Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What do Mom's do in Italy? With no Children?

That's what they do in Italy with no children.
Come to think of it, there was no husband either.
I got to spend a weekend with my Mom and her very good friend, C, down in Italy this last weekend. You may wonder that I have been silent alot re: the Blog. No time. That's all.
Between kid stuff, family stuff, visitors and a few days of feeling so-so, I haven't really had any time to update. Even now, I will make this short as I have to go pack for the weekend. This is our "busy travel season" that starts with Spring Break and continues as there are several holidays here in Europe that we try to take advantage of. There's always the chance we are headed back next year - we don't know. But if we are, we want to get some traveling done. I wonder if we'll turn into couch potatoes when we go back to the States?
So - had a great time in Lake Como and, yes, did some shopping. Things can be about 20 - 25% cheaper in the EU countries vs Switz. so have to take advantage of it. And, there are just some really cool things there. Really!
Next week I'll have more time (I think) and will try to post some more and share our adventures.
For those who need to know: Mom and C should be arriving at the Zurich airport right now - headed home. Kris has still not had her baby and it is day to day - bedrest and trying to hang on for as long as possible. She sounded good last night. Waiting for Dr. update.
PS - Huge hugs, kisses and Thank You's to my husband who managed the girls so I could go away for the weekend. Love you honey!!! Even brought him something back - ties!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"I can see clearly now, the rain is gone..."


I can only say this - Global warming is definitely not affecting Europe this Spring. And I don't even need to pay a scientist for that little bit o' information.

Please allow me a little self indulgence to complain about the weather.

We were teased a little at the end of February, beginning of March, into thinking that Spring would be right around the corner. However, the second week of March saw falling temps and falling snow. And aside from, let's say 4 days, the weather has been less than favorable.

We even had snow flakes falling at the school last Wed. afternoon - April 16th! We had a few days of dry enough weather that I was able to get a bulk of my weeding done on Sat. before my Mom and her friend C came. It's hard to get the Spring yard work done when it is constantly raining or 40 degrees cold. Our forecast does not see us over 60 for the next 10 days except for Sat. Which is the only dry day predicted as well.

And - I cannot find my raincoat!!!! What timing. So how am I? Wet. That's how I am. Because I inevitably leave the house without an umbrella. Because my raincoat has a hood. Too bad I don't have my raincoat.

Enough of my dribble/drizzle - whatever. I'm sure next weather post will be about how the summer has heated up to 90 + and due to the lack of air conditioning here, we're burning up.

Thank you for letting me vent. I'm going to make a coffee and try to wake up - sleep being another side effect of the grey weather.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I Love a Parade! Well, some anyway.

Last Monday was Sechselaeuten! Sex-a-what? you ask? Not the most common of holidays and, well, not celebrated anywhere else but Zurich. Most people, like my husband, have a half-day off. Stores are closed. Sort of like the Boys Shooting Day holiday in fall - also held in Zurich. And, no, they don't shoot at each other.

Our friends (and Bart's co-worker), M & J, live along the river in Zurich and just happen to have the parade route right underneath their windows. So they kindly opened their apartment for the 2nd year in a row to friends and co-workers to come and enjoy the parade with goodies and a roof overhead. It poured during parts of the parade so we were all thankful for the roof.

This parade is for members of the Guilds - medieval trade societies that at one time ran Zurich and the surrounding areas in lieu of a central government. Trades such as the tailors, blacksmiths, bakers, fishermen, etc... You are only a member of a guild if a former family member was - or, and I'm guessing here but an educated guess, if you apply and have enough dinero for the membership fees. Only men are members of the guild and women do not march as part of the parade UNLESS you are part of a marching band or are family of the guild member and dressed in period costume. Of course, last years parade included the current Swiss Parliamentary President as a guest, a woman - wearing a very nice, dark suit.

Please remember - this is a country where women didn't start voting until 1971! And - why I will not choose to raise my girls permanently here. In spite of the freedoms we have here that we don't in the US. Believe it or not - our countries laws in protecting the rights of some are stripping the rights of others. Personal responsibility anyone? OK - enough - this is not a political blog and I am getting off track......

What I love about this Parade is the history it represents. The costumes run the gamut of Arabic Moors who developed trade routes through Zurich, 16th, 17th and 18th century costumes, humourous traditions (throwing bread and fish to the crowds) and the tradition of presenting flowers to members of the guild you are aquainted with or who are family. The more flowers you end up with at the end of the parade - they more people you know! How many men do we know are willing to walk down the street holding large bouquets of flowers? Masculinity is not threatened here at all! :)

And as the flowers are presented, there is the accompanying "Swiss Kiss." They have to be different, of course, and they kiss the cheeks 3 times instead of the standard European two. I always feel there's danger of whiplash when kissing this way. And it definitely slows down the parade:
The blacksmiths are above and I don't recall the guild below but they are all in Medieval costume.
The Moors developed trade routes throughout Europe. (And I think I've seen those camels at the Zurich Zoo - pretty sure:) )
Interesting flag below. Apparently an uninvited guest - definitely not a standard Guild flag. So the man and his dog are being "gently persuaded" to leave the parade route.
My pic's are a bit out of order but if I mess with them - they are trapped and cannot be enlarged. Which means I need to choose their download order better. But here we are in our typical travel pattern - Bart leading the pack and Mom trailing behind with the camera.
The rain didn't keep people away from the Bahnhofstrasse or the Parade. Although, attendance was understandably down.

On our way to M & J's along the empty parade route. All of the benches have reserved seating marked by white tags for the Guild members families.
From the window - the Parade crossing the Limmat River.
Here are the Baker's - keeping the flour sacks dry. Following this is the baking cart which they throw warm fresh rolls from. Rachel yelled out "Halllloooo" in her best German (yes, they say Hallo vs our English 'Hello" and she's quite good - don't ask her to say anything else though!) and they threw many rolls at the windows we were hanging out of - 4 floors up. We did get several (obvious these Swiss bakers did not grow up playing baseball) - and Rachel ate one.
The Tailor's guild. Our neighbor's son-in-law was riding with this guild. And here are the young boys who traditionally "pretend" to lop off the hats of parade goers.
Definitely a parade worth going to in our book. It was our second year but with M & J heading back to the States this summer :( we'll see whether we want to see it on the street or not.
Have a great day!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Last Pic's of Portugal and some Thot's

Took a sail along the coast on a beautiful but windy and choppy day. Which made it really, really fun. For Rachel and I - who loved hanging over the side, feeling the sea spray and whooping it up every time we hit a large swell. It wasn't fun however for those who were "feeding the fish" and those who decided to brave the rest of the journey in the belly of the boat. I refused to go downstairs mid-way through the trip - I don't know what was happening down there and I didn't want to. Apparently, Rachel's penchance for motion sickness does not include the sea - Yeah!!!! And Bart was hanging onto Kendra - she's a trooper but has never been entirely comfy with boats. We're re-thinking whether a cruise is in our future or not. Little courtyard/street in Monchique (inland). Home of the Algarve's most famous 'moonshine.' And as we are not hard liquor drinkers, it was not the purpose of our visit to this quaint little mountain town. But, after lunch (the one with the big prawn kebab and the giant sole fillet), we were both given little shot glasses of appertif/digestive along with our bill and dessert. My was slightly lemony looking and Bart's was clear. He sniffed his and said there was NO WAY he was drinking it. I tasted mine and declared it to be lemony, sweet and not much alcohol - lighter than an Italian Limoncello. But I am curious and had to sample Bart's little drink so I'd know what all the fuss was about. And declared it strong enough to strip the paint off the car. I don't think I actually drank any either - I think I just got fumes on my tongue. Needless to say, that little shot glass stayed full.
Monchique again - it was sooooo pretty.
Nice people took our picture on Gale Beach - lot's of shells and fun.
At Sagras - there were many men fishing off the cliffs. We wondered how heavy their lines were as the cliffs were probably between 150 - 200 ft high.
The lighthouse at Sagras - "the end of the world." This was the final land mass on the European continent that the Explorers would see when leaving on their adventures in the Atlantic from the Mediterranean. Thus - the end of the world. The next bit of land they would find was South America.
Looking down the western coast.
More western coast.
Cool little fishing village of Salema with a terrific beach.
I think that will do it for Portugal. It takes me a while to digest all the pictures and think about what I want to share. Now, I already have pictures from the Sechsalauten Parade in Zurich yesterday and need to share a bit more about our host country of Switzerland.
I think I'll have to do that tomorrow, or the next day, or......
But I would like to share a little thought from our Bible Study last week. I thought about it a bit more after Bart and I watched American Idol last week and heard them singing "Shout to the Lord" by Darlene Z. and Hillsong. I wondered how many of them understood what they were singing about? If it made any of them curious? I could tell one of them was not into the song at all.
Some of you reading may have faith in Christ Jesus and some may not. I really liked something the author (Beth Moore) of our study (Breaking Free) said. "Interestingly, the lost world enjoys characterizing Christians as emotionally needy people who use religion and faith as a crutch. How wrong they are. In John 5:8, Jesus encountered a man who was lame. Christ didn't hand the man a cane or a crutch. He healed him so he could walk on both feet!"

This is how I feel about the life I have in Christ. It doesn't mean that everything is perfect (and certainly I AM NOT perfect), that I will not have challenges, illness and hard times in my life. But I do know that when I can't walk - He does the walking for me. And when I ask - He gives me the tools to keep going. I'm a strong-willed, albeit mild, person and certainly don't consider my faith a weakness or a crutch. It gives me strength.
There were several big prayers answered this last week: for a very close friend and the church here in Zurich (our pastor finally arrived - it ONLY took a year :) to process their coming into Switzerland). So - Thank You God!
That's all - for now......

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Riding in Portugal (on real live horses!)

This was such a cool trip. We went riding one morning on the beach!!!

One of those experiences that comes only once in a lifetime. Surely you'll do it again? you ask.

Considering Bart called it a "once in a lifetime experience" AND declared that "I don't think I'm ever getting on a horse again" - you can pretty much take the comment as is.

We had to be at the riding 'stable' (aka mud pueblo in the middle of a field) at 7:30 but we were a little late. If you are ever in Portugal and need directions - get them from an English person who has actually been there. I'm just sayin'....

Our guide, Paula, was very nice and had Kendra on a lead rope, Rachel followed, then myself and then Bart. Please pan down thru the pic's:

Rachel's been taking riding lessons and as her horse wanted to be closer to the front, really had to work it for about 2 1/2 hours of riding. Yeah, she looks a little crooked but she rides ponies and had to work at getting comfortable on this horse.
Kendra loved her horse.
And there's Bart. Far Away on a big horse. As we all started out, Paula asked that he please keep his horse about 3 metres (9-10 feet) away from mine - because they don't like each other. Turns out when they are loose in the pasture, Bart's horse likes to bite mine, Sarda. So when they are trail riding, Sarda likes to kick his horse.

Considering Bart had not been on a horse since he was 8 yrs old - he did great. He did a good job at keeping his distance. So did I as the last thing I wanted was to be on a kicking horse. I took a bad "flight" (was not a fall - I flew) last time I did any real riding. 20 years ago. Bruised ribcage for 3 weeks. Ah, and lifetime dependency on chiropractic adjustments. Name of the horse was Patrick - one doesn't forget these things.

But we got to go riding at the base of the cliffs, on the beach and thru the surf. It was really cool.

And then Kendra got stepped on by her horse. Fortunately just the big toe. Didn't break anything although it was really swollen and she'll lose that nail.

This is a child who falls apart when she gets a paper cut. Anything abnormal about her body freaks her out. She's already cried several times at the prospect of having to get braces someday. And her cry is the kind that makes you want to do anything to make it stop. It's a lot of work and energy - for us!

There was a big part of us as parents that felt and said "Well, you learned a lesson didn't you?"

She's been around horses a number of times in the past year and I feel I'm always saying "Watch where you're walking; don't stand so close; watch the feet; walk far enough behind..." It's the whole "in one ear and out the other" or "talk to the hand" feeling you get with your kids. Some things they just have to learn for themselves. Even when it hurts.

So we had much crying and drama and went to the medical clinic to make sure everything was OK because it was ugly at first. Everything is fine now - the swelling is almost all gone and she actually went to school today with no bandages on her foot. A milestone for her as it took a week before she could handle the sight of her own toe.

The hard part: it happened Tues. morning and we weren't leaving 'til Sat afternoon. The Dr. said "I'm sorry but she really needs to stay out of the water (swimming pool) for 4 -5 days while the skin heals around and under the nail." That was hard to hear as we were at a place with several pools plus on the coast with sandy beaches.

But - there are many things to do in Southern Portugal with your family that do not require immersion in water! Highly recommend it if you are ever contemplating a family vacation in a foreign land. We still had a lot of fun and by Fri. figured if she got it wet at the beach (she was bandaged and wore a sock) it wouldn't be a big deal as the salt water would be fine on it. It was. More later.

California Baptist University - Alumni Update

"Susan Olson (nee Bianco '89) is currently a stay-at-home mom in Switzerland while her husband is on rotation with the military."

I will ask for comments as I must know who's brain is turned on - How many of you think this is funny and for what reasons?

This was the blurb that landed in the latest edition of "The Roundtable." I had never added any information update to anything I sent my alma mater until this past winter. I was feeling a bit nostalgic and thought I would put in a line about how far I've traveled from So Cal. I also didn't want to put in a lot of detailed information. Obviously leaving out the specifics of my husband's job. And God Bless the wives of our military. I'm just not one of them, that's all.

Apparently "living in Switzerland while my husband is on an International rotation with his job" translates to "rotation with the military." Which actually would be nice because then I could go to the PX (or PK ?- you can see how familiar I am with military terms) on base and buy things at cheapo prices - but I can't as the prior post will attest to.

I bet they don't get Rick Warren's info. wrong when he sends in his update. Well, if he sent it in. Which he probably doesn't have to.

And at least they put my name on there. For about 10 years it appeared that Bart was the one who had attended Cal Baptist according to their records. Makes me feel special. It really does.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A little Consumer Frustration

This is a quickie:

Have you ever tried to order online only to find your entire order (and all that time spent) is cancelled with the last click on the "process order" tab?

I've decided it's a Swiss conspiracy. Somehow my computer is marked. It prevents me from ordering things online from USA companies - with my USA credit card - to a USA address. Because perhaps, that order will actually worm it's way into Switzerland and they want to charge VAT (value added tax) and duties on it!

Not that I would ever, ever order things, ship to my Mom and have her bring in the luggage. Not I. How depressing.

More depressing has been the fact we don't even have to think about the exchange rate anymore. It's been at $1 to 1chf for the last month - give or take a few cents.

It's why I'm trying to 'smuggle' cheaper goods from home. Example - Bart & I just realized we will have to hit our travel supplies for contact solution as we didn't realize we were on the last bottle. He said "yeah, but you can buy that here" I said "for 25 chf! why do you think we always bring a couple bottles back with us?"

$25 for a bottle of contact solution. Let's all scream together! Some things you can't get here - like Mac N Cheese and Nyquil. The basics of life.

As I leave you with that lovely thought, let's just hope Swiss customs doesn't read my blog. My bag will be stuffed this summer.

Update - I just bought a new bottle of contact solution for ONLY 19.60chf ($19.20) in another village. Score?!!! (Mom - add contact solution to the shopping list:-)! )

Monday, April 07, 2008

When Traveling by Plane....

Please take along your sense of humour. You may desperately need it.

I am going to share our going to and coming back from Portugal stories. As humans, we love sharing our misery :) and this blog is turning into a documentation of our family's travels. Like it or not, I am better at blogging than I am keeping up with scrapbooks right now.

Travel to:
Sometimes you just have to laugh. Because you might otherwise cry. Or laugh inappropriately. Or make nasty faces at the 3 year old little girl in front of you who won't sit down and whose parents really don't care what she's doing. Did I just write that? Shame on me.

Seriously - if you are going to take offense to my comments and suggestions in the following paragraphs re: traveling with your small children - don't bother reading this post. Fair Warning.

We flew Zurich - Frankfurt, Frankfurt - Faro on our way to Portugal. I don't know that I can liken Frankfurt (or Heathrow) to any other airport in the US as far as hassle in making connections - maybe Chicago. I would avoid either of them if I could but that's unrealistic. Anyhoo, everything was going swimmingly until about 20 min.'s into our flight out of Frankfurt to Faro - this was a 2.5 - 3 hr flight.

The little girl in front of us (approx. 3 -4 yrs old) - more specifically in front of Bart (we had the middle 4 seats together) - stood up in her seat and was peering over to watch the girls. She then proceeded to let loose a hefty sneeze - aimed at Bart who swiftly held his newspaper up into a defensive position against further attacks. I grinned and chuckled (while hoping she had nothing contagious to give my family) while he shot me a dirty look. :) The look that said "great, why aren't you sitting here instead."

She continued to pop up and down - occasionally pulled down by her father who was distracted by his iPod in one ear and the book in his hand. Mom was distracted by the 9 month old who did very well on the flight. Then our dinner was served (yes, airlines still serve meals on 3 hr 'mealtime' flights in Europe) and apparently the girl's a quick eater. Because she wanted to stand up and watch our girls eat their food. And jump up and down on her seat - her dad was not paying any attention to her - she's bouncing right next to him! And bouncing on the seat that is connected to Bart's tray table.

I did catch her eye and gave my head a shake to indicate the jumping was a "no, no" - she flipped her head and kept going. Bart was hanging onto his food and drink to keep it from landing in his lap - he was not happy. And then I started giggling about it and couldn't stop. I couldn't even look at him anymore. And our girls were wondering "what's so funny" and "why does that girl keep standing up in her seat." She settled down a bit but popped up again later. When we were getting baggage, and I was still giggling about it all, Bart said I missed the crown jewel - "she stared at me and then proceeded to lick the top of her seat - the whole thing, from one side to the other." EEEWWWW!

The point of this is: 1. Kids are going to act up when confined in small places 2. Please at least act like you are doing something to help your child in their boredom - be prepared for these trips - the little girl had nothing to do and her dad hardly paid any attention to her the whole time 3. Don't let your child lick their airplane headrest - Eww - I shouldn't have to explain. 4. Have a large newspaper handy to ward off the sneezes of pint-size attackers.

We were really happy to land in Faro.

And all week we had a little standard transmission Skoda station wagon - which made me the official chaffeur and Bart the navigator. I hadn't driven a stick shift in 9 years but once I figured out the reverse trick (opposite of my old Toyota) we were fine. Although now I'm home and I keep trying to step on the clutch!

Travel home (Faro - Lisbon, Lisbon - Zurich):
We were supposed to get home Sat. night but it was Sun. afternoon instead. Courtesy of the inefficiencies of certain airlines we won't name and probably will not fly again - if we can afford to fly SwissAir into Portugal next trip (they can be expensive which is why we tried the cheaper route - and hoping there is a next trip).

We found out the flight was delayed when we checked-in. And, TRAVEL TIP #1- if you are flying via electronic ticket and will be switching carriers (ex. American to Hawaiian Airlines or United to Delta) - it is a good, no, great idea to get the tickets numbers for your flights (each person's) if they are not listed on your e-booking printout. NOTE: ticket numbers/locator numbers are not always listed when you book online thru services such as ebooking/expedia/orbitz, etc... We waited 1/2 hour for them to 'locate' our numbers so we could get our boarding passes - we were on the flight, names were there - but they need the numbers. This has happened to us twice in the last 6 months - and always with the secondary carrier - on the return trip. Also a good reason to get to the airport with time to spare.

So - late flight - made later as certain people saw no need to rush getting on or off the plane. In spite of the attendants trying to hurry things along. I about lost it on the way there due to turbulence and the pilots efforts to make up lost time - it was not a smooth flight plus we knew we might not have enough time to make our connection in Lisbon. I prayed alot.

Once we landed in Lisbon, our next flight was due to leave in 20 minutes and we didn't know if we'd have to go through Passport control for the transfer - every airport is set up a little different. But wait, we were out in the middle of airport no-where-land and they weren't letting us out of the plane because the buses hadn't arrived - for the flight that should have landed 25 minutes prior! Frankfurt does this too - I can't stand it!!! So by time we finally got on a bus (we had now been on the ground for 25 minutes) and to the terminal, our next flight was due for departure. We ran for it - taking turns carrying Kendra who can't run due to her injured toe (future blog) - and then have to wait while the Passport security was very thorough, slow and stamped ALL our passports (who cares! half of Europe doesn't stamp passports anymore!) to arrive breathless at the gate - the plane was already on it's way to the runway. 4 families missed that flight - the last flight into Zurich for the night - it would have cost them 15/20 minutes delay to wait and they would have probably made up the time in the air.

Now my mom is reading this and yes, I know, the flights all have their slots and things are not manipulated quite so easily but - most all the other flights that night were delayed, why not one more?

Once we found someone to help us (we got lucky as it would have been difficult to find), the airline was all prepared to pay for our taxi, hotel for the night and dinner/breakfast at the hotel. Which for the most part was fine. The hotel was clean, food was OK and we saw about 8 - 10 other refugee families from the airport.

But Bart and I didn't get much sleep. Someone (we think maybe below us) was partying - loud music and voices - and banging on things and such. And above, someone took a bath. As the water drained, I was certain I could feel drops on my head - the sound was so close. But the weirdest thing was, Bart went into the hall on his way to complain about the party noise, and he couldn't tell where the noise was coming from - it was quiet in the hall. So he just came back in and we were happy to get up and out of there in the morning. We aren't going to recommend the Roma hotel in Lisbon. No fond memories there - at least we didn't pay for it.

Travel Tip #2: If you have been delayed and find yourself stuck overnight with the option to have the airline hold your baggage vs retrieving it for your unplanned overnight stay, we recommend having the airline hold it. Unless you cannot do without something that is in your luggage - which means you should have packed it in your carry-on bag (glasses, contact case with solution in it, brush, deodorant, extra undies - the other toiletries can usually be provided by your hotel).

This way, your baggage stays checked and they will issue you the boarding passes for the new flight right away. No standing in line again: you simply go straight to security, thru Passport control (int'l flights only) and to your gate. It can save a lot of time - which is important if they've re-booked you on an early morning flight. Think of all the time we saved: we knew what clothes we'd wear - same as the day before, didn't have any makeup with us - washcloth was the main tool, and ponytail holders are great - hides a multitude of hair flaws (except for Bart who simply put his head under the sink). And guess what - all the other families were in the same clothes too! Come to think of it, they didn't look like they got a lot of sleep either. My problem was compounded by not taking my own advice - I had thrown my glasses in checked bags and forgot to have my contact lense case prepared. My eyes were not feeling pretty the next morning in spite of the home-made saline solution (water and salt) - it's always worked before but I think the water at the hotel was really hard.

We are safely home now (more turbulence again into Zurich - I don't think I should sit by the window anymore unless it is a perfect flying day) and it's still snowing in Switzerland. I wonder if we had Spring in February and will move right into summer come May/June? I had planned to throw some seeds out in the garden before we left and I'm glad I didn't have time. Considering the ice/snow we just had, they would not have made it.

Portugal - LOVED IT!

We spent our final week of Spring break having a much needed family vacation in southern Portugal - what is called the Algarve. I took a ton of pic's and have already deleted a ton - have to take a lot to get the good ones. And I love this one below except for the pink spot where there was obviously a spec on my lense! Arrrggghhhh! It was our last full day (Fri.) and everything was nearly perfect. Had a great time.

There are many things I would love to share about this trip and will probably do so over the next several days. Bart caught up on all the hours of sleep he lost during March, the weather was warm and - Ahhhh - I am looking at snow in my flower beds at home today but, hey, we got a little break. What I was not aware of is this fact: southern Portugal serves the UK somewhat like Florida does for the East Coast - it is the warm weather destination for those inclined to flock south. On the whole, I heard as much of the Queen's English spoken as Portuguese. To such an extent that I didn't really want to spend too much time in the coastal towns because I wanted to feel like I was in Portugal. No offense meant to fellow vacationers. However, I can't complain. As there is a huge British expatriate community there, language is of little problem for those of us who know nothing of Portuguese and only picked up Obrigado (Thank You) and Bom Dia (Good Day) during the course of a week.

We used our time share for this trip - may I just say they have a fabo facility there in Vilamourra. The time share for us, after 5 years, has paid for itself. It's not for everyone, but has fit the way we travel and where we travel due to locations/family situation.

I will leave you today with a little authentic Portuguese food:

The prawn kebab Bart ordered at lunch. Rachel's eyes popped out when she saw his plate. There were a dozen prawns on that kebab! The sole fillet I ordered "ala Jardin de Oliveras" style. I don't know that the pic does my dish justice. It was the biggest piece of fish I've ever received - stuffed with veggies and baked with local soft cheese on top + olives. Plus the baked potatoes with sauteed onions on the side. DEElightful!!! Yum!!! Would be happy to attempt eating it all again. No - I couldn't eat it all. But I tried. :)
The restaurant was great - hidden in the hills, olive groves, quiet, growing their own produce, a playground in the shade - we loved it.

More later...have laundry to do, Sigh.