Feb 042015

Bottega Italiana in Seattle, Washington

After our visit at Pike Place Market and the Market Magic & Novelty Shop we began our trek back up the gradual incline of Pike Street to our hotel. In the next 45 minutes I would experience…umm…something.

More than once.

Before I go any further I want to share something with you about my aunt that I haven’t up until now. This petite, sweet, kind, very spiritual lady who has been my best friend my entire life. The one who has been there for me always and second only to Phoenix in the complete unconditional love I’ve experienced from another soul in this lifetime. She is incredibly generous to others and works hard for causes as well as volunteering her personal time cleaning up dog pens in animal shelters or helping to protect seals in Hawaii. Yet none of this would have ever occurred had she not been a fighter many years ago.

She is a two-time cancer survivor.

The very first intersection walking east from Pike Place Market is 1st Avenue and Pike Street. The traffic was stopped at a four-way stoplight and would be moving from my left to right when the light turned green. I decided to step out into the street and take a picture. The following all occurred in about 20 seconds time.

I scooted out swiftly to do an initial quick focus. I had forgotten to turn on the camera.

My aunt, “Hey honey…”
Me, “Hang on…”

I brought the camera back up to my right eye then pulled it back down. The lens cap was still on.

Her more assertively, “Mike, you need to…”
Me, annoyed, “Hang ONNN…”

I was finally ready to have my very non-National Geographic moment and I snapped the shot…to be met with the sound of…

“MIKE!!!!!”, my aunt again.
Arrgh, me, “WHAT?!”
I spun around, “SHIT!!” as I stared up face to face with a calm, smiling bus driver waving and looking down at me. It was one of those public transportation buses that runs with stealthy silence and had been stopped at this ultra quick light exchange!

I leaped back to the sidewalk in one step and looked at my aunt, “Why didn’t you say something?!”
Her, giving me a double take, “I should smack you. On second thought…”  FWAP across my upper arm!! She smacked me.

I got my picture…(unbeknownst that a bus was right behind me)Bottega Italiana in Seattle, Washington

My aunt thinks I’m part adventurous, part creative and part crazy ass for doing stuff like that. Then she motioned for me to  follow her down 1st Avenue instead of back up to the hotel.

She said, “Have you ever had gelato?”
I said, “No, I haven’t but have always wanted to try it!”
My aunt, “Oh my gawd, you will love it. Look, there’s a gelato shop right here! Do you want to check it out?”
Me, “Heck ya!”

For those of you wondering how I could go through this many years in life and not tasted the decadence of gelato. I just don’t have an answer for that one. I’ve had many incredible life experiences but that intoxicatingly creamy, velvety delight? It wasn’t until today that our paths would cross. Thank you Bottega Italiana in Seattle, Washington.

That corner window below the hanging store sign is exactly where we would be sitting looking out onto the sidewalk and street. Remember that in a couple minutes…Bottega Italiana in Seattle, Washington

*Editor’s Note* I was snagging photos to put out on social media and caught something by total accident for the first time. Look up top left corner past the Bottega Italiana sign. There is an owl!! No, it’s not real but I had to zoom in to make sure!**

From their website, “Quality takes precedence here, so it is no coincidence that our creation has been voted ‘best dessert in town’ and ‘best gelato’ by locals in numerous publications. This is authentic artisan gelato at its best! Each flavor has its’ own unique recipe and is made in small quantities to ensure freshness. Our pistachios and hazelnuts come from Italy, and our produce is fresh and local.”

My aunt and I perused the case, as it’s chilled to keep each member of the royalty at their perfect consistency. All the fruity and savory players were on display to entice and seduce you. Then I saw the one, like a light ascending from heaven, as the music played. The one that I had to have.Bottega Italiana in Seattle, Washington

For any of you that have followed my blog or can recall back to many of the blogs I’ve commented on. Caramel is my kryptonite when it comes to any dessert. I am truly powerless under its spell.Bottega Italiana in Seattle, Washington

I struck up a talk with the gentleman working behind the counter to learn more about not just gelato. But the gelato at Bottega Italiana in Seattle, Washington.Bottega Italiana in Seattle, Washington

Here in one paragraph is the Great Testament of what I had been missing all of my life…Bottega Italiana in Seattle, Washington

We grabbed our seats on a wooden bench next to the window I mentioned above. I had absolutely no idea what it would be like.

Do you remember your first time? You know…

I scooped my first spoonful and apprehensively slid it into my mouth. My lips gently clasping down on the back of the cupped part of the spoon and then I slid it back out slowly. There was a sugary, nutty aftertaste as the flavor of caramel danced on the taste buds of my wanting tongue. I closed my eyes. I moaned. It was exhilarating and I wanted it again. And again. I wanted it badly. I’m telling you it was that kind of food porn experience for me.

My aunt said, “Do you want to take it back to the hotel room so you two can be alone?” Smart aleck aunt.Bottega Italiana in Seattle, Washington

She and I sat quietly at that point just taking in the moment. The following is why there are no pictures of her dessert or me looking out the window onto the sidewalk and street. Everything became a blur in minutes.

As I sat on the bench seat enjoying the view my eyes began to well up as a thought and emotion completely overcame me. As I type this the same emotion is hitting me again as I recollect the moment. For 11 years Phoenix sat next to me at the computer and I spoke to him of traveling. Seattle, Washington was always my first choice for a restart of that journey. I had actually planned for the two of us to drive to the Emerald City this last Fall. He always sat listening intently, making constant eye contact with me or at the computer if I pointed something out on the screen to him. I wanted to tell him right then while sitting in Bottega Italiana that I had finally made it back to Seattle.

I’m open-minded to all things in life and that which people experience.

A splash of a light-golden fur flashed by the lower part of the window and it wasn’t until it passed by the full length glass door that I could see it all.

It was a Golden Retriever.

I could only mumble loudly, “Did you see…I’ll be right back…” to my aunt. In the process of nearly knocking over the table, my gelato and wiping out my Canon camera as it nearly swung into the steel door frame and tripping over another table.

I dashed outside and just saw him going around the corner. I bolted up to the corner and carefully peered around while being cognizant and ready to snap a photo. Only to be met by a sea of people flowing directly in my path and walking towards me.

He was gone.

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Mike Vogler

I have been told (many times) that I really need to write a book about my life. The past 50+ years have been an exciting ride, and these days I find myself with a great many passions. However, I feel that this website is a much more personal way with which to share my musings, stories and commentary.

  104 Responses to “Bottega Italiana In Seattle, Washington – My First Gelato”

  1. Perfect blog post, Mike! But, yes, I cannot believe that you managed to get to be whatever age you are (younger than I, but no spring chicken) without tasting gelato. Thanks also for posting the sign. Now that I know it has fewer calories than ice cream, I will stop depriving myself. We have an in house made gelato place 2 blocks from our apartment.

    I’m trying to imagine a Philadelphia bus driver smiling broadly at the guy blocking the street, taking a photo (of a street) no less, but no mental image is appearing, probably because It.Would.Never.Happen. You would be lucky that bus drivers in Philly aren’t armed — other than with buses with very loud horns.

    I knew you would be getting signs from Phoenix. He is in your heart (and soul) forever, Mike.

    PS: I love your aunt.

    • Hey, I’m a spring chicken…it’s all in the mind, Suzanne LOL! Thank you for the compliment and yes I will file that away with Philly bus drivers when I get there someday! 🙂

  2. OMG. You make me want to go back to Italy to have some gelato. Glad you got to try some Mike.

  3. You described this experience so well :-). Caramel is also my downfall. I love, love, love it. Caramel, toffee and pistachio gelato in many forms are my favorites, but caramel edges the others out. I’m glad you finally got to try gelato, and l promise that when we go eat whatever place we end up eating out at, we will top it off with more gelato :-). Lucky the bus driver only laughed, and l am so glad your aunt is a survivor. I’ll be rooting for her.

    • What a wonderful thing to say regarding my aunt, Kemkem…I appreciate that! Yes, we are Caramel Siblings for sure LOL!

  4. I’m surprised you never had gelato before, Mike and I’m glad you enjoyed the experience. 🙂 Your aunt sounds lovely and to survive cancer twice is wonderful. You’re lucky that bus driver was in a good mood! Phoenix will always be with you as Tasha is always with me. ♥

    • Thank you, Debbie, and yes my aunt is very special. I appreciate the words on Phoenix and I’m head over heels in love with caramel gelato! 🙂

  5. Loved reading about your first gelato experience! I LOVE gelato. Especially the tiny spoon so it lasts longer. Your aunt sounds so fun! and you are still sharing your travel stories with Phoenix. He will always be with you wherever you go and whatever you do 😉

    • This meant the world to me and thank you sooooo much, Chareese. I also agree with you on the little spoon! 🙂

  6. You must miss Phoenix still. Awww. On the other hand, yay for your first taste of gelato! I had the best of my life in Florence. The ones here in the Philippines really can’t compare. Italians are wonderful!

    • Oh yes, I will always miss Phoenix, Aleah. I was instantly hooked on gelato and have had some in freezer twice since that trip. Eating some in Florence would be amazing 🙂

  7. Great post as always, makes me feel like I’m right there with you! We’re with you on the gelato – had never tried it until a trip to Italy, figured we CAN’T go to Italy and NOT try gelato…..and we loved it. Several times. 😉

    Seattle is somewhere we plan to visit – have been to Vancouver and if it’s anything similar, then a visit is definitely in the cards. Plus, my wife is a huge Grey’s Anatomy fan, so it won’t be a tough sell!

    • I appreciate the awesome compliment, Mike! I was blown away at what I had been missing. Vancouver is similar to Seattle (I’ve been to the former once) and absolutely loved it! As a matter of fact, Lisa (two commenters below) lives in there! Have a great day buddy 🙂

  8. You had me at Gelato. We bonded further at Sea Salt Caramel Chip.

    One of my favorite places to indulge in Gelato is at the National Gallery of Art here in Washington, D.C. For some unbeknownst reason I love having lunch at the Gallery of Art in the cafeteria near the indoor water cascade. And when I finish lunch, I always head over to the Gelato counter. And then we wander through the galleries. It makes for the perfect lunch outing.

    You know that was Phoenix telling you he’s okay, right?

    • That was such an awesome thing to say about Phoenix…thank you, Patti! 🙂 Hey, great taste buds think alike regarding Sea Salt Caramel Chip! How incredibly fun for you at the Art Gallery. I was smiling thinking how much I would enjoy that too 🙂

  9. Omg! I’ve got goose bumps!! It was his spirit. He’s happy for you 🙂

    2 other things: i missed you very much and so happy you’re back! and second? Two words Gelato Porn! LOL

    • It was an amazing few moments there Lisa and thank you SO MUCH for this beautiful comment. I deeply appreciate that and how dearly sweet you always are to me. Absolutely on Gelato Porn! 🙂

  10. G-o-o-o-o-o-o-s-e bumps! I’m so glad you’re back writing in your amazing style with your indomitable spirit glowing throughout the post. I’m SO glad your BACK to writing. This was a wonderful, amazing, tremendous, inspiring post to come back to writing with.

  11. Caramel is the same thing for my sister. I know it won’t compare but if you have it out there, pick up Talenti Sea Salt Caramel Gelato at the store. We have it at most stores. It has chocolate covered caramels in there too. It’s REALLY good.
    Scarlet is having some right now.
    I kinda want to tell my magical dog story. Cassidy’s mom has always raised dobermans. He was telling me that clipping their ears is actually a choice and they’re not born that way. I had no idea! I was so shocked! This was on our first date, which was actually a first date weekend. We walked into a restaurant later that night and it was playing one of my songs – Pearl Jam’s “Elderly Woman…”
    I went to use the restroom and came back and Cassidy had a funny look in his eyes. He was petting a dog and he said, “Tamara, meet Tucker. A floppy eared Doberman.”

    So weird!

    • That is a GREAT story on the floppy-eared Doberman, Tamara! That made me smile…thank you. I didn’t know about ear-cropping with certain breeds until my aunt and uncle got a Giant Schnauzer many lifetimes ago. And as far as Talenti…your psychic vibe is smokin’ right on! I have some in my freezer as I type this!! I’m out of control addicted to it. Great to hear from you! 🙂

  12. Oh sweet lord salted caramel!!!! *faints*

    You know, I’m not sure if I’ve ever had gelato. I know I’ve had custard ice cream. Perhaps I should find some STAT. I want food porn!!!

    I had to look close for the owl, but finally saw it.

    As for Phoenix….you know that was him saying hi!! So amazing!!!

    • Ha, I would come to your rescue o’ fainted one but you would easily find me right next to you passed out when it comes to salted caramel. One of your supermarkets will have it in the freezer in the ice cream section. MUST HAVE, my dear! Thank you for the Phoenix comment, Beth 🙂

  13. I’ve never tried gelato before either, but to be honest I just assumed it was the same as ice cream and never understood why people made such a big deal about it! With that in mind have never been particularly keen to try it, but you’ve certainly changed that! Will have to keep an eye for some in my hometown – either that or fly to Italy 🙂

    So glad you’re back to writing, and have to say I agree with all the comments above – Pheonix is obviously always going to be with you and that’s definitely his way of letting you know that he’s okay and everything is going to be alright 🙂

    • Oh my gosh YES please do try it, Catherine! As you can see in the description from Bottega Italiana is not ice cream 🙂 Thank you, thank you for incredibly awesome thoughts about Phoenix. I always appreciate that dearly, my friend 🙂

  14. Hi Mike,

    I love the way you can merge all your thoughts, dear aunt’s emotions, the exhilaration, the obsession with photography and above all Phoenix…Ah! I could almost see him watching your expressions, he too loves you so much Mike, watching you all the time. May God bless his soul. This is one of your finest posts, overflowing with soooo many emotions. Thanks for being so brave!

    • Wow, what an enormous compliment and thank you dearly, Balroop! I know his soul is always blessed for an eternity…he was incredibly special. Have a great weekend! 🙂

  15. Caramel is MY dessert too. Forget chocolate for me. It’s caramel, toffee, vanilla… and OMG to your trip and almost getting hit by a bus and about seeing a memory or ghost of sweet Phoenix. Are you going to travel more? You so should I hope… but I know that also has a lot more of the “thes” than are here in this post. It’s good to read your words again though my sweet friend.

    • We are Caramel Kids from another mother, Kristi! I do hope to travel again sometime and thank you for your very kind words and support always! 🙂

  16. First of all Mike…kudos on the gelato…good luck with your waistline now! Second, I was once taken out by a taxi in Hong Kong when I was taking a photo! Be careful!

    • Ha, no kidding on the waistline Corinne! Yikes on the taxi in Hong Kong…yes, I will more careful 🙂

  17. I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like Gelato, so I’m glad you finally got to try it Mike! I love most flavours and in Italy last year totally pigged out. Salted caramel is my favourite, I have to admit 😉

    • Yeah, another caramel lover! That had to be a blast to taste the real deal in Italy last year, Johanna. How fun! 🙂

  18. Oh Mike…
    he was gone…
    but he WAS there….
    Sending hugs

  19. Aw, I was holding my breath when I read the ending of your story, Mike. Great piece of writing again. Your aunt seems like a really fun person, it’s so great that you guys get to hang out and do things like this together. I can’t believe you never had gelato before! It’s sooooo delicious! When I was in Greece this summer with my brother we went out for gelato every single day. I think I tasted all flavors lol.

    • I soooo appreciate your compliment, Melissa! Yes, my aunt is a blast to spend time with and I only wish we could do so more often. Greece must have been a blast for you (that would be a great story to read) and yummy on tasting all of the flavors 🙂

    • There’s a recap on the blog if you’re interested 🙂 Just type in ‘Crete’ in the search function and you’ll find it.

    • Sweet! I can’t wait to check it out and thank you, Melissa! 🙂

  20. I was just thinking how much I was missing your posting, and up popped this one! The gelato sounds wonderful (I have never had any either). The spiritual experience was even better. Big hugs.

    • Oh my gosh, if you have any inkling to try they do sell it in the grocery stores, Elizabeth! Yes, it was a very spiritual experience and hugs back at ya 🙂

  21. It’s never too late to experience something for the first time – so glad your first taste of gelato was worth the wait! We’re headed to Italy this summer, and I plan on eating gelato everyday – maybe twice a day.

    • Ha, on eating gelato maybe twice a day – I would want to do the same! I’m so happy for you guys going to Italy this summer, Dana! 🙂

  22. Yay, you’re back!!! Your aunt certainly sounds like a hoot, and massive kudos to her for being a 2 time survivor, I know how stressful that can be for her and her loved ones! But this trip really does just get better and better…salted caramel gelato? Yes please! And I think Phoenix was popping by to say hello, too:-)

    • Not sure how much I’m truly “back” yet or not, Jessica, but thank you for your support! My aunt is absolutely awesome and thank you for the kudos to her. I can see I have lots of caramel fans here and I think you are exactly right on Phoenix, my friend 🙂

  23. What an AMAZING experience on so many levels. Glad you didn’t get “hit by a bus” which is a phrase my sister uses, a little lightly now I think about it!
    It’s crazy you saw that flash of dog, right then. The world is an amazing place.
    Love gelatto, I don’t blame you if you DO want to be alone with it! hahahaha that was hilarious. Your aunt is a stitch.
    We had a lovely choice of gelatto flavors in our Dominick’s, but sadly they closed around Chicagoland. They had really good sushi for a good price, too. I wonder if gelato is one of those things I can make at home without an expensive piece of equipment……off to chat w/Google!
    Welcome back!

    • That would be amazing if you could make your own gelato, Joy! Let me know. Yes, the world is a truly amazing place and my aunt has a great sense of humor. Often she doesn’t even realize it. And we all need to avoid those “busses” in life, don’t we? 🙂

  24. The sea salt caramel seems like a definite winner and the one I would most likely try. I’ve only had gelato a few times, but boy is it worth it 🙂 When I was in Greece it was all over the place, so resistance was futile and I had to break down and gobble some up.

    • That is a great line Jeri…re: “resistance was futile…” and I bet your trip to Greece was amazing! 🙂

  25. Such a fun story, Mike! The Aunt, Lens Cap, Bus, Gelato, Phoenix!
    And the Owl!
    You know, we all find “owls” in our photos 🙂

    • That is so cool how you mentioned the owls in our photos, Alex! I’m wanting to look at so many more of my archived shots to see what I may have missed, my friend! 🙂

  26. OMGOSHHHHHH, Sea Salt Caramel Chip.
    DROOOLing in MN.

    Xxx KISSSSSSS for you, Mike.

  27. Okay, now I am officially the only person in America that hasn’t had gelato! Sounds way good!

    Throughout your visit to Seattle I really like all the buildings and the way the shops are set up. Would be fun to spend a couple days just walking through.

    I also loved your Aunts quip! I bet you got two flavors to go and really had a good time back at the hotel! ;0)

    And yes Mike, he is always near. <3

    • Ha, well I highly recommend you give it a try my best buddy. I like the way Seattle is set up too, Tony. It’s so amazing there. Thank you on the note about my boy 🙂

  28. Mmm gelato. I’ve never had real gelato unless you count the Breyers kind and I don’t. I want to try the real stuff some day. Phoenix 🙁 He’s just making sure all is well…

    • That was a totally awesome thing to say about Phoenix…thank you, Krystle. You can get the “real” thing made by Talenti at your grocery store! 🙂

  29. That gelato looks so authentically Italian, and I can totally relate to you sensual description of tasting it for the very first time.

    • I am hooked forever on it, Mette! Now, I have to show some restraint as I’ve already bought 3 gallons of it over the past few months. That gets to be tough on the waistline 🙂

  30. Love Gelato! Reminds me so much of my time in Rome and the Amalfi Coast!

  31. Italian gelatos are magnificent! So is your writing! You’ve got a smart aunt also! And gawd how much do I love caramel in sweets….!!

    • And yet another reason for become friends…our mutual love of caramel, Christina! Thank you so much for your wonderful compliment and yes my aunt is a really bright lady 🙂 Have a great week! 🙂

  32. What a crazy sign… it’s lovely!
    The gelato sounds good too. 🙂

    • It was such a surreal moment, Colleen and I bet you have had lots of gelato in your travels! 🙂

  33. You crack me up Mike. You’ve not tasted gelato before but you must be the biggest foodie I know. I am sorry you didn’t get to meet the Retreiver – a sign from Phoenix no doubt. Still I am sure he knows you spotted it. Do you know how many times I have inadvertently stopped traffic taking photos? The last time was in Japan and the car I held up was no less than a Police Car. Marty was not impressed! Hope you have found a gelato place at home 🙂

    • You make a great point on being a self-proclaimed foodie and getting such a late start on gelato, Jan! That has been rectified. I like how what you said about Phoenix. I would love to hear more about your traffic-stopping stories including the Police Car. LOL to Marty. I’ve been buying Talenti sea salt caramel from the grocery store here in Reno 🙂

  34. WELCOME BACK!! Your description of your experience, I felt like I was there and now I NEED some gelato in my life right now.

  35. Aww what a nice post 🙂 Congrats on your aunt for being such a fighter. And the ending of your post was perfect! 🙂

    But I can’t believe you haven’t had gelato until now!! You’ve missed on a lot! The one you got sounds amazing though! You should try pistachio next time, it’s my fav 🙂

    • That means a lot to me for your well wishes for my Aunt, Michelle. I’m forever hooked on gelato as long as it’s an available option over ice cream. Thank you for the recommendation on pistachio…I will give that a try! 🙂

  36. U HAD GELATO NOWWW!!! I cant believe it!! But great you did finally!
    Your aunt is the best hehe!

    • LOL…I do feel like the last person on earth to have had it, Rashmi 🙂 It will never be far away from me now on though! 🙂

  37. Your aunt sounds like my kind of lady. Love her comment about taking the gelato back to the hotel room so you two could be alone – lol! I love the way this post ends, Mike. Phoenix is still watching over you.

    • Ha, that is the most sweetest thing to say about both my aunt and Phoenix, Dana! Yes, you would really like my aunt and it’s so wonderful to hear from you always! 🙂

  38. congratulations on your first gelato experience! It’s wonderful isn’t it?
    I can’t see the owl…:(

    • Yes it is, Jo! Now the big challenge is trying to keep that same exact flavor OUT of my freezer because I’m hooked on it! Sorry you can’t see the owl but that is cool that you looked for it! I hope you are having a fantastic week 🙂

  39. Your first gelato? Seriously? Looks freaking amazing!! I wish I was there with you indulging in it!! Omomomomo

    • It was definitely one of the food moments where I was baffled that I not had it much sooner, Agness! 🙂

  40. Your Aunt sounds like an amazing person! And what a story about the bus – glad everything turned out okay. I would never have noticed that owl if you hadn’t mentioned it 🙂 I’m sure you loved your gelato – it’s just heavenly, isn’t it?

    • It’s so funny about that owl as I never saw it when I took the picture, Tarana! Thank you for your kind words about my aunt 🙂 Yes, I’m a gelato fan forever now! 🙂

  41. What a triple-header day: your virgin gelato, being with such a wonderful aunt, and a sign from Phoenix. May all your days be filled with those joys and more! Loved your post!

    • You said it perfectly with it being a triple-header, Irene! I liked that comment. Thank you so very much for your well wishes, compliment and I’m sending all my best thoughts back to you! 🙂

  42. It’s so good to have a blog post from you, Mike. And what a great one. Gelato post right before bedtime is not good 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed your first gelato. It really is so refreshing. Now, you need to go to Italy to compare. Love your aunt! What a great Phoenix sign! Here’s to many more gelatos for you!

    • Thank you so very much, Mary! It’s so awesome to hear from you…always. Yes, I’m hooked on gelato. I so appreciate your nice comment about my aunt. I absolutely LOVE and ADORE her. Italy would be fantastic…maybe someday! I hope the four of you are doing fantastic! 🙂

  43. Oh how could you live that long without trying Gelato?? Its the best Ice-cream ever….
    Yep that was Phoenix, he was there with you, watching, being a part of your life. He will always be there with you.
    And I bet he was smiling….
    He would love that Gelato….
    I love the sound of your Aunt…she sure is amazing. Hope you get to taste many more Gelato flavors, there is so many of them!

    • I’m most definitely hooked on gelato, Lisa. My gawd it’s good. Yes, I believe he was there too. And I hope here…always. Thank you 🙂

  44. I have never had a gelato.
    You must be missing Phoenix so much. Our furry family members are so much a part of our lives that they do leave us with so many wonderful memories. I know my husband misses our old pup Jerry…they ran together every day for years, just the two of them. He was such a great dog. I’m getting a little teary-eyed thinking about him. 🙂 Thinking of you.

    • You can buy it at your grocery store, Michelle. I had never known that until I came back from Seattle. Thank you for sharing about your husband and Jerry…what an awesome story. And thank you for your very kind thought, my friend 🙂

  45. Thanks so much Mike for this terrific story. When I came upon the important part about the sea salt caramel chip gelato, I had to take a break to find out where I’d hidden the Lindt – A Touch of Sea Salt chocolate bar. Thanks loads for the inspiration.

    • Ha, I’m glad I inspired you to find your chocolate bar, Wanda! I hope you found it and thoroughly enjoyed it 🙂

  46. If you haven’t had gelato, it makes me wonder what else you’ve been missing out on Mike. I am also crazy for caramel and would be like you savouring every bite.
    I love the sound of your aunt. My kids have an aunt just like that – full of unconditional love, rather rare too.
    So HAPPY to see your posts again. I do check and then mess a week or two and then Voila!

    • Oh I’m sure there are a great many things I’ve missed out in this lifetime, Leigh! Fortunately there are a lot of unique things that I have experience that many have not. So glad to know I have another fellow caramel lover. Yes, my aunt is just that unconditional and the only one of two souls I’ve ever had that with (Phoenix). I’m always thrilled when you are able to stop by visit here, my friend! 🙂

  47. Your aunt looks like a really lovely lady Mike. haha that bus driver must be used to all these tourists snapping pictures. I’m so glad you took this trip and had gelato (which looks absolutely delicious by the way). I know you miss Phoenix a lot, but it’s good to have all these great memories of him.

    • Oh thank you Freya…that last part means the world to me for you to share! Yes, my aunt is soooo wonderful and it was a wonder trip! I agree with you on the bus driver in that it was likely not the first time he had encountered an overzealous tourist LOL 🙂 The gelato was amazing and it’s so awesome to hear from you, my friend! 🙂

  48. Great writing Mike! Hmm… It’s as if I was eating this gelato with you!

  49. Hi Mike, marvellous post here and great stories. I can’t believe this was your first ice cream! Also – your blog is so popular compared with mine, can’t believe how many comments you’re getting. Most of my posts have 1-2 comments! Safe travels. Jonny

    • Hi Jonny, just so we are clear that was my first gelato 🙂 It’s great that you stopped by to visit and keep writing posts (content in king) and you’ll get there with more comments if that is what you want! 🙂

  50. Thanks for sharing this wonderfull post .
    You should miss Phoenix to such an extent. Our textured relatives are so much a piece of our lives that they do abandon us with such a large number of magnificent recollections. I know my better half misses our old pup Jerry… they ran together consistently for quite a long time, only both of them. He was such an awesome puppy. I’m getting somewhat downtrodden pondering him.
    Hope you have a great ahead regard .

    • Thank you so much for sharing about your pups and your comment comments. I hope your summer has treated you well! 🙂

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