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Newfoundland: Woods and Ocean

7 days, 3+3 hours flight, 2 suitcases, 1 hiking backpack, 2 cameras, 1 child carrier, 1 stroller, 2 car seats, 1500 km drive, 1 b&b, 1 cottage, 2 adults, 2 kids, 1 wonderful Canadian province.  It may sound the most stressful thing ever, but we did it and we actually enjoyed it (most of the times)! As planned in a previous post, our goal was to go on our very first family vacation and go back alive the four of us: yes, with two kids you really learn how to lower the bar.

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Zum Zum Zum We’re Going to Newfoundland!

Books, Guides, Toys

How to find a destination

In my family, there are some things we are very passionate about. I bet it happens in every family with kids: one day you just take a book from the library, watch a cartoon or a documentary, or somebody gives you a really nice toy. Your kid gets very passionate about it, and, as a consequence, you as well. Being a parent is fun because you become a child again. In some couples, like ours, I sometimes suspect we decided to have kids just because we wanted to play with their toys. Not to mention bouncy castles, which didn’t exist when we were kids, but this is another story. Some time ago we picked this book at the library titled Following Papa’s Song, by Gianna Marino. The book tells the story of Little Blue and Papa whale and their journey to their summer feeding ground. The illustrations are really beautiful and accurate, and the story explores father-son relationship with tenderness. It soon became a classic for us. We borrowed it from the library so many times  that we ended up buying it. This is how our passion for whales started. So we began to watch documentaries about whales, we became supporters of Sylvia Earle, we visited an amazing exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum, and so on. 

"When I am big, Papa, will I still hear your song?" "Yes, Little Blue. If you listen closely, you will always hear my song." (Following Papa's Song by Gianna Marino)

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A Castle as a Playground

Italian Village

Tangled Up in Blue

And then one day I wake up and I’m homesick. Don’t worry, nothing serious. It’s just something hidden for a long time, buried by the enthusiasm of a new place, new life, opportunities and dreams. It’s that sometimes I really feel like I live in a different planet then where I grew up. In moments like this I try to hold on a positive memory, a safe corner of my mind. So be careful, this is going to be a bit of a sentimental post, but also a celebration of a place that is still there: a castle as a playground.

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Curious Things Catholics Do: Passion Play

Did you say Easter Parade?

Easter is the holiest moment of the year for Catholics. Nobody wants to admit that Christmas is probably more fun, definitely more commercial and undoubtedly more popular. But Easter is the holiest thing. Personally, I am more prone to celebrating a birth rather than a death, even if it implies resurrection. But that is just my humble and very secular opinion. Here in Canada we got a long weekend, and everybody enjoyed a small taste of Spring. So on Good Friday the parents of a classmate of my son found themselves in the middle of the procession representing the Passion Play.

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Elmira Maple Syrup Festival

Maple Syrup and I

Ask anybody in the world to name something about Canada. The majority of them will say “maple syrup”. Even if they don’t have the faintest idea what it tastes like. In Italy it is not that easy to find maple syrup: we usually know it from movies and comics. Topolino (the Italian version of Micky Mouse) is a big lover of pancakes with maple syrup, and I bet I’m not the only one who thought about it the first time I tasted it. My “maple syrup baptism” was when I was 19 during my first trip to Canada. I was traveling with my best friend, we were in Toronto hosted by a friend of a friend of a friend. One morning this lovely Canadian lady made use french toasts with maple syrup. Now, I have to confess I’m not really a big fan of sweets and sugary things. Probably, these french toasts were really really heavy, but the whole thing gave me a terrible stomach ache. So, let’s say the first experience was not that great.

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From Here to There

Road in Canada

In Italy I used to live in Bologna. From Bologna you are:

  • 35 minutes from Florence (by high-speed train)
  • 1 hour from Milan (by high-speed train)
  • 1 hour 15 minutes from Rome (by high-speed train)
  • 1 hour 25 minutes from Venice (by high-speed train)
  • 3 hours 35 minutes from Naples (by high-speed train)

not to mention:

  • 1 hour from Munich (by direct flight)
  • 1 hour 35 minutes from Paris (by direct flight)
  • 1 hour 40 minutes from Brussels (by direct flight)
  • 2 hours from Prague (by direct flight)
  • 2 hours 5 minutes from London (by direct flight)
  • 2 hours 15 minutes from Madrid (by direct flight)
  • 2 hours 25 minutes from Athens (by direct flight)

and why not changing continent?

  • 1 hour 45 minutes from Tunis (by direct flight)
  • 2 hours 40 minutes from Istanbul (by direct flight)
  • 3 hours from Marrakech (by direct flight)

just to name a few…

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A Modern Fairy Tale

Orfento Valley view, Italy

Once upon a time there was a girl who used to be quite good at driving wagons. She had been driving wagons since she was the legal age to drive wagons in her Realm. She passed her wagon driving test with no problem at all. She even got a licence to drive horses and passed it at the first attempt. The Realm she used to live in was very famous for its traffic, the complexity of its roads (which all lead to the same capital of that realm) and the belligerence of its drivers. In that Realm if your wagon was too small or too low you would risk to be hit by some magic spell from the monster behind you.

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Italians in Toronto: Stefano

Stefano and wife Mariangela

This week I’d like to introduce a new section of this blog. As I said in my first post, there is a new “wave” of Italian immigrants coming to Canada. Since we arrived, I met quite a few  and I hope I’ll meet more and more in the future. I’ve always been interested in the stories of those who decided to leave their country. That’s why I started to bug them all with emails with a little interview asking them to tell their story. I hope to share with you as many stories as possible. Here’s the first one.

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