August 18, 2014 - Posted by Erin in Travel, Travel with kids, Travels in Europe

I know, I know — I’ve totally fallen off the radar these last months. But, seriously, the baby.

As I mentioned in my last post, motherhood is, well, INTENSE. I mean, let’s be honest, I’m lucky if I remember deodorant on a daily basis, so making it around to blogging falls somewhere much farther down the totem pole — somewhere after personal hygiene, but apparently before picking up the pile of clothes in my closet that I can’t seem to find the time to hang up. Priorities, people.

Despite the chaos of motherhood, though, it seems the universe insists that I travel. And, of course, I’ve been happy to oblige.



Embarking on travel again took a bit of bravery…and so did riding this little cage thing up the mountainside of Gubbio, with Nico

You see, a few months back, when Nico was only a couple of months old, and I was at the height of my “WTF” phase (does that ever end? Seriously, does it?), a friend of a friend approached me for some marketing advice on her new startup. One thing led to another, and I ended up joining as a partner and co-founder of her already-budding venture called Our Whole Village, a travel company centered around cultural immersion for families.

And I’m fairly certain I couldn’t have dreamt up a more perfect opportunity to fall in my lap: travel, family, marketing, cultural immersion, and even a dash of writing. (Perhaps it wasn’t the best timing, but who am I to argue with the universe?)


Part of our Italian cultural immersion involved us sinking our fingers and teeth into all things pasta

It’s because of this new endeavor that Nico and I recently set off for a week in Umbria, Italy, during which we stayed at a rural villa, and lived the farm-to-table lifestyle in between day trips to towns such as Perugia, Gubbio and Spello.



A flower-filled alley in Spello

Though tiring (very tiring given that I was traveling alone with my little guy), the weeklong journey through the Umbrian hills — making pasta, hunting truffles, and wine tasting (yes, wine tasting) — opened my eyes to the fact that transformational travel so isn’t over for me. In fact, I think it’s just beginning. And that’s not only because I’m discovering that all sorts of travel are possible with a little person tow, but that so much of travel is even better when you’re experiencing it through the eyes of a youngster. Who knew?



Nico knows how to travel comfortably

So, as I set off for another trip (to Portugal!), I hope I’ll fall back onto your radar as I share my upcoming travels.

But hygiene first, readers, so let’s see how things play out.

October 3, 2011 - Posted by Erin in Food and wine, Travel, Travels in Europe

When you go to Italy, try not to catch a death cold. I’m serious – it really blows (no pun intended). But I did, and I made the best of it. As Guido explained to his parents: “She’s American, she doesn’t complain.” Ha ha, I’ve got him fooled. Oh the things I will do for good pasta and wine.

The trip had to go on, so off to the local towns of Ravenna and Cesenatico we went. Ravenna – a rival city to Guido’s Cesena – is home to churches filled with colorful mosaics, and also some of the best pasta I’ve ever had (see that ravioli – it’s covered with a butter-and-sage sauce that tasted so good I can’t even talk about it).

Then we visited the sweet port-town of Cesenatico that hugs a 500-year-old canal surveyed by (whatever that means) Leonardo da Vinci. Lined with colorful buildings and filled with even more colorful boats, I think Cesenatico might just be able to give tourist-filled Venice a run for its money….at least once it sinks anyway.

About 50 minutes away, we visited Bologna where portico archways dominate the sidewalks of the university town. And because a country can’t have just one leaning tower (here’s looking at you, Pisa), Bologna’s got a pair of its own. Actually, I can’t really be sure which one is leaning, or if both are, but suffice it to say that something isn’t standing up straight (Guido tells me it’s because there’s an aquifer below them, but I think he was making a lot of things up, so don’t quote me on that).

Finally, as I was about to pass out from pretending like I wasn’t practically on my deathbed, we stopped in Perugia. You want to know who else stopped there? Hundreds of journalists, that’s who. All lingering around and chatting about the Amanda Knox trial. I honestly didn’t think much of our visit prior to going, much less the timing, until a friend of Guido’s living there mentioned that the week to come would be a big one. Judging by my news feed, I’d say that’s about right.

More than Amanda Knox and a murder mystery, the hillside town is one giant monolith of rock – rock buildings, rock stairs and a rock aqueduct that shoots out of the city off to who knows where. Larger than life with gasp-worthy stone walls, staircases and arches, the town made me feel a bit like a shrunken Alice in a medieval Italian wonderland.

So now I’m back in Spain, still a little sick and without any chance at having good homemade pasta. Let the complaining begin!