The calendar in November was pretty darn full which tends to happen towards the end of the year, December is looking a bit crazy too! This is going to be a bit of a long post so grab a cuppa tea and get comfy.
The first weekend of November the husband and I went on a wine tour, this was the one we went on when we first arrived in Italy. We liked it so much we wanted to go again and purchase some wine from the vineyard. We walked out with a few bottles and a wink at each other that said we will be going back often to stock up.
The second weekend we had planned to spend in Rome but his work demanded he stick closer to home so we took our first train ride down to downtown Naples and wondered around a bit. We hadn’t done that yet, crazy right? It was rainy so we didn’t get many photos.
The third weekend we had cousins come for a visit and spent the day in Pompeii with them, then introducing them to our favorite local eating spots. I didn’t take photos in Pompeii mostly because I know I’ll be back there and will do it then and at my own pace.
The fourth weekend we took a tour to Prague, Czech Republic. The trip was highly anticipated and I was bouncing off the walls to go. My Dad’s side of the family are from that area of the world, more South in what is now Slovakia but back then it was all Czechoslovakia. To explore and experience some of the culture the other half of my bloodline hails from was fantastic. Jump back a few posts to learn about the Sicilian half.
I’m going to give a disclosure here, the photos are likely not going to do Prague justice as it was pretty overcast and difficult to capture the true beauty of it.
Over the years we learn a lot about the war and Hitler’s reign but being in Prague made it more real, more present. With the holiday season approaching the city was in the middle of decorating the plazas and buildings with lights and Christmas trees. It was really lovely and I was wishing we were going a week later when it would be in full effect. There was hot wine, hot honey wine, hot grog offered in most restaurants and even some in doorways and popup shops to take with you.
The first full day (Thanksgiving for Americans) we had to ourselves which we spent wandering around the area, seeing different sights and made our way to the Charles Bridge. This was spectacular, dark, but really wonderful. It was lined with statues of mostly scenes from the bible or historic Czech figures. After making our way across it we stumbled on a restaurant that looked like a cabin with sheepskin seat covers and lovely decorations with a view of an old paddle wheel. We stopped for a hot drink and a snack.
More wandering about and a bit of a rest before meeting the group for a planned dinner at a restaurant that catered to cultural education with a live band playing traditional Czech music and dancers in costumes. We had a lovely roast duck dinner and a great time.
The next day we met in the morning with the group for a bus ride to the Prague Castle. Words can’t accurately describe the grounds and buildings. The moat was a deep crevice now used for hunting if I heard right, not full of water anymore. The cathedral is gothic and blackened with age and pollution and absolutely spectacular. The castle is large with many buildings and ramparts we were able to walk a bit of. It was stunning.
The afternoon we had to ourselves so we wandered more and made our way to a restaurant we spotted the day before. Wanting to see what their daily special was and were happy to see it was similar to what was offered the day before. This restaurant specialized in deer/venison and we had to try it. We had venison goulash with gingerbread dumplings and deer meat with pea puree, hot wine and for dessert I was talked into the fresh made apricot pie. Outstanding, all of it. We flew out the next morning with stars in our eyes and happy taste buds.
The final two photos just above were the things we brought back. Chocolate Advent Calendar and some other goodies
This was an initial visit to Prague, we both knew instantly that we were going to be planning another trip before moving out of Europe. Prague is beautiful and I feel more connected to my roots then ever before. I can’t wait to start planning the trip to the small mining town we come from, hopefully next year.
Finally, the 29th I took a tour up to a local castle (about 45 minutes from Naples) for their annual Christmas Market. It was wonderful, to walk up to a castle and have old style stalls set up with crafts, foods, sweets, drinks and art with the cold weather and decorated for Christmas was magical. Unfortunately, we were there during the day so didn’t get to see all of the lights and displays in their full glory.
I was only slightly sad because my husband had to work so I was going solo with the tour group. Still, it was fun and I picked up quite a few fun things to bring home and a couple of gifts for family.
Gingerbread cookies, a couple of ornaments, a angel luck charm and a house witch who is chuckling about something suspicious. 🙂
Our next trip is The Vatican and we are planning a quick trip to Scotland.