Wednesday, 29 March 2006

Our new juicer (no, not really)


we want this juicer, originally uploaded by bootsintheoven.

I don't know why we never blogged this picture!  This is the juicer I want. 

Check it out.  Bask in its loveliness.

Oranges take that wire track into the top of the machine, where they drop into the top of the arm on the left.  The arms then swing down to meet, slicing the orange in twain on a blade.

Each orange half is than juiced simultaneously, and the juice drops into a cup below.

The orange halves, now spent, are then dumped into the buckets on either side.

Ingenious!  I see them all over Europe, but have never seen one in the States.  Ahhhh.  This one was spotted in a little bar in Positano.

If anyone wants to buy me one, please write girlie at bootsintheoven@gmail.com.

girlie

Wednesday, 08 February 2006

Gather 'round quietly...

So, I hope our four readers can keep a secret, 'cause I'm pretty excited about this and have to put it on the internet....

We bought our tickets for Italy yesterday!  

Phew, glad I got that out.

Of course, now it's time to commence the freakout about just how much has to happen between now and when our flight takes off on the 16th of August...

We have our flight and a place to live so far, and that's it.  Now we need to figure out student loans and applications and visas and banking/credit cards and insurance and cell-phones (should we or shouldn't we?) and internet access and jobs? and how I'm going to break the news to my boss.

Yeah, there's a little bit to do.

And this much time to do it in!

hoo boy.  We've got some work to do...

-girlie

Monday, 23 January 2006

I give up on numbering honeymoon posts. So, here's the one about leaving Positano.

While I think we would have been happy staying at the Villino delle Orchidee (good pictures of the little villa at that site, by the way) for years, we stupidly only rented it for a week.  On June 12th, it was finally time to leave Positano.

That morning, we packed up.

Girlie's modular packing

I am so proud of my modular packing!  Don't even get me started.  I can seriously wax rhapsodic for way longer than you'd care to listen about the merits of different packing systems.   Of course, now that I've discovered solid shampoos and conditioners from Lush, my packing is going to be even better!  Because I can escape the tyranny of the bottle! 

Flush with pride after a successful packing, it was time to clear out the kitchen.  For the most part, this meant finishing off the last little dregs of various liqueurs.

Finishing off our liqueurs

It's a tough job, but we couldn't have left that behind, you know?  Plus, it did make the trip from peaceful little Positano to crazy-ass Naples and then to slightly less crazy Rome less stressful than it otherwise could have been.

We strapped on our backpacks, took a couple farewell pictures of the apartment, grabbed the trash, and headed out the door.

Taking out the garbage

I was almost, but not quite, sorry to see the last of the crazy stairs.  Of course, at the time I was unaware of Santorini's fairly stair-centric nature... but let me remain blissfully unaware for another day, 'kay?

We had our best view of Mt. Vesuvius yet, on our way to Naples to catch our train to Rome.

Mt. Vesuvius

Though our first couple of days in Rome had been fairly cool, it seemed like summer had finally arrived - with a vengeance.  The train from Naples to Rome was ridiculously hawt.

on the very HOT train

Shiny girlie!

On the Rome end, our hotel was just a couple of blocks from the train station.  This was good, because we were catching a train pretty early in the morning to get to the airport - but also not so good, in that the area is apparently the toilet of greater Rome.  Oh, did it smell like pee... wheuuuu! 

We passed this sign on the way to our hotel.

Fermi's Birthplace

I just took a picture of it because I grew up near the University of Chicago, so his was a name I actually heard a lot when I was a kidlet.  After I got back home, I found out that my grandparents were actually good friends with his widow!  (it's a small, small, world...)  For my feeble attempt at a translation, click on the picture.

Thankfully, the pee smell stopped at the gate of our hotel.  Praise Somebody!  (probably the hotel's proprietors?)

Hotel in Rome

The hotel (hotel pavia) was nice, with a great location for our needs.  I'd stay there again.

Plus, it had a sweet view out the back, of what we're pretty sure are the baths of Diocletian.

baths of diocletian

We settled in, then debated over where to go eat dinner.  With only one night left in Italy before leaving for Greece, we really wanted to have a great meal.

parts of our dinner at arancia blu

Alas, we were to be disappointed.  The place we went, Arancia Blu, made us very, very sad.  The service came with an extra side of snoot, which we didn't order - I think it may have had something to do with the fact that we tried to order house wine, in a place that had a very extensive wine list on which they really prided themselves.  Or perhaps it was because everyone in there seemed to know all of the waiters and the sommelier, and we didn't.  Or maybe it was that the food tasted like hardboiled ass.  ('scuse my language.)

Whatever the reason, the meal was really disappointing.  Arancia Blu is supposed to be some of Rome's most innovative, and tastiest vegetarian cuisine, and it nowhere near lived up to that billing.

Of course, that was not the last time on our honeymoon that we were to be really disheartened by a meal.

We left Italy for Greece the next morning, and we were definitely sad to be leaving Italy behind.  Leaving just made us more determined to make it back, sooner rather than later - and we're working on it.

girlie

Italian Election Posters

While we were in Italy on our honeymoon, it happened to be election time for the EU.  This led to some interesting conversations with cabbies about the merits of Berlusconi.  It also meant that we got to see some terrific posters with giant pictures of, for the most part, hopeful-looking middle aged men. 

I couldn't help but be struck by how different most of the Italian politicians (at least in the area where we were staying) looked from our run-of-the-mill 'Merkan guyz.  We really saw some killer unibrows!  (Here is where I admit that I know pretty much nothing about Italian politics.  I better get to remedying that!)

Italian election poster

I think the backdrop on this poster is pretty kewl.

election poster in positano

girlie

Saturday, 10 December 2005

Revolution (or honeymoon) #6: Ravello

We-eel, it's another Saturday afternoon and I'm hanging out at home...

I uploaded a bunch of honeymoon pictures to Flickr earlier this week, thinking that I might have some time to go ahead and put a post up, but I spaced a bit and never got around to it

After our relaxing beach day, we decided it was time for another day trip, this time to Ravello, a beautiful town set high up above Amalfi.  It's where Gore Vidal used to live.

Getting there meant a bus to Amalfi, then transferring to a bus to Ravello.  Getting on the Ravello-bound bus out of Amalfi was a little more difficult than we had anticipated; it seemed a lot of people wanted to accompany us up the mountain.  Interestingly, even though buses left Amalfi for Ravello pretty often, the line never seemed to get shorter.  Somehow, though, the actual town didn't seem that crowded, once we got there.

After giving our elbows a good workout, we were treated to a lovely view of the Amalfi Coast from a series of narrower and narrower mountain roads.  Husbear got a little carsick.

Our first stop after getting off the bus was Ravello's Duomo.  We read that it was restored in the 1980s to more closely match the pre-gothic historical appearance, though the church apparently dates originally to 1086.(!)

Outside of Ravello Duomo

The bare outside of the church really appealed to me, as did the lack of overbearing decoration on the inside.  So many of the churches we've been to are just dripping with ornamentation - this one wasn't.

There were a couple of old pulpits inside the church, one of which I really liked.

The pulpit in Ravello's duomo

This pulpit is from 1272, which makes the shape it's in completely shocking.  The lions were even anatomically correct (here's a link to our picture... not *too* offensive?), which I found odd.  It had a great mosaic of the story of Jonah and the whale on the side.  My apologies for the blurriness of the picture...

Blurry Jonah waves to his homies - ravello

Our guidebook described what he's doing as "waving to his homies", which we found pretty apt.  Also, note the whale-what-looks-like-a-dragon.  Somehow, I don't think this artisan had ever seen a whale...

After looking through the Duomo's museum, which had some really interesting statues and sarcophagi, we headed over to Villa Cimbrone (their website actually has an interactive tour that you can take of the grounds - very nice!).  There are a couple of old estates in Ravello, Cimbrone and Rufolo, that both have large public gardens and beautiful on-site hotels. 

The walk to the villa was short, but through some lovely parts of town.  We walked past a lot of vegetable gardens and small family vineyards.

View up the coast, ravello

Though we couldn't really do any exploring in the villa itself (closed to non-guests), we did spend several hours rambling around the gardens.  The building did have some nice nooks and crannies that we were allowed to poke around.

This is the cloister in the center of the villa.

Chiostro at villa cimbrone, ravello

We took off for a quick ramble around the gardens.  The most stunning area was right at the edge of the cliff, which was lined with busts.

view from villa cimbrone

We played around a little - for some reason, being at the Villa Cimbrone made us all giddy.  Maybe it has something to do with it being the secret hideaway for the "elopement of Greta Garbo and Leopold Stowkowsky"?  love is in the air... da da da da da da da....

me newbootgoofin' at villa cimbrone, ravello

Continuing through the gardens, we came across a temple to Bacchus.  (you have to appreciate a good temple to Bacchus!)  It looked like people had been rubbing a certain area of the statue, perhaps for good luck?  This pose is my fault.

Logan with bacchus, villa cimbrone

The gardens were just jam-packed with so many beautiful little gazebos and buildings!

villa cimbrone gazebothing

Unfortunately, it soon was time to begin heading back to Positano.  We reluctantly left the Villa and began the walk back into town.  There, I saw a terrific poster advertisement:

I love this ad - ravello

Esplosiva, ladies!  We all need one of these!

We sadly boarded the bus back down the cliff to Amalfi.  We traveled through several small towns on our way back down, and in one of the towns, we saw this in the square:

seen from the bus between ravello and amalfi

I'm not sure if there was something in particular that they were commemorating or celebrating, but I could never have the patience to spend a lot of time making something like that, that will blow away in a stiff breeze... so, I applaud them.

Ravello was absolutely amazingly awesomely divinely beautiful.  I would love to go back and spend some more time there.  It is, however, a very small town; I don't think it would have been a good home base for our honeymoon trip.  As far as we could tell, getting anywhere would first mean a longish bus ride down to Amalfi, unlike in Positano, where you could directly reach many places.  Ravello would be a great trip for people who want to go one place and then stay there, relaxing.

Plus, they have what seems to be a great orchestral music festival there every year - I can't think of a better place to hear classical music!

OK - time to go use up some Lush stuff, maybe put up a review or two...

-girlie

Monday, 05 December 2005

I'm a little be-hind, short and stout

Yes, I know I'm getting kinda far behind on travel-blogging; we have 1,100 pictures of Florence, between the Husbear and his mom, that we have to go through.  I have people breathing down my neck at work, asking when I'm going to be bringing in pictures of the trip; it's not like it used to be, where you had to get your pictures developed in order to see them.  Now, I have all of the pictures sitting on the computer, and it will be a giant pain to edit them down and print them out.  We haven't even done that with the wedding pictures yet!

Interestingly (well, to me), the next honeymoon day I was going to write about was one where we actually forgot (gasp) to bring the camera.  Actually, technically, we did bring the camera that day, but left the battery safely charging in the bathroom of the little house.  Ah, well... I guess I'll have to rely on memories.  What are those?

I don't know if I was still jet-lagged on the Wednesday after we arrived in Positano; I just know that, once again, I woke up totally exhausted.  I think all the stress of the wedding planning finally caught up with me after we actually got married, which I hear is rather common.  All I know is that Husbear had to pretty much drag me out of bed every day.  Don't feel any sympathy for me; I know it sounds really whiny and wasteful to bitch about how sleepy I was in Italy (WAAAH!).  In my (admittedly weak) defense, it's not like the trips to Amalfi and Herculaneum were completely restful, right?

We decided to take it a little easier that day.  I slept late, while Husbear read out on the porch, and when I got out of bed we sauntered down to the beach to find a little red boat that we heard would take us to an awesome restaurant/loungy beach called Da Adolfo.  (Here's where I insert sadness that we didn't have the camera, since this restaurant (along with the entire Amalfi coast, really) is actually mentioned in one of those self-affirmation books called "1,000 places to see before you die".)

We waited a little while on the jetty, and met another just-married couple honeymooning in Italy.  They had made the interesting (well, crazy, in my mind) decision to DRIVE down to Positano from Florence.  This means they drove through Rome and Naples, not to mention the drive from Naples to Positano along the Amalfi coast highway, which is one of the more insane roads I've ever seen.  The husband said his knuckles were still white, and that he'd never listen to his travel agent again.  I couldn't believe the agent told them the best way to get from Florence to Positano would be by driving, when the trains for the most part run so easily and conveniently. 

A small boat came and picked the four of us up, and we made our way slowly down the beach a half-mile or so.  This was when we realized that the camera battery was back at the house.

Da Adolfo, as I remember it, looked like a large ramshakle house nestled down on a tiny beach with large cliffs immediately behind.  There was a large freestanding covered porch, with tables, and then a bunch of lounge chairs, some with umbrellas, down by the water.  We grabbed a table and perused the menu, which was written on a chalkboard by the house.  Lots of seafood, as I recall.  (Who'da thunk?)

We ordered a liter of white house wine, yum, and water; Husbear got a long pasta (tagliatelle?  fettucine?) with pesto, and I ordered mussels.

I've had an on again, off again relationship with mussels; I'm always certain I love them, and I'm invariably disappointed when I order them in restaurants.  They're usually mushy, or chewy, or really, really fishy.   

Not this time.  These were literally the best mussels I've ever had!  They were in a tomato/onion broth, which was perfectly flavorful, and which I sopped up with bread.  I even learned how to eat them using the shells, which was a lot of fun.  I almost cried when I finished the bowl.

After this wonderfully satisfying lunch, we waddled down the few steps to the beach.  Since it was late in the day, the proprietors didn't charge us for the use of a beach chair and umbrella, which was nice.  We ordered some more wine to enjoy on the beach, and went back and forth into the water when we started to overheat.  They had a lovely tall rock that the Husbear climbed up and jumped off, oh, ten or fifteen times.  We stayed for a few hours, relaxing and swimming.  It was exactly what we needed.

I don't know if Da Adolfo becomes insufferable later in the year, when the heat and the tourists really pick up; but in early June, it was absolutely wonderful.  I highly recommend it.

This entry has gone on long enough.  I was going to put up pictures of our meal that night, but frankly, our food photography has come a long way since then, and the pictures don't really do justice to the awesome meal we had at Il Ritrovo.  So, here are links to the pictures (Antipasti platter, husbear's smoked tomato pasta, my grilled prawns, and a picture of their house wine).  There is one picture that I have to include here, however; this magazine cover made my head spin when I saw it, before I tried to puzzle out the article inside.

magazine in our apartment, positano

The article was about Sorrento's yearly traditional Easter parade.  My apologies for my giant goofy grin-face.

laters!  -girlie.

Saturday, 12 November 2005

A great picture of me.

I've been trying to find a way to fit in this picture of me enjoying a lovely croissant the morning before we left Positano for Amalfi, but haven't been able to.  So, I think I'll just throw it in right here.

me with a ridiculous breakfast

Now you want a tasty breakfast pastry, right?

Honeymoon 5: Herculaneum and a review

Well, it looks like I am going to completely miss my stated goal of finishing blogging our honeymoon before we jet off to Florence.  It's a good thing I'm not getting graded on this, yes?

On an unrelated note, we went to Cool River Cafe last night because we got a random certificate in our mail for $25 off food.   (Huh!  I didn't know it was a chain!  Well, that certainly explains a lot.)  Our conclusion?  Eh.  They did have a really nice wine list; we got a reasonably priced viognier/chenin blanc from these guys, which went well with our giant deep dish spinach/artichoke dip, seared tuna (me) with wasabi/jicama slaw and mango sticky rice, and salad with pecans, blue cheese, and pears (husbear).  Maybe we didn't give them a fair chance, since we didn't get any steaks, but the food was just ok.  The place was huge, though!  We went over into the bar after we ate, thinking we might get an after-dinner drink, but the place had a coverband singing "brick house", "car wash" along with many other 70s specialties, booty-dancing 30somethings, and an oddly Disney vibe, so we left.

They did make the Husbear a great negroni, though.

Anyway, back to the honeymoon.

Tuesday, I woke up with my calves just aching - those stairs were really coming back to bite me.  I tried to hobble around for a little while, but it just wasn't working for me.  We decided to get a later start, hoping I would be able to walk.

We ended up leaving in the late morning for Herculaneum.  Husbear figured that this would mean less walking than Pompeii, since it's supposed to be a smaller site, plus we both agreed that just laying there probably wouldn't help my calves any.

Getting to Herculaneum entailed a bus to Sorrento, and then the circumvesuviana train to Ercolano Scavi.  Ercolano's the modern town, parts of which sit right on top of Herculaneum.  (Scavi = ruins.)

We walked to the top of the town and waited for the bus.

long-suffering logan

I took a few pictures of us to while away the time while we waited.

It didn't take too long to get there.  (maybe an hour?)  When we arrived, we found a little pizza place for a late lunch, and I got a pizza with marinara sauce and anchovies.  Stupidly, no pictures.  I still remember that smell, though.

Ercolano was pretty nondescript; not a lot of history evident in the walk from the station to the ruins.  Lots of graffiti, though.

Please forgive me for my nonexistent notes - I'm not sure which buildings we're standing in front of...

Anyway, here's the gate to get into the ruins.

This was the first glimpse we had of the site, after paying at the gate.

the ruins at herculaneum

You can see modern Ercolano in the distance.  It's pretty amazing how well-preserved a lot of the site was, after almost 2000 years; even from this distance, you can see little bits of the frescoes and murals on the walls of the buildings.

We paid for the audio tour, which we figured would help us to know what we were looking at.  (shoulda written it down!)

me amongst the columns at herculaneum

(That's the audio tour around my neck, and I'm not sure what these columns are, dangit!)

Some areas of the site had been really nicely restored, like this building (follow the link.)

There were some funny off-color mosaics in the ladies' baths; many of the same kind of things we saw in the restricted room in the Archaeological Museum in Naples.

off color mosaic in the ladies' baths, herculaneum

Someone (or a group of someones) really spent a lot of time on that mosaic!  The pattern covered the floor of a very large room.

You could really easily see a lot about the day-to-day lives of the Romans on the streets of Herculaneum.  There were wagon ruts in the roads.  We saw the remains of several food stands, and I made Husbear pose at one of them.

logan at a roman snack bar, herculaneum

Apparently, the citizens of Herculaneum often ate lunch away from home, and would stop at these vendors.  Those are very large pots bricked into the counter, from which lunch would be dished up.  Interesting.

There were some really great statues around the grounds, especially in the ruins of the great houses.  We especially liked this one of Hercules, which doesn't really aggrandize him so much as make a lot of fun of him, unlike most of the statues you see.  (The original's in Naples.)

replica of drunk peeing hercules, herculaneum

All told, we were at the site for about 4 hours... If Herculaneum's really so much smaller than Pompeii, I can't imagine how long it would take to go through that town!  As it was, we didn't listen to good chunks of the audio tour.   Pompeii must be enormous.

We headed back to Positano via train/bus.  My calves were actually feeling a little better, which was a good thing, because after we got back and picked up some things for dinner, it was once again time to climb these.

we started getting used to the stairs

This was the last strech of stairs on the way back to our little house.  By Tuesday, we actually were starting to get a little more acclimated to them, in that we didn't have to collapse each time we walked into the house.

Husbear made a really great dinner, which we ate on our porch.

logan made dinner after herculaneum

Mozzarella wrapped in lemon leaves, olives, pasta with tomatoes and mushrooms, bread, and a bottle of local wine... and that view of the Mediterranean.  (Unfortunately, it's kind of hard to take pictures of the view when it's dark.  They should fix that.)

That's it for me, until next time...

girlie

Wednesday, 02 November 2005

Mambo #4 - Positano and Amalfi

OK, first off, congratulations to Megan on the occasion of her passing the bar!  WOOOOO!  Go get 'em, legally of course!

I've just realized that we're only a little over two weeks from our trip to Florence, so I better get all these honeymoon pictures uploaded before we've got more travel to blog.  I know, I know, the heart just bleeds for me. 

We were pretty tired after all the travel involved in getting to Positano (planes, trains, ferries, and our poor lil leggies), so we set aside our first day as a rest day.  It was definitely time to put our stuff down and figure out where the hell we were.

Positano is known for its fashion

We got our clothes-shopping out of the way early.  (No, not really... though apparently, at one time, Positano was really considered hot stuff in the world of fashion.  ?!)

After this exhausting shopping excursion, it was definitely time to grab some wine and go down to the beach...

view from the less populated beach

We considered renting a car during our stay, but decided against it.  Though this car actually might have been able to make it up the narrow stairs.

maybe we should have rented a car - positano

The next day, totally happy and rested, we headed off to Amalfi... (here's a picture of us on the boat).

I liked Amalfi a lot, actually.  It was a beautiful town, in a way that was actually different from Positano.  Much more gently sloping, for one thing!  We really couldn't see much of Amalfi's proud maritime history, though there were some lovely statues and buildings that showed there must have, at one time, been an awful lot of money 'round there.

The Duomo was stunning.  It was really easy to see the influence the Moors had on the area.

amalfi's duomo with moorish accents

And this interesting fountain out front was not to be missed.  (Our guidebook called this graceful lady the "squirty-titted nymph".  Not that I'd ever be rude enough to call her that.  Especially not on the internets.  Anyway, here's a closeup, for those of you who want one...)

fountain in main square, amalfi

The bottom part of the town, where the buses and boats discharged all of us day-trippers, was really crowded.  In fact, by the time we fought our way up to the Duomo, I was feeling kinda overwhelmed by the slow-moving crowds, thinking "Man, did every tourist on the Amalfi Coast HAVE to come here today?"

I shouldn't have been so worried.  We only had to get like a half-mile away from the beach, up the Via Genova, for everything to completely clear out.  I was stunned at the difference such a short distance made, and the sights we saw just a little ways off the main drag were really, really cool.

First, we dropped in on the paper museum, which offered tours of the old paper-making facilities.  Amalfi has been making paper for papal decrees for a really long time - 1500 years?

The tour was GREAT.

amalfi paper museum, oulde clouthes

There were only two other people on the tour with us.  We got to see papermaking equipment from the 1500s and an actual relic of the industrial revolution, which the terrifically animated guide was kind enough to turn on for us.  It had been working since the 1780s!  The machine he's standing on there was for pulping old white clothes with water.  Their paper is actually made from cloth, not wood pulp, so apparently it lasts a lot longer.  (Here's a picture of the guide making a new sheet of paper.)  He showed us one of the last production sheets made by the factory, which was about 30 years old, and it was in really good shape.  We bought some computer paper, which we've been meaning to use to print out wedding pics.  (What?  It was only like 18 months ago!)

We headed a little further up the main road, through the Valle dei Mulini (valley of the (paper) mills), until we began to run out of town.  Then, we bought a bottle of wine, sat in the woods, and waited for our next stop to open.  (This was the view we had.)

I like this picture of me... it's up in the forest, overlooking the valley.

me in the forest with wine, amalfi

Anyway, we headed back down the hill to our next destination... a limoncello factory!

in limoncello factory, amalfi

This place was so, so neat.  It didn't seem like they had had any out-of-twn visotors for quite a while.  I felt kind of bad interrupting, since everyone in there was bottling liqueurs for sale in the tourist shops down further in town, but this really nice gentleman took us under his wing.  He walked us around the shop, pulling down open bottles of liqueur and proudly showing them to us, and gave us little sippy cups of each one.  We played a game of charades to figure out what everything was, which was great.  For instance, for the laurel liqueur, he said "Romans" and mimed a hat, then pumped his fist into the air in a victorious gesture.  Ah, the universal language!  (I really should learn some Italian!)

I'm pretty sure these are (l to r) mandarin liqueur, crema de limone, laurel (bay leaf) liqueur, a local citron liqueur, and a mixed fruit liqueur.  (That word looks strange.  Did I spell it right?)  They were all so, so good.  We left with light heads and lighter pockets.  Totally wonderful.

We really liked Amalfi!  It was a different kind of town then Positano, which was neat to see.  There were still way too many photogenic scenes to put up here, though.

I don't know if I'd stay there, but it was certainly a nice place to go for a day.  Of course, I'm sure it's totally different at night, when everyone leaves...

awesome amalfi

Tuesday, 25 October 2005

Honeymoon 3: Entering the Wilds of Positano

Well, it's been a while... but I finally got some Positano pictures uploaded!

My apologies to those of you with dialups - I've tried to "smallify" these pictures so they'll load quicker.

So, there we are on the ferry to Positano... and all of a sudden, the prettiest town I've ever seen slides in to view.

First View of Positano

The town just keeps going up and up and up....

We arrive on the rocky beach and take stock of our surroundings.

Building up the Cliff, Positano

It becomes clear that we're going to have to head right up the side of the cliff to get to where we'll be staying.  In order to show everyone just how hardcore we really are, we elect to WALK (?) up to the place carrying our backpacks.  Ahem.

A friendly Italian man tells us it's about 700 steps straight up, but do we let that deter us?  NO!  We're newlyweds!  We're young, spry, wiry, and we will show this little hill who it's boss really is!

Well, not so much...  we start our walk, go up one seemingly endless staircase, and count 92 steps.  This may take longer than we thought.  We turn the corner...

Up the Stairs

Yeah.  We're less than a seventh of the way there.  Well, it's really pretty, and it really can't be too much longer, can it?  (ah, to be so young and naive once more.)

Luckily, there were some beautiful views along the way, so we were able to stop and rest and take pictures and yell "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!"  (In all fairness, that last bit may have been exclusively me.  Newly-husbear was being very supportive, but dang, was that a lot of stairs!)

Everything was so photogenic.  (If our honeymoon had a theme, it would be "everything was so photogenic.")  It seemed we couldn't turn a corner without seeing the most picturesque thing ever.

Stairs and door positano

I mean, come on.  Who actually lives in a place like this?

We finally made it to the top (click on this link to see a picture of how high we were!)

I had a serious sense of accomplishment from making it up all those stairs, though.  We conquered those stairs many more times before leaving Positano, too... our calves grew three sizes that week.

After a little rest and bearing-catching and apologizing (again, mostly me...) we headed up just a little further to a small grocery to stock up on the essentials.  We got the components of a nice snack - lots of protein! - and went back down to our place to have a little bite to eat.

We had a snack outside

This is our porch, and that's Husbear with our wine, mozzarella, tomatoes, mortadella, and crazy good bread.

See?  The walk was totally worth it - our view was awesome!  The rocks over Husbear's shoulder are supposedly the home of the Sirens.  Homer was apparently familiar with this area, and we heard a lot of local stories about how landmarks match up with the story of Odysseus' travels.  Interesting.

It was a lucky thing that snack was so good, because dinner was decidedly odd.  Pretty good and everything, but definitely odd.

Pizza at 'O Guarracino

Before you ask, yes, those are beets on that pizza.  But that's also a jug of housemade wine, which came out of a big barrel in the depths of the restaurant, so we could forgive a little strangeness.  And, the crust was completely awesome - still a better pizza by far than any we could get around here.

Plus, the place had this for a view, so we could have forgiven it an awful lot.

Whew - I think I've foisted enough pictures on you for today, thanks!

-girlie

Saturday, 27 August 2005

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?! Or maybe just honeymoon pictures, 2nd installment?

So, it's about that time to be putting up some more honeymoon pictures, don't you think? I also spent some time today setting up a Flickr account and figuring out how to post multiple pictures from Flickr to a blog. How do you do this, you might ask? Answer - it's a huge pain in the butt, which may hopefully get easier after a few years or so.

So, when I last dropped this narrative, we were in Rome...

Well, we took a train to Naples, where we were only going to spend one night.

This is the view up the street from our hotel room.  (It didn't really rain the whole time we were in Italy.)

Since we were only going to be in Naples one night, we of course had to get ourselves some Neapolitan pizza! We had already been to Da Michele, when we were in Naples in 2001 (oh MAN.  We pretty much went to Naples that trip just to eat pizza.  While we were there, we met a couple of English guys who were staying in the same hotel as us and invited them out to dinner.  The lines at da Michele were so long that we had time to drink two bottles of wine between the six of us, and we didn't realize that the English guys weren't helping us finish the wine until after it was gone... though I do highly recommend da Michele's pizza when you've had a bit too much to drink).

Anyway, this is from Pizzeria Brandi, where the Pizza Margherita was invented in 1889.  The Neapolitans take their pizza extremely seriously -- check out this link.

We got two pizzas; Marinara (on the right - just marinara sauce, basil, and garlic) and margherita (left - marinara, basil, and mozarella).  Seriously, yum!  Here's a picture of our plates after we finished eating.    

This was their antipasti table... we had such great antipasti all over Italy.  I'll put up more antipasti pics later on.  Here I see eggplant, zucchini, peas, peperonata, and small fish, maybe anchovies?

I took this picture at the Museo Archeologico; it's a mosaic (!) from Pompeii.  First of all, can you believe how well it's preserved?  The patience it must have taken to put this together.... totally shocking.  I mean, look at how tiny those tiles are!  We also saw the famous mosaic of Alexander.

Look at this church!

It's really not very attractive from the outside, is it? I think it looks like a warehouse, or maybe a parking garage... it's the Gesu Nuovo, and it was built as a palazzo in 1470. It didn't become a church until the 16th century. There's something kind of endearing about the unattractiveness of the building, though.

We only got to stay in Naples for a day and a half before we headed for Positano. After having been there twice (admittedly for ony a day or so each time) I'm still not really sure if I enjoy visiting there or not. It's a crazy, crazy place... dirtier than anywhere else I've been in Italy and very crowded. This is far from being an original observation, but the driving in Naples is ballsier than anywhere else... if you wait politely on the sidewalk to cross the street, you'll wait until everyone's gone home to bed. People drive their scooters on the sidewalk, in between the vendors ripping tourists off with fake electronics. On the other hand, though, the city's beautiful in a frenetic way. Big Italian nonnas sell cigarettes directly from their balconies using a basket attached to a long rope. Laundry is strung all the way across the street. Whole families and their shopping hang off of Vespas, shooting in and out of traffic. And the whole time, Vesuvius looms menacingly in the background. One day, that volcano's gonna blow, and who knows what will happen then? Until then, I recommend visiting Naples for at least a little while. I'll leave you with this picture of us on the ferry for Positano.

Girlie

Thursday, 04 August 2005

Honeymoon Photos: #1 of Sideways 8

Yeah, I don’t know how to do an infinity symbol either.

Well, I’m home alone tonight. The cats are here, yes, but they’re only good company if your idea of a nice night in is pooping in the corner (fatty!) or eating so fast you yarf (stinky!).

I thought now might actually be a good time to settle in with a glass of wine and begin to make good on a promise I made to Auntie way back when the Mr. and I first started talking about launching a blog (the fruits of which you see on your screen now).

Girlie, she said, why don’t you use the blog to post honeymoon pictures? That way, you don’t need to send them to everyone individually, and nobody will have to sit through a presentation entitled “Shots of the Wing, vols. 1-14” when they come to visit you!

This has the added benefit of making Mikey happy; he who asked me last week to be sure to put up some pictures that weren’t of my food. So, here goes!

We were lucky enough last summer to go on a three-week honeymoon to Italy and Greece. We had a great time, but were of course bitten even harder by the “travel bug”… which would be fine except we’re still covered with the welts the “poverty bug” left on us.

We flew to Rome two days after we were married.

After_the_wedding_at_the_burnham

Aren't we adorable? 

We were still totally exhausted when we arrived Wednesday morning, June 2. Lucky me, though; the newly minted Mr. made us reservations at a nice, but cute, hotel just a block from the Pantheon.

The_outside_of_our_hotel_rome

This was a much nicer place than the place we stayed in on our last time through Rome, when we got yelled at for taking a fan that was sitting in the hallway into our room. (They weren’t mad that we had taken the fan; they were mad that we hadn’t paid them $10 to borrow it.)

The lobby was beautiful:

The_inside_of_the_minerva_june_2004

And the elevators were hysterically tiny.

The_tiniest_elevator_ever_hotel_minerva

When I say that we were close to the Pantheon, I’m not lying, I promise.

View_of_the_pantheon_from_our_hotel_room

Since we had already been to Rome on our backpacking trip in the summer of 2001, we felt a little more free to do some exploring, instead of having to rush from must-see ruin to must-see museum. We had already been to the Coliseum, which is amazing, so we didn’t go back; instead, we just spent the two days or so just traipsin' around town. We went back to the Forum the first night we were there, but it was closed. We asked a nice guy to take our picture anyway, and he obliged.

At_the_forum_rome

We went to the Spanish Steps, and wandered around the expensive design shops below, on the Via Veneto (I think). I think the salesfolks could tell that we weren’t about to buy anything, but they were really nice and up-pushy.

The next morning, we found an open – air market. Mr. Pants loves Italian markets – for good reason! We stopped at one stall where they were selling ostrich eggs (feeds 30). There were persimmons everywhere – later, we saw them all over the ground in Positano.

Open_air_food_market_rome_june_2004

We also did some more windowshopping, mostly for food.  Yum!

You_know_you_want_it_rome_june_2004

We left Rome by train on Friday; the plan was to overnight in Naples on Friday night and leave the next morning by ferry for Positano, where we had to pick up the keys to our house-for-a-week by 4 PM. Pics from that next time!

Woot! I did it!

Girlie

Tuesday, 01 March 2005

The language of TERROR!

So we bought this awesome learn-Italian-at-home-in-4,700-simple-steps program called Rosetta Stone. It’s really cool – it’s a direct pictures-to-Italian way of learning, totally cutting out the English middleman. However, I do think the program has a morbid streak, because here is what I know how to say so far:
The baby is under the airplane.
Woman, in the car!
Next time I see an airplane on top of a baby, I am totally telling some woman to get in the car. That should help. Then, I'll be the hero.
I’ll be fluent any day now. -Girlie