Thursday, July 31, 2014

Roaming Roman Cobblestones

The size of Rome is perfect! We found it easy to walk from area to area and there are so many pedestrian zones that a sense of peacefulness seems to spread out and about. Getting away from the cars and walking down the cobblestones makes for a lovely afternoon. After we left the Colosseum area and enjoyed a quick sidewalk cafe, we continued wandering around...

Tiny streets where the walls of buildings seem to gently press in opened up to grand piazzas with fountains, statues, obelisks or other surprises.

Marcus Aurelius Column

As we roamed, a general direction was set and we hoped to stumble upon a fun site. At one point, we came upon what seemed to be opening up to quite a large square. The Pantheon loomed at the back end of the piazza.

Street artists hang out in many places and this lady's work was interesting. Her art took form on what appeared to be discarded pizza boxes or other form of cardboard.

Rest break outside of the Pantheon
 A bit further along found us stumbling into the Piazza Campo De Fiori. A flower, pasta, vegetable market fills this square though it's better to get there earlier in the day as vendors begin packing up fairly early.
A statue of the philosopher Giordano Bruno - burnt alive for heresy
 So much pasta...

Piazza Navona is a large square with a beautiful church, gorgeous fountains and a lot of activity.

Crossing the Tiber River

What's the trick of these two guys?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rome - the Colosseum and more

Several months ago Mamie-O and OleFar made a lovely suggestion: leave their precious granddaughters with them and take some time off. How long? Oh, a week sounds good...  We jumped on that fantastic idea and immediately booked tickets for Rome before they came to their senses (we're talking about the McMonsters after all).

Arriving at the Geneva airport with only a small backpack each made us feel like something was left behind. Nope, just us having a trip together! Sleeping in the next morning was akin to winning the lottery.

A beautiful day dawned and fortunately Krista purchased tickets to the big sites in advance (travel tip - do this! The lines of people waiting to get tickets were hours long.) Rome is a wonderful place to wander about and it's relative small size makes it super easy. Our first day was packed!

Trajan's Market

Outside of the Colosseum

Palatine Hill - 
Hippodrome of Domitian

Rome from Palatine Hill

Arches in the Roman Forum

Modern girl - old place

Inside the Colosseum - a floor once covered the maze of cells

Roman Forum 

Whew, all those sites (and pounding the pavement) took us to midday. What next? Gelato in espresso, of course!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A beautiful day

Summer - it's about great days with those you love. Time goes out the window. Forget about schedules. Just explore and appreciate each other. This was one of those wonderful summer days.

Walking through the village streets

Sheep & Church

The lake at the bottom of the hill.

Striding & hiding

XO experimenting with her jogging stance

Beautiful clouds as sky decorations

Getting comfortable in the (cold) water.

Great day!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Foudue night

What do we do in France? We eat. Well. The girls' first fondue was loved by one and approached in a tentative manner by the other. It's almost impossible to beat a fondue in the land of comte. Such a delicious and simple meal...

Cut-up a baguette.

Heat cheese and wine (slowly, slowly, slowly)

Battle your neighbor for positioning and enjoy!

Happy 4th of July!

The fourth dawned with me racing down a rocky hill on my loaner-mountain bike. Rolling out of bed, it seem like the best way to get the 4th started included a batch of croissants from the local boulangerie. Sneaking out of the house before Krista and the wee ones awoke, I wiped the sleep from my eyes, ignored the fact that I coffee was not yet present in my veins, hoped the rain-soaked terrain would not punish me too much, and began pedaling. A few rocky slips and a close-call with a barbed-wire fence later, I ordered croissants for the family and made it back home just as others woke up. Who doesn't like fresh croissants first thing in the morning?

In the afternoon, we drove to Besancon (a large city about an hour away) for the second round of rabies vaccines - living abroad gives us access to oh so many more shots! The girls immediately recognized the halls of the hospital and were not impressed to have returned but were soon pricked and out again. In the evening, we hosted an American-style cook-out "a la Francaise" for some neighbors.
Firing up the vintage grill

In true Portland style, it rained for the 4th though a great time was had by all.
Rain-soaked & enjoying a water-shooter.
 Ice cream ending - we hope all had a wonderful 4th!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tarte a l'Oignon

Cooking lessons! The girls sat down with Mamie-O to prepare the famous onion pie for dinner.

Starting off - measuring flour and buttering pie tins

Getting pie tins ready - the girls decided to work the flour up a bit

It's always good to take a long drink of the flour.


Get the flour out of the tin!

 At some point SLM got distracted and decided to take care of her dragon.

Rolling out the dough.

Pricking the dough with a fork.

 Hmmm, what's she up to?

The dragon needed to be comfortable on the potty with lots of reading material.

Back in the fold - SLM rolls out her own dough.

Beating up eggs

The finished product! Tarte a l'oignon ready for dinner.