Lake Tahoe – Smoky Images is a 3 part photo essay on the duality of disaster. As is typically the case when I travel, I had to jettison my expectations within the first few minutes of arriving at a destination. The last time I visited Lake Tahoe was in 1999. I was under 30, recently rejected from a job in Rome I had wanted more than any other job before or since, and had just visited the Napa Valley for the first time. I lost my only black and white roll of film on that visit 15 years ago. [Read more…]
The Italy Rules are my set of guidelines for the first-time and infrequent Italy traveler. I have traveled to, lived, and worked in Italy frequently over the past 20 years. In this time I evolved from a curious tourist to hardened, salty, veteran of the trials, travails, and pitfalls, of one of the world’s most visited countries. One usually dreams of Italy for years before finally setting their foot into the proverbial boot. The dream usually crashes in much less time. This post is really for the traveler who has not been deep into the Amazon or climbed to base camps in Nepal. This post is for those of you who enjoy modern conveniences, large bathrooms, and the amenities of a comfortable Western life. For the most part, I am you. I love my big bed, my central heat and air, and my very fast wi-fi connection. However, Italy is reason enough for me forego these luxuries for a few weeks or months out of every year.
Twenty Five 25 Word Travel Essays is a quick link to the very cool-
TRAVELING ALONE: 25 Very Very Short Stories (click this link to read)
I am # 25 and I encourage you to read them all before you get to mine. Also, please subscribe to the wonderful Your Life is a Trip experiential travel blog. I am a regular contributor.
What a wonderful and sometimes intense set of responses from my previous post – The Italy Rules. I want to take a little time today to expand and expound on some of my thoughts and provide further insight into traveling in Italy.
1. Italy Guides – Here is my short list of who I would travel with and why in Italy.
- The Rome Digest - This new and wonderful consortium of talented Rome guides includes my dear friend Katie Parla, who is my champion of all things Roman (pork, gelato, beer, wine, art, history, and life) If you are going to spend time in Rome, and you should, let the Rome digest draw a map for you
- Venice – Row Venice Nan McIlroy is one of the most knowledgeable people in Italy regarding living life, eating well, and getting out on the water. Don’t pay 200 euro for a snooze on a gondola. Pay less and get out there and learn to do it yourself. Easily one of the greatest experiences I have ever had in Italy
- Tuscany – Judy Francini will cook with you and teach you what it means to truly experience life in Tuscany. Reach out to her. She has been cooking successfully for her Italian husband for years. She will teach you how to impress anyone.
- Puglia – this is a bit biased but I can vouch for the unbeatable quality of Southern Visions Travel. Antonello Losito leads this superior company leading the most authentic excursions into Italy’s tastiest region. From 1 day to 1 month, these guys are amazing
- Le Marche – Mariano Pallottini – the best guides are sometimes not guides. For this truly under-the-radar region no one can show visitors the ropes like Mariano. Please tell him I sent you.
- Travel for Teens - If you would like to send your son or daughter on one of the most amazing experiences to be had. I strongly suggest using Travel for Teens. Managed and operated by a group of passionate, intelligent, and experienced men and women, TFT is the leader in volunteer and cultural travel in Italy for students. Ask for Ned or Nick and your young adult will be blown away
- For other Italian regions I have friends of friends and would be happy to do some research for you [Read more…]
Here is The Blissful Adventurer 2012 Year in Review Haiku. Haiku was one of my most successful creative expressions here in the blog world in 2012 I want to share some of the best of the best with you all today for my final blog of 2012; easily the most successful year I have a had as a storyteller. [Read more…]
Friuli Friday Photos Finale is my final Friday blog of 2012. These shots are from an extraordinary spring adventure in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and one from the Veneto just next door. We are in Northeast Italy here, in a land still seeking an identity after changing hands frequently in the 19th and early 20th centuries. I never would have thought I would have eaten the best sauerkraut of my life in Italy, and I did. Tall people, Fascist art, pork in a dozen ways on one plate, my kind of weirdness shared with friends. Nicolas Emery, the famous Rubicon explorer, his fiancée Giulia Laveto (aka juujee), and of course The Schmee were all present and on board for wine, food, and Friuli. [Read more…]
The Blissful Adventurer – 2012 Blog of the Year
Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the link from Cara Olsen to her outstanding blog This Little Light and saw she had selected me among a few of her very talented peers as Blog of the Year for 2012. Cara herself had received the honor and as the protocol dictates shared her love and recognition with other writers she admires in the same vein. Cara, as many of my readers already know, is a novelist/blogger of exceptional mettle and integrity. Her work proves one can have faith and a firm grasp of the human condition and that they are not mutually exclusive. To be chosen by such a talented scribe is truly a blessing in these end of 2012 days. Thank you Cara Olsen. You are blessed and blessed with good taste [Read more…]
San Francisco Bay to Sausalito – Fun Photo Friday is my first post since Thanksgiving. As I am preparing to launch my newest travel venture, working on my book, and diving deep into the coffee, wine, and cuisine of San Francisco I am posting less frequently. At the same time I feel as though what I am lacking in volume I am subsidizing in quality content. I will let all of you decide that for me.
Today’s post chronicles an amazing day Juliet and I spent on the San Francisco bay and across the way in Marin county. We had the great pleasure of being guided by Shawndra McCrorey, an enormously talented wine professional working for an exceptional Italian wine import company, Zigzagando.
Shawndra showed us a side of Marin county we may not have found on our own and we are grateful to share these images from this truly Blissful Adventure.
I took the first shot above from the aft deck of our ferry from SF to Sausalito. I am likely more patriotic than most of my readers would know and while the country can often be so divided I am certain that America is alive and well here in the bay. [Read more…]
Hipstamatic fun photo Friday is a joyful exploration of the depths in iPhone photography that help me to document The Blissful Adventurer. These images represent my particular vision of the images I see and are intended to alter mood and shift perspective. Hipstamatic is an application for mobile phone cameras that has inspired me since its inception and I hope very much it remains a fixture in the app world. [Read more…]
Mt. Etna -Volcanoes, Vines, and the Holy Spirit is a 3 part series on how I came to meet Salvo Foti, the preeminent voice on traditional (ancient) winemaking on Mt Etna. I am releasing my post now to celebrate Salvo’s visit to San Francisco this week. Salvo Foti will be pouring wine and discussing how he makes the magic this Saturday at Biondivino is San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood from 6-8PM. Come out and enjoy the wines and say hello to yours truly as well as the great Salvo Foti.
We walked all together through the vineyards at Palmento Santo Spirito and saw vines as old as 150 years resting next to new plantings. The cycle of life in Sicily is as clear as anywhere I have seen. Ancestral vines keeping watch over new ones managed by men following ancient rituals to the tune of making wine without the use of electricity. I assumed Salvo was kidding till he walked us through the dark and dank rooms of the Palmento and explained to us how the grapes are carried up the ramp by hand and into the lava stone pool where they are foot tread to break the skins and allow the juice and pulp to run free into the rock tank below. The temperature outside over 90 degrees while the stone and the vented windows keep the inside temps at 75 or less. This was how the Romans made wine said Salvo and yet they say what I am doing is illegal. Two thousand years of winemaking precedence cannot be wrong but the EU says it is illegal. I want to know so much more. [Read more…]