John and Marleah Parks


John and Marleah Parks

We live in Denver, CO & were both born & raised here which has become very rare indeed! John is the Executive Chef Instructor at a Culinary School. Marleah is a Housewife & a crafter/maker. John speaks German, Spanish, Italian & some French. Marleah speaks some English & Kitty Cat (our two cats are everything to us!). John is a musician, loves music & books. Marleah loves gardening, music & books. We love Rock N Roll, Punk, Glam, Goth, Metal... the list is so long! One of our greatest enjoyments is traveling even though it's getting harder as we get older. We love Europe & especially Germany!

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Parma October 2nd 2015

DAY 16 - Friday We are going home today. Up at 5am and ready to go. The guy at the desk this morning argued with John for 15 minutes trying to get him to pay for the entire groups extra add-ons. Plus, John had another person in his room (me), that costs extra and laundry service that we never used. John was so pissed because everything was prepaid through Cook Street and Barilla. The hotel person finally figured that out and we were free to go. It was an annoying way to start our day. It's raining again today, we had planned to walk to the train station but decided to take a cab. The train to Milan Centrale took 2 hrs, the train to Malpensa airport took 45 min, check in at the airport was ... read more
Milan Central Train Station
Silly Faces!

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Modena October 1st 2015

DAY 15 - Thursday Another all day tour focusing on Bologna and Modena. A couple of people in the group decided to skip today. Cindy has food poisoning, she went out for dinner and was craving vegetables, ate a bunch of spinach and it made her very sick. She should have eaten that glutenous pizza instead... The other person, Vince, said "his throat is scratchy" but we think he's fine. He's had the hardest time getting along with everyone, he's very bossy, loud and tends to "know everything". He probably was tired of everyone calling him out and getting mad at him. He'll enjoy the break. It's cold and raining pretty hard, adding to the fatigue of the group. Everyone is in pretty good spirits considering, but it's apparent that trip is almost over and niceties ... read more

Europe » Italy » Piedmont » Alba September 28th 2015

DAY 12 - Monday Monday morning, John went to school with the students. Desserts. Not really a lot of new ground being broken, but interesting none the less. John left about halfway through, mostly because he couldn't deal with watching his students being such disrespectful, childish jerks. All of the shenanigans, all of the acting out. Too much, so back to the hotel to spend the day relaxing. Marleah was still not doing well, cramps and just feeling bad, so we didn't do much of anything until it was time to get dinner. One of the chefs at Barilla works at a Sardinian restaurant and invited the students to check it out so a group of us went. A couple from Denver who've taken lots of classes at Cook Street and 4 others joined us. The ... read more
Dessert Day
Dessert Day
Ravioli at the Sardinian Restaurant

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Bologna September 26th 2015

DAY 10 - Saturday The group has the weekend off from any planned activities or classes and most of the students are going site seeing in other cities. We're going to stick close by and take some time to be by ourselves. Most days we run into someone from our group, on the street or at the hotel. And most days we end up joining someone or multiple someones for dinner, beers at a bar or wine in the lobby. Both of us need some down time in life, to be away from people and in our own private bubble. Saturday morning, sleeping in, there's nothing better! The sun is shining, it's perfectly warm outside and perfectly gorgeous. The air in Parma always smells like green things and vegetation, it's wonderful. Must be because of all ... read more
Breakfast Crepes
Oldest University in the World!
Palazzo Dell'Archiginnasio Bologna

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Parma September 23rd 2015

DAY 7 - Wednesday John felt guilty about skipping school so he went to school with the students. The focus this day was a tasting lecture, including traditional Italian cheeses, cured meats and wine. Nothing new for Cook Street students but hearing it all from a different voice in a fantastic place always puts new life into a subject. The tasting examples where amazing, especially the lardo; pork fat cured in spices and local salt. John has made this at the school, but here in this environment it seems to have more sex appeal. Marleah spent the morning sleeping in, lounging around the room, taking a bath and then around 1:00 walked down to the Barilla Center to meet John for lunch. It's about a 15 minute walk, the sun is shining but the wind is ... read more
Tasting Lecture Day
Cool Door

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Parma September 20th 2015

DAY 4 - Sunday This morning, before the sun was up, we had to catch a train to the airport to meet John's students as they arrived. The trains/train stations are hard to figure out here, not very informative (which we'll come to find out is that way everywhere we are in Italy). We asked an employee where to go and went there. Thankfully, he realized he told us the wrong information and came to tell us the correct platform we needed to be on. It was very kind and very thoughtful of him to do that and made our day much easier. After having some airport coffee we sat at the arrival area to greet the students as they came out. Barilla Academy (our hosts in Parma) met us and provided bus transportation to Parma. ... read more
Witch Weather Vane
Palio Festival
My New Harvest Crown

Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Milan September 17th 2015

DAY 1 - Thursday Our lives have been so insanely busy for the last few weeks, we worked up until the last minute, finishing up right before we walked out the door. As usual, it's very hard to say goodbye to our baby kitties, knowing how sad they are when we leave. The airport was smooth and fast, security has lessened a lot for now. We flew to New York and had to change planes. The 8 hour flight to Milan was one of the most uncomfortable, awful flights we've taken. Marleah has really bad knees and was in misery, the food was horrible, we had only gotten 2 hours of sleep the night before and it's so hard to sleep on the plane. We managed to make it through fueled by our excitement for Italy ... read more
"Mom. Dad. Where do you think you're going?"
"I'm in your bag, I want to come."
Airport Bound

North America » United States » Florida » Miami Beach September 25th 2014

Lazy Day We stayed in bed almost all day today. Slept in until 11, stayed in bed drinking coffee and watching tv until around 3. It's very dark and cloudy outside today, thunder and lightning, sporadic downpour rainstorms. We were hoping we could spend the day at the beach today but that's probably not going to work out. At 3:30 we got way too hungry to stay in the room so we walked up the street to a burger place called Top Burger. They should have called their place Bottom Burger. Wasn't good at all. Sigh. Also, it started monsoon raining as soon as we walked in the door so we got stuck sitting in there for a while. Back to the room for more bed, tv, naps, etc. At 10:30 we went next door to ... read more
In Bed All Day
The View From Our Window
Another Rain Storm

North America » United States » Florida » Miami Beach September 24th 2014

"...a bit of the old ultra-violence" Do you know what heat and crazy amounts of humidity does to a person? Do you know what it does to people from Colorado who are used to the dryness? It's exhausting!!!! We slept in late today, got up at 11. So far the food/drinks have been pretty weird so we walked about 6 blocks to get Starbucks, something we knew would taste the way it was supposed to. It didn't. Another 5 blocks is an outdoor mall area, we bought some flip flops and then went back to Española Way for a light lunch at a mexican restaurant Nachos and lemonade. Sometimes when you're traveling you need to stop and rest and eat instead of pushing yourself too hard. Little breaks can save your life, so can air conditioning. ... read more
Española Way
Mexican Food for Lunch
Clockwork Orange

North America » United States » Florida » Miami Beach September 23rd 2014

In Between Days It was still raining when we woke up this morning. Is this going to be the outcome of all our vacations? Our hotel offers a pretty good free breakfast buffet, we slept in and made it down there 15 minutes before it ended. Meat, fruit, potatoes, juice and coffee. Not the typical hotel breakfast, it was pretty good. Since it's been raining nonstop it dripped on us most of the time. We entertained ourselves by guessing what country people were from based on weird fashion choices, one of our favorite games. Fake Burberry hat and matching tshirt trim (Russia, obviously) was the winner today. Is that a mean game to play? Spent most of the rest of the morning and early afternoon lounging around the room. When the rain stopped we put on ... read more
The Beacon Hotel
Marleah at the Beach

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