The Dog Days of Summer at Dog Beach in San Vincenzo, Italy

As many of you know, I am a big ‘dog person‘ and my beloved Labrador, Leni, is one of the most spoiled dogs around. He has a passport, has travelled overseas and, quite possibly, has been to more countries than many adults. I am always conscious of choosing a vacation that will meet his needs and not see him left for hours at a time while we head off for fun.  So, with this in mind, imagine my absolute delight when I was organising our first trip to San Vincenzo, Italy and I came across the Dog Beach website. Could it be true? Could we really take our water-loving Lab to the beach with us in Italy? It seemed like a clear win-win for our entire family…and off we went!

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Found it!!

Dog Beach is located on the Mediterranean coastline of the western Tuscan region of Italy. Just south of the major port city of Livorno, Dog Beach lies on the pristine sandy outskirts of the town of San Vincenzo where the summer days are sunny, hot and long! A trip to the beach for you and your furry friend are practically what the doctor would order as a cure.

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Dog days of summer?!

Dog Beach is accessible off the main road, with limited free and abundant paid parking nearby. There is a small entrance fee for your dog, which helps pay for the facilities and a vet available in case of emergency. Dogs run around primarily off the leash but if your Fido isn’t very friendly, you might want to consider keeping him/her on a leash.  Sun beds, chairs and umbrellas are all available for rent.

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As if all of this wasn’t enough, we were delighted when a guy came by on a 4 wheeler selling gelato (ice cream).  It was only once I approached and asked him what flavours he had did he surprise me with “is it for you or for your dog?”  Yes, they sold all the wonderful flavours one would expect from Italian gelato, and similar dog-safe versions. Our dog consumed his pineapple and ginseng one too fast for me to get a decent photo but as you can imagine, he was thrilled.

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Dog-friendly gelato, devoured in about 30 seconds…!

If you find yourself wondering where to go this summer and don’t want to leave your four-legged friend at home, I highly recommend the San Vincenzo region, with daily trips to the Dog Beach.

Good to know:

-Shower/wash stations are available for spraying down your dog at the end of the day. On our last trip, these cost 1€
-A small snack shop is located nearby with sandwiches and cold drinks for sale. Cash only
-there is a dog gift shop where you can buy toys for the beach for your dog, kids and different souvenirs
-if your dog has never been in salt water, watch his/her consumption. It can give some dogs an upset stomach, just be aware
-there is a free fresh water station for filling up your dog’s water bowl
-Bring cash with you as you will need it for everything and hard as I tried, I failed to locate a bank machine/ATM nearby

Most importantly, have fun!! Bring an extra towel or two…!!

 

Photo credits: Jennifer Hart, Dog Beach San Vincenzo

 

 

 

A Quick Tour Through Malta

I recently came across this video while planning our trip to Malta this summer and knew I had to share it. My mother’s family comes from Malta and the last time I was there I was pregnant with my son. I cannot WAIT to return this summer with my family. My heart broke the day the Azure Window closed but as you can see from this incredible video by Oliver Astrologo, we won’t be hard pressed to find things to do! Malta is a magical place and it still surprises me to this day when people have no idea what Malta is when I’m talking about it!!

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Video: copyright Oliver Astrologo

Photo credit: Fotolia – Valery Bareta

Summertime and the Living is Easy…

I’m on vacation in Florida right now, soaking up the sun and swimming in the ocean as much as possible. This also means I am taking a break from writing, researching and publishing as much as I was before. In the meantime, enjoy these photos and for those of us living in the northern hemisphere, have a fabulous and safe summer!! Relax the body, the brain and the soul as much as possible!! 🙂

 

 

Photo credit: Jennifer Hart

A long overdue “hello” from Swiss Miss!

Apologies to my dear blog for taking some time off. I know it has been far too long but with too much on our plates for June and most of this month, something had to slip and it was you.  The truth is, I’ve thought about blogging daily! Whether it was back in Paris or once we arrived here, there have been countless moments where I have wanted to write but time, stress and other priorities took over. Never fear, I am back.

So, here we are! We are newly minted permit-holders for SWITZERLAND!!! If you have ever lived abroad you can probably relate to how we felt the day our permits were ready.  There is just something very very official about your ‘move’ once you are holding a permit that allows you to live, work and play in another country. It’s also very nerve-wracking in the weeks leading up to receiving such permits. The what-ifs are endless and although the likelihood of something going wrong is very low, it is also not unheard of in the expat world. Nevertheless, we are here, we have permits, hear us roar!!

Since arriving, we have worked hard to set up the new house despite a massive spike in temperatures and the 3 flights of stairs (whose idea was it to live in a house!?) to carry stuff and up and down. The juniors have been great and thus we have treated them to afternoons ‘off’ from boring house stuff. We are lucky enough to live by the water so trips to the beach and/or the water park have been plenty! One early purchase has been an inflatable stand up paddle board which ALL of us have taken to using. I am sure, given the opportunity, that the dog would give it a go, as well.

There is so much left to do and things to figure out but we will get there. For now, all I can say is that our life is at a pace that matches us so much better right now.  The kids are loving being able to ride their bikes all over town and to the beach. The dog and I have been enjoying 6am runs along the water (where he then shows off his biathlete skills with a swim!). Mr H has such a short commute that he is able to walk to and from work for the very first time. Life will still have its ups and downs here, but we feel like we can breathe for the first time in years and for me, as the maman of this family, that makes me very very zen.

A few photos from our life here in Switzerland:

Préverenges Beach
Préverenges Beach
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Alphorns at the Saturday morning farmer’s market!
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Miss M colouring outside
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Go go go! Cycling along Lac Léman!
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Water park across the street from us.
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Can you spot Leni swimming in the lake???
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Buddy learning to stand up paddle board
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Miss M learning to stand up paddle board

Photo credits: Jennifer Hart