Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Winter has come to Michigan. The temperatures have dropped and the first snow is on the ground. It's time to light the fire and curl up with a good book - which means it's time for:

Travel Oyster's Great Books II

Notre Dame of Paris
(The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
By Victor Hugo
Penguin Books, 1978
493 pages. 

The first time I saw Paris, I carried with me my now-faded copy of Notre Dame of Paris - Hugo's 1831 paean to one of the world's great gothic cathedrals. Set in 1482, this historical masterpiece is still a perfect introduction to Paris and to the architecture of its magnificent cathedral. It was also Hugo's highly successful plea for the restoration of the cathedral and other gothic monuments throughout France. In Hugo's tale, history is seen not through the image of great events, but rather through the desires, needs and passions of its people. Around his characters - including Quasimodo, Esmeralda, the loveless antagonist Archdeacon Claude Frollo and, above all, the cathedral itself - Hugo weaves a spellbinding tale of intrigue and romance that pits rich against poor and good against evil.

A Traveller In Italy
by H. V. Morton
Dodd, Mead, 1982
636 pages.

"I'm sure you've read H. V. Morton's A Traveller In Italy," wrote a faithful Travel Oyster reader. I had not although I have visited many of the towns in northern Italy that Morton writes about in this long and always fascinating book. Morton begins in Milan and leisurely makes his way through the regions of Lombardy, Emilia, Venezia and Tuscany. Along the way, Italian history comes alive as Morton turns silent ruins and ancient churches into places where love and death played out on a grand scale. Morton had a knack for knowing or finding just what every traveler wants: the treasure behind the locked door, the fabulous dinner in an unheralded town, the forgotten masterpiece in a country chapel. This is not surprising since Morton first came to fame as a young journalist who scooped the official Times of London reporter during the coverage of the opening of King Tut's Tomb in Egypt in 1923. A Traveller In Italy was written in 1964, but like Italy herself, it's a timeless classic to be savored slowly.

by Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno
DK Publishing, Inc., 1998
168 pages.

In Paris and Pisa, a delicious crusty baguette or a chewy pane casalingo is a daily pleasure. Turn down almost any street, it seems, and you'll be tempted by the sights and scents of freshly-baked bread. Bread prices are regulated by law so good basic bread is inexpensive and for that reason, almost no one in France or Italy, including me, bakes bread. When I'm back in the States, however, and longing for an earthy rustic bread, I often make my own. And when I do, this is the book I most often turn to. It is the first one I ever bought and although I now have a shelf full of bread books, Ultimate Bread is still my favorite. It has beautiful photos, clear explanations and wonderful, easy to follow recipes that will fill your kitchen with the flavors of Europe, America and the Middle East. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced bread maker, this book has something for you. (If you don't want to bake or a trip abroad is not on your agenda this year, then order online some of Ann Arbor's justly famous Zingerman Bakehouse bread.)

A Sand County Almanac
Oxford University Press, 1949
92 pages.

The pleasures of travel are often associated with places beyond our everyday existence. In these delightful and beautifully-written essays, the author takes us on a wondrous voyage of discovery into the natural world. For his journey, Leopold travels no farther than the fields and woods surrounding his farm in Sand County, Wisconsin. Nonetheless, he finds there a world apart, which he describes in twelve lovely essays - one for each month of the year. It's a book to read and reread and one that the great Thoreau himself might envy.  

by David Sedaris
Bay Back Books, 2001
272 pages.

I was lucky enough to hear David Sedaris read a selection from this book in a Paris bookstore. After his reading in English, the book's translator reread it in French. Now by the time a translator is finished with a piece, she has reworked it several times and knows it inside out. In spite of this, Sedaris' translator had trouble reading the story because she couldn't stop laughing.

The book is divided into two parts: the first contains hilarious essays about Sedaris' life in North Carolina with his dysfunctional family. The second part, appropriately entitled "Deux," deals with his time in France with his partner Hugh and Sedaris' attempts to learn French. The essays have titles such as, See You Again, Yesterday; Jesus Shaves; and I'll Eat What He's Wearing. Anyone who has ever struggled to express themselves in a foreign language with a limited vocabulary will identify with Sedaris, and his irreverent and pointed prose is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.


Photos by Geraldine Calisti Kaylor

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Norman Rockwell, Freedom from Want, 1943

If you grew up with Italian-American grandparents, as I did, foods such as ricotta cheese on toast for breakfast or tripe in red sauce for lunch were not uncommon. When it came to Thanksgiving, however, my grandparents could have arrived on the Mayflower. Gathered around the Thanksgiving table - heaped high with roast turkey, stuffing, gravy, candied sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, green beans, cranberry sauce and apple and pumpkin pie - our family could have modeled for a Norman Rockwell painting. 

When we arrived at my grandparents' house on Thanksgiving day, however, there was no smell of roasting turkey or freshly-baked apple pies. Instead, the house was filled with the sweet aroma of tomato sauce and chicken broth. That's because my grandmother left the preparation of all the traditional American dishes to the care of someone else's grandmother - Mrs. Bonani. Along with her husband, Mrs. Bonani ran a small, local catering business. On Thanksgiving Day, dozens of Italian families lined up talking and laughing while the delicious smell of turkey - missing from their own kitchens - filled the neighborhood. 

Traditions come in many forms so it doesn't seem odd to us that when the family reminisces, we all agree that no one has ever made better turkey, stuffing or gravy than Mrs. Bonani. Sooner or later, however, one of us will always say: "Yes, but the best thing of all was Grandmom's risotto."  

It came to the table steaming hot accompanied by a bowl of my grandmother's homemade red sauce and a dish of sauteed chicken livers. Amid admonitions of "leave room for the turkey," we heaped the rice onto our plates, patted it flat with our forks to cool it a bit,  and then topped it with chicken livers, sauce and lots of freshly-grated parmesan cheese. 

Risotto is not difficult to make, but it does require time and attention. So unless you have a Mrs. Bonani to cook your Thanksgiving dinner, you may want to try it on another day. Here's the recipe. Bon Appetito!


Risotto with Red Sauce and Chicken Livers
1 lb chicken livers
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the livers
2 tablespoons finely-chopped onion
2 cups of Arborio or Carnaroli rice
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
2-3 cups of your favorite tomato sauce, plus extra to pass.
1/2  cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
salt, if needed

1.  Chop chicken livers and saute in olive oil until tender. Don't overcook.

2.  Bring the broth in one pan and the red sauce in another to a steady simmer. 

3.  Put olive oil in a large heavy pot and saute chopped onion over medium heat until it is translucent. Add the rice and stir quickly until the grains are well coated.

4.  Add 1/2 cup (two or three ladles full)  of the steaming chicken broth and cook the rice, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until all the liquid is gone. Never stop stirring and stir completely over the bottom and sides of the pot or the rice will stick. 

5.  When the chicken broth is absorbed, add 1/2 cup red sauce. Continue adding broth and sauce in alternating order, adding slightly more broth than sauce until the rice is completely cooked. 

6.  After about 20 minutes, taste the rice. It will begin to be tender, but the center of the grain will still be white and starchy. At this point, add half the sauteed chicken livers and more liquid. Continue cooking as above. It usually takes about 30 minutes to cook the rice to perfection. To test, bite into a rice kernel.  At the moment that the white "core" disappears, the risotto is finished. (My grandmother usually cooked this risotto a bit longer so that the rice was softer than a usual risotto. You can take your pick.) Be sure that when you are finished, the rice is not dry, but rather saucy.

7.  About two minutes before the rice is done, add all the Parmesan cheese.

8.  Add the remaining cooked chicken livers to the extra red sauce. Pass at the table, along with more Parmesan cheese.  


Photos by Geraldine Calisti Kaylor

Monday, October 25, 2010


It's a dreamlike autumn in Michigan. The sun shines every day and the air is warm and inviting. The only rain is the soft, steady stream of dappled yellow, orange and scarlet leaves that fall through a clear blue, cloudless sky. 

The vast deciduous forests of the state are famous for their spectacular fall displays of color. This year, however, nature has surprised and awed even long-time Michigan residents like us.  

Pure Michigan, the State's official web site, offers a variety of color tours throughout Michigan. We followed one on the 18-mile long Old Mission Peninsula, which juts out into Grand Traverse Bay. The roads of the hilly peninsula wind in and out and up and down through apple and cherry orchards, vineyards and blazing forests, all set against a backdrop of the turquoise bay. It's just 60 miles from our cabin in northern Michigan, but if we had crossed the ocean to see it, we would have thought it worth the trip.

As I gazed, I wondered, how many leaves are there, on just one maple or oak tree? According to Michigan Forests Forever, a mature, healthy tree has between 200,000 and 250,000 leaves. More than half of Michigan's 56,000 square miles are covered with trees -- 11.4  billion trees --and more than 75 percent of those are hardwoods. Factoring in smaller trees which would have less leaves, but adding in the billions of uncounted shrubs and bushes in the understory, I decided to use a conservative figure of 100,000 leaves for each hardwood in Michigan. By my calculation, that's 855 trillion leaves. That figure makes even the U.S. national debt look small. In fact, if Michigan leaves were dollars, we could pay off the national debt 62 times and still have 10 trillion dollars left over! 

If we had to clean up the leaves, every one of Michigan's approximately 10 million people would have to rake up more than 85 million leaves each. Fortunately, nature takes care of most of them. Still, according to my estimates, we will have to remove about 500,000 leaves from our small lawn in Ann Arbor.   

Dazzling and daunting figures, but as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. So, click here to see my photos of Michigan in autumn.

Photos can also be seen by clicking here.
For color tour routes in Michigan, click here.
Comments are welcome and can be left below.


Photos by Geraldine Calisti Kaylor

Thursday, September 23, 2010


On a recent visit to Portland, I went out one morning to get some coffee. As I walked down Hawthorne, not far from my son Matthew's house on the city's southeast side, people I had never seen before smiled and stopped to invite me pet their dogs. It's probably just me and my East Coast upbringing, but sometimes his neighborhood seems just a tad too friendly, especially so early in the morning. When the perky young woman in the coffee shop told me to "have a nice life," I knew it was time to get out of Dodge.  

Fortunately, a trip was already planned to Netarts Bay on Oregon's magnificent Pacific Coast. The prey was Metacarcinus magister or Dungeness Crabs - big, sweet, succulent crustaceans that are found all along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to California. The crab's common name comes from the town of Dungeness on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, where the first commercial fishery on the West Coast opened in 1848. The Washington town was given its name in 1792 by British explorer George Vancouver because it reminded him of a point on the English coast near the Strait of Dover. Dungeness is an Old Norse word meaning "headland."  

Friends Paul and Kris, accompanied by Kris' dog Leon, left Portland early to launch the boat and set the traps. Matthew, Erin, Stephanie and I followed at a more leisurely pace, enjoying the drive through the Coast Mountain Range, which is covered by temperate rain forests dripping moisture and moss. The coast itself is a sliver of rocky volcanic land between the mountains and the sea.

Netarts Bay is less well-known than nearby Nehalem or Tillamook bays, but archeological studies show that native people have been catching crabs in its water since the late-Holocene era. Like us, their base was the Netarts Sand Spit, which forms the bay and protects it from the Pacific Ocean. The Spit also provides a close-up view of the massive, basalt sea stacks known as the Three Arch Rocks. The Spit can be reached on foot via a four-mile path or, as we did, by a short boat ride across the bay.

The five collapsible baited crab rings marked by floats were all set out by the time we arrived. I was given the honor of pulling in the first catch. As the boat was maneuvered over the rings, I began pulling, gently at first to remove the slack in the rope and not scare away the crabs and then rapidly to get the crabs into the boat before they escaped. All male crabs bigger than 5 3/4 inches are keepers and can be dumped into the bucket. If a crab gets away, you have to grab him from behind so he can't bite. We learned firsthand, however, that some of the big ones can reach around and latch on to a finger pretty tenaciously. 

There were a couple of other crabbing boats, but our main competition came from harbor seals interested in the salmon carcasses we used for bait. They arrived in groups, circling the floats and then diving gracefully searching for dinner. 

After a day of pulling traps in the fresh ocean air, dinner sounded like a good idea. By late afternoon, we had 22 Dungeness crabs and two dozen butter clams that Paul dug up at low tide. Best of all, a rented house was waiting for us just up the road in Oceanside. Stephanie found it, as she likes to say, on the Worldwide Web. It had a view of the Pacific and was a great buy at just $120 a night.  

We set the pot to boil and as the sun set (just before the rains came), the champagne was opened and we began feasting on some of the best, sweetest crab meat I've ever tasted.

For a Northwest crab cake recipe, click here.
To see more photos, click here.


Photos (unless otherwise noted) by Geraldine Calisti Kaylor

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


"Ger, a bear is here."

These are not the whispered words one hopes to awaken to at 3 a.m. on a moonlit summer night - especially when "here" is right there, just five feet away. "She has a cub with her," said JR. Suddenly, the full-length screens that separate our cabin's sleeping porch from the Great Outdoors seemed incredibly flimsy. 

There are bears in our part of northern Michigan, but 90 percent of the estimated 15,000-19,000 bears in Michigan live in the Upper Peninsula. Although we often hear the snort of white-tailed deer in the woods surrounding the cabin, our several bird feeders have never been molested - a sure sign that no bear has passed our way. All that changed as I slowly raised my head and came face to face with Ursus americanus - an American Black Bear. 

Black bears are one of the most extraordinary animals in the forest. When food is scarce during the cold Michigan winters, they go into a state of lethargy from October until April or early May. Asleep in their dens, they reduce their metabolic rate, surviving without eating, drinking, exercising or passing waste. During this time, usually in January, they give birth to one to three cubs, waking occasionally to feed and care for them.

Not eating is a surefire way to trim down and during their long sleep, bears lose up to 30 percent of their fall weight, which can range from 100-250 pounds for a female and 150-400 pounds for a male. When they emerge in the spring, they're very hungry, but have to content themselves with spring grasses and an occasional frog or nest of eggs.  By the time summer arrives, however, bears are eating 11 to 18 pounds of berries, fruits, nuts and insects every day. It takes a lot of foraging to find that much food, so I'm sure well-stocked bird feeders are always a welcome sight.  

Our bears, which we can see quite clearly in the light of the full moon, look like they've been eating well. They're both standing on their hind legs. The mother bear is about 5'3" - just my height, but she weighs about 200 pounds, which is probably what I'd weigh if I ate 18 pounds of food a day. The cub is about three feet tall and is quite a husky little fellow.

Bears have a keen sense of smell, but are very nearsighted. We, however, are obviously well within their range of vision because our bears are looking right at us. If it weren't for the screens and a well-placed sense of caution, we could reach out and touch them. How frightening! How exciting! What a great photo! Nonetheless, I decide this is not the time to get up and grab the camera. 

While we (and the cub) look on, the mother bear makes quick work of our bird feeders, ripping them apart with her sharp claws.  She saves the oriole feeder, the one right next to the porch, for last.  She's so close now that we hear the glug, glug, glug as she downs the syrupy sugar water. Standing there with the bright orange feeder in one paw, she looks like a Disney cartoon character -- so much so that I wait for her to raise her free paw, wipe it across her mouth and say "Ah!" Instead, she drops the empty feeder, whimpers softly to her cub and the two of them lope quickly off into the forest.

A little research the next day reveals that bear attacks in Michigan are extremely rare. Black bears, in fact, are shy and seek to avoid people - unless you provide them with a food source. We've got new bird feeders, but we take them down every evening and lock them away. We also intend to follow the sage advice of Henry H. Collins in his Field Guide to American Wildlife:  
If you see a bear, leave it alone.  Its sense of responsibility to man is quite limited. 

(To learn more about black bears, click here.)
(To see more photos, click here.)


Photos (unless otherwise noted) by Geraldine Calisti Kaylor

Saturday, July 31, 2010


At Veggieville in Idlewild, just down the road from our cabin in northern Michigan, and in fruit stands all around the state, the tables are heaped high with deep, dark, juicy blueberries. Not surprising, since Michigan is the number one producer of high-bush blueberries in the United States. First domesticated in the early 1900s, blueberries are native to North America. Although they are produced worldwide, the United States and Canada account for 73 percent (489 million pounds) of the world's blueberry production. (U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council figures.) 

For centuries, blueberries  were a staple of the diets of the indigenous people of North America. Fresh blueberries were baked into cakes topped with maple syrup (another Michigan delicacy) or were dried to enjoy during the long, cold Michigan winters. Wild, tart, intensely-flavored blueberries are still out there in the bogs and forests of Michigan, where members of the Michigan Potawatami tribe once foraged for them. They're free for the picking, but they're much smaller than the cultivated ones so it takes a long time and a strong back to fill your bucket. 

Whether cultivated or wild, blueberries are good and good for you as your mom might say - low fat, sodium free and a good source of fiber and vitamin C. They are great by the handful, topping your cereal or bursting out of muffins - and who could argue with a fresh blueberry pie. As far as I'm concerned, however, there is nothing better on a hot summer day than a cup of homemade blueberry sorbet. 

Here's my recipe. Try it.  It's easy. (If you don't live in blueberry country, the recipe works just as well with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or other berries that grow in your part of the world.)


4 cups of blueberries, washed
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/1/2 cups water
1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar 
(I like tart sorbet so I use the lesser amount)

1. Purée the blueberries in a food processor or blender until smooth or leave a little chunky if you prefer. Stir in the orange juice, lemon juice and vanilla.

2. Put the water and sugar in a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat,stirring to dissolve the sugar. Continue heating until just before it boils.

3. Whisk the syrup into the blueberry mixture and let it cool. Transfer it to an ice-cream maker and follow the manufacturer's directions. I have an inexpensive hand-cranked Donvier model, but you can make sorbet without an ice cream maker. Just put the blueberry mixture in a shallow pan or ice cube trays, put in the freezer and whip the mixture from time to time as it freezes.  

4. Top with a sprig of mint and enjoy.  If you don't eat it all in one sitting, be sure to take the remaining sorbet out of the freezer and put in the refrigerator about an hour before you want to serve it.

To see more photos, click here.


Photos by Geraldine Calisti Kaylor

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Up the street from our apartment in the Marais in Paris is the Carnavalet Museum. Located in two magnificent, adjoining townhouses, the museum is filled with thousands of items documenting the history of the City of Paris. One of the most surprising is a small painting by Victor Dargaud. It depicts a colossal statue - La Liberté Eclairant Le Monde (Liberty Enlightening the World) -  in a  residential Parisian street. Wreathed in scaffolding, she lifts her copper torch high above the surrounding buildings. Fashionably-dressed 19th-century Parisians, perhaps on their way home from a Sunday stroll in the nearby Parc Monceau, gaze upward at this grande dame.

Last month as we prepared to leave Paris, it looked for a while as if the eruption of the Icelandic volcano might cancel our flight back to the United States. The painting came to mind as I began musing on the possibility of a transatlantic crossing on a stately ocean liner. At the end of the journey, we'd sail into New York harbor, where that same French grande dame - now known as the Statue of Liberty - would be waiting to greet us.

An icon of America and a symbol of welcome for millions of immigrants at the turn of the 20th century, the Statue of Liberty was a gift to the United States from the people of France in 1884. 

The idea of a sculpture to commemorate French-American friendship was the brainchild of Edouard René de Laboulaye and a group of influential French citizens. De Laboulaye, a writer and politician, was an admirer of the American Constitution and a proponent of a French republic with similar democratic principles. In 1866, De Laboulaye gave the commission to the young French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, who drew up plans for the Statue of Liberty. American funds would be used to buy the land and to pay for the statue's pedestal.

De Laboulaye wanted the statue to be ready for the Centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1876.  However, other commissions for Bartholdi, technical issues, the Franco-Prussian War and problems with financing on the US side pushed back the date. Liberty arrived in the United States - very fashionably late - in 1884 and was dedicated in 1886.

In 1900, my then 21-year old Italian grandfather sailed into New York harbor on the Georgia, a ship out of Genoa. On his way to the immigration center on Ellis Island, he passed the Statue of Liberty. He was seven years older  than the Statue herself, but she was already famous and he was just one of millions of people looking for a better life in America. Some years later, my Romanian grandparents would arrive and they, too, would gaze at the Statue of Liberty with wonder and some trepidation.

Next year, Liberty will celebrate her 125th birthday. She has been many things to many people: a symbol of  international friendship; a call for a democratic republic in France; a repudiation of slavery; and a beacon of hope to immigrants arriving on American shores. Most recently, in the wake of September 11, she has come to stand for  courage in the face of adversity.

As time has passed, Liberty's French ancestry has faded from the public consciousness. It seems that, along with my ancestors and millions of other immigrants, the Grande Dame of France has become an American - albeit one who still has an unmistakable French elegance about her. 

Take a virtual tour of the Statue of Liberty by clicking here.

To see more photos, click here.


All photos unless otherwise noted, by Geraldine Calisti Kaylor

Thursday, May 27, 2010


      Photo by Brynjar Gauti

Travel is wonderful -- until train workers go on strike, the cab doesn't come, your passport gets stolen, or -  as happened this spring -  a volcano erupts and cancels flights in airports all over Europe. 

A morning computer check on our last day in Italy showed an email from our airline carrier telling us that one or more of our bookings had been "disrupted." That's airline parlance for "your flight has been cancelled." 

We were not alone - the Icelandic volcano that had snarled airline traffic all over Europe earlier in the spring, had erupted again and cancelled all flights out of Pisa. Given the vagaries of the volcano, we decided to take a train to Paris, where two days later we were picking up our transatlantic flight home after four months in Europe.

Train reservations were hard to come by, but we finally booked two tickets on the night train from Florence to Paris. The "night train" sounds exotic and for many  immediately brings to mind the elegant train compartment in Alfred Hitchcock's classic movie North By Northwest, where Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint passionately embraced. Most sleeper compartments, however, are less romantic and, like ours, have six narrow little beds that fold down from the walls. If all goes well, your fellow traveling companions don't snore (ours didn't) and you sleep pleasantly through the twelve-hour journey and wake up refreshed in the City of Light.

This unexpected travel delay had an upside - a beautiful Sunday in Pisa and the chance to have one more delicious Italian meal. As we walked the back streets of Pisa, our attention was caught by a small hand-written sign advertising typical Tuscan dishes.  It led us to Toscana in Tavola, a just-opened restaurant so small it was like stepping into a family dining room. Inside we met the family - Roberto, Simona and Andrea. They've been in the food business for almost 40 years and grow and produce almost all of the food they serve. We put ourselves in Chef Roberto's hands and were served delicious prosciutto, salami, cheeses, focaccia, wine, Tuscan Soup, and tender, quickly-sauteed pork,  After lunch, the family sat down to enjoy a glass of wine with us.  We exchanged stories and left promising to see them next year.

That night on the train, we reminisced about our first sleeper train on a trip from Paris to Madrid. New to France, we did not know that tickets had to be validated in a machine. Because of this violation, the ticket taker - who arrived In the middle of the night - wanted us to pay a fine or leave the train at the next stop. We refused and were backed up by our fellow travelers, who rose from their beds to defend us. "They are foreigners and don't know the system," they protested. When the ticket taker finally relented and stamped our tickets, we all cheered in a spirit of French/American solidarity.

This time, the train trip went smoothly. We got to Paris in the morning, spent the day and night with friends and woke on Tuesday to find our flight home was "on time."  A short walk across a lovely Paris park brought us to the RER, where we boarded the train for the one-hour trip to the airport.  

Two stations later, however, the train came to a halt and an announcement told us that an accident had stopped all trains to the airport for an undetermined amount of time. "Undetermined" can be anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours. We got off the train and tried to find an alternative train, a taxi and then a bus - all to no avail. For part of this time, we had in tow a young couple from Texas, with Texan-sized baggage. At some point, when we took the stairs, they were obliged to take an elevator and we never saw them again.  We hope they made their flight.

We were pretty resigned to missing our flight when the RER began running again. We got back on and arrived at the airport with about 40 minutes to spare. 

It was a nice flight on a new plane that was not at all crowded.  The food was okay and the movies were good and when we arrived at our destination, the first bag to appear on the luggage carousel was ours.  Unfortunately, the last bag to arrive on the luggage carousel was also ours.  

In the end, though, things went pretty well. There were a few change of plans and we spent a bit more money. On the other hand, we made some new friends, ate some great food, had some adventures and still got home on time.  

The moral is that when you travel, it pays to leave extra time and to heed writer Susan Heller's advice:  "when preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money.  Then take half the clothes and twice the money."

For more photos, click here.


Toscana in Tavola
via Tavoleria, 8
Pisa, Italy
Tel: 392 3435098

Photos (unless otherwise noted) by Geraldine Calisti Kaylor