Home and Travel

Valley of Fire, my valley of magnificence!

As we were heading to Valley of Fire this weekend (again), I already knew on the way there that I wanted to write a post about this amazing place. It’s honestly like nothing(!) my Northern-European born and bred eyes and soul has ever seen. In comparison to all the glorious views, the wondrous trails between soaring cliffs and the amazing colour-spectacles that the light and shade on the rocks create, even the streets of Venice and Florence fade into an abyss of man-made wonders. Don’t get me wrong, I will always hold London, Paris, Verona, Florence, Venice, Tallinn, Helsinki (I can go on and on but you get the point, right?) very close to my heart but this place is truly breathtaking and something out-worldly in my book of adventures.

Valley of Fire’s bright red Aztec sandstone, creating gorgeous rainbow-like paintings on the rock surface, ancient petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years* are truly a sight you don’t want to miss whenever you get a chance to visit the beautiful Nevada (and have time to explore beyond The Strip).

But as they say – a picture says a thousand words. So please do enjoy and when you ever get a change, go see for yourself. As we Estonians like to put it: “Your own eyes are your own king.”, meaning what’s portrayed to one’s own eyes, covey one’s own truth.

*Source and more information from Parks of Nevada webpage.

Home and Travel, Uncategorized

About Lignano and Las Vegas – the Past and the Future. The Stories, Pictures and Smells from the Journey.

From here to there and everywhere. How does that sound? If you have that little travel bug in you and the urge to see and feel as much of the diversity and saturation of the world as you possibly can in your limited time on this planet as a human, then that first sentence should kind of sound like a dream travel-plan. Or life-journey?

However you want to look at it, I love experiencing new countries, new food, culture, vibe, people, smells, the colour of the light and the intensity of the shadows on this side of the street and the other. We’ve seen quite a lot of new places this year, spent some amazing time exploring as a family and enjoying each others company in a variety of new locations. And I mean, every time I actually take the time and sit down to write about our comings and goings, I look back in awe and think to myself: “Oh wow it’s been so long since I last wrote anything in the blog!”. I’ve gotten over it though, as we go about our everyday life, I’m way more active in Instagram cause posting a picture is like  getting a Spritz Aperol at the town square – easy, fun, done and done. Writing a post here is more like hosting a dinner gathering – still fun but requires a little bit more preparation, I have to gather my thoughts more and it’s not as spontaneous as Instagram.  I like doing both though, I just don’t host dinner parties every day.

But I would like to take some time and write about our adventures. But instead of dissecting this subject chronologically, I’m going to cover our travels and doings reporting first things first. The last trip we took was to Lignano Sabbiadoro for my birthday. I have some charming photos on instant film that I’d like to share with you and that’s mainly what this post’s visual contribution will be.

For those of you not familiar with Northern-Italian summertime favourites, Lignano Sabbiadoro (sabbia d’oro meaning “golden sand” in Italian) is one of those sweets spots where Italians and non-Italians like to get into their bikinis and speedos, get their tan on and check all the boxes of a proper summer holiday or a weekend.  That includes bike rides along the coastline, enjoying gelato, pizza and seafood and a generous amount of prosecco, spritz, beer or whatever floats that boat! The weather was still too chilly for any real bikini or swim time but we did get a little bit of tan on, enjoying drinks and snacks at outdoor cafes. A big plus was having a room with a balcony overlooking the sea so the old folk could have their glass or two of Merlot in the evening while the little Princess had her beauty nap.

We stumbled across an amazing seafood place called Ristorante Agosti that had a very wide and impressive selection of wine and seafood of all kind. We liked it so much that we actually went there twice – for my birthday dinner and for lunch the next day before heading back home. Robin had her first taste of squid and cleansed her palette munching olives at cafes. Quite a refined taste for a one year old…

Another great find was Ristorantino Baby, we had pizza and pasta with wine and everything was just delicious! The service was exceptional and I loved just sitting outside in the sun in April, enjoying good food and wine and having to rush nowhere.

One of the perks of going in the spring or fall is that you can actually find places to eat and sit down and everything’s not fully booked. If you do go during the high season, be smart and look up restaurants and their phone numbers you’d like to try out and make reservations. We’re not big on calling ahead, I do like to just take a walk and hope we “get lucky” but when you’re starving and you don’t want to end up grabbing a pizza from the street corner (which, don’t get me wrong, can be one of the best food you’ve ever had), making a reservation is the smart, grown-up thing to do.

Lignano isn’t that far from us, takes about an hour to get there, considerably more during the summer though because of the toll booth at the highway causing pretty bad traffic jams. Hopefully we get to go more this year than last year, now that Robin’s older it’s a lovely destination to spend a sunny weekend on the beach, building sand castles and playing in the sea. We stayed there for two nights this time. And coming home we had another surprise, a perfect one, really. We knew we’re going to move at the end of October this year but we were waiting on further information about our new destination from Anthony’s work. The main thing we hoped for was a warm, sunny place that’s not too remote or in the middle of nowhere. Visiting Estonia in March, I got my yearly dose of the cold, rain and snow. Well, how about Las Vegas? Sure, we’ll take it! I must say it’s a perfect birthday gift, I’ve been so excited that I can’t even fall asleep at night, thinking about our new destination. And sure, any one of you that know me even just a little bit, know how I love Italia, the food, the coffee, the wine, the landscape, the architecture, the art, the streets and mood and feel of it all but I have to say, I can’t wait to try out Las Vegas now! I was very sad when we found out that we have to leave Italy for now but a few months have passed and now that we know our new destination, I’m so anxious and excited about trying out this new country, new climate, new continent that I can hardly wait to start this new adventure. Till then, though, we’re going to try to see the places we’ve still missed here in Italy and hopefully  pop by some of the  neighboring countries too. Morocco has been in my bucket list for a long time and Anthony’s very fond of Dubrovnik. The Amalfi coast, Sicily, Rome and Vatican and Naples, Sardinia, Greece – all of these sound pretty amazing before heading 9500 km to the west to get my desert/365-days-of-summer game on.

And I’ll take all the fabulousness of Italy with me in my memories. Remember that wine we had in that little cantina in Verona in October, how the air smelled like wind and prosciutto? Or those vivid pictures we took in Burano, the smell of hot sunshine in August and spaghetti al pomodoro? The eclectic craziness and nuanced face of Venice, the grandioseness and magical diversity of Florence, the narrow roads of Aviano with those white-washed walled homes and the smell of basil and onion lingering on the streets, remember? Remember all that? I hope I will. And then I’ll just get Memo’s Italian Leather, a perfume that has all that goodness in it with that little bit of extra spark to mark the non-recurring Italian spirit and I’m good to go wander in Mojave desert.






Home and Travel

Looking back from Venezia.

The sun was shining so bright today when we headed out to catch the train from Sacile to Venice, that it felt like spring, like the cold, early days of spring.

I’ve been lucky and blessed enought to see this magical city against various backdrops. May it be the cold temperatures and chilly winds blowing through the maze of canals in the winter, the burning hot summer sun making people look for shade in the shady little cul de sacs or the salty sea air playing in your hair while you walk along the the edge of Parco delle Rimembranze, enjoying the warmth of spring and observing the little lizards run along the stone edge on one side of the road and tranquil waves washing the edge of the patway on the other side, this city is always magnificent, always new.

I’ve had the most amazing year of my life here, 2016 was everything and more than I could have ever hoped for. Walking around in Venice today made me a bit sad though, a bit reminiscent because I know that this time next year we will be thousands of miles away from this beautiful city, this gorgeous country.

I can only hope that the new year will be as beautiful and full of love as this one. I’m waving to my friends and family in Estonia, I left with a heavy heart again and soon I’ll have to wave goodbye to Italy too but we will always have our memories, always. Until we meet again, arrivederci.

And to my little family here, you who make up my home and take up my heart – I love you, thank you for this amazing year! Together we stand strong, together we will sail the seven seas… 

Home and Travel

US and A. We in America.

We have this cool little family with this cute little story – an American boy met and Estonian girl and now they live in Italy with this cute little baby. And whenever they can, they go wherever they can. They love traveling, who wouldn’t, right? Well sometimes they do more going than writing about it all. That’s how our fall has been. But the big trip this time was the transatlantic one in September, the itinerary reading Venezia – Paris -Washington, D.C. – Holden Beach, NC – Marietta, OH.

We took off from Venice on the 13th September. BABY ON BOARD! Robin can totally brag to her friends in the future that she got her first two teeth on a plane from Paris to D.C. Beat that! Considering all, she did really amazing, the flight was long and at the end of the day, she was just a 5 month old, pushing out her first two teeth on a plane above the ocean with virtually no crying. I applaud to that girl, she’s my hero!

We rented a car from Washington D.C. and drove for a little bit, reaching Stafford Virginia and then called it a night. We were exhausted beyond exhaustion. The jet-lag hit us pretty bad and Robin HATED the rental car-seat so most of the way from D.C. to Stafford she just screamed bloody murder. Enough was enough, we were very tired and the traffic was awful so we just wined and dined (read: ate burgers and fries at Wendy’s and had a beer at Buffalo Mo’s Tap and Grill :D) and  collapsed on the bed.

So, our plan was to pop by Goldsboro North Carolina, to say hi to our friends and welcome their new baby-girl to this world and reach Myrtle Beach by Thursday to pick up Anthony’s brother from the airport and head to Holden Beach afterwards. Anthony’s parents were already at the beach-house and we arrived there on the 15th September. Everybody kept asking me what I thought of America so far. I think my only answer for a couple of days was “Everything’s like from the movies”. And no, it’s not just bigger and better. It’s HUGE. That whole country is just massive. Thinking back now, what did I like? The waffles, the pancakes, the pies and all the breakfast-food restaurants! And, oh my goodness, corn-dogs are soooooo goood! What sucks? American coffee sucks. I’m sorry but that’s the truth. I missed my dark, black, aromatic, 0h-so-amazing Italian coffee so much that it got very, very frustrating, being on the road trying to track down a Starbucks to get that over-priced coffee with shots of espresso. Cause it was the only thing that came remotely close to decent coffee. I gave up having coffee for breakfast at the inns we were staying in or, well, anywhere for that matter cause once I had taken a sip I just had to dump it out. Italy has spoiled me and I’m happy it has. Now I get it why Italians call American coffee mud-water. That is so true that it hurts!

Our beach-house was just so adorable! With a view that was like…. “from the movies!” Yes, it really was magical, the whole beach-experience. And the wedding! Bride and groom looking so cute and pretty, the ambiance truly fairytale-like. The weather was hot, sun shining, waves singing and seashells sunbathing on the shore. A picture perfect holiday!

We stayed at the beach for about a week and then headed towards Anthony’s hometown in Ohio. Driving through Virginia and West Virginia, we made the trip in one day, with the help of a car-seat head-support that we got for Robin. She seemed to appreciate the effort and would give our ears some quiet-time. Thank heavens for Walmart :D.

Ohio was so beautiful with its forests, nature trails, big-eyed Bambi deer and scenic landscape. If you ever happen to look for an amazing place to stay in Ohio, we recommend Harvest Moon Cottages in Hocking Hills. Anthony’s sister Anita and her husband Kevin have created a truly magical place to enjoy all the wilderness and romantic scenery with your friends or family. We stayed in their little Chateau and spent the evening cooking, sipping wine and relaxing by the fireplace. Oh, and playing their “Find a Dollar” game which was so much fun!

The temperatures were still very hot so we mostly stayed in the shade during the day and sat outside in the evenings, chatting with Anthony’s family and enjoying home-cooked food, the exceptionally warm evenings and good company. And after two weeks of us and America, we headed back home. America is big and breathtaking, overwhelming and surreal at times. Our last evening there we spent in Washington, D.C, walking around the city that holds so much history and power. It was magical and there was a lot of everything to see, to feel, to take in.

But I was happy to come back home, sleep and drink coffee. And eat food that wasn’t deep-fried (cause yeah, in the South, y’all get everything deep-fried!). It was such a wonderful trip but I missed my Italy.

And being back now, we are taking it all in. In October, we went back to Verona, repeated our romantic October getaway, ate cake in bed and drank red wine on the balcony, overlooking the streets of Città di Romeo e Giulietta. This weekend we’re heading down to Florence and for Thanksgiving, our little family will hop on a plane and go explore the marvelous city of Dubrovnik. And Estonia will get us for Christmas. Because they have snow, for now at least. So you better keep your s*@! together, Ilmataat (our so-to-say Weather God) and don’t f this up! Jokes aside, I’m super excited about seeing my family and introducing my little homeland to Robin. The land of blue skies, black fields and white snow. ♥

Home and Travel, Uncategorized

Italian summer #2 Venezia, Burano

I adore Venice, every single time I get to visit this magnificent city I discover a new aspect of it, a new nuance of its presence. These discoverings are very personal and because Venice has created a treasure chest of lovely emotions and visual beauty in my soul it is very dear to my heart. These details, magnificent architecture and intricate chaos, liveliness of the place, the locals, the tourists, the food and smell of the lagoon and its canals, the heat, sun and dirty but charmingly fairy-tale-like mazes of streets, dead ends, weird corners and pathways all make up a vibe of Venice that is so appealing to me.

It was a given that when one of my best friends Annika came to Italy for a week I wanted to take her to Venice. That was the first thing on my list, to go there together. I felt it would suit her and hoped she would love it as much as I do. She did. 

But it wasn’t our usual Venice trip. Last time I was there, we visited Murano, the island famous for its artistic glass. We went there in June with Teet and Anthony and I loved the atmosphere. Since visiting Murano  added such a nice nuance to the whole Venetian experience for me, I was waiting to go back again and this time take a trip to this magical island of Burano where coulours are brought to life under the hot Italian sun.

Burano is amazing, this place is more than I ever could have dreamed! I have to say I was totally mesmerized by just the colours of the walls, the architectural mosaics they created and how amazingly therapeutic the whole place was. Imagine 30 degrees Celsius, a burning hot summer day, the occasional whiff of wind that brings the salty smell of the lagoon into your nostrils. Aah, a paradise on earth! And the best possible company a girl can ask for! “We’ll always have Venice” we said and opened a bottle of frizzantino when we got back home. Sitting on the patio, sipping the bubbly drink from Murano glass tumblers that we got from our last trip to Venice, the night sky poured shooting stars at us. A magical day with a magical ending. We’ll always have Venezia and so much more, cara mia! 

Pictures by me and Annika, snapped and shot with our phones.