Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Italian Honeymoon, part VII: Weddings all over

I was still in such a 'wedding-mode' mindset on our honeymoon that I found weddings and inspiration everywhere I turned.
Here are a few wedding related things I kept running to in Italy!

First, this dashing couple taking photos in front of the duomo in Florence. This building and plaza is so epic, I can only wonder what kind of shots their photographer got. When I show you photos of the duomo later you'll know what I mean!


Random couple in italy--my apologies for these unflattering shots! I had to take them quickly as we walked by.
Maybe I can redeem myself with a little touch of 1960's action?


I'm sure your photographer did a much better job!

The wedding inspiration continued to Florence's central market...

How amazing would it be to pick up a bunch of colorful flowers from this open air market and throw together a loose bouquet for an unexpected elopement


Believe you me...if we weren't already married I would have rushed E to the nearest town hall. Love was in the air!

He could have picked up a ring from one of the gazillion jewelry stores on the Ponte Vecchio Bridge.



This girl was still my heart.

even more bling?!



Speaking of the Ponte Vecchio...What a great place to pose for a photo or two, no?


But alas, what to wear for this unanticipated wedding in city of flowers?

well, we just happened to pass by a bridal shop filled with Italian couture!
I oogled these dresses in the window for a full five minutes before E dragged me away. [He was too embarrassed to let me go inside]
Try to enjoy these few window shots and ignore the awful glare!


I could die for the back of this dress. I could.


and fluffy shoes. oh fluffy shoes. i want to slip my flip flop wearing feet into your silver straps and strut around Florence. Can i? May i?


I have no idea what that feathery flowery contraption is--a shrug? a hat?
no idea, but I want it!


and check out that row of incredible Italian bridal couture in the back. Do you see the pinks? and the fur? and the gold? and the ruffles?
I wanted to bury my head in all that luxurious bridal satin and lace and smell the possibilities.

Someone splash me with water stat!

Lastly...the window glare is killing me, but check out this swag!


Aren't those goblets filled with pink sparkles and balls divine? Also, i could see tulle being used here in a very glam, not-so-nineties way.

Quick, someone have a girly pink wedding and use this!

So ladies, what do you think of the Italian wedding inspiration?...I'd love to hear your thoughts! [and don't get me started on the shoes...Italian shoes are for another post!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Italian Honeymoon, part VI: Train Ride through Tuscany

We left Venice aboard another train ride where we again sat several seats away from each other. Ugh,
(I can't stress enough to double check the seating arrangements on your train and make a request. Sitting 10 feet from your brand new husband--andnext to a sweaty strange--on a 3.5 hour train ride is no fun!)

This part of Italy looked exactly how I'd always imagined it. Sparsely dotted villages and tile roofed houses among rolling green hills filled with vineyards. Sigh.

Here are a few of the sights we saw as we traveled through the countryside!




Unfortunately most of the pictures I took have bad window glare and are blurry



and then finally we arrived in Florence!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Italian Honemoon, part V: Venezia, again

It stormed all night and kept us awake, so after an early breakfast, we climbed back into bed to catch some shut eye, realizing we were giving away some of our day to do so. But we woke up feeling refreshed and definitely don't regret that we slept the morning away! I wanted to have a relaxing honeymoon in one of the most romantic countries on earth--and we did!

We spent nearly a day at St Mark's Square and in the basilica, and then also headed over to the Peggy Guggenheim musuem. She was a wealthy, art-fanatic heiress, and had a lovely house in Venice filled with famous modern art pieces. Her story is absolutely fascinating. Read more here.



Rick Steve's travel book on Venice was really helpful for us to determine our priorities to visit...not because we had the same priorities as Rick Steves (he's really into art and we were more into religious and historical artifacts and experiencing the culture)...but because he had great descriptions of all the important sights to see.


no flash allowed and a cloudy day made these interior photos less than perfect, but as most of the cathedrals we toured in Italy, it was epic! No detail left undone.



We climbed upstairs to the balcony, we got a great view from the interior...


and then walked outside to see the view of St. Mark's Square:


those horses (replicas of the ones inside) were stolen in the early first century from Constantinople and brought back by Venetians during the fourth crusade on the Byzantine Empire

A view of the bell tower, a little closer to the top. (and the sky finally clearning up!)


Looking down at St Mark's Square. The two stages with seats around them are for the dueling orchestras. Two orchestra's at different restaurants play back and forth and people move from stage to stage to listen.

Andrea Bocelli was singing a concert on that larger stage just the day after we left Venice--disappointing to miss it!


the view from the other end of the balcony




After eating a quick pizza for lunch, we headed off to ferry to explore another cathedral across the channel, Saint Giorgio


The view back to the bell tower and St. Mark's. (yes there are two bell towers!)

Climbing up the bell tower by San Giorgio was much quicker (no lines) and cheaper than the bell tower we got a great view of the square and the ocean!






we smooched and held hands


and nearly jumped out of our skin when the bell tolled. You could feel it in your chest--it was so ear shattering and thrilling!

That evening after dinner we went on a gondola ride. We brought a bottle of wine and some plastic cups and snuggled next to each other for the 30 minutes ride through the eerily calm canals. Our gondolier kept tell us to smooch, so we felt totally comfortable acting like newlyweds.



The gondola ride with the single most expensive entertainment-type thing we did on our honeymoon, and even though it wasn't quite as amazing as I had imagined, we couldn't have possibly left Venice with out doing it!

Our recommendations--do it at night, even though it's more expensive (it's just not the same during the day!); but go off the beaten path and negotiate. We got 10% off the price they quoted us and might have gotten better if we had asked for lower. They're making 100-120 euro for a 30 minute ride!


Thus concludes our two busy and lovely days in Venice!

PS. I got lazy and did not watermark all of our photos. Please do not steal them, and if you do use them cite myself and this blog!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Italian Honeymoon, part IV: Venezia!

After a little train mix-up on our way out of Sirmione that caused us a 2.5 hours wait at the train station*, we were finally on our way to Venice!

(*E and I decided to purchase EURail passes ahead of time in hopes that it would save us a little money and plenty of time from waiting in line, but we quickly learned our lesson. Even though each of our passes were good for one full day of traveling, there was limited seating for the EURail passes, and you were still required to pay for seat reservations. It didn't save us much time and any money. AND, twice, we were given seats that appeared to be next to each other, (Like 23A and 24A) but were an aisle or a row apart. REALLY annoying!)

We arrived in Venice around 9pm pretty exhausted from the day. It was pouring rain as we hopped off the train and walked off the platform....right up to the edge of a canal!
We reeled at the cost of the taxi boat, but it was dark and raining cats and dogs and we weren't about to try to find our way around in the dark (If you've been to Venice you know how difficult it can be to find your way around in the daylight with a map!)
We board the water bus (called Vaporettos) and followed Rick Steve's instructions to our hotel.

We stayed at Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo, which we found to be totally charming and was owned by two friendly and helpful brothers.

The next morning we woke up and headed down for breakfast...I was blown away! It was set in a tiny, quaint courtyard with birds flitting around and a gentle breeze. Sorry to wax poetic, but really it was the most relaxing surreal setting I could have imagined. This was Italy!

We enjoyed a cappuccino every single morning, along with fruit and a crescent or two.




Also I was obsessed with Nutella. My aunt used to bring it back from Germany and I thought it was the best treat ever. There wasn't a day on our trip I went without!

After breakfast, we couldn't wait to get out and explore!
We thought Venice was just magical...I don't even want to bore you with all the stories of our adventures (ok, they weren't that exciting), but still, I'll just let the pictures do the work for me:







Hubby was an expert map-reader and tour guide and led us through the streets of Venice (though some were so narrow, I'm not sure how they could be counted as roads)


This water looks appetizing, no?



Italy wouldn't be a complete without a nude statue of a boy holding a dead frog:



Sitting on the steps listening to a classical guitarist:


We may have voted this place best gelateria in Italy:

We had a dinner on the vines covered terrace of this lovely restaurant:

and ended the night at the Rialto Bridge, where it all begin.


Up next, St. Mark's Basilica and a gondola ride!

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