What to See and Things to Do in Barcelona – A list of 10 must dos!

things to do in Barcelona
La Sagrada Familia


Glory is light, light gives joy & joy is the happiness of the spirit – Antoni Gaudí

Ten Terrific Things to do in Barcelona ~

The cosmopolitan city of Barcelona is one of my favorite (maybe even my most favorite) cities in the world! After returning from a spectacular trip to Spain, I wanted to share why I love it so much and to offer some suggestions for your next trip!

I think it is the allure of the Picasso Museum, the vibrancy of the people and a gorgeous dish of authentic seafood paella. It is also a glass of sangria, strolling the tree-lined streets and sitting in an outdoor cafe in the Gothic Quarter. On a larger scale, Barcelona his home to the architectural wonders created by Antoni Gaudí and it is a modern city with an interesting long history. The combination of old world and new gets me every time.

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Cotton House :: An Exquisite Luxury Hotel in Barcelona

luxury hotel in Barcelona
Part of the artistic design of the lobby

When I set out to find a luxury hotel in Barcelona my first stop was American Express Travel. I had planned to use our travel points to pay for our upcoming hotel stay in Spain. We typically stay in Hyatt Hotels, but there aren’t any in this city, so I moved on to find something else.

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A Perfect Day in Siena with Tuscan Women Cook

A perfect day in Siena
Piazza del Campo is the principal public space of the historic center of Siena, Tuscany, Italy and is regarded as one of Europe’s greatest medieval squares.

Every day is a perfect day in Siena ~

A perfect day in Siena
The spectacular clock tower or Torre del Mangia of Siena was built 1338-1348 and is located in the Piazza del Campo.

The title of this post is a bit misleading. It should read “every day is a perfect day in Siena and Tuscan Women Cook”! Ask any traveler fortunate enough to have visited this remarkable city and they will tell you it is their favorite.

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Tuscan Women Cook :: My Italian Cooking School Dream Adventure!

Tuscan Women Cook - an Italian cooking school
One of the stunning views from La Chiusa and Tuscan Women Cook in Montefollonico, Italy


Staying & eating & learning at La Chiusa with Tuscan Women Cook ~

When I sat down to write about my experience attending an Italian cooking school called Tuscan Women Cook, I honestly struggled with where to begin. There were so many incredible experiences, new friends, Italian hospitality and food and wine so good it could make you cry, which makes describing it all a challenge! We visited historic churches and cathedrals, family wineries, cheese and wine shops, local restaurants, walled medieval cities and managed to take a shopping trip or two!

Italian cooking school
La Chiusa – A dreamy destination
Italian cooking school
A rustic stone wall of rooms at La Chiusa where we spent the week.
Italian Cooking School
An unedited photo of a basket of golden zucchini blossoms on the colorful patio of La Chiusa!

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An Exciting Empty Nester Adventure in Europe

adventure in Europe

Our adventure in Europe ~

Hi Friends!

Tomorrow I take off for my adventure in Europe. If you recall, I was invited to attend Tuscan Women Cook, an Italian cooking school in the hills of Tuscany. Yes, it is a pinch me moment.


I am grateful and excited to be invited and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!

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Dreams Do Come True, It Can Happen To You!


dreams do come true

Really, they do. Dreams do come true. In just a few weeks, I will be traveling to Italy to attend the Tuscan Women Cook culinary program in the Tuscan hill town of Montefollonico. I am so grateful for the invitation from Rhonda and Coleen, the two Southern California entrepreneurs who purchased this unique, established cooking school about one year ago.

dreams do come true
Coleen and Rhonda


Coleen and I connected through an article that I had written and have been fast friends ever since. I plan to share my experience in Italy through video, right here on the blog and through other midlife travel bloggers. So please check here and on Instagram, as well as Facebook for some fun photos and juicy details. For this trip I will be traveling without my empty nester partner Craig, but will try to enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity. (LOL) Are you kidding? I can hardly sleep!

I have loved to cook since I was a young girl and having the opportunity to learn from real Italian nonni (grandmothers in Italian) and cooking their personal recipes is immeasurable.

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An Invitation to an Italian Cooking School ~ Tuscan Women Cook

Here I am enjoying a class in Seattle. I can’t wait to go to Tuscany to experience an authentic Italian class!

An Italian cooking school adventure!

Do you have days when the stars are aligned and you find yourself connecting with a special individual you have never met before? This happened to me when Coleen Kirnan of Tuscan Women Cook, an Italian cooking school, contacted me to introduce herself and tell me about her magical place in Italy.

She came across a post of mine mentioned by LA Times columnist Chris Erskine on his Facebook page and she felt we would make great collaborators. First of all, who does that any more? Who reaches out actively to another person to see if there is a solid possibility of a connection? – Oh Coleen does! She is amazing, inspiring and a real go-getter. I look forward to meeting her equally tenacious entrepreneurial partner Rhonda Vilardo, very soon!

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