Baltic Sea Cruise, Country #7: Klaipėda, Lithuania

This day of our cruise was spent in a place that at first didn’t seem to have much to offer, but we were pleasantly surprised in how much we liked visiting it: Klaipėda, Lithuania. It is the third largest city in Lithuania.

Saturday, 19 August 2017:

  • Arrival: 2:30pm (Clearance at 3:00pm)
  • Departure: 9:30pm (All Aboard at 9:00pm)
  • Port: Pillies str. 4, Klaipėda

What was interesting about this trip was that instead of arriving in the morning, we arrived in the afternoon, making this day a bit of a later night.

*Fun Fact*

Weather vanes are very popular in Lithuania and can be seen on the Lithuanian coast.  They have been used on fishing boats in order to correct their path.

img_3867-x2 Continue reading “Baltic Sea Cruise, Country #7: Klaipėda, Lithuania”


Venezia (Venice) and Verona

We recently went on a quick trip to Venezia (Venice) and Verona. It was a very pleasant experience and one that we fully enjoyed.

Before sharing the things we did and saw, I would like to recognize what a great job Venice’s law enforcement did recently. The day before we left for Venice (30 March 2017) was a terror scare. We learned that a few men had threatened to destroy the Rialto Bridge, which is the most popular bridge in Venice, because of the pride they felt after the London attack. Luckily, the police were able to intercede prior to anything happening, but I did question the intelligence of us going. However, as Nick said, this is probably the best time to go due to higher security that would be in place. We went along with our plans and everything turned out just fine.  Continue reading “Venezia (Venice) and Verona”

The Islands of Malta and Gozo

Malta is an island that I honestly never knew existed, which is a shame because it’s a beautiful and relaxing place to be. It is located between southern Italy and Northern Africa (see maps below). This sunny spot is actually where many movies and TV series have been filmed, including (but not limited) to Titanic, Captain Phillips, Troy, Popeye, and Game of Thrones.  Continue reading “The Islands of Malta and Gozo”

Monaco, Nice, and Cervinia!

This post will be a bit of a compilation of places we visited on the weekend of 8-11 December. On 8 December, the Italy observed the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. In other words, Nick had a long weekend, so we decided to go the French Riviera (or Côte d’Azur) for a couple of days.

Thursday, 8 December 2016:

After a couple of hours driving, we entered France!

Continue reading “Monaco, Nice, and Cervinia!”

Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso – Orco Valley

Saturday, 6 August 2016:

A few Saturdays ago we went to a national park here in Italy called Gran Paradiso. It is a mountain in the Graian Alps. Sharing its beauty with France, the park on the other side of the border is called Parc national de la Vanoise (Vanoise National Park). Unlike national parks in the U.S., we did not have to pay an entrance fee, which was a nice little surprise. Gran Paradiso is split into five different valleys. We focused on the Orco Valley for this trip. One of the villages that connects to the Orco Valley is called Ceresole Reale. As we entered this little village, we were greeted with this sight…

Continue reading “Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso – Orco Valley”

Parco della Rimembranza (Memorial Park)

Sunday, 3 June 2016:

We took our very first family hike in Italy at Parco della Rimembranza (Memorial Park). This park was opened back in 1925 after the Allied victory in WWI to remember Torino’s fallen soldiers.

As some of you know, Zoey loves being outdoors. She would obviously prefer woods over streets any day. Less noisy, less crowded, and simply more peaceful. As an added bonus, we can let her off leash during these types of walks! long as she listens (someone had to be put back on the leash at the end of the hike because she wasn’t listening…tut, tut).

Continue reading “Parco della Rimembranza (Memorial Park)”

Parco del Valentino

Saturday, February 20, 2016:

Our first weekend in Italy began with walking around Parco del Valentino. This park is both close to our current temporary housing and our soon-to-be permanent apartment. It is the second largest park in Turin, Italy. The origin of this park’s name is uncertain.

Thinking that it wasn’t very cold outside, I did not bring my coat with me. However, I was wrong. Nick, being the gentleman he is, saw that I was indeed chilly, gave up his own jacket and walked around with just a short sleeved t-shirt to keep me content, knowing I don’t do well with cold weather. It was very kind and thoughtful of him :). I think he has learned this was something he should always do and we have one man to thank for this…Allen! Back in 2011 when Nick and I hung out during our second time meeting, Nick failed to offer his jacket even after Allen pointed that he should. Mentioning this all those years ago must have stuck because Nick is always concerned about how cold I am when we walk around outside. Thanks, Allen! 😉

Anyway, we start off our walk in the Rocky Garden with some interesting pieces of artwork. Some were creatively made with recycled material.

Here are two lamp posts in love. With a little cat stretching off on the side 🙂
Here is an angel who is reading. Her imagination flows out of the book in the form of butterflies.



Here we have a sleepy fisherman taking a rest. Can you spot the sneaky four-legged animal wanting a little fish for dinner?



After these, we follow the road that leads up to the Medieval Castle and Village (Castello e Borgo Medievale). It was built for the sole purpose of the International Exhibition in 1884; a fair involving several countries (including the U.S.) that was held in Parco del Valentino a handful of times. It was meant to be demolished after the event. However, due to its popularity, the decision was made to keep it intact. Now it is popular attraction in Turin.



This picture shows another side of this medieval castle.

There is quite a bit to see inside the castle and accompanying village that Nick and I hope to explore in the upcoming weeks.


Next, we find this beautiful monument entitled, La Fontana dei Dodici Mesi (The Fountain of the Twelve Months).


In 1898, Turin hosted a national exposition and revealed this beautiful monument that includes a statue for each month of the year. Also, it represents the four rivers in Turin (Po, Dora, Sangone, Stura). It was built as a 50th anniversary remembrance of the Statuto Albertino (Albertine Statute). When the Kingdom of Italy became unified, the Statuto Albertino became their constitution.

The continual sound of water falling from this fountain is so peaceful that at times you can find a group of people practicing yoga near this fountain. We saw a group of women doing just that on Saturday.

The female statue with her arms raised represents the month of September (settembre), which many of you know is the month that Nick and I were born (along with many other friends and family members). She seems very energetic and wanting to reach the skies – like us!

Here we are along the Po River taking a little selfie moment to capture some memories of us! 🙂

It was such a lovely day that we continued walking around Turin. Look for the next blog post to see what we saw next!

*Fun Fact*  Did you know that Turin is very pet friendly? Not only are dogs allowed in several restaurants, but being on a leash seems to be optional. There were several, really most, dogs off leash in this park (both day and night) and in the busiest parts of the city crossing streets with their owners. This would make me nervous with Zoey since she tends to be scared of loud noises and rushed decisions, but most dogs we saw were very well-behaved  and stayed close to their owners. They seem to be treated more like friends than an animal.