AUGUST, 2007
Valeria is my first cousin who lives in Milano, Italy. Her mother, my Aunt Maria Pia, died last spring at an advanced age and so Kathy and invited Valeria to visit us in Virginia during her vacation period in August (it was her first trip to the U.S.). She was here from Aug. 8 to Aug. 23.

I went to pick her up at Dulles Airport:

She soon settled into life in the U.S. enjoying breakfast in our kitchen and loafing on our deck:

She found the animal life interesting, including deer in Heron's Landing and horses at Virginia Tech:

We visited the Tech campus, and saw the memorials:

And, in particular, the memorial to the first victim:

We also visited other areas around Blacksburg, including Mountain Lake. Here is Valeria in the forest near the lake, and a friend we found by the side of the road nearby:

We stopped by the covered bridge in Newport on the way to Mountain Lake and ate lunch at the Mountain Lake Hotel. From there we sat we could see how much the lake had shrunk:

Kathy and I went with Valeria to the Blue Ridge Parkway, where we visited Mabry's Mill and had lunch at Chateau Morisette:

I took Valeria to Salem one day, although she was disappointed when she found out is wasn't the same Salem as the one where the witch trials occurred. We made up for it by visiting Dixie Caverns.

We spent another day visiting Charlottesville, where Valeria used her press credentials (she's a drama and movie critic for a magazine in Milano) to get us free admission to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home and Ash Lawn, home of Pres. James Monroe. Below a view of Monticello and a portion of Jefferson's manifesto on relgion from the Jefferson Memorial in D.C. (We spent two days on D.C. at the end of her visit:

Christen and Miles came up with the kids for the weekend, to see their cousin. We also got a chance to give Valeria a taste ot American football by taking her to the Tech scrimmage. Some familiar faces below:

Some of the pictures above were taken at the stadium. Here's what the scrimmage looked like (boring):

Pictures from a tour we took in D.C. The Washington Monument and the Capital:

The White House and the Jefferson Memorial:

The WWII Memorial included a field of statues of soldiers, a memorial wall and a statue of three soldiers of different ethnic background, white, African-American and Native American:

Inside the Lincoln Memorial is this famous statue of Abraham Lincoln:

Not too far away is the FDR Memorial with statues of FDR, Eleanor and Fala, their dog. Note the wheelchair: FDR was handicapped.

Then we visited the Iwo Jima Memorial:

The day before this tour we had visited the art musem at the Smithsonian. Fabulous! After the tour we went back to the Smithsonian and visited the Aerospace Museum and the Musum of Natural History. At the former we say, inter alia, we saw the Spirit of St. Louis (Lindbergh's plane) and at the latter, the Hope diamond:

The nest day Valeria left in the afternoon, from Dulles, but in the morning we had a chance to visit Reston Center where she finally had a chance to test out an I-Phone. (Apparently, they're not available yet in Europe.) Here she is about to enter the airport; note how light she travels. Kathy and I need some lessons there.