Over the past couple of years, Raymond and I have visited Rome and Venice, Italy. On both of these wonderful trips, one of things we enjoyed most was the food. Italian cuisine is one of my favourites, and Raymond is quite partial to it as well. As vegetarians, we both love all of the food options we have when in Italy.
Well, at the beginning of this year, Raymond and I had a hankering for pasta, pizza, and the like, so we travelled down to Italy for a few days to nosh and relax. We walked quite a bit each day, which was good since we ate a lot, too!
Warning: You might want to grab a snack because if you aren’t already hungry, you sure will be by the time you finish reading this post
On our foodie excursion, we spent most of our time in Venice. As soon as we arrived in this ancient city, Raymond and I popped into a pizzeria where we shared a pizza topped with spinach and egg.
Raymond about to dig into pizza con spinaci e uovo
While walking around the town, we kept seeing these giant cookies in bakery windows, so we grabbed one to nibble on back at the hotel. It turns out these cookies are called pan dei dogi, and they are unique to Venice. They come in different flavours [ours was pistachio] and are topped with almonds or hazelnuts.
With our pan dei dogi al pistacchio
There are no roads or cars in Venice; therefore, everyone gets around either by walking or via vaporetto, which is a waterbus. So the following day Raymond and I took a vaporetto along the Grand Canal to our next delicious destination.
Enjoying the ride along the Grand Canal
Hidden down a side street, Friedland offers pasta and other dishes in take-out containers. Don’t let the unassuming appearance fool you—Friedland’s handmade pasta is extremely tasty and served piping hot.
Walking into the tiny space occupied by Friedland
The yummy pasta al pomodoro from Friedland was only €3.99—a steal!
Raymond and I then walked around, just exploring. We figured we needed some exercise since we were planning on eating a large meal later. And we may have stopped at GROM for gelato, but we were too busy enjoying our ice cream and forgot to take a photo.
Later on when dinnertime rolled around, we hopped on a vaporetto to visit another restaurant.
Peering out the vaporetto window
For dinner, we ventured to Spaghetteria-Pizzeria 6342 A Le Tole. We had seen this restaurant on a previous day and promised ourselves we would return because they had gorgeous fresh pasta on display in the front window. Raymond and I are so glad we made sure to go back because the food was incredible!
Maccheroni al pomodoro at 6342 A Le Tole
We must’ve been going through a pomodoro phase since we had it twice in one day, but it’s just so good. After cleaning our plates, Raymond and I could not figure out what dessert to order because they all sounded mouthwatering. But why decide when you can just split 2 different desserts, right?
Since we were in Venice during Carnival, not only did we get to see all of the amazing masks and costumes, we also were able to try a dish that is only served during this time of year: frittelle di Carnevale. These donuts come with a variety of fillings, but ours were filled with custard cream and came with warm chocolate to dip them in. Delizioso!
Raymond eyeing the frittelle di Carnevale
The other dessert we shared was—of course—tiramisù. Despite not liking coffee, I LOVE tiramisù. Raymond had never tried it before, but he’s definitely a fan now.
6342 A Le Tole’s tiramisù
After a few tasty days in Venice, we travelled farther south to Rome. We were craving pasta, and we knew our first meal in Italy’s capital had to be cacio e pepe. This Roman specialty is a very simple dish of spaghetti, Pecorino Romano cheese, and black pepper.
Raymond says, “Mmm…”
If you are ever in Rome, don’t walk—RUN—to Pinsere. This award-winning pizzeria serves the classics as well as some unique flavour combinations. For our final meal in Italy, Raymond and I shared a gorgonzola, walnut, pear, and honey pizza, and we agreed that it was one of the best [if not THE best] pizzas we’ve ever had in our lives. The delectable crust and balance of flavours took this pizza to a whole other level of yumminess.
This pizza was a thing of beauty
Raymond and I had so much fun eating our way around Italy. We may have to take more food-centric trips in the future. And I should’ve heeded my own warning and gotten a snack because writing this post has certainly made me hungry! I think I’ll wander on over to the Kitchen and see what Mrs. Claus is baking.
Where else do you think Raymond went this year? Stay tuned to find out!
Over the past few years, Raymond and I have travelled the globe some. Together we’ve visited Chicago, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, Brussels, NYC, Japan, among other places. Raymond is a great travel companion, and we always have a blast together—taking in the sights and sampling local vegetarian food.
Last weekend Raymond and I had a little free time, so we decided to pop down to Nashville, Tennessee to check out the elaborate Christmas decorations at the Opryland Resort. It was a certainly a sight to behold, as there are more than 2 million twinkling lights across the entire resort!
Raymond and I could’ve stared at these gorgeous trees for hours.
Every single tree was covered in lights.
Outside the main entrance to the Opryland Resort where there were carriage rides and a firepit.
Oh, there he is! By the HUGE poinsettia tree!
The Opryland Resort is one of the largest hotels in the world, and it features several atriums that house impressive Christmas decorations and thousands of plants. There is even a quarter-mile-long indoor river in the Delta Atrium! Walkways and bridges lead you all around the atriums, and seeing such large-scale holiday displays will leave you feeling jolly. Raymond and I certainly enjoyed wandering along the paths—he drinking some hot cocoa and me sipping a hot toddy.
Raymond was particularly amused by the banjo-strummin’ snowman.
The ceiling was quite literally dripping with lights. Our photos don’t do it justice!
Raymond bonding with a nutcracker.
Aside from the extensive decorations, there are lots of holiday activities going on all season long at the Opryland Resort, such as ice skating, tubing, gingerbread decorating, and more. Maybe sometime Raymond and I will get to go back and experience more of the festivities, but after a couple hours, we had to head back up to the North Pole. [But don't feel sorry for us; you know we have loads of festive fun up here ]
If you want to experience A Country Christmas at the Opryland Resort yourself, head to Nashville anytime between now and 1 January.
It’s December—yay! With only 24 days until Christmas, we are eagerly anticipating the big day and are rather busy up here at the North Pole. One of our favorite things about this time of year are all of the pretty, twinkling lights on Christmas trees and houses. Here’s a cozy digital wallpaper for your screen, so you can enjoy the sight of colorful lights all month long! Click the buttons below to download.
For our American friends, November is the month of thankfulness which culminates on Thanksgiving Day. While it’s great to have a holiday dedicated to giving thanks, gratitude is something we can all exercise year-round. This month challenge yourself to write down something you’re thankful for each day. Set this image as your desktop wallpaper, and Raymond the reindeer will give you a gentle reminder each time you see it.
…such as cooler weather, pumpkin spice everything, costumes, and this downloadable desktop wallpaper! Raymond the reindeer wanted to dress up to celebrate Halloween, so here he is, donning a wizard hat and accompanied by a couple of his pals. We’re having a hard time coming up with names for these guys… Dracu-apple? Jack-o-orange? What do you think? Help us name these cuties and leave your suggestions in the comments below.
Oh my gosh—it’s September already! Can you believe that summer’s over and kids are already back in school? We sure can’t. But here we are, three months until the holidays, and we elves still have so much to do! Even though Christmas seems like a long way off, we know the days will fly by. Thankfully, our pal Raymond the reindeer loves to lend a helping hoof whenever he can. And here he is, on a mission to spread some smiles. Download this wallpaper, and whenever you look at Raymond, he’ll surely lift your spirits, as he does ours!
This Friday the Summer Olympic Games will begin in Rio de Janeiro! As you probably know, Raymond the reindeer loves sports—whether it’s baseball, cricket, reindeer games, or anything in between. He even went to London, England for the 2012 Summer Olympics! Raymond is getting rather excited for this year’s games, so he decided to participate in a little track and field. Here he is donning his sweat bands, ready to run laps. Maybe with a little of Santa’s magic, Raymond can beat the world record for the 100m
…So take a break and head to the lake with your pal Raymond the reindeer. Download this wallpaper, and whenever you look at it, you’ll be transported to the serene scene. Picture yourself sitting on a dock, dipping your toes (or hooves) in the cool water, enjoying the warm breeze. Ahh… Summer!
And speaking of summertime fun, what’s your favorite lake to visit? Let us know in the comments below!
The summer months are upon us, and many of you probably have vacation plans for the upcoming season. Raymond the reindeer also wanted to go on an adventure and got a bit carried away—literally!—by a bouquet of balloons. Give your pal Raymond a place to land and download this wallpaper to your laptop or tablet.
Maybe it’s just us, but it seems like the first few months of the year just flew by, and May is suddenly here! We hope you all are enjoying the spring season with its blooming flowers, verdant foliage, and wildlife scurrying about. To make your May a little brighter, a little warmer, and little bit magical, here’s an enchanting digital wallpaper for your desktop, laptop, or tablet.