Thursday, June 27, 2013


Digging all these right now!

     Industrial Task Table Lamps 
Via                                                                                                    Via        

Premier Prints Canopy Stripe Black   Threshold™ Basketweave Metal Accent Table
                    Via                                                                              Via

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Euro Trip Part 2: Venezia


Reason # 56094509 we were glad to have Jodie with us for our trip: we would have skipped Venice.  

During the planning of the trip, I came across several internet reviews of people saying that Venice was "over rated," "the food is not good," "blah blah I hate puppies blah blah."


Lies! All lies!

Do not skip Venice.  I repeat DO NOT SKIP VENICE!

Anyways, we departed from Verona after a sufficient amount of sleep and checked into our hotel just outside of Venice (after battling road construction setbacks.)  

Another thing we'd have never known without Jodie is that cars/buses/trains do not happen in Venice.  You either drive or are dropped off at specific locations and if you've booked a room in the actual city of Venice, you're forced to lug your clunky rolling suitcase quite a distance.  We did not have to do that.  Score for us!

Mmm pastries.

Here we are in front of St. Mark's Basilica and in the surrounding square.

Loved the details of all the buildings.

Venice was my favorite part of our trip.  Everywhere you looked there was beauty.  It also felt safe.

I was also able to check a life-long dream off of my bucket list.  

Gondola ride.  

Oh yah baby!

Make note though, not all gondola drivers sing.  Our driver apparently was not of the singing variety.  

Maybe he was shy.  

Perhaps if he'd known that we were going to pepper him with a million and one questions, he would have chose singing instead.

Riding on the gondola, it felt like we were being let in on a  secret about Venice.  A secret that you'd never know unless you rode through those tiny canals.

And here's the Rialto Bridge.  We actually have several photos of it via land, but it was crowded up there.  Our water pictures turned out much better.

We literally walked around all afternoon and evening.  I think Venice was the latest that we stayed out over the course of the trip.

Jodie showed us a pizzeria that she frequented during her days as a student in Venice. We ended up eating pizza on a little bench in the middle of square filled with locals, off the beaten path if you will.

I can still close my eyes and picture it.

Next: Bologna, the Ferrari Factory, and Florence!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Euro Trip Part 1: My My My Verona


We arrived dead tired to Milan around 8:30 in the morning on Tuesday.  

Despite an initial hiccup to our driving plan, (we couldn't confirm our original car rental because we were in the air, so there was no car reserved for us) we were able to rent a car for cheaper!  Our little Fiat  took us to Verona to check into our hotel and then we began our adventure.

We took a bus from our hotel to the city center and walked the rest of the day.

Do I look tired here?  Pretty sure I'd been up for 33 hours at this point. 

It was very important that we loaded up on gelato for energy since most of us hadn't slept a wink on Monday night or eaten lunch. 

Mmm coffee and hazelnut gelato.

Next we toured a really cool castle called Castelvecchio, which means "old castle." Ironic, huh?

Eric thinks he's the king of the world! (I would be having panic attacks from being that high up, so I was happy to take the picture.)

Verona was a cute little city that was very picturesque. Everything from the stone streets to the flowering balconies added to its charm.

It also houses the 2nd oldest arena in the world!

We were surprised to see how modern-looking it was on the inside.  Obviously work has been done.

Apparently they have operas and other such events.  Jodie said that she and Jason had once been to an opera here.

Verona is also home to la Casa di Giulietta, or the house of Juliet (of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet).  It was SUPER crowded there.  Even for a Tuesday afternoon. 

Ignore the lady rubbing on the the statue's, ahem, boobies.  Apparently it brings you good luck in love if you do so.  We couldn't even get close!

We ambled around with our gas tanks (stomachs, not the car!) on empty for so long that we decided we needed an impressive dinner to fill us up and welcome us to Italy.  This place did not disappoint.

Eric had lasagna bolognese, Jodie had gnocchi with tomato sauce, and I had spaghetti carbonara.  All were more than satisfied.

Reason #2090934 we were happy to have Jodie: She tells us stuff that we were happy to not have had to find out the hard way.  Apparently sitting down at a table costs money before you even order anything.  Water costs money as well. 

This is on our way back to the hotel-the Verona City Walls.

Needless to say, after being up over 24 hours, we were back to our hotel and in bed by 8 pm!  Next up, Venice.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Euro Trip: The U.S. Chronicles

Long time no see! Turns out, I've been out of the country!  

The background details: 

Eric and I knew he was getting 2 weeks of vacation mid-June.  We made a list of places we'd like to see, including: Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, or France.  Knowing full well that it would be impossible to enjoy all of these places in just a 10-to-14-day stint, we made several "potential trip plans" with routes we might take, depending on open flights.  

We also hit up Eric's sister Jodie since she's one of our favorite trip buddies, an experienced Euro-traveler, and speaks Italian.  Turns out, she was itching to get away after a stressful home remodel.  (Check out her awesome reno here,  at Life Is Smoother On Two Wheels.)  We were sad that her husband Jason had to work, but happy that Jodie was in.  Fun and experienced traveling companion, check!  

The night before, we all met up in Newark and celebrated.  Cheers everyone!

The next day, we hashed out some last minute details.  Because we were flying stand-by, we didn't actually know where we would end up.  Both Milan, Italy and Zurich, Switzerland were looking pretty good.

At this point, we finalized potential hotels and car rentals for the next day.  Did I mention that Jodie had an over-seas driving permit?  Score!  It saved us a TON of time and money to drive our trip ourselves rather than taking the train.  But that's a story for another day.  

So we waited anxiously all day in the United Club, watching the passenger loads like hawks.  At five o'clock we headed out to the gates.

This might give you a clue as to where we ended up:

That's right! We've ended up spending 10 days in Italy (with a one-day unexpected stay in Switzerland, or the motherland of my dad's family.)

Stay tuned for Euro Trip Part 1: Verona!