Italy – a magical place

Lucca peddlingThe next stop on our tour was the cute little village of Lucca.  This was Elisa’s favourite town because she was its queen – there was a gateway, several bars, cafe’s and restaurants all named after her.  Elisa, Kay, Theo, Fraser, Robyn and I all wandered around the city together…and as you do, decided the best thing we could possibly do was a rent a six-person-cycle to tour the wall. Yup. Not one of us hesitated when the suggestion was made, which tells you alot about us as a group. Continue reading

Enter La Famiglia

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t written my blog for a while. Partly I have been so busy I haven’t had time to write. But also I hit a bit of writer’s block. I met a group of people who I love more than I ever expected to, and I had the time of my life during these next two weeks of my trip.  It has been really hard for me to try to describe the people, the places, the laughter. Every time I try to write about it, I say too much and too little all at the same time.  

So here’s my attempt, paired with lots of photos because pictures show better than my words could, the magic of the next two weeks of my incredibly, life changing journey through Europe to my new life in Ireland.

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Aglio, Olio, Pepperoncino – or Learning to Cook in Tuscany

While in Viareggio I had arranged to have 5 cooking classes. I assumed this would be like any other class, in a classroom setting with lots of students there.  Who wouldn’t want to learn to cook in Tuscany?!  I had checked if not speaking Italian would be an issue, and was assured it would be fine. So when I arrived at my first class, I was completely surprised to find myself alone in a tiny hotel kitchen with a little Italian Grandma. Continue reading

Learning at the Tuscan Seaside

20150510_190645Italy was a big part of my backpacking trip, I was spending a whole month traveling around the country. I had never been there before, I’d only seen it in movies like Only You and Roman Holiday.  I was so excited to get there and really see this beautiful country that creates so many of my favourite things: gelato, gnocchi, olives and olive oil, of course wine. My first stop was to be Viareggio in Tuscany for two weeks of Italian language classes, and some cooking classes thrown in. I was staying in an apartment with a few other students, arranged by the school (Centro Giacomo Puccini), about a 10 minute walk from school and from the bordwalk/beach. I couldn’t wait to arrive and get started.  Continue reading

Strangers on a Train


After I left Weiden I was headed towards Italy for my Italian language classes. I had intended to spend more time traveling around Germany, but changed my plans last minute and decided to head south. First stop: Zurich. Unfortunately for me, the German train conductors decided to go on strike.  Continue reading