Friday, July 29, 2011

Skipping to Venice

I'm counting on getting some of my sister's pictures to share from Florence and Tuscany, so I'm skipping through our trip to Venice. For our last stop on our trip, we stayed at the lovely Gritti Palace Hotel right on the Grand Canal. Like all of the rest of Italy, it was h-o-t, but it was also really beautiful. It seems like most people have a strong opinion about Venice: they either love it or hate it. I'm completely charmed by Venice, and even though I doubt I'd want to spend more than a few days there, we really enjoyed our time.
We spent our first morning at breakfast in San Marco's at Caffe Florian. It was one of those super touristy spots, but it also has history - I may need to do some fact-checking, but I think it's been around for over 100 years! 
Caffe Florian also has a full band playing lively music starting early in the morning and going late into the night. We had a sneaky steep fee added to our bill as a "Music tax," but it was well worth it.
Jonny led us on an all day walking tour of Venice, and I loved it. We had a loose course we were following with a few stops we knew we wanted to make along the way, but it was super relaxed and we ended up stumbling on a lot of cool galleries, shops, and my favorite, gelato places.
We laughed a lot at the gondola riders we saw, because everyone riding gondolas looked bored and miserable. I didn't take a picture of them, but I should have! 
One day for lunch, we shared a seafood platter, and it was all great except for this little guy. Jonny named him Percy the prawn, and he was left behind on the plate after everything else delicious was eaten up.

 We didn't ride a gondola (the miserable people and the 200 euro price tag deterred us!) but we did take a taxi to the airport. It was by far the best ride to the airport I've ever had. 
 And there's our last view of Venice in Jonny's sunglasses. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Sisters Have a Blog!

Most of you who know me know Laura Grace, my one and only sister, but she and her best friend Alison (who is also like a sister to me!) have started their own blog. Check out Meet Me at the Stop Sign!

(Here are Alison and Laura Grace at our English wedding. Don't you love all the fascinators?!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


 This was the BEST pizza we ate all trip. We were in Naples for about an hour before taking a train to Rome, and we rushed to find this pizza place that the Lonely Planet raved about. It was truly rave-worthy. We got there, were seated immediately when the doors open, had our order taken one minute later, and our pizzas came out two minutes later. And they were so so good.
We hit the ground running once we checked into our hotel, and our first stop was the Trevi fountain. I remember really liking this last time I was in Rome, but Jonny remembers not being that impressed with it. We both loved it this time around!
 After we took this picture, we realized that we weren't throwing our coins in in the proper way. From what I'm told, to make a wish in the Trevi fountain, you should take the coin in your right hand and throw it over your left shoulder. Once we realized that, though, we'd already gone to the trouble of having someone take our first picture, so we didn't want to have to wrangle another tourist to take a second one.
From the Trevi fountain, we made our way to the Pantheon. This was the hottest day in Italy so far, and our bodies are used to San Francisco weather so we were struggling to take the heat.

 We continued our walk to the Colosseum. Both of us had been inside separately before, so we just marveled at the outside of the structure without going in. 
 One of my friends from work who grew up in Rome gave us great restaurant recommendations. At Da Felice, they make "cacio e pepe" pasta and mix it right in front of you. It was so so good.
 On our next day, we went to the Vatican. We knew they required you to have your knees covered, so Jonny wore pants even though it was boiling hot, and I wore a long dress. Little did I know, you also have to have your shoulders covered to enter St. Peter's basilica. I almost got turned away, but a brilliant businesswoman was standing right by where I was getting turned away selling scarves that I would never have bought otherwise, and she saved me.
 I was totally enthralled by the ceiling in St. Peter's basilica. 
Rocking my hideous touristy scarf. It was hilarious to see so many women with these scarves tied around their shoulders and knees in St. Peter's.  
These guards outside St. Peter's reminded me of Willy Wonka or Dr. Seuss. 
 I loved the letter boxes at the Vatican post office.
 At the Vatican museums, rocking our audio guides, which were actually great. We loved being able to go at our own pace and learn about as much or as little in a particular room as we wanted to.
 Jonny's favorite part was this gallery of maps. It was a whole hallway full of huge paintings of maps from hundreds of years ago.
I snuck this picture of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (don't tell!). I think because they don't allow pictures, I had no idea what to expect and it was much more angular and busy than I had expected. 

After hours in the museum, it was nice to get back in the sunlight, and we spent a few hours just wandering the city.
 Me with gelato in Rome at night = happiness.
 We visited the catacombs, and we had to sneak pictures here too. The catacombs we visited, San Callisto, felt almost like we were visiting a big winery in Napa when we got there. They were super touristy, and they took large groups to tour the grounds. Luckily, we broke away from our large group and found a much smaller group to walk around with. 
 I don't think Jonny would have fit if he had to be buried in the catacombs. 
Our final picture in our luxurious hotel. Goodbye Rome, on to Florence!

The Pelican Inn

I'll interrupt our regular Italy recap programming to bring you a little glimpse into our weekend. We decided to go for an excursion to Muir Woods on Saturday, but once we got close to the woods, we got hungry, so we stopped at the Pelican Inn. We got drawn in to this true English pub, had bangers and mash and fish and chips, and before we knew it, it was time to head back to the city. 

Even though we didn't make it to Muir Woods, and even though we ate lots of heavy English food instead of walking around in nature, I think we could unanimously agree that the Pelican Inn was completely worth the trip. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Louise and Martin

When I said last week that I would be sharing more photos, I didn't realize how crazy my week was going to be. So a week later, here is my second post about Italy: Louise and Martin's wedding! 
The Price family boys
Mother of the bride and mother of the groom
There was such a cute and stylin baby boy there. Don't you love his hat?
 I like this one of the senior Prices.
It started to get a little stormy, but thankfully the rain held off during the ceremony!
Can you tell which of the bridesmaids is related to me? 
 The bride and her daddy! Wish I'd gotten more pictures of them walking down the aisle.
Because Louise and Martin were getting married in Italy, they had to be married by an Italian priest. He spoke in Italian, and there was a translator who repeated what he said in English so that L and M knew what they were agreeing to!
This was totally new to me, but in English weddings, the wedding party is seated.
First kiss as man and wife! Woohoo!
Mr. and Mrs. Martin Lake! I love their smiles in this picture. 
Just after the ceremony, it started raining. The rain only lasted about ten minutes and cooled everything off, and Louise and Martin looked cute walking with an umbrella. 
The English wedding cake is also totally different than wedding cakes I'm familiar with. It's a fruitcake that is made months in advance. Auntie Susan, Louise's mum (note "mum" not "mom"), made her cake!
 I didn't do such a good job taking pictures at the reception, but here's a nice one of Rooney and Tom after dinner.

I also got a good one of the bride and groom at sunset.
 It was amazing to look across the water to Mt. Vesuvius. Such a beautiful view and a beautiful night. 


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