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A Birthday to Remember: Celebrating Life and Italy!

Hello, lovely readers!

It's Jan here, and I have just returned from an unforgettable trip to Italy with my dearest friend

Annie. Today, on my 72nd birthday, I wanted to share some magical moments from our journey

and reflect on the beauty of life, travel, and friendship.

Italy was everything we imagined and more. We explored the enchanting streets of Florence,

floated through the canals of Venice, basked in the rolling hills of Tuscany, and marveled at the

ancient wonders of Rome. Each city had its own unique charm, and I must say, the Italians have

truly mastered the art of hospitality. Whether you’re looking for a morning pastry and coffee or a

sunset dinner with a glass of chilled rosé, the al fresco dining experiences were simply divine.

One of my new favorite discoveries was the Crodino. Now, let me clarify – it is NOT a mocktail.

This non-alcoholic bitter aperitif cocktail, first created in 1965, is a proper cocktail with a kick.

Its blend of botanicals, left to infuse for six months, gives it that distinctive spicy and bittersweet

taste. Imagine sipping this delightful drink with lots of ice, while people-watching on a sunny

Italian terrace. Pure bliss!

Annie and I did all the must-dos: a magical canal tour in Venice, throwing a coin into the Trevi

Fountain in Rome, climbing the Spanish Steps (well, trying to), and walking until our feet

begged for mercy. Pro tip: leave the heels at home; those cobblestones keep you guessing! But

no worries, we rewarded ourselves with gelato for lunch – yes, you read that right, lunch. When

in Rome, right?

We even escaped on cooking retreat with the fabulous Chef Franco at Tuscookany in Tuscany.

Cooking authentic pasta and pizza from scratch in a beautiful setting with wonderful local

ingredients and great people was a highlight. It was a peaceful break from the hustle and bustle

of Rome, and I’m glad to have experienced this remote getaway.

This trip was not only a feast for the senses but also a test for me. As someone who once enjoyed

a good glass of wine, I found joy in appreciating those grapes from afar. Visiting a winery

without the urge to jump the sommelier was a personal victory. Cheers to personal growth! On

my last day, a kind bartender made me a Tanqueray Gin non-alcoholic martini – delicious and the

perfect way to cap off our trip.

After all the adventures, it was so nice to be back in my own bed, to see my dogs, and to be with

the most important people in my life: my niece Alanna and her son Benny. There's something

incredibly comforting about returning to familiar surroundings, even after a magical journey.

As I celebrate my 72nd birthday today, I am filled with gratitude for the experiences, the

laughter, and the love that life has brought me. Here's to more adventures, more personal growth,

and more magical moments with friends and family.

Thank you, Italy, for the memories. And thank you, dear readers, for being part of my journey.

With love and laughter,

Janet Folk

Author / Entrepreneur


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