Maui – The Road to Hana

Surprise! I’m in Hawaii for work. We’ve been here for a few days, but today was a big adventure day! We took the kids and drove the Road to Hana. It was very long, about eleven hours round trip, and although I’m glad I experienced it, I’m not sure I’d do it again. The ride there wasn’t so bad because we stopped a bunch of times, but I was definitely feeling queasy toward the end of the ride.

We stopped at Twin Falls thinking it would be a quick hike, but were ill prepared for the 1.5 mile round trip hike so we veered off the major path just to get a quick peek at a nearby waterfall.

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One of our other major stops was Wai’anapanapa State Park with hopes of hanging out at Black Sand Beach and swimming, but the tide was super high, so the beach was closed. Big bummer there.

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Our last two stops were Hamoa Beach and ‘Ohe’o Gulch (aka Seven Sacred Pools). The beach was awesome! There were lots of local families surfing and playing in the waves and there were crabs everywhere, which we totally didn’t notice until we had sat down. They’re tiny and blend right in with the sand. We went to ‘Ohe’o Gulch with intentions of swimming, but they were closed as well. I’m not sure if it was just for the day, or is a more permanent thing, but there had definitely been some rain before we got there.

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It’s definitely something to experience once in your life, but I’m not sure I could do it again. My stomach isn’t strong enough for a second round of all that driving. Tomorrow we’re laying low with some snorkeling and beach time!

Being Gluten Free in Italy

So, earlier this year I went gluten-free. And not because I wanted to either. I’m sure I’ll tell the entire story in detail soon, but for now that’s all you need to know. Prior to my trip to Italy, I was incredibly worried that I would be hungry the entire time. Isn’t that all they eat there?! It’s famous for pizza and pasta! Do they eat anything else?! Here are four things you need to know about being gluten-free in Italy:

1 // You won’t starve, I promise. Especially if you like seafood. There are always salads and seafood on the menu. I don’t like seafood, so I opted for lots of salad at the beginning before I knew about asking for g-free pasta. I wasn’t starving, just hungry. ;)

2 // JUST ASK! I really had no clue they even had gluten free pasta until someone (a Celiac) we were traveling with asked for it at a restaurant. After that, I asked for it at every single restaurant we went to. They said yes about 85% of the time.

3 // I wasn’t ever turned down in Rome. It’s a major city and the people that worry about being gluten free, and allergies in general, are the people who are traveling, so the restaurants cater to tourists.

4 // If you’re going to Venice, read this post by The Gluten Bigot. I ended up going to La Vecia Cavana on a free day and got the gluten free ravioli. It was amazing, especially after a few days of lots of salads. I also tried to visit the store she mentioned, but unfortunately it was closed because of All Saints Day.

You should know now, the gluten free pasta in Italy is the absolute best I’ve ever tasted. I still haven’t found anything here stateside that even compares. I’m actually still trying to find a gluten free pasta that I actually like enough to buy again! I’ll let you know when that happens :)

Italy 2014 – The Islands

On our last full day in Italy, we visited The Islands – Murano, Burano and Torcello. We started off the morning in Murano, where they’re famous for glass blowing. It was SO cool to watch them work, even though this guy was just doing demos for visitors. he made that glass horse in under three minutes. Then, to show us how hot the glass still was, he held a piece of paper up to the horses back. Here is the video from that part of the demo.

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Then we headed to Torcello for a delicious lunch at Villa 600. I would absolutely eat there again and recommend the restaurant to anyone who plans on visiting the area. It was on the pricier side, but the food was absolutely amazing and well worth it. That wrapped up our visit to that island. By the way, did you know the population of Torcello is only six? Yes, SIX people. At least I hope that’s true. That’s what our tour guide told us.

Then we headed to Burano for a quick tour and some shopping. All their buildings are painted bright colors, which was so cool to see and experience. Our tour guide told us that everything is painted bright colors so that the residents of the islands could identify which one was theirs through the fog that rolls in.

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Rome: Day One // Day Two // Day Three // Day Four
Venice // The Islands