Saturday, June 16, 2012


The trip has come to an end! I am sitting here in Venice getting ready to start my own journey. I will have plenty of time to reflect on the past four weeks while traveling Europe for another three weeks.

Last night we went to our friend Roberto's house for dinner. We decided, or should I say the girls did, to cook our Italian friends a typical American meal. We had cheeseburgers, macaroni and cheese, cooked vegeatables and for dessert, apple pie with vanilla ice cream. We had a wonderful evening listening to music and spending our last night together. I was especially excited for my good buddy Alessandro came in to spend the last night with us. What a great friend he has become.

This morning I woke up early to see the girls off. We have become really close so it was rather an emotional goodbye. As amazing as this trip has been as far as sightseeing and vocational visits what I will remember the most is the friendships made. The girls and I became extremely close throughout the trip. I will also remember my new Italian friends Alessandro and Roberto. It can not be understated just how welcomed we were by our Italian rotary friends. I am confident I have met several friends for life through our Italian Rotary visits.

 Lastly, I would like to thank Rotary for an amazing four weeks. I have learned so much about Italy while on this journey. My mottos; ask questions and listen paid off. Thank You!

                                                                I have arrived in Venice!

                                                     My good buddies, Roberto and Alessandro

Sending the ladies off to the airport. I will miss our fun times together. Thanks Ladies!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Museo Egizio

Today we went to the Eyptian Museum and it was AMAZING! I was fortunate enough to speak with the director of the museum and discuss the challenges faces her museum. Surprisingly she is facing some of the same difficulties as me-although the Marshall Museum does not have the problem of having several thousand visitors a day and only 5 bathrooms.....eek! The building is under construction (and yes they will be adding more bathrooms) so here are a few pictures from the inside.

Tara looks so studious.....


Ancient toilet pictured sideways

Me standing next to a copy of the Rosetta Stone given to the museum by the British Museum

shoes-need I say more?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

District 2030 Congress

Sat., June 9, 2012 - Today we attended the District 2030 Congress (same as our District Conference) in Torino.  Their District Congress is one day rather than three.  After the many Rotary Clubs that we have visited in Alessandria, Aosta, Genova, and their surrounding areas, it was very nice to see many of our Rotarian friends.  Although the speeches and slides were obviously in Italian, I find that I am doing better with interpretation.  The goals and activities of Rotary are the same in any language.

After a wonderful lunch al fresco, our good friend and GSE Chair Bartolomeo Berello guided us through our presentation before the Congress.  Four members of the Italian GSE team were also present on stage, with Andrea "#2" speaking for the group.  We would like to thank District Governor Antonio Strumia for providing interpretation during our presentation.

                                            Bart Berello, Nancy, and Andrea
                                                            Bart and Tara

                                                            Bart and Tim

                                                        Bart and Elisabeth

                                        with Laura wrapping up for the team.

This is our final week of our GSE trip, and we will be touring Torino and the surrounding area.  More to come....

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Catching up...

I am so sorry have not posted in such a long time. The internet has been hit and miss for us. We are currently in Genova at a Catholic School that has a hotel attached to it that is run by the nuns. Before we moved to Genova we were in Aosta at a hotel that did not have internet at all.
Please keep that in mind while reading this post. I have alot to cover. I am sorry it is so long.

Before we left Alessandria, the team went to our coordinators home to cook a traditional Italina meal with his daughter and the Italians who visited the US. We made Bruschetta, two kinds of lasagna and tiramisu. It was a great way to spend the afternnon. I really enjoyed being able to spend some time with the team that visited our district.

Laura and myself with Andrea, whipping the cream for the tiramisu. 

The lasagnas are going in the oven. We made one with a traditional ragu (meat sauce) and the other withh a classic pesto sauce from Genova. Valentina from the Italian team brought the basil from Genova and showed us how she makes her pesto. They were both delicious. 

This is the finished tiramisu. It was the best I have ever had. (I have had alot). What a difference Italian ingedients can make.

This is the group that was there for the meal. All 4 members from the Italian team and all 4 of us.

This a a typical Italian deli. The proscutto hanging in the window with the large wheels of Parmesan sitting all over the store. I have gone to heaven.

This was an open air food market that we stumbled upon in Alessadria.

Gelato at 11pm with the current owner of the store. it has been in his family since the 1800s.
Then we transfered to Aosta. I will miss Allesandria. I felt very comfortable there. Next stop...Aosta. Which is in the Alps.

After a drive through the mountains we stopped in a small village for a drink. Of course we had to have a beer.

This was the view from the road where we stopped. The mountains are so beautiful.

Its Not Cheese...Its Fontina.....
One of the caves that the Fontina is aged in. They are built into the side of the mountain.
One of the workers washing off the salt that was on the Fontina. The cheese is heavily salted and then washed off two days later. This process is repeated every day for 3 months.  
We went to the winery that is at the highest elevation in Italy. They are a co-op and take turns sharing the workload. They mostly produce white wines. That is very common for this region.

On transfer day from Aosta we decided to eat at a kebob shop. They are very popular in the Italian culture.
These are the ruins from an old theatre in Aosta. They are at least 2000 years old. The city is working to preserve them for future generations.

While in Aosta we went hiking in the Alps. Yes, I went hiking. Hard to believe. We hiked in a National park called Gran Paridisio. It is a very popular hiking destination. The trails in the park were actually made by the king and his men when he used to hunt the wildlife in this area.

Some of the animals in the park.  We saw several on our hike to the waterfall.
Just a picture of a cool road in Aosta.
After transfering to Genova, we finally got to eat some vegetables. The Northern part of Italy is a huge meat producing region. They do not eat alot of vegetables. We were very happy to have some pasta with an arugula salad.

Arrival in Genova. I now know why it is called the Italian Riviera. WOW!!! It is beautiful.
This is one of the five little villages known an Cinque Terre. (5 lands) We took a day trip to the area and was able to take a walk between two of the five villages.

A lemon tree that was growing along the trail. There are lots of citrus trees in this area.

The other village on the hill that we alked to.

Later that evening, We visited with some Rotary members and joined them for dinner. This is a whol;e fish that was baked in a slt crust and the portioned at the table for dinner. It was delicious.

Yes, We are in the Italian Riviera. Of course we had to go in. (At least up to our knees)
We visited the last home and museum of Alfred Nobel. Most know for inventing dynamite and later setting up the Nobel prizes. This is his desk where this proclamation was written.
One of the specialties of Liguaria. Foccacia with cheese.

We visited the museum of Olive oil. This are some of the urns used to store the oil. Some of them are over 1000 years old.

This is one of the dolphins that we saw at the Genova Aquarium. They also has fish, seals, manatees and penguins.
A lion that is keeping guard of a cathedral in Genova.

A door designed to keep out unwanted neighbors.

Our tour guide of downtown Genova and the next day an art museum. We had such a wonderful time with her. She joined us for dinner and then took us to her flat to show us the view from her window overlooking the water.

I just loved her spice rack.
This is our dinner by the sea.
Fried fresh anchovies for dinner.

Group shot...

A confectionary manufacturer that we visited. He toured us around his production area and then gave us all samples to take home. Mr. Ghiradelli got his start in this very business before moving to San Francisco to open his own company.
Elisabeth and I visiting a school of tourism in Genova. The set up a very nice tasting for us after our tour.

One of the students making the pesto that went on our pasta at the school.