Tag Archives: travel

Finding the perfect gift at Edmonton International Airport

edmonton-airport-shopping

By Karlie Marrazzo

We’ve all been there – friends and family across the globe, or across the country, graciously open their arms and homes to us on our travels without asking for anything in return. The least we can do, you think to yourself, is bring them a little something from home to show our gratitude. Preparing for a trip can be hectic, and I often find myself putting off this important shopping trip until the last moment. If you’re like me, have no fear! You can pick up tons of great host gifts at the Edmonton International Airport while you’re waiting for your flight.

Continue reading Finding the perfect gift at Edmonton International Airport

Quest to Calabria: Uncovering my Italian ancestry

A narrow cobblestone street in the village of Donnici Superiore, Italy

By Karlie Marrazzo

Like millions of Italians before and after them, my family was part of the great Italian diaspora that took place at the end of the 19th century and well into the 20th. Almost 30 million Italians emigrated during that period for similar reasons – to escape poverty, war and lack of work and to start better lives for themselves and their families. One of those emigrants was my five-year old father, Carlo. The Marrazzo family left poor Southern Italy in waves beginning in the mid-50s. My Nonno (grandfather) followed in his parents’ footsteps and left for Canada in 1956, working hard for two years to save enough to bring the rest of his family over. At the end of 1958, my Nonna, along with three children between the ages of three and seven, said goodbye to their small town of Piane Crati, Calabria, and never looked back. They made the 300km journey by train to Naples, where they boarded the Saturnia ship and spent a week crossing the Atlantic Ocean. This was followed by a week-long train trip crossing the vast expanse of Canada and finally arriving in their new home of Edmonton, Alberta, a place immensely different from the home they had just left behind.

Continue reading Quest to Calabria: Uncovering my Italian ancestry

Teotihuacan and Tula: A Mesoamerican day trip from Mexico City

The stone warriors of Tula atop a pyramid

By Karlie Marrazzo

Teotihuacan. The Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, the Temple of the Feathered Serpent. The Avenue of the Dead. These words conjure images of complex ancient civilizations, ferocious warriors and a way of life that modern people could only imagine in their wildest dreams. Mexico is famous around the world for its wealth of ruins and archaeological sites, and Teotihuacan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is among the most famous of them all. The ancient city is only 48km, or 30 miles, south west of Mexico City, making it the perfect place to get out of the bustling city for a day and to discover some Mesoamerican history. Never content with only the easiest option, we decided to tack on a visit Tula, a much less visited archaeological site featuring towering Toltec warriors atop a lone pyramid.

Continue reading Teotihuacan and Tula: A Mesoamerican day trip from Mexico City

Journey to Mývatn – A Photo Diary

1.Djupavogshreppur-east-iceland
Somewhere along the way…. East Iceland. We were driving from Höfn to the Mývatn area, turned a corner, and were blindsided by this gorgeous view.
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Horses and sheep are abundant in Iceland, but seeing reindeer is a bit more rare. We were so lucky to come across this group of 13 reindeer right alongside Route One in East Iceland!
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Stunning group of reindeer in East Iceland.
4.hverir-geothermal-site-iceland-1
What planet are we on? Mud pots at the Hverir geothermal site, Lake Mývatn area.

Continue reading Journey to Mývatn – A Photo Diary

Scatter my ashes at Jökulsárlón

The view from the shore.
The view from the shore.

By Karlie Marrazzo

The next big stop on our Iceland road trip was the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, in southeast Iceland, just off of Route One between Höfn and Skaftafell. Even though you can still have a fantastic visit without leaving the shore, we really wanted to immerse ourselves in it, so we had booked a Zodiac boat ride long before we left home.

Our ride was booked for 16:30, but we couldn’t contain our excitement and arrived at the lagoon at 15:00. You can start to see some icebergs while you’re still driving on the road. I was practically jumping out of my seat with excitement as soon as I saw them. Even the view from the parking lot is incredible.

We decided to check in with our tour before we went down to the shore to take pictures. As we walked up to the trailer for the company we were to take the ride with, the first words out of the staffers mouth were “I have horrible news”. My heart sank. She told us that the icebergs had shifted and were in the way of where their boats launch, and they had been waiting all day for them to move. She suggested we not even come back because they likely wouldn’t be going out. Continue reading Scatter my ashes at Jökulsárlón

Vikings, volcanoes and black sand beaches on Iceland’s south coast

By Karlie Marrazzo

Icelandic-horse-FludirAfter our snorkeling adventure, we drove the rest of the Golden Circle, seeing some of the most famous sites of Iceland, Geysir and Gulfoss. We stayed the night in a guesthouse on a farm in Flúðir, relaxing in the hot pot and enjoying the incredible view of the mountains and the open green fields with the iconic Icelandic horses grazing quietly. These pony-sized horses are almost like an unofficial mascot for the country. They have the funniest manes of luscious hair and are very friendly. I was really excited to see them, so we spent some time petting them while they nibbled on grass out of our hands.

Our day was full of driving and sightseeing. There’s lots to see on the south coast of Iceland, so we hit some of the highlights on our way to Vík í Mýrdal, or Vík for short.

Seljalandsfoss – Although there are countless waterfalls in Iceland, this tall beauty is special because you can walk all the way behind it. Be careful, it’s slippery!

The view from behind Seljalandsfoss.
The view from behind Seljalandsfoss.

Eyjafjallajökull – Even if you don’t live anywhere near Iceland, chances are the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in early 2010 affected someone you know. There is now a small visitor’s centre across the road from the volcano, run by the family whose farm sits right at its base but which miraculously didn’t suffer extensive damage. There is a 20-minute movie that is definitely worth watching. It was chilling to look at Eyjafjallajökull, which doesn’t look like much from the visitor’s centre, and contemplate all the damage it did.

Eyjafjallajökull-volcano-Iceland Continue reading Vikings, volcanoes and black sand beaches on Iceland’s south coast

Unveiling my Europe 2013 itinerary

italy-itinerary-mapBy Karlie Marrazzo

Success! After several weeks of planning and fine tuning many options, Dave and I have finalized our itinerary for a European visit this summer.

It was always in our plan to spend time in Italy on this trip. We also wanted to visit Malta as we almost went there on our last European trip but couldn’t make it work. Other ideas included Croatia and Greece. We struggled a little bit making a trip that didn’t include several internal flights and odd routes.  After many hours of research and taking dozens of guidebooks out of the library (thanks EPL!), our itinerary looks quite different, and extremely exciting! Here it is: Continue reading Unveiling my Europe 2013 itinerary

Welcome to my travel blog!

By Karlie Marrazzo

Sassi-Matera-Italy
Matera, Italy. 2011.

Welcome to my travel blog. I’ve been traveling as much as I can over the past four and a half years. It’s all I think about, almost all I talk about, and it fills my dreams almost every night. Yet starting this blog is a big step for me.

I didn’t leave my home country, Canada, until I was 22 years old, and I didn’t even set foot on an airplane until I was 21. Continue reading Welcome to my travel blog!