Lisa Scott

TheMcNamaras

Lisa Scott

This is the travel blog for Frank, Lisa, Isabel and Hugo as we begin our big adventure in Italy and France.



North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago June 5th 2017

Well, we had the Cook's tour of Oak Park after arriving in Chicago last night. Suffice to say that we had no technology, therefore no maps when we pulled out of the Hertz rental car place, so I had to follow my nose and a very sketchy Chicago overview to try to get to my friend Julie's place in Oak Park. Oak Park was no problem, but two hours later I was still searching for Home Avenue. Note to self: Screen shot the route on phone before leaving Australia next time. Luckily, Hugo spied a T-mobile shop and we quickly bought a US Sim - just not in time to make it to Thomas' graduation dinner but all good for a celebratory champagne! The funniest part of the night was getting home and suggesting that Hugo ... read more
The Bean
Walking home past the retro Lake Cinema
He wasn't tired

North America » United States » Illinois » Chicago June 4th 2017

It was an early start this morning but we are excited and waiting in the departure lounge for our flight to Chicago. Everything is prepared and packed for the Future Problem Solvers Competition in Wisconsin and after that we are off on the adventure of a lifetime for a boy and his mum!... read more

Europe » Italy » Aosta Valley » Cogne July 13th 2016

How you could wake up wobbly here, with that view, I don't know, but I suppose it had to happen at some stage. When I think about why, it's Isabel's birthday so we are feeling bad we're not at home, we've been pushing the envelope to bursting for a couple of weeks now, and sleep deprivation and I don't go well together. So, anyway, I was in two minds about inflicting my mood on others on the walk and thought seriously about spending the day just relaxing at the hotel - not a bad option! In the end though, I pulled it together and went along, not wanting to miss the very last hike. I really stomped up those mountain trails at the beginning, making sure I was a distance in front of everyone and hoping ... read more
Cate and Greg, Gimillan hike
We walked down the hill to the river, then across the bridge and up up up.
Mick reading to everybody after lunch

Europe » Italy » Aosta Valley July 12th 2016

Those of you who know Frank well, know that he dances on the inside. It takes something special to get him up on the dance floor and today, the Hotel Bellevue was it. We all fell under its spell. Part of the magic was that when we first arrived, just after lunch, the whole area was shrouded in low cloud and light rain was falling. All the surprises were still to be revealed. It was our first walk in the rain so far, but the dampness didn't spoil the mood. The grey day changed the beautiful colour of the river, but I loved the wispy cloud that floated amongst to pine trees. We said goodbye to the lovely Hector and Courmayeur quite early (I can't believe we never learned his real name!) and after a short ... read more
Our first rainy walk
One of Jackie's delicious picnic desserts
Flowers everywhere

Europe » Italy » Aosta Valley July 11th 2016

Today I happened to get a good phone signal at one of the highest (and coldest) points on our walk, so it was too good an opportunity to miss. While the point of coming on a trip like this has been to get away from our phones and computers for a while, it has been tricky trying to connect with the children at exactly the right time on some days. The family is on three different continents at the moment. Hugo was quite impressed when I told him I was calling from the top of a snowy mountain pass, overlooking the glaciers, so I promised a photo. Here it is, Hugo! We had just picked our way through a patch of snow on the side of the hill and I was, unusually, at the front of ... read more
We have signal!
Walking through the snow
River crossing

Europe » Italy » Aosta Valley » Courmayeur July 9th 2016

"Please put down ice axes and backpacks". Well, that sign does make you wonder what sort of mishaps have occurred in the Skyway Visitor's Centre lift before people even made it out to the snow! After a great breakfast at Cresta et Duc with immaculate service from a guy who looked just like Hector Elizondo, we walked down the hill in Courmayeur to the brand new Skyway cable car, not really knowing what to expect up on the glacier. It was brilliant blue sky down below, but as we are frequently warned, things can change pretty quickly high in the mountains. I snapped a picture of the ticket booth because it suddenly occurred to me that we hadn't pulled out a wallet in days! That has got to be one of the nicest parts about being ... read more
Excellent sign in the lift.
Crowded into the cable car
The snowball fight

Europe » Italy » Aosta Valley July 9th 2016

Not surprisingly, it was a bit of an effort getting packed up and down to the van by 8.30am this morning! We were soon off to Aosta for a visit to the Roman Theatre, and with a bit of luck, some hidden frescoes in a little church off the beaten track. Aosta is the capital of the Val d'Aosta and it really felt that way when we entered the city via the huge Roman Arch and began making our way through the old town. Little things that I've never seen still amuse me - l thought an ice-cream truck was coming when I heard tinkling music and saw a tiny van lurching down the street, but it was actually selling blow-up toys like you would see at the Royal Melbourne Show. Scores of them! The main ... read more
Greg, Cate, Julie at lunch, Aosta
Parco Aventuras di Mont Blanc
Adventure with a view

Europe » Italy » Aosta Valley » Arnad July 8th 2016

Today Cate saw "A deerish, goatish thing" shortly after we began our big climb to the land above the tree line. She got a fair bit of ribbing about that, too, but I believed her - unlike some who likened her "Deerish, goatish thing" to a Mr Tumnus vision caused by lack of oxygen as we puffed up the steep trail. Mick, who I guess had to at least try to believe, suggested that as the creature was quite small, it might have been a chamois. I had never heard of chamois (Except in car-cleaning talk), but Frank reminded me there had been a few stuffed versions in the Alpine Museum that I'd deliberately avoided. This walk was one of the biggest on the hike- and once again proved that kilometres on a brochure can be ... read more
Breathtaking, really.
Jackie hiked in the picnic
Post-lunch nap

Europe » Italy » Aosta Valley July 7th 2016

We've had a lot of fun today with a new Italian phrase we learned from our guide at Queen Margherita of Savoy's fairytale castle in Gressoney-St-Jean. Apparently she was "Una Buona Forchetta" (Literally, "Good on the Fork"). This phrase can be used to describe a lover of good food if you are being polite, or, reading between the lines in this case, someone who just likes to eat far too much. All good if you are a queen, except for the poor men who used to have to carry her up to the peaks of Monte Rosa on a massive chair, or pull her through the snow on her special wooden sled! We got the feeling during the tour that there was not too much love lost between ordinary Italians and this royal family. The walking ... read more
The church in the valley
Swimming pool, Gressoney-St Jean
Wildflowers, Gressoney Valley

Europe » Italy July 6th 2016

Not wanting to waste a moment this morning, we booked tickets online to go up to the viewing platform on Mole Antonelliana as soon as it opened, and before the rendezvous time for our hike. I have been wondering for ages why the big tower in Turin is called a mole. Apparently in Italian, the term 'mole', refers to a building of monumental proportions. That description fits perfectly. We'd actually been warned about monumental queues (In addition to being able to marvel at it's monumental size), but we were very pleasantly surprised when we walked straight in and right up to the great glass elevator. No queue at all. As we stared up through the glass ceiling then burst through the roof, it really did feel like we were living Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! The ... read more
Beautiful picnic lunch
Roman arch at Donnas.  Tolls were collected here
Approaching the fortress, Bard




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