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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Lake Iseo and Monte Isola - Italy's quiet lake and Europe's largest lake island

Lake Iseo and Monte Isola

You probably know the saying, popular places are popular for a reason. Sometimes I embrace this as I head out to do something "touristy" - packed with extra patience and high expectations but often, I try to find the quieter options, stay in the smaller towns. and choose the lesser known attractions. 

When we headed to northern Italy, I got the normal questions "are you visiting Milan? Lake Como? Venice?" and the answers surprised everyone. While I'm sure these places are lovely, I want to travel and not see American tourists, I want to find the local spots and more hidden places. So on my first trip to Italy, we drove right past Milan, decided to skip Como, and saved Venice for another time. 

Monday, May 13, 2024

Riding the Bernina Railway (Italy to Switzerland) - Everything You Need To Know

Bernina Express and Regular Train

We went to northern Italy for nine days and let me tell you   i t   w a s   m a g i c a l . 

We avoided (most) of the touristy places and spaces and truly had an amazing week+ exploring the mountains and lakes of northern Italy. The trip included it all - planes, trains, and automobiles and I fell in love with Italy. 

To be a bit more specific, I fell in love with parts of the country many Americans haven't spent much time in. While busy places tend to be busy for a good reason, I know I prefer natural places and quiet spaces. We skipped Lake Como, passed right on through Milan, and said "Maybe Next Time" to Venice. Instead, we set up home base on one of Italy's lesser known lakes, Lake Iseo, explored beautiful little towns and mountain lakes like Lake Garda, and took an other worldly "commuter train" into Switzerland.

Today's post is all about the latter, our wild train ride into Italy's northern neighbor and how to do it in the least touristy way possible (quiet spaces, natural places). This post is going to be a long one because I have so much to share. The first half is all about the railway, the train cars, and everything you need to know **including why you should skip the panoramic trains and ride the commuter train**. The second part is a recap of our trip. 

Let's talk about Bernina.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Losing a Good, Bad Dog

Grief is consuming. It consumes our thoughts with their name and memories, the only thing in our brain from sunup to sun down. It consumes us whole, that "elephant on your chest" feeling and the shaky nerves, lack of appetite and numbing brain fog.

You can't understand the feeling unless you've been in it and it feels different every time. When I was in my early 20s, I put down my beloved horse I had since I was 12 after he had a sudden stomach problem. I spent days in bed crying and googled "can you be dehydrated from crying". In my early 30s just when our son was born, I put down my cat and felt a different kind of grief from my sweet simple companion who had traveled across the country and back with me, a kitten I bottle fed at a few weeks old and had until her late teens.

And then there was Marshall.