Week 3 could have been a disaster... Ok, let me explain myself.

Have you ever had friends that you like and you go out to dinner with or see them once in a while but then you decide to go on vacation together and realize, that was NOT a good idea?  IDK, maybe not... but it's happened to us! lol  Well that was so NOT the case here!  It was such a great week and we had SO much fun and we laughed non-stop and our families couldn't have gotten along any better!  And the funny thing is, this family is a family we didn't really know all that well!  Lance and Oz have been friends for probably 30 years because they worked in accounting together before either one was married.  Sheila and I only knew each other from dating our guys and going out together on group dates... almost 30 years ago!  So we lost touch over the years and would send Christmas cards back and forth yearly but that's it.  Lance and Oz would meet a couple times a year to catch up but time went on and it wasn't until this past Christmas when we had a big "After Christmas Chill Out Party" at our house that we invited some old friends from the OC and Oz and Sheila came with their two kids.  We re-connected, laughed a lot and the topic of our trips to Italy came up and they were ready to get on a plane right then and there!  So we started planning a trip together (with one other couple that couldn't make it this year but hopefully can come next year) and that brings you up to date on how this week came about...

So back to the photos:

and to one of our long walks... I figured the best idea for our week with friends was to set it up like one of my retreats, minus the classes.  We'd schedule some excursions, show them our favorite hidden places, surprise them with some food and goodies in their apartment and take them to all the restaurants we love!  So needing to get some of those things, we had to WALK.

So we met them here and the week was officially started!

The next day was all about showing them Bellagio with our friend Rita!

They found their old friend... and he remembered them!  We didn't see this guy last summer but we were so happy to see him again and have him be excited to see us too!

They found their old friend... and he remembered them!  We didn't see this guy last summer but we were so happy to see him again and have him be excited to see us too!

We took some time that day to spend with some friends from here and we loved hanging out with Leonardo! We've "known" Leonardo before he was even born and even got to see him when he was only a few days old!  He came and visited us this past spring in California with his family as well, so it's been a joy to see him starting to remember us and he loved playing with Isabella and Rebecca this summer.

Enabler alert... this wine is AMAZING!  I don't really like red wine but Elisabetta was telling us this is a wine her company is starting to sell and you can get it in the U.S. for about $5 and it's one of the best red wines I've ever had!  Got to find this little gem...

Enabler alert... this wine is AMAZING!  I don't really like red wine but Elisabetta was telling us this is a wine her company is starting to sell and you can get it in the U.S. for about $5 and it's one of the best red wines I've ever had!  Got to find this little gem...

Ciao from Leonardo!  He was helping his mommy with the food... :P

Ciao from Leonardo!  He was helping his mommy with the food... :P

That night we had a great dinner on the waterfront with the most beautiful sunset as we were eating dinner!  The next day was a special "splurge" that we all decided to go for.  Villa d'Este is THE hotel on the lake and down closer to George Clooney's house and the town of Como.  Oz and Sheila have seen our Christmas card with this as the backdrop and wanted to see this place in person.  So we made a night of it and it was perfect!  The weather, the boat trip, the amazing architecture... all of it was so beautiful!

And the night ended with this fancy cotton candy!!  

The next day we went over to another village to stroll the gardens of this Monastery and have lunch.

Well ok... hahaha

Well ok... hahaha

This is her new apartment! 

This is her new apartment! 

Don't ask... 

Don't ask... 

We started way beyond where you see the church steeple and walked all along this waterfront.  Such a beautiful place.

We started way beyond where you see the church steeple and walked all along this waterfront.  Such a beautiful place.

It was such a great day and the weather was perfect, yet again!  The funny thing is that their family checked the weather before they left to come to Italy and it looked like lots of rain.  They didn't pack the right clothes for this great weather, but they were enjoying this week to the fullest anyways!  Gotta love people who roll with it...

Of course we had to take them to Villa B and enjoy the lake for a day...

Hey he finally found an Italian girl!  hahaha

Hey he finally found an Italian girl!  hahaha

Our evening was another great night of laughter and great food at our FAVORITE restaurant in the world!  

We've watched little Izzy grow up and her little sister Leila too!  I love that these girls love our girls and get so excited when we come over and see them.  

We've watched little Izzy grow up and her little sister Leila too!  I love that these girls love our girls and get so excited when we come over and see them.  

The week went by way too fast but we know we will see them again on the lake...

Last night with just their family was spent at our hotel and a beautiful surprise at the end...

We are so blessed that Oz and Sheila and Elise and Aiden decided to come and spend the week with us in Italy!  We couldn't have asked for a better week and I know we made lasting memories with this great family!

Week 3 flew by and it was time to get ready for my Art & Faith Creative Retreat and the last week in Italy this summer.  I'll post a wrap up on week 4 soon AND announce NEXT YEARS Creative Retreat details TOMORROW!!

See you then,

Laura

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