Jun 28, 2010


You gotta love flying! I got here to Milan yesterday evening, stayed with some friends (the journey and last night are a whole other post) and this morning we went to the airport. But... my flight was canceled. So I'll try to leave again tomorrow! I'm kind of excited though because now I can see some of Milan and Lake Como! Woohoo! Maybe I'll be home this month sometime... but no promises at this rate :)

Jun 24, 2010

Well folks, it looks like I'm heading home Monday. Pete says so. Sigh. WAAAAHOOOO ITALY JUST MADE A GOAL! THE WHOLE TOWN IS CHEERING OUT THE WINDOWS! I love the World Cup :)

Elba anyone?

Monday morning I left my house at 6:30, hiked to the bus statation, took a bus to Chiusi, then a train to Florence, another one to Pisa, then another one to the coast! Then I got on this lovely boat and an hour later I was on dry ground on the Isle of Elba.

The ferry

Woohoo! I made it! Once in town, I had to find my hotel. Hm. The tourist office had never heard of it, so I started asking random people around town. "Oh yes, it's about a kilometer up that road." So I started walking. No hotel. I asked again. "Hotel Etrusco? Umm... Yes, about one kilometer further." Ha! Still no hotel. Then I went into a grocery store and the lady in front of me checking out knew a guy who knew a guy. That guy happened to be across the street, and that guy also owned the hotel! He drove me right to it in his mercedes (about another kilometer), checked me into my room, and later I saw him and his wife making dinner for their guests. I smiled.

After getting settled in I walked back down the mountain into the town to check things out. This dock went from a mine out to the boats, but I could tell it hadn't been used for years. Notice how the supports aren't even touching the ground anymore! It was all rusted over, and quite a sight.

Rio Marina was interesting. It was full of kids and old guys. Everyone was very cute :)

I hiked up to another town called Rio Elba, and it was beautiful. It sat way up in the mountains, and had great views of the ocean and Rio Marina

View from the top!

Yesterday I took a bus from Rio Marina to Portoferraio, and the drive was gorgeous. We went way up in the mountains, and back down to sea level multiple times.

I went to the beach

Portoferraio was way ritzy. Private yachts galore.

Sadly I had to leave the lovely place :(

Goodbye Elba! Thanks for the adventure!

Jun 19, 2010


In Italian, the word “graffiti” literally means Scratchings, or clawings. I imagine that’s what these people were trying to do when they put “graffiti” all over the walls of the pedestrian tunnel.

This person wanted to be mad in English… I give them an A for trying ☺

There’s also a fad going around about “Son Of Troy”

Then there's the classic teenage comeback. "Your mom is Troy".

Jun 17, 2010

Darkness between the fireflies

This picture was taken in the pitch dark. I love messing with long exposures on my camera, and i thought this one was kinda cool. The little dots at the bottom are that of a firefly as it turned off and on, flying around while the shutter was open.
Mason Jennings wrote a song called Darkness Between The Fireflies, and the chorus talks about how some things in our past are beautiful like the simple darkness between fireflies. I like that. And I have a plethera of fireflies :)

Some castles, some old stuff, a famous huge house, and some Rotelli's

Yesterday morning I took off into the Val Di Chiana. My first stop was in a little town called Castiglione Del Lago, right on Lake Trasimeno

It was Market day!

This is Sonja making me a panino from fresh crusty bread and my favorite pecorino cheese. She is great. She travels with her meat and cheese cart to a new town every day, selling amazing products for way too cheap. She has become a market-day friend of mine :) I saw her this morning at the market here in Montepulciano too, hee hee

Castiglione Del Lago was sooo pretty. I just thought it was so cool how there's just a random fortress, really well preserved, hangin out on the side of an overly blue lake. It had it's own smell too...
Sadly I couldn't hang out at the beach forever, so I headed to Cortona!

Cortona was really beautiful, but honestly I didn't really know what to do with myself when I got there. I found the piazza, wandered around for a few minutes, found it to be a lot like every other ancient town in Tuscany, and I headed out to find my next adventure:

This is Bramasole. It belongs to Frances Mayes who wrote a book about it called Under The Tuscan Sun. I found it after talking to 4 people, old and young, all of whom knew exactly where the house was but had a hard time explaining how to find it. That's because the road doesn't have a name and it's covered in trees and is hardly a road at all! Which makes it all the more beautiful. Hey Babo, look what Frances Mayes drives - a PANDA VERDE!! hahahaha!!! (I changed the coloring of the picture, so it looks kinda yellow here... but i'm serious, she drove a Panda verde. I laughed lots). Frances was probably looking at me through her window thinking, "Why in the blazes is some chick on a scooter taking pictures of my house?" (Except she's a writing professor, so I'm sure she came up with a better word than "blazes"). But I'm sure I wasn't the first one, so... I left happy :) And her front gate didn't have a doorbell, probly because she was sick of weird people ringing it. I wasn't brave enough to hop her fence to meet her, sorry folks :(
After Cortona I met Tina at the Outlet Village. I would have taken pictures, but it all happened so fast... We went in every store and looked at every rack. It was great. Italian clothing is so strange, but I'm kinda liking it. I didn't buy much, but I learned a lot of Italian :)

The day ended with lots of food at Rotelli's :) They have this awesome gazebo outside their house and we ate dinner out there. It was so beautiful, and for some reason they don't have bugs like I do at my house. Awesome.


Tuesday morning I took a bus to Macciano and rented a scooter for a couple days! I left the car rental place with a huge grin of freedom on my face :) I got to see a lot of places I would never have seen by bus, and the whole day was just awesome. Except it rained SUPER hard all morning, so I got nice and wet. But the sun came out around noon and I took off into the unknown countryside. It was gorgeous, to put things lightly.

My first stop was in Pienza. Pienza was basically rockin.

I wonder if someone put this here so people would take pictures of it

I thought this little girl was so cute sitting here drawing

I liked this road because the name of my house is "La Buca". I named it that. hehe.

After Pienza I took this little crazy road toward Montecchielo, and there were cows. Lots of cows.

This doesn't even begin to describe the beauty of the Val D'Orcia...

Montecchiello... aaahhh... so great! It's teenie, so the pics I got pretty much sum up the whole town :)

Montecchiello was so calm and peaceful. No annoying tourests, no gross gelato, no fake handmade shops. Just locals hanging out in the streets enjoying the sun!

All day I was trying to find this road so I could take a picture of it, then as I was driving home up a ridiculously steep road I realized I was on it! I was too lazy to go back down and take my own pic, so you'll just have to pretend I didn't download this one :)

This was the road back to Montepulciano through the woods. This picture is un-edited. It was breath taking! The woods were so gorgeous, and the road just wound through them so pretty...
I got back home around 6ish and called my fam. Babo told me I should visit the isle of Elba while I'm here, and after much research and deep searching, I think I figured out how to make it work! (And thanks to Babo for his research as well:)) I was going to head out this morning, but I decided I want to be there for 2 nights so I had to change hotels and blah blah blah, so I'm going Monday now! WAHOOO!! I never thought I'd be able to go to the sea while staying here, so I'm stoked outta mah mahnd.

Jun 14, 2010

Spiders and lessons

I was reading in the pitch dark last night (I love my Kindle App), enjoying the peace that only 11:00pm can provide in a farming community. Then just as princess buttercup was about to be eaten by the shreeking eel, I decided I was tense enough and it was time to turn the book off and go to bed. I reached up for my light switch so I could find my plug to charge the dern book, and as soon as light flooded the quiet room, a sound as deafening as the cry of Wesley from the pit of despair came from my mouth and bounced off the calm Tuscan hills. I found my self flailing my arms and I tried not to pee my pants from the standing position I had thus acquired on top of my bed. There was a monster on my wall, two inches from my light switch. Teeth the size of butcher knifes, claws the size of dinner chairs, spiky hair running down the wall and resting upon the pillow beside me, eyes staring into my soul with rough battles reflecting within them. I found my center (pronounced "thenter", naturally) and I unsheathed my sword and smote off the wild beasts head, saving Atticus' life just in the nick of time.

Wow. That true story ended up being much fruittier that previously imagined. The whole jumping up on the bed and yelling thing did happen. The beast really existed, but it was a spider. Although... My description wasn't too far off. I had to use a bowl to capture it, simply because a cup wasn't big enough. I threw it out my door and heard it hit the weeds below my house. I should have killed it to prevent a reenactment of this devastating moment in my life, but how does one go about killing such a creature? Ew. Atticus laughed at me and I went to sleep, feeling quite proud of myself for handling the beast at all.

This morning as I was taking my walk and contemplating over last night’s events, I learned something that I think is pretty important. I run into these gross and horrifying events almost every day (although usually not as dramatic as the spider). On my way through Rome a month ago, I saw rude things written on buildings and people doing things that I never wanted to see, so I closed my eyes. I was on a picnic yesterday and came across a dead snake that was about 4 feet long and 2 inches wide, which I stepped over and thanked the skies it wasn’t in my house. This morning there was a bag of bird parts strewn all over the road, so I held my nose and ran for a little while. Every day it’s something else. Dog poop in my yard. A bug in my ear. Someone yelling gnarly words at me in Italian. But… these are things that we just deal with. We step over them, throw them out, kick them into the weeds. It’s the same with profanity, pornography, and other worldly things. We do what we have to do to get them out of our way, then we go on with living the beautiful life we have been given instead of just sitting down in the “poop” or letting the “bugs” crawl all over us. And dealing with them makes us stronger. I now know that if another vicious spider enters my house, or if other worldly things appear in my life, I can deal with it. I’ve done it before, and it felt wonderful. I’m safe. The end.

District Conference in Florence

Yesterday was the district conference for all the localish branches. It was held in Florence, and I was surprised how many people I saw that I recognized! Everyone was the same. (I just couldn’t remember names. sad face)

I was particularly happy to see these two☺ This is the old branch president and his wife that were in our branch when my family lived here. We group-hugged/kissed for about 5 minutes, then there were a lot of quick words exchanged and my cheek got pinched to mush, then we all enjoyed the conference together!

This family has become one of the highest respected groups of people ever in my eyes. The Rotelli’s take really good care of me. The madre, Tina, is a nutcase. She’s in her late 40’s, but she’s as spry as a 10-year-old. Yesterday (when she wasn’t pretending to strangle me, or poke me, or talk about my sexy legs) I was telling her how thankful was for the ride to Florence, and she told me I could repay her by letting her take me shopping. Sounds like a deal! So we’re headed to the outlets tomorrow. She is, quite factually, the most experienced shopper I know. It is her joy and passion. She told me I have lots to learn. So lets consider this a very serious learning experience, and not two girls being crazy, ok? Thanks. I’ll put a fashion show up in a couple days ☺


Last week the missionaries in our branch decided to put together a little bowling activity for the young folk. It turned out great! There aren’t a whole lot of people under the age of 50 in the branch, but there have been some students studying in Siena from BYU, so they came and it was great.

We got there and had to wait for some of the others to show up… So Davide decided to see what it felt like to get behind the wheel. The car looks pretty normally sized till you put a normal person in front of it…

It was probly the smallest car I’ve ever been in. Good ol’ cinquecentos ☺. At one point of the day we had 6 people in there. Good thing we’re all friends!

I think I bowled a grand 54 points… But hey, I did better than like 2 other people, so heh!