A place for all things I love...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rome, Italy

After an incredibly long flight (14hrs not direct) with not much sleeping involved we took a taxi to our first hotel. The views arriving in the city were breathtaking! As we get out of our cab we walk straight into this square which includes a fountain & the Pantheon! It was seriously such a good first impression being right in the middle of everything. Our lovely pink hotel was called Albergo del Senato. We quickly changed & set down our luggage to head out into this gorgeous city. 
The bottom picture on the left was taken from our hotel window & the bottom right is the view from the roof.. Pretty incredible.

After a quick tour thru the Pantheon we headed on our way to the Colosseum. It was an amazing walk with plenty of cool buildings & charm.
The colosseum did not disappoint. It was so amazing to see this huge old structure in the middle of a functioning city. I have always loved roman gladiator stories & history which made me even more excited to see the colosseum. It's crazy to think of what really barbaric things used to happen in this place. The Arc de Constantine & Roman Forum were impressive as well. It really is amazing these things are still standing!
On our way back to our hotel we decided to go up top of the Pizza Venezia (white bldg.) because we heard it was the best view of Rome. It surely was.
Back at the hotel our concierge gave us a recommendation for dinner. It worked out perfect since it was right by the Trevi fountain which we wanted to see. You could hear the water long before you could actually see it.
We heard it was prettier at night so we didn't stay long & headed to dinner where I had a delicious ham pizza & Jeremy had plain noodles. 
We grabbed gelato for dessert & went back to hang out at the fountain.. Perfect place to people watch.
We walked around to some other spots like the spanish steps & then hit the hay for the night.

The second day in Rome we woke up early to head to the much anticipated Vatican Museum. We used a guide name Rahuel that our uncle Johnny had used a couple months earlier & he seriously was the best. He was an ocean full of knowledge. I was skeptical if I would enjoy the Vatican tour, but I was seriously captivated by everything. So much history in every detailed corner. I'm pretty sure Jeremy wanted to take notes he was so fascinated :)
I could go on & on about each individual painting, ceiling, staircase and what have you but you really need to see it to know how incredible everything is. The pictures don't do it much justice but just to give you a small idea of the Vatican.

Of course the highlight was seeing the Sistine Chapel, we could of spent hours in there looking around. It really is unbelievable Michelangelo painted the whole ceiling & wall, what a talented man.
 The bottom left picture is of the only part they didn't clean to show what a big difference it was before.
You are not supposed to take pictures but I just had to take a couple..
After a couple hours we said goodbye to Rahuel to trek around alone.
We decided to climb up the steps of St. Peters Vasilica.. Bad idea! There was a million winding cramped stairs. It was hot & jammed with people. I felt so claustrophobic & sick. The views were pretty cool up top, but I would not recommend climbing up the million stairs to get there!
What an amazing place, you really could spend a week there looking at everything. After the Vatican we walked back by our hotel to get lunch. It was nice to eat outside & have some yummy pasta.
After lunch we fell asleep in our hotel lobby, we were exhausted from all the walking around & time change I'm sure.
Here is where disaster struck.. Since we were traveling with 6 people + luggage we could never fit in the same taxi, so as we were splitting up to go to the train station Jeremy told the other half of our party we would meet them "in front" of the train station. Well when we got there the station was a lot bigger than we had expected. Brooke, Jeremy & I waited & waited with no sign of Vaughn, Jake & Bri. The girls would stay by the bags as Jeremy would circle around looking for them. I was not feeling super well and was on edge looking around for the gypsies which we had heard so many stories about. So with 15 min left to our train we decided we should run to see if they were waiting there. It was really sad that Brooke who is with child was miles in front of Jer & me even though I was only carrying a backpack but struggling in the back. Things weren't looking good, we had missed our train & still didn't know where the other half of our group was. So as Jeremy went to switch our tickets Brooke went searching through the crowd to see if she could spot them. 5 min before our next train she saw them & Jeremy just yelled to me RUN! So that's what I did... until I looked back to see Jer hadn't followed me & I now was standing in the middle of a crowded train station with no phone, money, or even my own bag. I was freaking out. It was probably only 2 minutes but it felt like a lifetime searching around for my hubby to come save me. I was so scared I was going to be left in Rome all alone. Moments before the tears came Jeremy found me and we hopped on the train right before it took off. We were so relieved to be back together, though everyone was  really tense from all the anxiety. After some drinks of water & time we could all relax & laugh about the whole ordeal.
We got into Florence just in time for dinner. I got awful steak while others claimed to have the best lasagna of their lives!
Next up Cinque Terre.

Back from Europe

I have mixed feelings about this, but I am finally back from Europe! It has been really rough adjusting back to this time zone. I have mainly been walking around like a zombie while doing loads & loads of laundry. The task of blogging about my trip of two weeks with over 2,000 pictures feels very daunting, but I think I am finally ready to get started.
First I just want to mention how grateful I am that I got the chance to go on this amazing trip of a lifetime. We had so much fun with our friends & couldn't have had better travel agents to get everything set in place for us.
Just to recap everywhere we went:

Rome, Italy (1 1/2 days)
Cinque Terre, Italy (1 day)
Florence, Italy (1 1/2 days)
Lake Como, Italy (1 day)
Venice, Italy (1 1/2 days)
Grindelwald, Switzerland (3 days)
Paris, France (3 days)
 Also 2 full days of travel which I will discuss later.

There are so many million things I miss being back home, but there are a few things I didn't love in Europe.. Might as well get all the negatives out as there are way more positives!

* I am so glad to be back to fresh air. EVERYONE in Europe smokes! We even saw what looked like jr high age kids smoking, it is so sad. (Minus Switzerland which is super spacious with fresh air) It really is awful, & because I'm not used to it I really can't tolerate the smell of smoke. Not even kidding some of the time I would have to plug my nose like a 5 yr old. Ewww. 

*Queen/king sized beds. I kid you not they do not have anything bigger than two twin beds pushed together. Because all furniture usually has to be brought in thru a window they can only fit in twin beds. Jeremy & I often found ourselves falling in the crack of what claimed to be a "queen" bed.

*I do not miss public transportation. Don't get me wrong it's a fast & efficient way to get from place to place but I look forward to not seeing a train or subway any time soon! We had to ride them often on our trip & I defiantly did not enjoy the anxiety of running to catch our next connection or looking at confusing maps trying to figure out our next stop. I have never been a fan of even public transportation so I am very glad to be back to riding in Jeremy's truck. :)
*Warm drinks. This one I don't really understand, but no drink ever came with ice! Seems simple to me but who knows why they don't like to freeze water?
Well that's about it, up next Rome!

Friday, May 6, 2011

One last thing..

I have always loved the idea of having things custom made, especially after my wedding. (My dress along with all my bridesmaid dresses were handmade originals!) A while back I found a Kate Spade dress I fell in love with but alas it was over $400.. Not happening for me.. but then I thought hey why not get it made?? And what better place than here in Mexico where everything is cheaper!! So I first wanted to have a test dress made before I used my semi expensive fabric I had printed to resemble the Kate Spade one.
I really liked this anthro dress below & decided to use it as my tester. 
I found some material I had laying around pretending I was gonna make something out of it myself & found a cute tailor shop to take on the challenge. I of course had to bring my friend Gardenia along to translate, but she enjoyed the process as much as I did.
Here was the finished product:
It doesn't have the same appeal as the stripes but I was just using something I had. I think it turned out pretty good & can't wait to see my Kate Spade replica dress! The best part is aside from the fabric it cost me $13 dollars to get this dress made.. Can you believe it?? The sweet lady wouldn't even take a tip!
Hopefully this is the 1st of many custom dresses.

I had to add these pictures to show what this dress looks like on! So fun :)
Tootles :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Around here

 I can't believe it's May already the year is already 1/4th over. I wanted to post about all the things going on before I leave to Europe for 2 weeks. 
First off I survived my first night in Mexico alone. Thursday night Jeremy headed up to Tijuana to attend a golf tournament for work & didn't come back until Friday night. I didn't get scared like I thought I might, but I did stay up pretty late watching half of the Royal Wedding.
Last Saturday we celebrated Children's Day (Mexican Holiday) for our primary activity. The kids seemed to really enjoy it, I was sad I only had my iphone to document it. They started off with a pinata which is always fun..
After they got tons of candy we headed inside for a small scavenger hunt & food. 
A couple of the kids & a cute little puppy! It was pretty extravagant for a primary activity, but in Mexican culture everything turns into a full blown party!

Sunday night I decided to tag along with Jer to Rosarito. (3hrs from San Felipe) On our way there we stopped at a Restaurant we love called La Fonda. It has the BEST lobster. It is in the middle of nowhere, but is pretty famous. The first time we ate there I saw dolphins jumping out of the ocean which you can see from the balcony!
I couldn't even eat all the lobster so my very "special" husband took care of it for me. Since Jeremy's meeting was early Monday morning, we got to stay at the Rosarito Beach Hotel which had the best view & a cool modern vibe. Totally two thumbs up from me.
I was sad I didn't bring my swimming suit because the pool looked so cute with it's dock like wooden decks. 

Picture above taken while driving. Jesus is watching over the place apparently. I have to say I did like Rosarito, it has a really small town/vintage thing going on but is still clean. It is between Ensenada & Tijuana and I would say it is the best place to visit on the Baja that I have been to so far.
We decided to stop at BajaMar for some lunch & golfing. What can I say, a girl needs to bargain for money & with my husband golf is my best option :)
I actually just sat in the cart & enjoyed the beautiful view of the ocean. It is a really pretty course if you are into that sort of thing.

The course was alive with creatures of all sorts. Buzzing with butterflies, squirrels, birds, & even the easter bunny himself! Now you know where easter bunnies go to relax after delivering all those eggs! ;)
Today I was unlucky & woke up with a UTI. Not fun, but I am glad at least I am in the comfort of my home & not walking all over Europe! Crossing my fingers I stay healthy & happy thru-out out our trip. Wish me luck! I will be trying to get prepared & pack the next 2 days.. So nervous but excited! I would love any traveling advice :)