Category Archives: Vacation

Pickle juice craze

I’m back from 3 weeks in the states with a confused stomach and many new food observations. Today is all about pickles.

So pickle juice flavor is a thing in the U.S. now. Or at least in the south. I am a huge fan of pickles, but that’s as far as it goes. I have no interest in anything flavored with pickle juice and I honestly can’t imagine who would.

When I was young, my aunt knew that I liked pickles, so one day she made pickle jello for me. It was one of the worst things I’ve ever tasted.

Now the U.S. is selling cans of Pringles chips in pickle flavor, and even worse, the restaurant Sonic is selling pickle slushies. WHY?!

Gee, it’s 100F outside here in Texas. You know what I’d like? A big cup of salty pickle juice!

I also happened upon pickle soda in one store. That’s just wrong.

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Full coverage!

Why does renting a car have to be such a procedure? If we already booked the car and filled in all of our information on the computer, why do we still have to fill it out AGAIN on paper once we get to the rental counter? Isn’t that what the computer was for? Check my license and give me my keys!

That’s just a general rant about every time we rent a car. In Italy, you can imagine how slow the paperwork is, mostly because they are marking all the damages that are ALREADY on the vehicle.

After being talked into a good deal for full coverage insurance on our rental car (and taking 15 minutes to fill out paperwork that was already in the computer), we made our way to the garage to pick up the car. Knowing that they don’t always mark every dent and scratch, we checked the car and found two scratches to report so that we would not be responsible once we were done with the car.

My husband went to report the scratches to the attendant, who was very reluctant to move from his chair. He took a look at the paperwork, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Is no problem. Who cares? You have full coverage. Run the car into a wall if you like.”

Our motto for the rest of the trip, while driving down narrow streets full of potholes was “Oh well – FULL COVERAGE!”

Indifferent Young Man

The little plane that could

As I mentioned before, my husband and I took a 4-day long anniversary trip to Italy this past weekend. With only 4 days, we wanted every minute to count, which turned out to be a problem when the Italians decided to strike at the Rome airport. Our plane was delayed 3 hours until they could confirm landing clearance, so we were given vouchers for food (that worked in every restaurant except the specific one we went to, of course), and boarded our plane later in the afternoon.

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Once the plane finished boarding and the doors were closed, it needed to be de-iced. The de-icing truck began to do its job and then ran out of de-icing liquid. We had to wait 20 minutes for another de-icing truck.

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Finally, the de-icing was complete and it was time for the plane to be pushed back from the gate. We slowly moved backwards and then stopped after just a few feet. The truck pushing the plane broke down and we had to wait 20 minutes for a replacement truck.

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The flight went smoothly after all the delays and we landed at Rome’s Fiumicino airport … only to wait on the tarmac an additional 20 minutes because of a plane in front of us.

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Isabella de’ Medici was not a nice person

My husband and I celebrated our 18th anniversary in the town of Bracciano, Italy over the weekend. While there, we visited the 15th century castle that towers over the town. It’s one of the most impressive castles in Italy and luckily it’s open to the public. Each room has a plaque with information, so one can learn about the furniture, portraits, or the people who stayed in the rooms.

One of the most “interesting” rooms was that of Isabella de-Medici. Isabella was rumored to push her lovers through a wooden door to the side of her bed when she was done with them, where they fell into a pit of blades and lye.

There were couples in the tour group in front of us that stopped to pose for smiling pictures with their arms around each other in front of the bed with the door in the background. My husband and I skipped that particular photo opportunity.

Orisni-Odescalchi Castle

Pay toilets

Someone today brought up how strange it is that many European countries have pay public toilets. This is something that’s always bothered me here in Sweden. I’ve been here 18 years and still think it should be a basic human right to use a toilet when you need it.

I get the reasons behind it… messy people, drug people, crazy people, etc., but when you gotta go, you gotta go!

Water is clean and free here, but not so public toilets.

When I was pregnant, I managed to make a list of all hidden and free bathrooms around Stockholm. Don’t ask me for it though. It’s of high and secret value and I can’t have all you people messing up my free bathrooms.

It still beats roaches

We had a slight bit of a scorpion problem while renting an apartment in Italy last week. However, I still prefer scorpions to giant Texas tree roaches. Scorpions somehow seem more sophisticated.

Because of my respect for the majestic scorpion, I chose to catch and release the two we found by throwing them out of our third floor window.

It was only later that I remembered there was a restaurant with outdoor seating directly below us.

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Google translate – hours of entertainment

I looked up reviews on a children’s activity park in Italy, but everything was in Italian so I had to use Google Translate. I don’t know why this person only gave this place 2 stars. It sounds pretty interesting!

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Tourist activities

Another trip to Italy coming up this fall. What do you think of my itinerary?

We can start at the Egizio Museum, have a coffee at the Piazza, swing by the GATES OF HELL and maybe round up the day at the cinema?

 

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Dress her like a squirell

Saw this graffiti on my vacation. I don’t know what it means, but I like it.

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Bathroom decoration

My son ran out of a restaurant bathroom in Italy very frightened.

“I can’t go! This man with a huge head keeps staring at me!”

So of course I had to check it out.

He was right.

School lunch

My son recently got back from a school trip to Tallinn, Estonia where his class visited another school. A nice parent took pictures (because in 4 days my son only took one), and he included a photo of the school cafeteria lunch.

When I saw it, I said, “Wow! That’s like a real lunch with real food on real plates!”

My husband thought I was a weirdo for saying that. He said, “They didn’t serve you on plates at your school?”

I said, “No, it was always rectangle plastic trays and usually rectangle food.”

Estonia, I am impressed!

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Food trucks

We may finally have hamburger and taco trucks in Stockholm, but we still haven’t reached Lisbon’s standards:

Flea market finds

At a flea market in Lisbon last weekend. If only it could have fit in my suitcase.

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It’s dangerous to be an archaeologist

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Ah, the comforting sound of the… peacock?

On our upcoming trip to Portugal, our hotel shows photos of peacocks that roam the walls and streets of the area. This was charming and exotic when we booked, but lately, I’ve been reminded of the sound a peacock makes. This may not be the relaxing trip we were hoping for.

Jellyfish and wine

My husband and I are soon leaving on a long weekend trip to Portugal. I was able to pack for the trip 3 months ago as the temperatures between Lisbon and Stockholm differ 25 degrees. That’s Celsius of course. After 17 years of turning my brain away from ¬†Fahrenheit, I’m too tired to switch back again. Google it.

In preparing for this trip, I realized that I know nothing about Portugal except for the dangerous ‘Portuguese Man o’ War’ jellyfish, which apparently doesn’t have much to do with Portugal except that the shape looks like an old 1800s Portuguese war ship. I guess you learn something every day, though what I needed to learn was something about Portugal.

At this point, I’ve researched castles, churches, restaurants, local food, customs, etc. My husband prefers to go with the flow and research nothing, except possibly a restaurant or two. I think our traveling styles probably compliment each other. I like to know that I’m not missing anything by researching carefully before leaving. My husband likes to simply discover things he didn’t know about, which must work out great for him since I lead us to places where things are actually interesting.

When asking him if he knew what kind of food the Portuguese like to eat, he replied, ‘I know they drink wine, so we’re good.’

He doesn’t care much for seafood though, so unless the wine can take away fish taste, he might end up a bit hungry. Luckily his amazing wife, me, has done plenty of tapas, steak and pasta research. ¬†I should totally start a travel agency.

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Your guide to Venice (or, yes, I’m still bored)

I’ve made a family fun guide to Venice in case anyone’s looking to convince their family that this is the place to go!

Super Awesome Travel Video (or what I do when I’m bored)

Some friends of mine are going to Nice in April and asked if I had any tips. I decided to make them this handy 1-minute travel video. I think I may have a career in professional video making (in the 80s). What do you think?

Back from Italy

We’ve been in Italy the past week, offline and relaxing.

People ask me, “Why are you always going to Italy?”

I think you can see here just why Italy is so great:

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Conversations in Italian

I like to travel with my family to Italy twice a year, so I study at least two lessons a day on my Italian Rosetta Stone program. It’s a great program, but sometimes I get too involved in the attitudes and lives of the people in the pictures.

Example in the pictures below:

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These people greet each other (they look like they’re on a date), then the girl asks the guy how he’s doing.

He says he’s fine and asks her how she’s doing.

She says she’s COLD!

Then they go to the performance and then say goodnight. She has no extra jacket on.

So in my eyes, this guy is a jerk and didn’t even respond when she complained that she was cold. Where’s the panel where he offers a jacket or rushes her inside to the warmth? It’s like he just ignores her and then dumps her at the end of the performance back on the cold street.

I’m waiting for more advanced lessons when there will be more panels that teach me how to say, “You’re a jerk.” “Why aren’t you listening?” “Give me my money back!” “This show is terrible!”

But that’s probably more around level 15. For now, I’m stuck on bad Italian dates.

 

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