Sunday, August 28, 2011

Verona Opera season comes to a close...

The Arena in Verona (think mini Colliseum) has shows throughout the year, but summer is the opera season, I keep thinking I want to go to one, I just looked it up today and realized the season is coming to a close!

 If you have thought about going to an Opera in the Verona Arena, better do it quick. There are only a few shows left now. You can get nosebleed tickets for only 20 Euro! I think I might go to two this week....

Aug 30: La Boheme
Aug 31: Aida
Sep 1: Nabucco
Sep 2: La Boheme
Sep 3: Aida

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gone Fishin'

Every weekend my husband and I have the same conversation.
"What do you want to do?"
"I dunno, what do you want to do?"
Reminds me of the movie the Jungle book when the vultures are sitting the tree saying that very thing over and over, "Hey, now don't start that again!"

I was checking out the outdoor rec website and I came upon some "self guided" day trip ideas. Click here for some awesome ideas!

I decided to head to Lago di Fimon, just south of Vicenza. It's not very far but it feels like you are way out in the country because it's up in the hills and it is beautiful. It didn't look like much of a swimming lake (lot's of stuff growing) but lot's of people were fishing. Also, there is a path that goes all the way around it (it's not a very big lake) and tons of people were biking. So if you're looking for a great place to fish or bike check it out!

Friday, August 19, 2011

To the Zoo!

Looking for something fun to do with kids? Italy has some awesome zoos. Check out Parco Faunistico Cappeller. It's close to Nove. They have all kinds of animals including camels, monkeys, flamingos, kangaroos, goats, penguins, turtles and lot's of birds. The park has a really nice flow to it, there are play areas and picnic areas throughout the park where you can stop to take a break. There is a lot of foliage that keeps the place pretty well shaded.

The cost is 10 Euro for adults, 7 for kids.
The address is:
Via Kimle
36050 Cartigliano
ph.: 0424.592513

I have heard there is a cool drive through safari zoo in Verona...I will be heading there sometime too!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Let's talk about trash....

Ah yes, trash. So much fun. Italy requires you to recycle. There are six categories of trash.

These first three get picked up every other week on a rotating schedule:
1. Plastic & cans
2. Glass
3. Paper and Cardboard

4. Ecocentro (branches, wooden pieces, oils, appliances, old shoes & clothing, old furniture, have to bring this stuff to them, there is no pick up.)

5. Humid waste (See below.)
6. Dry waste....everything else essentially. Pick up once a week.

Number 5 is the hardest for me. Food. They want you to recycle food. They even give you a cute little bucket for it. It's smart in theory, it keeps my big trash can from stinking. I discovered really quickly that even though they pick it up twice a week it's almost not enough. At first I had it in my house, but I couldn't stand the smell. So I put it outside, and now it is often times infested with maggots. GROSS. Seriously.
You're supposed to put your humid waste in a biodegradable bag. The ones they sell at the commissary are a bit pricey, and I recently discovered a cheaper option. Every bag I've ever bought from an Italian grocery store (yes they make you buy your bags) has said "biodegradable". And they are only 10 cents! Score!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Trier, Germany

If you want to get an idea of how far flung the Roman empire really was, check out Trier, Germany. It is a city of Roman ruins, all the way up in Germany! Trier is the oldest city in Germany, it dates before the Roman empire but was taken over by the Romans during their reign.
Porta Niagra, old  gate to the city
Outside of oldest church
In Trier is the oldest cathedral in the country. The cool thing about it is that it was built and added onto over such a long period of time that pretty much every architectural style is represented. In one spot you can see an old Roman column peaking through a newer column. The church has a "relic" inside, in a big fancy display room in a beautiful box, supposedly is Christ's robes.
inside of oldest church

Constantine's "throne hall" (very similar to Nero's in Rome)
The emperor Constantine lived in Trier. You can see ruins of his bath houses and his "throne hall". Roman remains are everywhere!

Trier felt a lot less "German" to me then some of the other towns I have seen in Germany. It actually felt a little like Italy to me. They had a market going on in the main square and everything was so beautiful.

Another fun sight is Karl Marx's house. It is now a museum about him, we got there just as they were closing and it appeared that most everything in the displays was in German or Chinese.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Best Gelato in Vicenza

 I promised to tell you the secrets of Vicenza after my trip with our Italian teacher yesterday. Sadly, I forgot my camera, so you'll just have to go see it for yourself. Many of the places she took us were actually points on interest on a tourist map that you can pick up at any tourist info shop.

Let me tell you a few... Contra' Porti, a street of beautiful homes made by a family who was constantly trying to one up each other, go take a walk down this street. One of the homes was where the original author of Romeo and Juliet died. That's right, it wasn't really Shakespeare's story. 

Corso Palladio has lot's of shopping but it's mostly clothes, if you're looking for something else (let's say a cute vintage shop or maybe a jewelry store or even a seamstress...) try walking down Corso Fogazzaro.

Looking for the best Gelato in Vicenza? I know where it is! It's called Tutto Gelato and it's on Frasche del Gambero...they've got tons of flavors and are well known for being the best in town!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Brussels in an afternoon

You must go to Brussels. No seriously, add this one to your list, it is amazing. Go to Brussels, see the main square and the peeing statue, eat some chocolate and waffles, or better yet waffles with chocolate...
I recommend the Liege waffle over the Brussels waffles (Brussels waffles are pretty much like the big waffles you get in the U.S., Liege waffles however are smaller and thicker and have a yummy caramelized middle).
Mannequin Pis, a statue of a little boy peeing, there are lot's of silly stories as to why this statue was put up, whatever the truth is it's a silly statue. While standing there we got to hear an old man sing a catchy little song about it, that still gets stuck in my head from time to time.

The palace. There is a big park next to it that makes for a nice stroll.

Indoor shopping street, very neat, very expensive.

"Atomium" is Belgium's "space needle". It was originally built for the 1958 world fair, it is a huge model of a cell. You can go inside and there are escalators connecting each of the spheres. It was meant to be temporary but was so popular that it gained monument status and stayed. It's huge, you can't tell in this photo how big it is.There is also a "Euro Park" next to this that is supposed to have models of all the monuments in Europe, if we had time it sounded neat.

Next time we go to Brussels we are going to head up to Bruges as well, it's supposed to be amazing!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cutting your hair...

Many people wonder where they should get their hair cut/dyed in Italy. I have heard lot's of different reviews of different places. My neighbor moved here and very bravely walked to the closest hair salon and had them cut her hair, she loves it. A friend of mine found a groupon (yes they have it in Italy, but it's in Italian so be prepared to translate the fine print) for a salon in Padova, she told them not to put red in her highlights, but they did anyways, and she's not happy. I have heard that Italians like to be "creative" in their hair cutting, so be prepared. 

I heard good and bad things about the hair places on post, mostly I heard "go to the family salon across from the post office, not the beauty shop in the Px". So I decided to give that a try. Overall, I think I like it. Sarah did my hair, she was very friendly and spoke great English, no problems there. I think it's just like moving try a few different places until you find the one you like. 
I wanted my hair shorter and kind of choppy layers. I think she did pretty dang good, it's just going to take some time to get used to it being shorter. They charge 12 Euro for a cut without the styling.

Where do you get your hair cut/dyed? Anyone have any horror stories? Happy stories?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Secrets of Vicenza...

So I am taking the Italian class through ACS (the next one starts Sept 5th, go sign up, it's free!) and we have a field trip on Thursday, our teacher has promised to show us things we wouldn't find on our own...stay tuned Thursday and I will reveal the secrets of Vicenza!

Traveling with children

Anybody else ever been here? When my two year old doesn't want to do something this is what he does, complete limp noodle to the ground.
So what do you do when you travel with children? I carry a few things to make it easier.
* His favorite snack (fruit snacks)
* A favorite toy and book (that he only gets when we are out and about)
* Wet wipes, lot's of em
* Water bottle
* "I Spy bag" for the car (Make your own!)
* Lunch, I always pack a lunch because kids get hungry at the most inconvenient times

What makes your travels with kiddos easier?