4 Seasons of the Dartmouth Commons in NS, Canada

The Dartmouth Commons is an area of land that was established in the early days of the city’s foundation for common use by anyone. Word has it that it’s still freely available for people to graze their farm animals, though nobody does that nowadays. Straddling a bluff with spectacular views of Halifax and the Halifax…

Visiting Ontario ON our way home

After landing on home soil in Ottawa, we visited Jeff’s family in Belleville and Peterborough. The scale of driving within Canada is a lot different from within countries in Europe. We went to Belleville’s most important landmark, the Quinte Curling Club, and took an elite private tour.

Dilly-dallying across the south of England

We timed our voyage home to align with the wedding of friends in the UK and spent some time exploring the south of England before flying from Heathrow to Ottawa. The wedding was at Coombe Trenchard in Okehamton, within the Devon shire county of southwest England. We drove straight there upon picking up a right-side-drive…

Ciao Italia! Bidding Italy a Fond Farewell

It was the job opportunity of a lifetime to spend 3 years in Italy, and we are so glad we went for it. We made lots of new friends and hosted over 50 Canadian visitors in our wonderful rental home in Lerici. Finally our Italian adventure has come to and end. Farewell Old Smokey! To…

In Fair Verona, Veneto, Italy

Famously the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette, fair Verona is a city so ancient its origin is lost to antiquity. It was taken by the Romans in the Conquest of the Po Valley in about 300 BC, and figured prominently in Italian history thereafter. Much of the original Roman City is still intact, including…

Winter Mountain Adventure to Santa Maddalena, Südtirol, Italy

We were lucky enough to join a group adventure to the Südtirol (South Tyrol) region of the Dolomiti (Dolomites Mountain Range) organized by our friend Craig. It began with a wintry drive from Lerici, north east all the way up into the Southern Limestone Alps. We were glad of the Italian law requiring everyone to…

Siena-thing good in Tuscany, Italy

Siena is a city in the middle of Tuscany with a Medieval centro storico (historic centre) that is one of Italy’s 54 UNESCO World Heritage sites. A fan shaped central square, Piazza del Campo is the heart of Siena with the 17 contrada (wards or city districts) radiating out around it. The outside edge of…

Relishing Ravenna in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Ravenna might be the Italian city richest in historical sights that most North Americans have never heard of. Colourful mosaics and 8 UNESCO world heritage sites make the final resting place of Dante Alighieri a hidden gem worth visiting. Beautiful mosaic street signs in the centro storico.

Fancy Ferrara in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Ferrara is an opulent little Renaissance city in Northern Italy that was once home to the court of the powerful Imperial House of Este. It is now a UNESCO world heritage site on account of its beauty and cultural importance. Interesting places to visit include the 3 renaissance palaces: Este Castle, Diamante Palace and Schifanoia…

Magnificent Modena in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Situated in the Po Valley roughly halfway between the Ligurian Sea and the Adriatic is Modena, an ancient city know for sports cars and food. Modena Cattedrale is an impressive Romanesque cathedral and a UNESCO world heritage site. It was built around the pious time of the first crusade. Tasting aceti balsamici (balsamic vinegar) at…

The Pleasures of Parma in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Parma is a small city in Northern Italy with a big reputation for food. Most famous for Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan cheese) and Prosciutto (Parma ham), Parma is also home of global food giants Barilla (pasta) and Parmalat. The centro storico (historic centre) is lovely to walk through, and keep an eye out for the many…

Full of Bologna in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Bologna is a city of Etruscan origin with 3 nicknames: La Dotta (the learned), La Grassa (the fat), and La Rossa (the red). La Dotta is home to the oldest university in the world, the University of Bologna. Visiting the Teatro Anatomico (anatomical theatre) and the Biblioteca (library) dell’Archiginnasio were highlights of our trip. The…