Archive for April, 2010

Beach Days

April 30, 2010

I lived in Melbourne, Florida – a relatively small beach town on the Atlantic coast – for 5 years after college.  I have extremely fond memories of my time there including many, many glorious days of hanging out at beach.  These days involved a lot of volleyball, fun friends, and most importantly refreshing relaxation in the sun.  It was the perfect way to spend the weekend and let’s not even talk about my amazing tan.  I loved these beach days so much that I’ve nearly convinced Dan to move us back on several occasions.   However, recently I was cured of these silly desires…

Don't mind my filthy face...I don't!
Don’t mind my filthy face…I don’t!

What once began with sleeping in until 9 AM, leisurely getting ready and making my way to beach, now begins at 5:30 AM and involves obsessively applying lotion to someone that hates being lotioned.  There’s also the issue of making sure that the trip falls conveniently between all meals and nap times.  And let’s not forget the sand…oh so much sand…which apparently screams EAT ME to a nine month old.  So basically any kind of sitting back and relaxing is out of the question.

Yummy!

I did manage to get in a couple of games of volleyball thanks to my good friend Cynthia, who was crazy gracious enough to open up her spare bedroom to Aiden and I while Dan was working on his tiny house, but I think it will be awhile (if ever) before I’m able to enjoy the beach in the carefree way that I used to.  But Aiden and I had a great time playing around (and the after beach nap was still pretty excellent for both of us).   I can’t wait to introduce the boy to a shovel and a bucket…

Paradise Beach People watching

When In Rome – Part 3

April 27, 2010

The conclusion…

8. Be oblivious to construction.

They cover buildings that are under construction with tarps that look just like the buildings.  I thought this was a pretty genius idea.  The only thing that may tip you off is the giant advertisement from the company that obviously paid for the tarp.

By the Spanish Steps

Under construction

9.  Become a Japanese tourist (or at the very least travel with one).

A man and his camera Action shot

Anytime we’d get in a nice wide open  space,  Dan would start  shooting millions of pictures in a circle which admittedly started to get on my nerves.  He swore that I’d appreciate the final results.

He was right.  Here are a couple of panoramic scenes he pieced together from said occurrences.  (You really must click on these to see the bigger picture)

Inside the Colosseum

Inside the Colosseum

Inside the Pantheon

Inside the Pantheon

Duomo di Milano.  I wasn’t with Dan in Milan for this one, but this picture makes it almost like being there.

Duomo di Milano

10.  Get sick of Italian food.   Break down and get McDonalds.

Mckie D's

Best.Cheeseburger.EVER!

BONUS!

11.  Silently thank an old language arts teacher.

SONY DSC

Yeah I knew that was Remus and Romulus without needing to be told (the wolf mother gives it away).  What I didn’t know when I was learning that in high school is that one day I would be walking around Rome  doing this to all the statues.

SONY DSC

But I *should* have known.

There you have it folks.  Rome in a nutshell.  From afar (aka the top of buildings) Rome was amazingly beautiful from every angle – exactly how you’d imagine it to be.  It’s just crazy how something so awe-inspiring from a distance can be such a hot mess when you’re in the thick of it.  Would I suggest you visit Rome?  Definitely (and go to Pompeii).  Will I ever go back?  Probably not.  A week was definitely enough Rome for me in a lifetime.  No offense Rome, but if we’re doing another sightseeing (aka walk your ass off) vacation, there’s just too many other places in the world to see.

Seriously though, Dan and I had a wonderful time.  It didn’t feel too much like a honeymoon so we’ll probably do something a little more relaxing once we actually get married.  But it was great to finally make it out of the country and expand on my horizons a bit.

Laugh Break

April 14, 2010

Daddy’s juggling slays him…

When In Rome – Part 2

April 10, 2010

The list continues…

4.  Get scammed by at least one taxi driver.

I don’t want to tell these stories because it just makes me too angry.

5.a  Hobnob with the Pope.

I didn’t think I cared about seeing the Pope, but I was alarmed to discover that seeing him  was just as exciting as any celebrity sighting.  Although after watching the video back, I realize the crowd was much more subdued then if that had been <insert any other famous person here> in that car.

5.b  Say “eh” to the Sistine Chapel but be amazed by St. Peter’s Basilica.

Look for the pink umbrella...A lot of the day at the Vatican was spent  building up anticipation for  seeing the Sistine Chapel which wasn’t nearly as impressive in person as we thought it would be.  The windows are closed on a regular day making it kind of dark and musty.  You can’t take pictures inside, but most  of the pictures that you find online are much more impressive anyways.  Google it and keep in mind that between the ceiling and the final judgment mural that you’re looking at nearly ten years of Michelangelo’s life. Our awesome tour guide (to the right) told me that.

St. Peter’s Basilica on the other hand was down-right amazing.  I’ve never seen anything like it before.  I don’t know if pictures can do this one justice.

St. Peter's Basilica Dome

St. Peter's Basilica St. Peter's Basilica Altar

6.  Think twice before crossing the street.

Drivers in Rome are craaaaazy.  And they will run you over.  And just because it’s a one-way cobblestone alley street that barely fits one car  width doesn’t mean that you can’t drive 60 mph down it despite pedestrians.  In Rome, the tiny cars and scooters have the right of way so you better watch out.

Mess

This picture doesn’t show the madness in action, yet it is ridiculously fitting for the atmosphere of eat or be eaten on the streets there.

7.  Take a tour or two and learn more history than you ever did through 12 years of grade school.

We took a day tour down to Pompeii which was another of my absolute favorites.  Just to give you a brief idea of what Pompeii’s all about (because I had no idea), it’s a whole city that was covered by ash after a volcanic eruption nearly 2000 years ago.  They have excavated a little over half of the city, and it’s in way better shape than a lot of the monuments in Rome.  Not only that but because of the nature of the eruption, casts of people who died in the eruption have been uncovered and are on display there.  I’m not much of a history buff, but this tour was damn interesting…no really…it was.

Overhead view of the uncovered city.  It’s amazing how deep it was actually buried.

Pompeii

City street

City Street

The inside of a home.  That floor is a tile mosaic.

Bathroom

Painting preserved on the inside of a brothel.  How did they know it was a brothel?  Take a good look at the painting ;)

Brothel

The casts.  Apparently it was an extremely painful way to die.  Despite the rocks falling from the sky for several hours, they decided to wait out the eruption.  Not to sound insensitive, but Dan and I are pretty sure they “ashed” for it.  Ha ha.

Huddled in a corner

Huddled in a Corner

Real teeth.  The bones are still in there.

Cast Face

Dog

Dog

When In Rome – Part 1

April 9, 2010

Aside from being a group that wrote one of the most wonderful 80s songs of all time – The Promise – it’s also the start of a pretty famous saying that likely needs no explanation.  But nobody ever talks about what exactly you’d do in Rome if you did as the Romans do.  So I’ve put together a list of ten things that you could expect to do in Rome should you ever make it there.  This post got long, so I broke it into three parts.

1. Drink coffee out of tiny little cups.

Tiny CoffeeOrdering coffee in Italy is like ordering an espresso here for nearly the price of a shot of liquor.  It may be just as strong as coffee packed into a thimble-sized portion, but it’s just not nearly as satisfying as kicking back with a delicious vat of Dunkin Donuts coffee.  If you could care less about doing as the Romans do, ask for “American” coffee.  They probably just water down the espresso, but it’s still better than a lot of coffee you get here in the states.

2.  See a lot of really, really old stuff and more graffiti than you can imagine.

Pantheon – about 1,900 years old

Pantheon

Colosseum – about 1,935 years old

Colosseum

Roman Forum – over 2,600 years old

Roman Forum

Palatine Hill – housed residents for at least 3,010 years

Palatine Hill

The grafitti was out of control in Italy.  It was one of the first things I noticed on the train ride from the airport.  It covered nearly every building with the exception of many of the monuments.  I’m not sure how they managed to keep it off of those.

Graffiti


3.  Get accustomed to only using the bathroom at your hotel room.

Nasty ToiletsYou never knew what to expect when you walked into a public restroom in Rome.  All public toilets were slightly different, but they all had one thing in common:  none of them had a seat.  This means that if you accidentally sat down, not only would you surely be sitting in pee, but there’s a good chance that you’d fall in to boot.  Totally gross.

Happy Easter

April 4, 2010

I know I’ve been MIA for the last several weeks but we’ll soon be returning to our regularly scheduled programming.  And you might be thinking that in my time “off” I managed to get the house clean or finish my taxes, but you’d be wrong on both accounts.  It’s been crazy around here which means lots of good updates coming your way!  In the meantime, I just wanted to report on the cutest bunny that Dan and I spotted in our yard yesterday afternoon.

Cute Bunny

We were able to sneak up on him to get a closer look.

Sneaking Up A boy and his eggs

And then we caught him (not sure why Zeus has so much trouble with the bunnies) and brought him in for more pictures.  He didn’t seem to mind.

Love him!

Happy Easter!