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Honeymoon Pics

26 Jan

My digital camera LCD crapped out on our honeymoon, so we used it for one day and then opted to use an old fashioned film camera. The digital camera is now fixed, and today I grabbed the photos off of the card. I was thrilled to have some additional Honeymoon pics that I didn’t know we had. And since I didn’t manage to scan in any of the film pics we got, this is all you’re going to get!

This is the jacuzzi suite where we spent our wedding night.
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JB drinking wine out of a champagne glass on our wedding night.
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Jacuzzi tub… Mmmmmmmm….
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JB in his robe…
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JB looking at a map in our hotel room in Naples.
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View from our hotel room in Naples. This is Piazza Garibaldi.
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Our first Italian Bidet.
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This was a really cool outdoor plaza that we stumbled upon in Naples on our way to catch the hydrofoil to Capri. Look closely and you’ll see JB.
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Another shot of that plaza.
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Poor JB didn’t really fit in Europe because Europeans are short and he is very tall. I thought the fact that he could see over the shower curtain was pretty funny.
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And with that, on our first day in Italy, is where we decided to stop using the digital camera because we weren’t sure if it was really capturing images.

Honeymoon Travel Journal Wrap Up

8 Nov

Well, you have now read my entire honeymoon travel journal. (All entries can be seen here, in reverse chronological order.) Some details have been omitted, because afterall, it was our honeymoon.

The trip was wonderful, and will live in our memories forever. There is something incredible about exploring a foreign country with your mate.

As for pictures, I forgot to request for online photos when we got our film developed (my digital camera died on the trip, as well as my film camera). Hence, any photos you see will have to be scanned in one by one. Don’t hold your breath waiting for them!

Back to the trip wrap-up.

We relaxed a lot. We slept in late. We laughed a lot. We ate a ton of really good food (as I’m sure you noticed), and drank a lot of really good wine. We saw some amazing scenery and buildings older than anything in the United States. We got lost, we got found, and at the end of it all, we again found each other.

Would I recommend Italy as a vacation to all of you? Definitely. Though I might try to go when the weather is a bit better.

I must mention that our trip was guided by the excellent Rick Steves. We carried his book with us everywhere, and even found ourselves quoting him from time to time.

One of the best bits of advice Rick Steves gave was to travel light. We each had one roller bag and one backpack for our 11 day trip. Yes, we ended up doing laundry once, but we wouldn’t have been nearly as agile on trains, boats and busses with anything more. If you’re going to Europe, we totally recommend following this advice.

As for the wedding, I guess the main bit of advice I’d give a new bride is not to listen to those people that tell you it takes a year to plan a wedding. Ours was planned in 5 months, and I wouldn’t have wanted to deal with the planning for one minute longer! It is not only doable, it is preferable to have a shorter planning window. Shorter planning window = less headaches.

And now we are concentrating on getting back to our normal lives. Or perhaps, defining just exactly what our normal lives are. It’s good to be young and in love.


Honeymoon Travel Journal Entry 11, Introducing Calamity Jane

8 Nov

We should document that Europe seemed to bring out the klutz in me. There are many uneven streets, and I stumbled a lot or had my shoes squeak, as JB seemed to have no problems at all.

While in Florence, I tripped on the step going into the bathroom and just barely caught myself from falling butt first into the bathroom. I managed to bang up both knees and elbows during the save though.

In Venice, I tried to go to the bathroom without turning on the light (so as to not disturb my slumbering prince), and I stubbed ALL FIVE of my toes on the step to the bathroom. JB thought this was hilarious.

Why Italians have steps into their bathrooms is beyond me!!!

Honeymoon Travel Journal Entry 11, Introducing Calamity SIL J

8 Nov

We should document that Europe seemed to bring out the klutz in me. There are many uneven streets, and I stumbled a lot or had my shoes squeak, as JB seemed to have no problems at all.

While in Florence, I tripped on the step going into the bathroom and just barely caught myself from falling butt first into the bathroom. I managed to bang up both knees and elbows during the save though.

In Venice, I tried to go to the bathroom without turning on the light (so as to not disturb my slumbering prince), and I stubbed ALL FIVE of my toes on the step to the bathroom. JB thought this was hilarious.

Why Italians have steps into their bathrooms is beyond me!!!

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Honeymoon Travel Journal Entry 10, Venice II

8 Nov

Written on a plane from Venice to London:

Well, this is the last day of our honeymoon, and we’ll be spending twenty four hours traveling. Ugh. We’re currently on the first of three planes we’ll ride today.

Since I have some time on my hands, I’ll detail our Venice, or Venezia, activities.

Upon arriving in Venice on Tuesday, we checked into Hotel Marin and went to dinner at a local Osteria (family run restaurant). We then made our way to St. Marks Square (Ponto Marco), where we were treated to deuling orchestras.

It was an incredibly romantic setting, with the lights on the square and beautiful music. It really felt like a dream.

After watching the orchestra, we started back to the hotel.

Our guide book had said that one of the charms of Venice was how easy it is to get lost there. Because the city is on an ancient grid, it’s more like a maze.

It took us an hour and a half to get back to our hotel that first night.

On Wednesday, we slept late and then walked back to St. Mark’s Square where we toured the Doge’s Palace. A Doge was like a president of the country. The best part of the tour was the prison. To get to the prison, we went over the Bridge of Sighs, which is the bridge that prisoners had to cross — their last glimpse of freedom.

I’ve never seen a prison so old, made of stone walls with two inch thick bars over the windows. You could also see where they used to shackle the prisoners in the cells.

We wanted to make a 3:00 tour of Venice, so at 2:15, we decided we needed to leave Doge’s Palace. We seemed to be trapped in the prison, as it took us a good 20 minutes to get out.

The 3:00 tour took us to a really old spiral staircase made of marble and then on a gondola ride. Unfortunately, it was raining during our gondola ride and all 5 passengers in the boat had their umbrellas up, impeding the view some. We were rather entertained when one of the gondaliers stopped rowing to answer his cell phone. It was the perfect example of Italy meshing the old with the new.

Our tour then took us to the church of the Friars, where we paid hommage to the painting by Bellini. The church’s interior was a mish mash of collections of art, including Renaissance paintings, wood sculpture and marble sculptures. There were marble caskets of Doges mounted high on the wall.

After the tour, we returned to the hotel for a nap, and then ventured out for dinner. We chose a restaurant from our guide book and decided to find it.

It is nearly impossible to find a specific restaurant in Venice, as we soon learned.

After over an hour of looking and passing numerous other restaurants with tempting menus, I was starved. In fact, at that point we determined that getting lost in Venice is down-right annoying when you have a specific goal in mind.

We finally settled on a different restaurant at about 9:00. After dinner, we once again got lost trying to find the hotel.

On Thursday, we once again slept late, and after breakfast at the hotel, we decided to take the water bus to St. Mark’s Square. On the way to the bus stop, I stopped to take a picture of JB in front of the Hotel Bellini, and realized that the camera (which was accidentally dropped the day before) was broken. We lost the entire roll of film, which put a damper on our morning. We then purchased a disposable camera for $18 Euros, and went on a mission to take all 37 pictures on the roll.

We spent most of Thursday shopping for souvenirs, since we hadn’t bought many up to that point.

I bought a glass christmas ornament of a gondalier Santa. JB and I picked out an oil painting of a canal together, and we bought a few small Venetian masks. I also bought some hand made black glass bead necklaces.

We toured St. Marks Bascilla (a really big church) that morning. The floors of the church are rolling due to the building settling over time. All of the floors and ceilings were decorated with mosaics.

We ate a quick lunch of calzones, pizza and gelato. After lunch, we walked to the canal that was featured in the oil painting that we purchased.

It was in a very untouristy and local feeling area of town. We settled down on a park bench in a town square and watched a day care group of toddlers play.

That night, we took the water bus back to that square where we ate at a true local Venetian Osteria. We had shrimp risotto in pumpkin sauce, I had beef with vegetable sauce and JB had grilled fish. The fish was an intact, unskinned fish, complete with head, tail, and teeth. I got pretty grossed out when I tried to open the fish’s mouth and the lower jaw broke off.

Italian Fear Factor, second episode!

We topped off dinner with some Pinot Grigio and then tiramasu. We then went back to St. Mark’s square for one more enchanted evening of deuling orchestras.

I forgot to mention my biggest souvenir — an orange sweater! Orange is all the rage in Italy, along with scarves. Up until this point in our trip, I had felt a bit scruffy in my jeans, tennis shoes and sweatshirt. That night for dinner, I donned my new orange sweater and white scarf and my loafers. I felt like a true Euro and the waitress at dinner even asked if I spoke Italian without assuming we were American (a first!).

The loafers later turned out to be a mistake. We had planned to take the water bus back to the hotel, but the next bus didn'[t leave for 20 minutes, plus it would be a 45 minute ride. We decided to hoof it.

I must credit JB’s ‘master navigational skills’ (coined by the man himself), as he got us back to the hotel in a record thirty minutes with only one wrong turn.

But man, did my feet hurt afterwards! JB took a picture of me cursing my loafers upon our return to the hotel.

My memory of yesterday seems a bit scattered. I forgot to mention that from dinner, we hopped on a water bus heading for St. Mark’s Square. We later discovered that we had boarded the wrong bus. Instead of taking two stops to get to our destination, it took nine, as we went all the way around Venice.

This turned out to be a lovely mistake. We had seats at the front of the boat, providing an excellent view as we cruised the Grand Canal all the way around Venice. The moon was a half moon with a yellow color as it poked through the clouds.

Random observations:

  • Italians charge for everything, including going to the restroom, water with your meal, beaches and hiking.
  • Evidently in Venice, tourists don’t need to use the restrooms after 8:00 p.m. That is when they close their public restrooms. We got scolded in Italian last night when we went to a bar to use the restroom. We ignored the scolding, saying ‘grazie’ as we hurried out.
  • Italians cannot handle cold weather. They wear parkas, scarves, and gloves in 60 degree weather.
  • We saw about 1/2 day of sunshine during our 10 days in Italy. It rained every day except for one, and was overcast pretty much the entire time. So much for my beach vacation!
  • Nothing in Italy is as easy as it seems. Nothing. Even using a telephone can be challenging.

After we returned to our hotel after dinner, I saw a sign in the lobby stating there would be a strike on public transportation on Friday, our date of departure.

The all knowing JB said, ‘That doesn’t apply to us, now hurry!’ The man had to pee.

Well, the following morning, as we were checking out, the hotel desk attendant informed us the strike may effect both the airport and city busses that we needed.

We went to the bus station, and asked the attendant there if either of the busses we needed were running.

‘We don’t know, because there is a stike. It may show up or it may not.’

Typical Italian style, I tell you.

So instead of chancing the busses (which would have cost one Euro each), we decided to get a taxi (a cost of 50 Euro total — ouch).

We saw where the taxi pick up was, and got in line. Two taxis pulled up and took the people ahead of us.

And then we waited. There wasn’t another taxi in sight for at least 15 minutes. We started to sweat a bit, as the taxi was our last option to get to the airport.

Meanwhile, there were buses driving all around us. None of them said Aeroporto (as we needed), and many said they were out of service, but they were driving around with people on them.

Italians even have their own way of going on strike. I mean really — if you’re going on strike, why the heck are you out there driving the busses around?! You’re either on strike or you’re not, right?!

Anyway, a cab pulled up and we shared it with an Italian business man. When we got to the airport, the business man paid the full fare for us and refused to take any money from us. Now that was a nice note on which to leave Italia!

Honeymoon Travel Journal Entry 9, Venice

8 Nov

I thought that all of our hotels had string handles to help you get out of the shower and off of the toilet.

Today, I pulled on the string, commenting ‘I don’t think these strings would really be of much help’.

Then the phone rang.

Evidently, it is an emergency chord.

We’ve named it the ‘I’ve fallen and I can’t get up’ chord.

Honeymoon Travel Journal Entry 8, On the Train to Venice

8 Nov

Written three hours later, still on the train from Cinque Terre to Venice on Oct. 19:

Well, we were again told that since we don’t have ‘reservations’ for seats on this train, that we can be asked to leave our seats at any time. This is on a different train, too. This train is packed full and the hallways are filled with people lacking reservations who are standing or sitting on jump seats or luggage.

This 6 hour journey is much too long to phathom doing without a seat. I’m amazed they don’t make this clear when you purchase tickets.

It is a clear class structure on the train… First class is well ventilated with nice seats and tables in between rows of seats. Second class is crammed into bright orange seats in warm, stuffy compartments. And evidently, there is a third/peasant class, where you don’t get a seat at all. So strange.

The bathroom on the train is a hole that dumps the excrement and toilet paper onto the tracks. I’m amazed this is legal.