Category Archives: Travels

An offer you can’t refuse

Disclaimer:  This is pretty much an offer you can’t refuse.  If you think you want to say no, don’t read on. Seriously. Stop now before it’s too late.

Alright fine…

A year has passed since news came out about a town in Sicily offering property for 1 euro. That’s right, ONE EURO.  And the town council is still accepting applications.  Now do you see where I’m going here??

They are still accepting applications, people.  If that’s not an offer you can’t refuse, I don’t know what is.  Seriously, 1 euro.

Salemi is about 96km southwest of Palermo,the capital of Sicily.  And it’s about 70km west of Corleone.  Wine vineyards, easy access to the Mediterranean, wonderful Italians everywhere.

So, here’s the deal: a large part of Salemi was destroyed in an earthquake and has never been rebuilt.  The town council owns all the property and in an effort to invigorate the city, they are selling each house for one euro with the requirement being that you have to refurbish and restructure the house within three years. There’s a whole application process, and they are weeding through applications, but they have 3,700 pieces of property! Thirty-seven-hundred!  One of those could be us.

Needless to say, I’ve spent a fair amount of time looking into this.  And while it won’t end up being 1 euro in the end, it’s totally worth it.  Think of the bonding time we’d have while trying to rebuild a house. Think of the dinners we’ll cook together.  Think of vacations or simply living day to day in the Sicilian countryside.

This could be the chance of a lifetime.  All I’m saying is how can you say no to this? Seriously.  Think it over and let’s come up with a plan.  A year from now we could be in Salemi rebuilding an old house on a hillside.  It’s your very own Under the Tuscan Sun… but not in Tuscany. And there won’t be a Polish work crew.

This is where we could be.  Let it marinate.  It won’t take long for you to realize you have no choice. You cannot refuse this offer.

Now, all we have to do is find money to fix it up.

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Filed under Randomness about Italy, Travels

A very happy birthday

So yesterday, I officially turned 26.  Getting older much more quickly now and it’s kind of hard to believe that I’ve been living in LA for nearly four years now.  Just craziness, I say.

But to bring the celebration to full strength, I had most of my family in town visiting and we ate far too much and had way too much fun.  Caleb and Lea and I went to the Dodgers game on Friday and saw an exceptional game plus a nice little fireworks show.  Saturday we embraced il vino at the LA Wine Fest, and yet again, had a good time.

Sunday the parents and Michael arrived and we all enjoyed an Italian picnic (including riceballs, paninis, and wine) while seeing Andrea Bocelli at the Hollywood Bowl.

That’s the view from our seats.  Not the greatest quality photo, but trust me the view up there is spectacular.  It was an absolutely phenomenal show. Not that I’ve ever had a bad time at the Hollywood Bowl, it’s just this was exceptional.

Monday night we ate more Italian food.  Followed by fried chicken and waffles on Tuesday… not exactly on theme with the rest of the meals, but dangerously delicious.  And Wednesday being my birthday we of course ate more Italian.

Okay, here’s the place. Michelangelo’s Ristorante. Absolutely fabulous.  We started with several delicious appetizers and ended with several delicious desserts.  But in between, I had the most glorious entree.  Can you hear my mouth watering? And I haven’t even told you what I ate yet.  I ordered one of their specials for the night… Eggplant Parmesan.  But it was prepared like a lasagna.  The eggplant was thinly sliced, breaded and fried. Then layered in a baking dish with tomato sauce and mozzarella and then baked.  It was out of this world delicious.  It’s seems like it would be fun to experiment with in the kitchen. Not sure if I could match their flavors, but oh to dream.

Anyways, I had an absolutely wonderful visit with the family. Thanks mom and dad for a great birthday celebration.  Glad ya’ll were able to make it out here!

Mom and Dad

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Filed under Family, Mangiamo, Travels

Le sigh… France.

Eight days, two plane and four train rides, two bus adventures, and a handful of metro trips. An unknown number of croissants, chocolates, glasses of wine, hours of sleep, random songs and dancing, and wonderful memories. I can state quite frankly, I already want to go back.

We wreaked what some may call havoc on the south of France and parts of Paris. Quick rundown for you from where last we left:

Traveled to adorable town north of Antibes called Biot. Ate pain au chocolate, got criticized by boulangerie cashier for not paying together. Met cute little French artisans and an Italian expat living in Biot.

Went out dancing in Antibes two consecutive nights with way two many requests for dances. We are such hot commodities on the French dance market that we’ve decided to bring back dance cards.

Visited Cannes for a ridiculous day of island hopping and a five hour happy hour involving a Russian song about a horse, an old Scottish man, and a fun restaurant owner who in the end simply wanted to look out for the cute American girls who had to make their way back to the train (cute American girls would be us, by the way).

Snuck into first class coach on the train from Antibes to Paris. Camouflaging yourself with the seats is a good idea and not difficult to do.

Wandered Paris for a day and a half, saw a lot, ate a lot, drank a fair amount and then the geniuses that we are couldn’t figure out the change in time and didn’t really sleep the night before our flight…which I will blame for the sickness that still plagues me.

Here’s a brief story in photos of our fun… (you should check out Gill’s version as well… they kind of go hand in hand)

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Good times in Antibes. This was still early in the night.

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Heated discussion with old Scottish man in Cannes.

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I’m going to say wandering Paris in the cold rain did not help our efforts at staying healthy.

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You could say it was a love-hate relationship…

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Traveling together and staying in small quarters can pay its toll on any travel buddies.

I obviously had way too much fun. Plus, with the extremely basic French I learned before hand, I got by just fine for several reasons. (1) French people are amazingly nice, (2) most of them speak some English, (3) those that don’t could speak with Gill, the fluent Frenchie, and (4) quite a few people actually speak Italian!

That’s right… I went to France to embrace other cultures, which I did and quite well I might say. But I believe I spoke Italian pretty much everyday. And what’s better, a random Italian dude walking down the street stopped to say hello to me… in Italian and continued a very brief Italian conversation. I kid you not, he looked at me and I apparently exuded Italian. And he just knew, he knew the way you know about a good melon.

Well, that’s France in a nutshell. Now I continue on my journey to Italian citizenship…

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Disney comes to France

It’s not a real secret that I have a medical condition. It’s called spontaneous musicalitis. Sounds dangerous I know. However, those that know me on a daily basis and those that accept the opportunity to travel with me, understand that condition even more. I have movies and specifically musicals ingrained in my very being. It’s like breathing. Songs just kind of appear when beckoned. I can’t help it. Nor do I really want to stop it, I find it endearing. To who? Who knows. But it’s definitely a good trait that many seem to flock to, or at least join in for the fun.

My flight here… an amazing trip on Air Tahiti Nui. Take it if you have the chance. Non-stop to Paris from LAX. Pretty solid deal. PLUS, they have movie channels in English and/or French… sooooo, what a wonderful surprise when given the option of Pocahontas in FRENCH. Yeah, pretty awesome.

Pouvez-vous peindre avec toutes les couleurs du vent?

That was the start… so I’ve obviously made my way to France. Other than the French Disney movie, I had an interesting trip over by myself. More fun than needs detail here. Just know, random French phrases not said correctly and the random befriending of a Mormon missionary. He was awesome and is on his way to Taipei to spread the Christian love to the heathens. I wish him and his fellow missionaries well on their travels.

I did a lot of walking and wandering today, so I am assured that the mass amounts of wine and cheese I’ve already taken in are just going to my heart and not to my arse.

Life Note: Wine and cheese…and chocolate… make your heart happy.

To continue quickly on my spontaneous musicalitis, I bring you two Disney movies that have taught me of the French ways of life and have found their way to my lips pretty much most of today… Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. Yes, lest you forget they both take place in France. Not sure if the underwater kingdom of King Triton is included with France as it is it’s own kingdom…

Phrases to learn:

The Little Mermaid:

Sebastian: Le poisson, le poisson, how i love le poisson… oh i love little fishes, don’t you?

Beauty and the Beast:

Various Village People: Bonjour, bonjour, bonjour, bonjour!

Belle: There goes the baker with his tray like always, the same old bread and rolls to sell….

I could go on, but seems unnecessary. Basically, I’m alive. I’ve seen alot of Antibes. Did a whole lot of walking today. Ate some gosh durn out of this world amazing chocolate this evening before dinner. Drank lots of wine, and had some amazing food. And of course, have taken a good number of photos already.

Here is a taster:

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Parlo francese! (kind of)

There’s a slight hiatus on the Italian citizenship. I’m at a standstill just kind of waiting for paperwork to be “found”… in the meantime, in honor of my finding my Italian roots, I’m going to go discover some other great nation. France. Spontaneity is fun.

Story: My friend Gill is on an all expense paid trip to the south of France to take photos. Yes, it’s true. The heavens have smiled upon her. She has hit the jackpot of luck (though, her photo skills and knowledge of the French language might have helped too). And well, I’m in a lucky boat as well, with a cheap flight and a boss that understands the importance of travel… and being young and impulsive, I’ll be traveling the French Riviera in T minus two days.

Thus, in the interim of my citizenship application, I’ll be bringing you the tales of our French adventures. I’ll try not to censor my stories. But as I said a moment earlier, I’m young and impulsive, so I might have to spare certain details to protect the innocent.

Parlez vou Français? Me? Not really. Ma io parlo italiano!

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Time to get up and dance…

So, Dave Freeman, author of “100 Things to Do Before You Die” died yesterday at the age of 47.  Shocked that he was so young, it makes me think I might need to be more adventurous.  Or at least do all the things on my lists of wants and wishes.

And so to inspire, I’ve found some Italian proverbs to get me off my arse and marking items off my checklist…

Chi non fa, non falla.

  • Those who do nothing, make no mistakes.

Chi non risica, non rosica.

  • Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Oggi in figura, domani in sepoltura.

  • Here today, gone tomorrow.

Chi pò, non vò; chi vò, non pò; chi sà, non fà; chi fà, non sà; e così, male il mondo và.

  • Who can do, don’t want to; who wants to, can’t do; who knows how to do, won’t do it; who does it, doesn’t know how to; and so badly goes the world.

Slightly inspiring, yet slightly disheartening.  Hmmm. I’ll give you my own:

Vedi il mondo, vivi i tuoi sogni ed impari accettare che sarà, sarà. (See the world, live your dreams, and learn to accept whatever will be, will be.)

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Filed under Learn Italian, Travels