Time… to travel

In the northern part of Umbria, is the town of Gubbio.  Although not quite a ‘hilltop town’ it is situated on a hillside, with plenty of streets to climb.  One of the famed events in Gubbio is the Corsa di Ceri, a run of three teams carrying large wooden statues (4 meters tall) and weighing over 280kg!  Experiencing a new place, meandering through historic places, and experiencing culture is just part of the joy of traveling.

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This post is part of the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Time

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ornate

Old historic buildings usually are ornate, and cathedrals are no exception.  Throughout Europe, many can be found and selected for this weeks photo challenge: Ornate.  One which perhaps stand out in our minds which is particularly detailed throughout the facade, floor, walls and ceiling, is the Duomo di Siena in Siena, Italy.

Weekend Retreat – Cala Sassari – Sardinia

After growing up in Santa Barbara, close to beaches and frequenting them often, too much time without the salty air and hum of the ocean weighs heavily on Robert. When the need to retreat to the sea becomes overwhelming in this land-locked country we reside, he feels inclined to answer the call.2015-05-19-Sardi_233

With a long weekend on the horizon, perfect flights available, we were determined to make the most of those five days and four nights, free of school, and free of work responsibilities. Sardinia, a small Italian island reached out to us, and we grabbed on with both hands.

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This weekend retreat is not necessarily a dwelling – a place to retreat or call home, but rather, a place to ease into the slow Italian life, sip cappuccinos and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.

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Located down a quiet cove, sits a beautifully shallow,  beach, Cala Sassari, ideal for families with small children. This beach offers plenty of white sand to lazily stride through, castles to create, sun to soak up and relaxation to be had.  The view of Isola Tavolara in the distance isn’t too shabby either!

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To make this beach all the sweeter, a toilet is on site, a shower (for those of us who must squeeze in one last swim before we return to the airport to catch our return flight) and a remarkable restaurant – Fino Beach. With fresh squeezed juice, calamari, and amazing pesto, we all enjoyed a memorable meal before leaving with a heavy heart for our trek home.

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Cala Sassari, located in the Golfo Aranci area, is the perfect spot for families with small children. With shallow waters perfect for swimming and wading, cabanas and lounge chairs for rent, and the amazing beach restaurant. With all of the amenities available in one location, you are certain to keep coming back for more…if only you didn’t have to return to work, school and all the demands of our routine lives.

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Photo of the Week – May 22nd

Tucked away in the central part of Tuscany is the hill top town of San Gimignano.  This is quite a nice town, which we had stopped by on several occations.  What makes it so nice?  For one thing, there is a place to have a gelato that leaves you reminiscing about it long after you’ve left, A quite shop that has the best Amaretti Cookies we’ve found, and many photo ops throughout the town.

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The “Photo of the Week” on More 2 Explore is taken from our collection of travel photos throughout the past eight–years (of living abroad) and is typically from the same month for which it is posted. Be sure to click “follow” to see more photos each week! (usually posts on Friday.)

The Tuscan Table

While sitting down at a Tuscan table several years ago, a local bottle of Chianti served in modest glasses, our conversation quickly started to flow. Memories washed over us  and we slowly began to remember. We recalled our college days, the grueling and humble moments that taught us the value of being perpetually broke, of being leveled in a vast playing field, in the reality that hard work doesn’t necessarily gain merit and that heartbreak is part of this uncertain life. Our educations were valued, but genuine life lessons were the treasures we gathered in our baskets of life.

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As minutes dissipated and wine glasses were refilled, it was hard for us to grasp that our days at university, though still fresh and vivid in our minds, were now moments of our sacred past. 2015 commemorates our 15th year anniversary from our undergraduate life. 15 years since we lived in to small dormitory dwellings, showered with flip-flops, carted around shower buckets, and lived among students eager to make their mark in their new world.

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20 years since my dear Father dropped me off at my humble dorm, embraced me in a lingering hug, unable to believe we had already arrived at this place and time and looked deep into my eyes and quietly said, “Get involved Melinda, it will make all the difference.”

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And so it was all those years ago. I got involved, I sat in class, I read the books, I joined teams, I welcomed strangers into my life, organized spring break trips with the support of wonderful friends, I volunteered, worked, laughed, loved, cried, and grew as an independent person, free from the wings of my parents encapsulating protection. Such simple, yet powerful advice; get involved.  The same words I fall back on each time I pack up my life and move to a new home whether in another state or an unknown country.
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Naturally, I miss the people who entered my life and slowly faded away, as each individual played an integral part of making me the person I have become today. The joys of the first “hello” and the sorrows of the final “goodbye” still crisp in my mind. Some final departures I long to repeat having spoken lasting words that would carry us each through the years of silence. Held that person in a deeper, longer embrace thanking them for making this life all the sweeter, but goodbyes are inevitable and final. It is hard to believe that some of those people who left such an impression on me, whom I spent countless hours with, have now drifted into the makings of their own lives so distant from my own.  The trend of friends coming and going has now become a normal, though hard to swallow cycle in our lives.
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It has been 15 years since we eagerly, yet hesitantly received our diplomas from college unable to believe that five years had passed as quickly as the turning of a page and now at 15 years, it all feels like a distant dream. It has been 15 years since the remarkable, life-altering journey began.

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Now we look to the future – the very future that holds her arms wide open for us – her prospects endless and her days the greatest mystery of all.

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This posting is dedicated to all of our friends from our incredible college days.

May your lives be rich, your journeys vast and your hearts full.