Tag Archives: travel

Gratefully Grateful *23*

18 Aug


Here I am sitting in my living room and catching my breath after a whirlwind summer road trip with my family.  Emphasis being on road.  We did A LOT of driving.  4000km in two weeks type of a lot.

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Many many beautiful family memories were made but I can’t tell you how happy I was to drive up our driveway a few days ago and be greeted by the famous Birdie The Cat.  Coming home is always like a sigh of relief.

So in the last 5 days we haven’t gone near our car, not even to go to the grocery store.  In times like this I’m happy I keep a well stocked kitchen.

Now off to enjoy the last weeks of summer vacation with my three favourite little people (who aren’t so little anymore).

Here are a few images that bring back summer memories and a heart full of gratefulness.

IMG_8924My girls have been bitten by the ever present loom bug.  And I am the proud owner of about 250 plastic bracelets now.
brightoncarousalI’ve fallen in love with Brighton and it’s abundance of buntings and beach carousels.

salisburtkidsTraveling as a family of four for a week was such a change (one daughter was in Holland attending a Film Camp). The family dynamic was so different to what we’re used to and getting a hotel room was so much easier (and cheaper!).  jumpseafordLook how happy I was to hike the Seven Sister Cliffs in Seaford, England.  And just behind us they were shooting a new Sherlock Holmes film.  Surprisingly enough they did not approach me to do a cameo jump shot in the movie.

Wishing you a great week!

Gratefully Grateful
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Family Travel in Italy

8 Aug

*Not long ago Inghams Italy Travel Site and Tours contacted me about sharing some of my experiences about living and traveling in Italy as a family. Inghams Italy compensated me for writing this post but all experiences, thoughts and ideas are my own.

Over the last 13 years my husband and I have lived  and raised our 3 children in Italy and done our fair share of exploring this beautiful country as a family. When considering travelling to Italy, one traditionally thinks of the wealth of historical sites, the breathtaking art and architecture, and one of the best loved cuisines, all within the stunning natural beauty  from the Alps to the Aegean – a perfect tourist destination.

But, one of the things I love most about Italy, is that it is a family centric culture.  Here, in Italy, family has the highest priority and this shows in how they treat travellers to their country, especially families.

Inevitably, you will encounter kind and generous people who will go out of their way to make your small travellers happy and comfortable.  Italians love the little ones and aren’t shy to show it – usually by squeezing cheeks and loudly proclaiming “che bel bambino!”.  No worries, your kids will get used to it and will most likely return home with an amazing sense of self-confidence.

Living in Italy has given us the inside scoop on the best places to visit, most comfortable accommodations, favourite places to eat out and just about anything else you would need to know about traveling through Italy in famiglia.

Food:  IMG_6382

 

Italy is world renown for its delectable cuisine and luckily it’s also one that most kids absolutely adore.  On just about any menu your kids will find something they’ll love to eat (and recognise).  Some favourites of local Italian kids are Pasta Rossa (pasta with tomato sauce), Riso Giallo (saffron risotto), Milanese con Patatine (breaded pork cutlet with french fries) and of course Pizza Margherita (pizza with tomato sauce and mozzarella).  And if you don’t see something your child likes on the menu don’t be afraid to ask – they are usually more than willing to whip up a simple pasta for the little ones.  My kid’s favourite thing to order in a restaurant is a variety or antipasto plates.  You can’t go wrong with sliced meats, cheeses, olives and fresh Italian bread.

Gelato:  

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Of course one of the main gastronomic attractions for kids in Italy (and adults actually) is the iconic Italian gelato.  Gelaterias are found on just about every street corner and are usually made with fresh, high quality ingredients.  A promised gelato will help kids get through the museum visits, the long hours of pavement pounding, the intense summer heat and the over exhaustion of traveling that can sometimes get too much for them.  Look for signs that say Gelato Artigianale for the highest quality and home-made ice cream.  And remember in the hot summer months it’s quite normal to visit a gelateria more than once a day!

Beaches:  

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When traveling with kids you can never go wrong with a beach visit.  And Italy boasts both a myriad of coastlines and beautiful lakes to choose from.  The world famous Costa Amalfitana (Unesco World Heritage Site), the Ligurian coast with it’s famous Cinque Terre villages, the Northern Lakes including Lago Como and Lago Maggiore and the pristine aquamarine waters of Sardinia will be appreciated by the whole family.

Italian beaches are very family friendly with chairs and umbrellas for rent, small beach playgrounds and restaurants just metres from the water’s edge. From here, parents can enjoy a plate of fresh Fritto Misto while watching the kids frolic in the warm waters.  Warning: since one has to pay for a space,  these beaches can end up being quite pricey but well worth it for a few days of relaxing family time.

Read on for more tips for traveling in Italy as a family…

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Traveling With Kids: Couch Surfing

1 Aug

My newest Traveling With Kids column is up on Classic Play today.  This time I’m talking about the Couch Surfing organisation and how it turns out to be quite family friendly.  Surprising for everyone, I’m sure.  I’m still not 100% sold on the idea but I find it so fascinating.  Pop on over and let me know what you think and, more importantly, if you would ever do it.

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Traveling With Kids: Musement Travel App

27 Jun

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of testing out a new Cultural/Travel App called Musement.  It was a great experience and an app that I’ll be using often on my family’s upcoming travels.  Find out what it’s all about and how it can make your travels a lot less stressful and enjoyable over on Classic Play (as well as what we did with it!).  Hint: it involves skipping line-ups at your favourite museums and events!musementclassicplay

Traveling With Kids: Cape Breton Island

23 May

I’ve finally managed to write a little post about one of our favourite places in the world, Cape Breton Island (in Nova Scotia, Canada).  I have many fond memories of visiting the island as a kid and teenager and was so happy I could finally take my own family there last summer.  Cape Bretoners are some of the kindest people in the world and will go out of their way to make sure your time visiting their island is the best it can be. Click over to Classic Play to hear more about what the island has to offer.  And if you’ve already visited the island I’d love to hear what you enjoyed the most while there.capebretonisland1-2

Moroccan Snapshots *5*

6 May

Some last shots of our trip to Morocco.IMG_5733Stretching out a little injury.  Afterwards the instructor turned around happily and informed me “Pretty sure nothing is  broken”.  Ummm, okay.

IMG_5728They just looked so cool dragging their surfboards down K17 beach (up the coast from Agadir).  And these were the only clouds we saw during our entire 7 day trip.  Made the Atlantic feel that much colder. IMG_5773While visiting the souks of Agadir we got trapped in a little shop that sold teas, creams, herbs, spices and everything else you could ever imagine to cure any ailment a person could be inflicted with. For me the packaging was more attractive than all the proclaimed health benefits.  And yes, I did leave with a bag full of cactus cream, argan oil, teas and spices.
IMG_5766Mounds of colourful vegetables and striped columns at the Souk El Had in Agadir.IMG_5694

IMG_5763Making sand kasbahs on the beach.IMG_5768One of my favourite images of Morocco is always the pyramids of delicious spices.  I have already gone through half of what I purchased.  Guess that means I’ll have to get back there soon to buy some more.

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Traveling With Kids: Flipboard Magazine

30 Apr

I can’t believe it but it has been almost 2 years that I’ve been writing my Traveling With Kids column for the creative parenting site Classic Play.  I have absolutely loved writing these travel posts which have inspired me (and my family) to do some pretty amazing trips and activities around the world.

Our travels and adventures as a family over the last decade have been action packed.  We’ve experienced everything from visiting some the world’s most iconic sites to seeing little corners of the world that have been barely touched by tourism.  And we are 100% grateful to be able to do all of this.

Jen from Classic Play put together a super neat Traveling With Kids Flipboard Magazine with all of her site’s travel posts (full disclosure: I’ve written most of them). I’ve loved looking back and re-reading some of those old columns (the interview with my kids and the travel disaster columns are still my favourites!).  So if you’re in need of advice for traveling with kids or information on many travel destinations around the world please check it out here.

**I just want to add that I receive many emails from people around the world with specific travel questions or that are in need of travel advice for traveling with their families.  I’ve been trying really hard to get back to you all but am still a little behind!

Moroccan Snapshots *4*

16 Apr

A few more shots from our trip to Morocco.  IMG_5431On our road-trip from the mountains to the sea we passed this extremely bizarre American style gas station in the middle of nowhere.  And when I say in the middle of nowhere I mean that there were only rocky mountains and stone fields in every direction as far as the eye could see.  It seems that it is the leftovers from the film set of the movie “The Hills Have Eyes”.  Slightly (very) creepy.IMG_5478Lovely blue door and tiles in our hotel in the small city of Taroudant.IMG_5621I wanted to bring home every single one of those colourful carpets from the Souk in Taroudant.IMG_5628Coca Cola sign and sky-blue taxis.  A perfect colour combination.IMG_5681-001Our first moments on the beach just north of Agadir. 

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Moroccan Snapshots *3*

1 Apr

A few more snapshots of our recent trip to Morocco…

IMG_5372Colourful carpet on the side of the road.IMG_5174
Doesn’t get much more modern than this.IMG_5382As you can tell, he wasn’t amused.  These sheep (along with goats, chickens and a donkey) lived in the inner courtyard of a family home in the Atlas Mountains.

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Beautiful light.  Beautiful sun spots.

IMG_5268Considering the fact these were the harem rooms for 80 concubines I wasn’t sure opening that cupboard was such a good idea.IMG_5222

Beautiful old Kasbah, blue skies and stork nests.
IMG_5325He was protecting the DYNAMITE that was buried under that dirt and stone mound in the background. And yes, we did have a picnic in a chicken coop next to it. (taken at a salt mine)

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Traveling With Kids: Cool Hotels With a Twist

20 Mar

I’m over on Classic Play today talking about some really neat and unique accommodations that I found and that I know kids will love.  Everything from sleeping in an underwater hotel room to sleeping in a boot shaped cottage to sleeping in a real prison (where they actually treat you like a real prisoner).  Our personal family favourite is sleeping in the hay in Switzerland.  We did it a few years ago and my kids are still raving about it (who knew that sleeping on hay bales with 20 snoring goats could make such an impact on kids!).  Click here to read full post.   And if you have any stories about out-of-the-norm hotels or accommodations I’d love to hear all about it.

 

 

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