Thursday, August 21, 2014

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Renovating Italy hits the road – Liguria

by Lisa Chiodo

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Creating this simple life is a work in progress, one we are yet to completely embrace. I know and believe with all my heart that it will be the making of our little family.

We set off for Liguria with high hopes, expecting beautiful weather, gelato, family time, some much needed rest and relaxation. Each of these arrived in different ways, at unexpected moments, our maiden voyage in the camper van was an education for all of us. We managed to survive without computers, no internet, no online games or movies to watch, I was surprised how quickly the addiction was broken.

We played Mastermind, Hangman, Join the Squares, drew, read, walked, made new friends along the way, and actually spent time with each other. In this stress filled world we live in, just bowing out for a week was a real treat. Since returning we’ve fallen back into old habits, our comfortable routines, and our family love affair with the computer.

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exploring Albenga, Liguria

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exploring Portofino

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finding a friend in Veravo

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looking for an agent in Albenga

Finding an agent for our house in Veravo was a little more challenging, a total change from the buying / selling process we are so familiar with in Australia. A number of agents wouldn’t take on a ‘Rustico’ and were luckily happy to put us onto an agent that would. So our house in Liguria is now on the market, yet I secretly hope we’ll find a way to keep it. The entire valley is gorgeous and so close to the beach and towns on the Italian riviera. Albenga is the closest town and she totally captured my heart with her Medieval walled center. So now we wait and see what happens.

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 taking a dip at Monterosso al Mare

Luca celebrated his tenth birthday on the road, was happy with the perfect gift found in a tiny souvenir shop in Monterosso al Mare ( a bag of prehistoric creatures which just happened to include a Gastornis!) we had a simple cake the next day with friends on the way home, a family we met on the road gave him a gift of a helium balloon and a golden Lindt chocolate rabbit complete with ribbon and bell. Just tiny gifts and special moments, he had a wonderful birthday.

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heading home to Malpertus

With hundreds of images to sort through and share I’ll be creating resources on all the places we visited. Right now I’m off to bed, after a day at home I have managed to come down with the flu and am feeling rotten.  I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Break, I have lots of stories, adventures and ideas to share with you and I’ll be posting here with all the details.

If you have any thoughts or questions on anything I’m sharing I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

with much love as always

Signatureand the gang x

dare to dream

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Trisha Thomas May 2, 2014 at 9:16 am

Wonderful pictures and it looks like you had a fabulous time. I love the Cinque Terre and have stayed several times in Monterosso and hiked the trails to Vernazza and on down to Riomaggiore– it is such a gorgeous place and so relaxing without all the traffic and confusion we get in Rome. Your kids look so sweet. I also love the photo of the very sexy-looking Italian waiter smoking in the doorway of the restaurant. He seems to be trying to make the bella figura even in a moment of relaxation — how very Italian!
On another topic, it looks like you have re-vamped your blog — I like the way it looks with the strip at the top and the clear subscribe option. I think it is time I re-vamp mine too, but not sure I am capable. Anyway, my compliments, it looks great. Always love reading your posts, the put me in a good mood. Looking forward to the next one. Hugs, Trisha
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2 Andreana April 28, 2014 at 7:21 pm

What a great trip! I’m so happy for you and your family. Loved the pictures so much. I can’t believe how big your kids are getting. Oh I wish I could buy the house in Liguria. Our families could take turns vacationing in it. One day….

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3 Krista April 27, 2014 at 9:25 am

I’m so sorry you’re sick after such a lovely trip, Lisa. XOXO Wish I was close enough to bring you soup and fuss over you. :-) Wishing you healing and rest.

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4 Lisa Chiodo April 27, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Hey it’s just a cold although a visit from you dear Krista would be fantastic….and with soup WOW xx
Every time I see your gumboots on fb I laugh, I so love your way of being, I think I have to look out for some of those boots for Carina and I, they are happiness on your feet lol xxx

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5 will morrissey April 26, 2014 at 11:36 pm

I am stateside, Nevada, but follow your adventures in Italy..Love all things Italy and yes, I
know it isn’t all ‘chocolate and roses’, but come on! You’re in Italy…..You guys are very
lucky……How great that you have a camper and can tour around the pennisula, I for one am very envious, although I know it’s taken lots and lots of work on your parts..Good on you mate(s)!

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6 Lisa Chiodo April 27, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Ciao Will, great to meet you and I’ve never been to Nevada…..I did backpack in America in my 20′s and loved it. Not all chocolate and roses but it is so much more, salami and wild flowers. Italy is just an incredible place to live, especially where we are up in the mountains with the locals. The camper is so much fun and our son Luca wanted to park it at our house so he could keep sleeping in it. It has been lots of work, nearly 20 years of renovating in Australia and Italy and with the kids and family life as well, we never gave up on our dreams. Strewth Mate, chuck a prawn on the barbie for us lol xxx

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7 Ingrid April 26, 2014 at 8:43 pm

Happy Birthday Luca!! Looks like you had a wonderful break away after the ill health which plagued you all recently to greater and lesser degrees! I’m sure whatever happens with the house you have put on the market the best outcome will present itself xox
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8 Lisa Chiodo April 27, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Hey Ingrid, he had a great birthday, we have some money the grandparents sent as well to get a few more treats for him. It’s school holidays here and they go back tomorrow so might try for a small party next weekend. I’m so torn about selling the house in Liguria, it could be incredible and I love the area and so close to the beach, I know you think outside the box and so do we so who knows xx

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9 Wynne April 26, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Sounds like a wonderful time was had by all! I’m envious of the destination, but most of all, the ability to disconnect! I SO wanted to do that during my trip and occurrences at home simply made it impossible. NEXT time, I will do better, for sure. I can’t wait to hear more and see the photos of your Easter/Spring vacation!

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10 Lisa Chiodo April 27, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Hey Wynne next time you come you’ll be able to go tripping about Italy with us in the van! I am seeing that I need to disconnect more often and find ways to create an income from my writing and blogging. So many photos between Sam and myself I need a full time photographic manager lol xx

Hope all is going great with you and we have to skype again soon, this time from a cafe I think xxxx

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11 Wynne April 27, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Happy to BE that photograph manager! I am at a crossroads re: work (I’m sure you can relate) and have to decide what’s next FAST!

A Skype date soon would be great! While you’re in a wonderful café, I’ll be in my new digs, at my desk in my cozy new apartment. Miss you!!

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12 Lisa Chiodo April 27, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Oh sounds perfect, I have a friend who is a virtual assistant so that could be a possibility maybe? http://jennyblake.me/blog/virtual-assistant-strategy/

I’m in front of the fire right now, it’s cold outside and just had the most wonderful Skype call with another B-Schooler who lives in Italy and is Scottish. She was also on House Hunters and is an artist and has her home open to visitors on AirBnB. Really nice woman and we had so much in common. I love being able to reach out via Skype now it’s so great to be able to chat xxx
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13 Wynne April 27, 2014 at 7:39 pm

A virtual assistant situation would be perfect!

And an evening in front of the fire, Skyping w/ friends sounds lovely. Where does your friend have her AirBnB?

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14 Marcia April 26, 2014 at 4:32 pm

What a wonderful time you had! Reminds me of traveling with my children when they were little, only it was in the US Smokey Mountains and Rocky Mountains. I’ll look forward to reading your posts.
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15 Lisa Chiodo April 27, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Ciao Marcia, I remember camping with my family up in NSW and loving the freedom and making new friends. I bet the Rocky mountains are spectacular, I’d love to visit one day. I love the thought of serendipitous cooking lol xx
ciao ciao lisa x

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16 Marcia April 28, 2014 at 6:57 pm

The Rockies are spectacular, talk about a Rocky Mountain high! Ciao! xx
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17 Carolyn @ Holidays to Europe April 26, 2014 at 12:23 pm

So glad to hear you all had a great break. Isn’t it wonderful that we CAN survive without the Internet and share fun family moments like board games? Who would have thought!!

I look forward to reading all about your week in Liguria and seeing your beautiful photos.
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18 Lisa Chiodo April 27, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Carolyn I think we need a little reminder every now and then to get off line and out doors. Luca made his own snakes and ladders game and we didn’t have a dice so used ‘rock paper scissors’ style to get a number it was so funny. I’m working through all the photos, you know what it’s like, xxx

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19 jann April 26, 2014 at 10:36 am

Lisa, you’ve become so Italian that you even go round in a camper van!!! How fun!!! Take a drive down to Sicilia one of these days. When did you buy a house in Liguria? And is the Veravo house the cute one you just finished renovating? Sounds like you have a LOT going on. xxxxxxx Baci & happy belated Easter.
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20 Lisa Chiodo April 27, 2014 at 7:39 pm

I know how funny are we!
The camper is great and we met such wonderful people along the way, we will definatley get down to Sicilia as my Mother in Law is from Salina and when they come next year we will do a road trip with them. I’d love the kids to see where Nonna and Nonno are from. The Veravo house is in need of a total renovation with really just the shell, it’s in a glorious spot and so beautiful, I hope we sell and I hope we don’t arghhh.

Belated Easter wishes to you and big hugs

xxx
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21 lisa wood April 26, 2014 at 7:50 am

I so hear you….we went to Hill End for the Easter weekend and we had NO power, no internet, no service :)
It was like we were really living instead of existing….yet here we are back in our motorhome with all the comforts – back on computers and back to old ways.
Gosh Lisa your children are growing up so fast!! Carina is blossoming into a fine young lady, and Luca is turning into a fine young man. So wished we could buy your House in Italy, and be close enough to visit you guys, I love your adventures.
Can’t wait to when you and Carina go to Paris, its going to be such a great time for you both xxx
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22 Lisa Chiodo April 27, 2014 at 7:37 pm

I saw the photo’s of your boys Lisa how proud you must be, they looked fantastic. It is sad how wonderful it is to have no access to the internet, hard to get back into the swing but I’m learning to manage it all slowly. I’m doing B-School with Marie Forleo and learning so much.

The kids are getting big and finding the way here in this new life. Paris is still like a dream to me, I can’t imagine how it will all pan out xx

I just know that one day you will head overseas with wings on that bus of yours, like the Magic Schoolbus lol xxx
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23 Charmain Giuliani April 25, 2014 at 10:33 pm

looks like a good journey….didn’t realize how long you would be away….the mommy-me was beginning to feel concern

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24 Lisa Chiodo April 27, 2014 at 7:33 pm

Awww that’s so sweet Charmain, I get like that when I don’t hear from online friends for a while. I then realize that it would be almost impossible to actually find them. We had a great trip and saw so many wonderful places and people, priceless for the kids xxx
sending love lisa x
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