested we visit a small Enoteca (wine bar) in the village of Monticiano to taste some local wines, about a 10-minute drive from our house. So with four good tires we jumped in the car and drove to ... read more
Abbey at San Galgano
Inside the Abbey
Jim next to a big door at the Abbey

Europe » Italy » Tuscany May 28th 2014

Day 11, Friday, May 23 (Before we start, in our last posting we misstated the date the house we are staying in was originally built. It was approximately 300 AD, not 700 AD.) The weather was not very good today with expected thunderstorms so we decided to stay in and read a book, Dan Brown’s Inferno. The story takes place mostly in Florence so it should give us an idea of what we want to see when we visit. It was a pajama / sweatpants day, as we did not get dressed to go out at all. Jim was quite disappointed that the thunderstorms called for in the forecast did not appear. Of course they may have and we just didn’t see or hear them. Gianna dropped by with some gifts. She brought us a bottle ... read more
Overlooking the Tuscan Country Side
The Infamous Car that had the flat tire
Selfie in Pisa

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Chiusdino May 25th 2014

Day 9, Wednesday, May 21 Lisa has been dreading this moment. We are leaving Sorrento with a rental car. Because we are preferred members with Europcar we are upgraded for free to an Alfa Romeo. Nice car BUT we have to get out of this town. Lisa is convinced that we will not have the passenger side mirror in the next 5 miles. She is wrong but it only took 13 minutes to jump the curb. She wasn’t timing any of this by the way, (Like she could have done better!). Jim got an overview of the toll system in Italy before we left Sorrento. We weren’t sure how many toll booths we were going to have to go through but we knew we were going to be on the road for about 5 hours not ... read more
Our House in Tuscany
Outdoor Dining
Lounging Area

Europe » Italy » Campania » Sorrento May 22nd 2014

Day 7, May 19 – Sorrento & Naples Our plan while in Sorrento was to visit Naples and Pompeii on day trips. Since Naples is the birthplace of pizza Jim just had to go to see how the master pizza bakers make a true Neapolitan thin crust pizza. From all the information we read in guidebooks, taking the commuter train from Sorrento to Naples was not safe so we decided to take the ferry from Sorrento to Naples, which is a 30-minute trip. Naples is known for the best pizza in the world but also a city that has a high crime rate, high unemployment, and not very clean. With all that to consider we decided to make the trip (translation – Jim had to have a pizza from Naples). The ferries are usually on time ... read more
The Breakfast Room at our Hotel
Our Little Terrace
Pizza in Naples

Europe » Italy » Campania » Sorrento May 20th 2014

Day 5, Saturday – Rome on our own. After three days of tours it was finally a chance for us to just wander around Rome on our own (although we walked most of it already). While in the area of the Colosseum we did not get a chance to see the Circus Maximus, which was a sports arena that could hold 200,000 spectators. This is where major chariot races were held. So instead of walking we went to the Termini Rail Station to get our train tickets to Sorrento for tomorrow and a day pass for the metro which includes the bus lines as well. A guide from our previous tour explained that there are a couple of reasons why there are only two metro lines (A and B) underground. First of all, the Italians are ... read more
Entrance to our Hotel in Sorrento
Big dog at the pub

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