Ciao friends! When we left off last Monday, we were saying good-bye to Rome and bonjourno to Tuscany! After five glorious days in Rome, we headed to the train station where we would be whisked away to the Tuscany region in less than four hours…and two trains…and seven bags…later.

the rundown-6

WEEK OF MAY 23, 2016


So, once again I had a massive road running issue which was pretty much the same one I had in Rome. Our hotel was on a mountaintop, reachable only by winding, narrow roads, that are impossible to run safely on. This was not going well. However, the hotel had a pool and a gym and I ended up doing a swim and two runs while there. Not what I had in mind but at least I got the workouts in and it felt good to run!

The views were stunning in every direction!

The views were stunning in every direction!

It was very cruel that I was unable to run with this stunning view!


I had what my coach called “land swims” scheduled for a few days and I was able to do them in the gym, with the best view ever.


Of course, the gym was pretty much empty each time I used it so I was able to take some great shots with zero weird looks. #BloggerProblems


The hotel’s information booklet talked about a hiking trail that lead all the way from the mountaintop to the small village of Barga. It was an hour hike one way, so we knew the whole thing wasn’t doable with the boys but, we wanted to go as far as their legs would take them.

Here we go!

Here we go!

As it turned out, their legs were fine but their imaginations were off the charts! They were both so scared of what kind of wild animals might be lurking in the woods that they only ventured a short distance before demanding to turn around.

We thought the sticks would help but...they didn't.

We thought the sticks would help but…they didn’t.

Whose children are these? We obviously need to work on toughening them up! There are far more dangerous animals in our neighborhood (bears and fox anyone?) than in the Italian countryside.


Prior to our journey my dad and stepmom scheduled a cooking class in the town of Lucca. It was incredible! Our chef’s name was Giuseppe (of course) and he was fantastic. It started at his restaurant and market and then he led us on a tour of bakeries and vegetable and fruit stands though out the village, where we gathered all the ingredients we would need to prepare our meal.

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The vegetable and fruit market was astounding! I could spend all day, everyday there picking out fresh ingredients for my meals. It was heavenly. The best part? I bought four bananas, two giant pears and three peaches for four euro. FOUR EURO! You cannot get one basket of strawberries for four euro in my town and they don’t taste half as good. #Criminal

After that amazingness we were lead to an apartment where our cooking adventure would begin. It was like something out of a magazine and I immediately feared for what the boys would do to it!


My name as it appears on my passport…and place card leaf. This is so Pinterest and I’m sure will grace the table at the next dinner at my SIL’s house.

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We had a lot of fun with the utensils, chopped, diced and sliced veggies, herbs and garlic and had an absolute blast. The boys broke nothing, mostly because Mike spent the majority of his time in the apartment living room with them telling them stories. The whole thing was about three hours too long for the boys but it was fun while it lasted and definitely one of the highlights of the trip!


I’m not sure this needs a caption.


Neither does this…


The chef and the hubs.


Our finished product of vegetable risotto and spinach and cheese gnocchi in a bolognese.


Miles said these were the best tomatoes he has ever had. Vaughn is just insane.


The best wine we had in Tuscany was this one:


I cannot find it anywhere remotely near us or anywhere around the globe for less than $200 with shipping. Please help. I need this wine in my life.


The views!

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When we decided to venture into the small village of Barga on the second day, the concierge failed to mention a few things:

  1. Everything is closed until 4pm
  2. There are no taxis

We showed up starving and immediately noticed everything was closed. Luckily there was a lone “pizzeria” open where we feasted on American coffee, double espressos and caprese sandwhiches.


We were not so lucky getting a taxi back to the hotel. It was only because of the amazing grace of a gas station owner, who called the taxi service herself (twice!) that we eventually hitched a ride back. We had to wait over in hour. At a gas station. No grazie.

Can you tell how happy I am?

Can you tell how happy I am? The boys may or may not be playing on someone’s patio.


Where else can you get a bobble head, solar powered Pope and Queen? Of course, this store was closed.


The Tuscany region was beyond my dreams amazing and, may have been my favorite place we visited. However, the best and worst were yet to come in Sorrento. I will need to dedicate at least two posts for that adventure so stay tuned…

[Tweet “The views of #Tuscany! Plus hiking, a cooking class and workouts with a view.”]


How was your week?

Have you ever been stranded without a ride?