Ciao!

Long time, no see!  So sorry for my prolonged absence.  And boy, do I have a lot to update about!  All in due time.

June was a very busy month with me simultaneously planning a family trip to Italy and the opening of a unique, all-handmade shop here in the Houston Heights with a gaggle of other ladies.  We left for Italy June 21 and I was working (and tearing my hair out) up until the very last minute.  I kept reminding myself that I am totally blessed to be stressing out over two such wonderful things – a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy with my family and the opening of a store with Lazy Owl Boutique products included there.

So, rather than dive into all these wonderful things at once, here’s a short recap of our Italy vacation!

We flew into Florence after a horrid Air France flight.  Non, merci to Air France!  Typical to Italy (or Europe in general?) we were greeted upon landing with the news that the airport’s ground and baggage crew was on strike that day.  No worries!  We eventually made it to our hotel and spent the evening wandering Florence, checking out the beautiful Duomo, walking to the Arno, and having our first Italian dinner.

I must admit, one of my favorite happenings in Italy is watching the guys in the big cities that sell hats and purses on the streets react to the police.  They scoop up everything they are selling and just bolt.  A guy selling hats in Rome was running away so fast he was dropping hats behind him.  We almost got a freebie!  This scene happened many times during our trip and was always amusing.

Anyway, our stop in Florence was short, as the next morning we got on a train to Riomaggiore, one of the five villages of the Cinque Terre, a rugged piece of coast along the Italian Riveria.  Riomaggiore was wonderful, with breathtaking views from every angle.  Our apartment was right on the harbor looking down at the sea.  We ate some wonderful seafood and fresh fruit and enjoyed walking along the coastline.  I even got to check out an authentic Italian beach, where everyone was laying out on bolders and rocks rather than sand.  Didn’t look very comfy to me!

After a few days in Riomaggiore, we rented a car for a drive through Siena then onto our farm house in Orvieto, Umbria.  I knew this day would be the most challenging, and unfortunately, I was right!  I got extremely car sick on the way to Siena (that city will probably always have a negative taint in my mind!), my husband got pulled over by the police not once but twice in one day, my mom set off the fire alarm at the rest stop we went to, and I’m pretty sure we drove through two dreaded ZTLs (traffic fine zones) trying to find the parking lot in Siena.  But oh well, all memories I’m sure we’ll look back fondly at someday…right?

We made it in one piece to our agriturismo in Orvieto, and I think this was our favorite place by far.  The pace for the next few days slowed down as we got to take in the hilly countryside and relax some.  It helped that the rooms were large and the water pressure was good too!  We explored the little hilltown of Orvieto and did lots of driving through the hills of Tuscany and Umbria.  One day we got to go on an amazing wine tour in the country, and then explore the tiny village of Civita up on a cliff.

We eventually had to sadly say goodbye to the country and (happily) return our rental car for the train ride into Rome.  Rome!  What can I say?  It was amazing to be there, but I guess none of us are really big city people.  It was crowded and it was hot!  We went on a very educational (but hot) tour of the Colosseum, and a nice (but extremely beyond crowded) tour of the Vatican.

So, that’s our trip in a nutshell!  I miss yall and now I can’t wait to tell you all about the new shop in Houston and what’s next for Lazy Owl!  Hope you enjoy the Italy pics.

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