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Archive for May, 2012

Italy earthquake updates| Over 800 aftershocks rock area | Woman found alive

Courtesy of the Inquistor

Many more reports regarding the second large earthquake to hit Northern Italy in a matter of weeks are out today.  One piece of uplifting news is a story about a 65 year old woman who had returned to her home to gather clothing when the second quake hit collapsing the building.  Rescue workers were able to pull her from the rubble today.

As with all major earthquakes, the days following are filled with many aftershocks that make stabilizing buildings a high priority.  Living through a quake myself, I know that the aftershocks make things very tense and my heart goes out to everyone in Italy.

Click Here for links to articles involving updates in the area today.

Second Deadly Earthquake Strikes Italy in Emilia Romagna | Cinque Terre unharmed

Just as emergency workers were beginning to stabilize the situation in Emilia Romagna, another earthquake struck near Modena.  Reports say that this quake registered at 5.9 and at this time 13 are dead with 200+ injured.  approximately 14,ooo have been forced to leave their homes for safety, double the number reported from the first quake.

The situation today is much more serious and I will keep you updated as details arise.  Here is a link to a recent article.  Italian Notebook also published this post here.

I have not heard of damage to the Cinque Terre from this earthquake.

My Special Places in Italy | Angel Tours Rome

While a tour group might not technically be a special place, this is my blog and I will call it so if I want to!

When I first hatched the idea of creating my Italian travel planning business, I met the energetic and charismatic Sean while visiting Rome.  He had recently taken over Angel Tours Rome and with his small army of students completely won me over.  Since that time years ago, he has grown his business and expanded to other cities including Dublin and Florence.

When I first began traveling, I thought naively that I could get what I needed when at the Vatican or the Roman Forum with a simple guidebook.  Once I experienced those sites again through the eyes of Sean’s guides I was amazed at how much more real and alive they became.  It was as if I was seeing them for the first time.  I feel that with every visit.  I have taken the tours several times with my groups and on my personal visits.  Believe it or not, I never tire of them.  Sean finds young people who are so incredibly knowledgeable of history, art and culture you find yourself almost guilty in your ignorance.  But these guides are no snobs.  Every single one injects just the right amount of humor and storytelling.   They are the first to confess to being a bit ‘mad.’

I can’t help but feel a connection to Angel Tours and I am so proud of the growth that has happened since I first stumbled upon them.  For anyone traveling to Italy and planning to stay in Rome, check out Angel Tours Rome and make sure to tell them hello from Andi!!

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Top Ten | Travel Memories With My Mom In Italy

I have been asked to be more…..delicate with this list.  While my mom is a good sport she is a tad bit more sensitive than my dad.  I was banned from throwing her 50th birthday party after she watched my dad endure poo cakes, pin the colostomy on the donkey and beer served in urinals at his.  I guess I can’t blame her.

So here goes nothing, don’t be too mad mom.

Traveling was something my mom and I talked about doing together for years, but I refused to go anywhere with her until she learned not to pack three suitcases.  She did eventually learn the art of packing light-ish and I was able to teach her there is beauty in unexpected places (even those with bathrooms down the hall).  She showed me that accepting differences is easier than expecting change and that sometimes people need time to adapt.  Patience and understanding were lessons well worth learning for me.

10.  No matter how old you are, when you feel sick there is nothing better than a mom.  I was slammed with the worst stress induced cold on one of our trips and she kept me rested and hydrated until I could get back on my feet.

Disposal of the offending outfit.

9.  There were many fashion items I learned to just endure when traveling with my mom, but one item in particular was just more than I could take.  The guilty item was a light blue matching warm up suit that screamed LOOK AT ME, I’M A TOURIST!  Weeks of relentless pleading, begging, taunting and threats finally lead to the disposal of that horrific suit.  We called it the walk of shame.

8.  I introduced my mom to one of my Italian indulgences.  Handbag shopping.  My favorite spot is a little boutique in Orvieto.  The ladies kept bringing out more and more bags for us to ‘try on.’  We were the center of attention while they gave us their opinions.  I walked out with two that day!

7.  On one of our long trips together, my parents watched my daughter while I led a tour group.  I scheduled a day of my tour so that I could spend the afternoon in Florence with my daughter.  I insisted my mom come with us and we spent the day riding in horse-drawn carriages, chasing pigeons and chatting with the locals.  Somehow having the three generations of ladies together made the time that much more special.

6.  Civita.  One of my most special places in Italy.  I could not wait to share this experience with my parents.  But fate had other plans for us.  My daughter was sick and puking, so I took her up to the village to try and get her settled.  Meanwhile, I had left my parents to bring up their suitcases and planned on going back for mine later.  What I did not realize was that my dad would take my Rome lecture about safety to the extreme here in this village and insist that my mom help him carry EVERYTHING from the car, uphill over the bridge and to the B&B.  Mind you, this was also during my mom’s transitional packing light stage.  She arrived at my most special place exhausted, overheated, angry and crying.  And that was before she discovered she had to use a bathroom down the hall.  Things were not as I had envisioned.  Civita has a magical effect though, and by morning she was under its spell.

antico forno civita B&B

The infamous bridge of luggage terror.

5.  My mom is the great encourager.  On a trip to Italy when my daughter was only two and I was still a single mom, I found her constantly telling me how brave I was and what a good job I was doing.  One day in particular we were climbing Giotto’s Tower in Florence.  I had my daughter secured to me in a sling while I marched up to the top.  When my mom met me there, I remember her telling me she couldn’t believe how strong I was.  Of course she meant physically but the encouragement was taken even deeper.

4.  My parents have been together since high school.  Yes, one of those sickly sweet romantic true love stories.  I’m used to it and all the mushy, lovely dovey stuff that comes with it.  Over a dinner in Cortona, my mom consumed a little more than her usual amount of wine and I found myself asking them to cool their jets.  The making out was beginning to draw attention and I found myself blushing as she french-kissed him over dessert.

3.  I am a control freak when it comes to my daughter.  I am also a control freak when it comes to driving in Italy.  I needed to leave on tour and decided to make my mom the designated driver while I was gone.  We spent a full week practicing how to drive with the crazy Italians.  I showed her the best ways to deal with passing or being passed on the autostrada, how to assertively but safely manage the round abouts and how to park without getting boxed in.  The thing I loved the most was watching her gain confidence.

2.  While mom might have trouble with rooms lacking private bathrooms, she certainly knows how to roll with the punches when it comes to glitches in travel.  The rain rolled in and threatened to ruin our plans, but instead we embraced the grey and grabbed our umbrellas.  We spent an entire day in Cortona sipping on coffee and splashing in puddles while other tourists (whose names will be withheld) pouted in their rooms.

1.  Life hasn’t always been fair for my mom.  She missed out on experiences as a child that should have brought her comfort and given her confidence.  On a visit to this amazing little pottery studio (read more here), I learned about a passion my mom possessed that I was completely unaware of.  I don’t think her face ever looked more peaceful or beautiful than it did that day as she worked at the pottery wheel.

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Crown King Fire | Thomasina Burke Interview

Magic Bridge was featured several months ago on my blog as the Book of the Month.  See full review here.  The author, Tommey Burke has become one of my dear ‘on-line’ friends and travel soul sister.

I was heartbroken to hear about a horribly devastating fire raging out of control in her beloved Crown King, Arizona which was also the main setting for Magic Bridge.  As a volunteer firefighter and nurse, Tommey knows all too well what damage and risk a fire like this brings.  As a woman with a heart of gold, she is donating 20% of the sales from her book to help with costs stemming from this fire.  See her full interview with Channel 3 in Arizona .

Tommey…..here is a great big hug from me and all my readers.  Stay strong and love you!

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Featured Photo Friday | Floodlit Rome

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Earthquake Strikes Northern Italy Again | Several Dead | Cinque Terre Safe

***Second earthquake strikes Tues May 29.  Read more here***

Once again natural disaster has struck Northern Italy, this time with another earthquake measuring 6.0.  At last report, there were 5 dead and many more injured and thousands homeless or without power.  Emilia Romagna is the area of Italy effected by the recent quake.

For those that have been following the progress in the Cinque Terre, I am happy to report that all is well at this time in both Vernazza and Monterosso.

Here is a complete article from the New York Times.  Read here.

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Featured Photo Friday | Tuscany Detail at Lucignanello Bandini

Details in a tuscan village

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

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