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Il Bel Paese

April 11, 2014

Piazza Cavour

Potted plants

My sweet love

View of Superga from the Mole Antonelliana

Mr. Rooster & Miss Hen, out for a passeggiatta

Cherry-bon & Stracciatella


You guys, I went to Italy.  Like, two months ago.  And I took approximately 6 million pictures because I got a new camera (my first DSLR!!) right before we left.  So why haven’t I written about it yet?

To be honest, this was not the best trip for us, and I’ve needed to put some distance between myself and the experience.  The weather was not great.  We knew that was a risk with traveling in February, but the low cost of flying during late winter/early spring was just too tempting.  We’ve traveled during this season before–several times in fact–and we’ve always had pretty good luck.  Plus, our anniversary is February 28th, and we wanted to do something special.  Unfortunately, it turns out that the weather in mid- to late-February is a bit like playing Russian roulette, and this time we got the bullet. We flew out during that big snowstorm on the East Coast, so all of our flights ended up getting canceled, but we did eventually get there (even if all of our luggage didn’t).

Our first two weeks in Italy were a blur of visiting almost every person my husband has ever met in his life, but a few things stand out in my memory from that time: we had a magical evening walking around Torino with a couple of our very best friends; we spent a beautiful day in a pretty little town close to the mountains cooking ribs & pancakes (the new chicken & waffles?) for my brother-in-law, his girlfriend, and her family; and we treated my sister-in-law to a day of shopping in Milan, including a trip to Furla and lunch at a Sicilian restaurant near Piazza Duomo.  With an almost daily ritual of getting up at 6AM to catch a train and staying out past midnight having dinner with family or friends, it’s no wonder that by the end of the second week we were both getting sick.  And just in time for our anniversary getaway to Sicily!

Marianello Beach

Sail boats

Row boat

Terrace view

Strolling along the Porto Turistico

This was my first time visiting Sicily, and I really wanted to love it.  In some ways, I did love it.  I loved the people, and the boats, and the pastries.  I loved the clumps of oranges and artichokes growing along the side of the road.  I got to see the church where my husband’s parents got married.  I saw the fishing docks where his grandfathers (and probably their fathers, and their grandfathers, and so on) would set out to sea every day.  I visited a cemetery nestled into the side of a hill and saw where Flavio’s cousin, grandfather, and great-grandparents are entombed.  I watched the town’s second annual Carnival parade, with horses and kids dressed up like medieval ladies and jesters.  I flew over a volcano!  I loved all of these things.  But I did not love being sick.  I didn’t love that it rained almost the whole time we were there.  And I didn’t love that the only chunk of time we had to ourselves to explore was Sunday afternoon, when literally everything was closed for siesta.  I really hope to go back there someday, because under the right circumstances, Sicily is magical.

There are a lot of things from this trip that I’m eager to share here over the coming weeks and months, but for now I just wanted to pop in and say hi and share some photos.  I promise to write more soon!


6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2014 9:05 pm

    Yea I love seeing your photos!!! We want to go to Italy sooooo bad!

    Here’s a secret…I almost hated our trip to Ireland, and I feel so bad about it, but it was just one of those things where shit added up into the perfect storm, so I feel ya! I feel like it needs a re-do, but not for awhile, because yeah, I need some serious distance from that experience.

    • whitney marie permalink*
      April 12, 2014 9:22 am

      You should totally go to Italy someday! What part(s) have you thought about visiting? It’s becoming a running joke between Flavio & I about visiting Cinque Terre in Liguria…literally every single time I’ve been in Italy (this was my 5th), we’ve talked about going there. And literally every single time our plans to do it have fallen through. This time it was because they were having mudslides. Mudslides!!

      I’m so sorry your trip to Ireland was bad. 😦 I’m glad to know I’ve got someone to commiserate with…I feel like a total jerk when people ask me how my trip was and all I do is complain, because they’re like…”You went to Italy! You’re so lucky! It’s all sunshine and pizza, right??” And yeah, I know I’m lucky to get to go, but sometimes…sometimes I’d really like to take a vacation, and Italy doesn’t feel like a vacation. We don’t get to experience it like a vacation. It’s home, and that’s awesome and frustrating at the same time. Was it kind of similar traveling with your husband to a conference? I’ve thought about tagging along with Flavio to one of his sometime (right now all of his colleagues are at PyCon in Montreal! Flavio skipped that one, though, since we’d just gotten back from Italy), but I know I’d be bored out of my mind all day while he’s at talks, and then in the evenings they all go out to bars and talk shop. BORING. And I’m way too much of a wimp to explore a new city by myself!

      • April 20, 2014 4:37 pm

        We were going to go on a 3 week honeymoon in Italy, traveling all over. From what I can remember it included Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Cinque Terre, Venice, and Turin. But stuff happened, and we had to cancel everything. Now we want to rent a villa and travel all over, but we kinda want to go with people so making the arrangements so far has only been talk.

        LOL sunshine and pizza! I totally get the it’s not a vacation cause it’s home- it’s like that when I go home to Utah. It’s never vacation like, it’s fun, but it’s also family, so no, not vacation like. 🙂

        I go with Danny to conferences all the time! I love it. The first one I did was actually to San Francisco, and I walked all over all by myself and it was awesome. Having an iphone, with maps totally made all the difference. A lot of conferences have SO (significant other) tracks while the nerds are meeting, so you can hang with other wives or girlfriends and explore the city with them. Since moving to SF, most of the conferences that Danny does are with a lot of the same people, so I get to hang with people I know, which is nice because I have a hard time making friends and getting myself out there. But I also really enjoy meeting nerds SO’s, they seems to be more like me-ish? Or more so than the average girl/woman?

        Does Flavio do Node? That’s what Danny does for fun/works with at Mozilla, and most of the cons he goes to are either Node related or JS/javascript related. Ireland was Nodeconf EU, Nodeconf US is in July at a camp not too far from us, and JSconf is in May at a resort in Florida and I realllllly want to go but Danny doesn’t so we’re not going.

        It would be so cool to meet in real life someday!!!

      • whitney marie permalink*
        April 20, 2014 6:19 pm

        Oh, that sounds like it would’ve been such an amazing trip! I’m sorry things didn’t work out. We had a similar experience with our honeymoon…we were actually going to take it before our wedding, because Flavio wasn’t allowed to travel outside the US after we got married (while his immigration case was pending), so we were going to go to Venice for a few days. Then, about a week before I was supposed to fly out, my gallbladder basically exploded and I had to have emergency surgery. No fun!!! Anyway, we still haven’t done a proper honeymoon, but someday! Hopefully! If you do go to Italy someday, I can’t recommend Turin highly enough. The whole city is basically made of chocolate, and the view at the top of the Mole Antonelliana is amazing. (Though I would be careful where you go after dark…the city has major problems with prostitution and heroin addicts. Flavio’s high school was next door to a methadone clinic.)

        Flavio works with Django/Python, and he does a little bit of Javascript. I know they usually do SO tracks at PyCon and DjangoCon EU (although I don’t think they do it at DjangoCon US), but I’m so shy I think it would be a real toss-up whether or not I would enjoy it. I wish we could go to DjangoCon EU this year…it’s on a private island off the southern coast of France!! And it’s on Flavio’s birthday! But we didn’t know about it until after we’d already planned our trip to Italy, and one trip overseas per year is about my limit (I really hate to fly).

        Yes, we absolutely have to meet in person someday!! 😀

  2. April 14, 2014 7:09 am

    I am so sorry your trip was dissapoitning. I had wondered why you hadn’t written a post about it and am glad you are continuing to blog. Your pictures are gorgeous. You appear to have learned how to use your camera fast. I would love a DSl someday but am not sure I would be able to focus on how to learn to use it.

    • whitney marie permalink*
      April 14, 2014 9:39 am

      There were definitely a lot of good things that happened on my trip, especially getting to spend time with family. I’m just going to focus on that, and forget the bad stuff 🙂 Anyway, hopefully our trip next year will be better! And thank you! – although I promise for every good photo I took, there were 10 blurry ones. But I had a good teacher (my husband has a master’s in graphic design and studied photography in school), and I forced myself to only shoot in manual from day 1, even if it meant bad pictures. I’m still learning, but it’s fun! 🙂

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