Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Welcome To Our Little German Village...

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  I have been dying to show you where we, my little fur ball Penny, and I now reside!
Above is a picture of our home...

Haha, just kidding...but that is the castle ruin that is less than a minute from our 130 year old barn that we have turned into a home. Our village consists of some old barns, adorable houses, rolling hills, farm animals, two cigarette machines, a restaurant, and a castle. Come along and join me for a tour!
Now, imagine you are smelling the cleanest, most pure air. You feel a slight crisp breeze on your skin and are being greeted with friendly waves and smiles by our wonderful neighbors...
Below is the path, spectacular hills and a trail the Romans marched on over a thousand years ago. This lies in front of our home.

You can't come over without checking out the castle ruin right up our road...

Below is the view of some more little villages that are nestled against the hill where the castle is perched.

Let's head back to the path behind (technically in front of) our home again...

Here are some more of our very friendly neighbors. They love carrots...Penny finds these creatures to be rather intriguing...
Thank you for stopping by for a little tour of our village! Come back soon...
Ciao, ciao for now-now!

To see the inside of our home click here!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

I have been meaning to share my pumpkin spice latte with ya'll for a while now but have been crazy busy exploring the world! More on that later. For now I am going to enjoy a pumpkin latte! Pumpkin lattes are brilliant tasting through both the fall and winter seasons, so, I will still share! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
-4 Tbs of pumpkin puree
-8 dashes of pumpkin pie spice
-4 Tbs of vanilla

-2 tsp of cinnamon

-4 cinnamon sticks
-2 cups of strongly brewed coffee
-3 cups of milk 

-4-5 Tbs of sugar
-The tiniest pinch of salt
-Whipping cream 
-Disaronno and Butterschnapps-optional
(Adjust amounts to satisfy your taste-buds)
*Makes around 6 cups

Pour all of the ingredients (except the whipped cream) into a pot and cook until hot, making sure not to scald the milk and pumpkin. Stir continuously. 

Once your coffee is finished garnish your pumpkin spice latte with whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a cinnamon stir stick. For a little extra kick, add some Disaronno and Butterschnapps.....Mmmmm. This pairs nicely with some crumb or coffee cake!

Buon Apetito!

Sipping coffee to Jim Brickman Holiday radio on Pandora... it's so soothing..

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mystical Venezia

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Ahhh, lovely Venezia! Venice, Italy is one of my all-time favorite cities. With it's mysterious canals, insanely beautiful and intricate buildings, and rich history, it's no wonder this city draws so many tourists. 
Venice was built over 1500 years ago on top of a million (now petrified) trees, driven deep into the lagoon mud to create a fortress. No one knows quite how it was done. It is amazing to me that people back then thought..."Let's drag a million trees to the middle of some water, shove them in mud, then build some ridiculously heavy marble churches and palaces on top." Crazy!
I am going to take you on a little photo tour of this gorgeous city...

Matt and I are standing in front of the Bridge of Sighs, where prisoners took their final walk to be executed or imprisoned. The last view they say was peeking out the windows onto the beautiful canals. I am sure the prisoners weren't smiling like we are...

The Byzantine style Basilica holds the bones of St. Mark (as in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John from the Bible). St. Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco) is spectacular at night, all lit up with an orchestra playing in each corner of the square. The marble columns and four horses on the Basilica were stolen from different churches and palaces around the world.

The gold mosaics inside and outside the basilica is quite a breathtaking site. 

In the top left picture below, you can see carved into marble, the laws for the local bakers of Venice.
Many of the buildings have different architectural styles on the different levels. Over the long life of a construction project, styles and tastes would change, thus creating buildings with multiple styles. 

Our second night in Venice we met up with my parent's lovely Italian pen-pal, Allesandra and her Venetian boyfriend, Marco.We enjoyed an enchanting evening of local food, poetry and live music. We dined at at a traditional Venetian restaurant specializing in Venetian lagoon seafood. The owner is quite famous in Venice as a vocalist and musician. Marco, a renowned Venetian poet and musician performed for us as well! We ended the evening with a local's tour of this majestic city. 

We even stumbled upon a late night, trendy, street juice bar! Imagine a Jamba Juice with booze...It was crazy delicious!

While in Venice, use all of your senses to soak up everything you can... Savor the sights, the smell of a fresh cappuccini, open your ears to street opera, and enjoy a glass of wine while watching the sunset on the canals. This city is mystical and unlike anything else in the world! 

When planning a trip to Venice:
-The best months to go are late March and early April, along with late September and early October. 
By going in these months, you will avoid tourist season and flooding. 
If possible, go these months when you can enjoy the locals and not be surrounded by zillions of other Americans. The only people that I know who didn't enjoy Venice, went during the summer.
-Eat and drink away from the tourist areas (Piazza Di San Marco, Rialto Bridge, etc.)... the food is way over priced and not nearly as good as the places down little hidden alleys. 
-Take a ride in a Gondola.. it is pricey, but totally worth it. 
-Wear a money belt and avoid gypsys and scammers in heavily populated areas.
-Research and Avoid (not just Italian) but all European holidays.
Note: There are two Venice train stations with the same name. The first Venice station is the Maestre and you DON'T want that one... you want to continue to the end of the line which is the Santa Lucia Train Station which is where you would get off.
-Remember, Venice is an OLD, large city... Don't go to ANY OLD, large city with unrealistic expectations. No old city will look untouched and without graffiti...People do actually live there ya know...
Go, get lost, shut your eyes, listen to the sounds, and enjoy every moment!

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