This year marks a decent milestone for my wife and I, we have now been married for two entire decades. Thankfully, it’s as enjoyable as ever though I know that she puts up with me far more than she should have to. To reward ourselves (as if being married 20-years to me isn’t rewarding enough) for our successful run so far, we decided that we wanted to take a trip across the great Atlantic and see some areas that we’ve only ever seen in pictures or through the eyes of Rick Steves.
Early this year, I started the process of mapping out an itinerary of some things we wanted to see and the lovely Mrs started looking at flights and accommodations. (If you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re an unstoppable team. Like Sherlock & Holmes. Like garlic & bread. Like Roger Federer and his tennis racket.) We were making some sweet headway and getting kind of excited and then 2020 failed. Epic failure. Windows blue-screen-of-death failure.
No surprises here, we didn’t want Covid so we didn’t go anywhere. Except to dinner, we did go to a nice, socially-distanced dinner.
Of course I wanted to go to Italy. It would have been nicer than dinner. But I think my lady-friend was even more bummed about it canceling than I was so I went ahead and took her on a trip. We saw the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Florence, Venice, and even a stop in Paris for good measure. Every 30 minutes on the day of her anniversary celebration, she was rewarded with a fond memory of our trip. I had a few minutes tonight so I thought I’d share our trip with you as well.
1. 6:00AM – Airplane’s are fun
Ciao Bella! Happy Coronavirus-versary!
20 years strong and we’re just getting warmed up.
The (Co)Vid gave its best punches this year but I decided it wasn’t going to cancel our European vacation… thankfully I took some photos of our trip for us to remember it all by.
Here we are on the plane, I’m quite surprised that the pilots actually let us in the cockpit; I thought they did away with all of that after 9/11 but apparently all’s legal in Italy!
It was a bumpy flight but we made it safely. I do feel bad for that lady in 32D who had a couple too many drinky-drinks, I feel like she might regret that whole marriage proposal to the old man in 14E once she sobers up.
2. 6:30AM – Rome wasn’t built in a day… but we had to see it in one.
With only a little time for jet-lag recovery, it was time to hit the streets! Rome was a much more vibrant city than I expected. That gang fight was interesting to say the least. Glad you were able to carry your pocket knife with you on the plane, thanks for running those thugs off.
I really can’t believe that we got to meet the Pope and that he was so cool with selfies. Crazy nice guy, I guess that’s why all the Catholics like him. Also, that was the dopest handshake routine I’ve ever seen, I just hope I can remember it when we get home to show the boys.
Off to the colosseum…
3. 7:00AM – How do you spell it again? Coloseum? Colllosem? Colosseum?
Geez, that sucker was huge! And broken. They should really consider doing some remodeling and repairs on it. I couldn’t find a place to plug in and charge my phone anywhere.
And what about all the tourists? Way too many iPad photographers in the world.
I really liked the hat you bought from the market nearby, and I thought it was totally spontaneous of you to get your hair colored and curled right from that street vendor/stylist lady! That’s the Italian care-free spirit already coming out in you!
4. 7:30AM – When the moon hits your eye-a like a pizza pie-a, that’s amore…
I’ll admit it, I was out of my comfort zone on this one. You know I love dancing. And you know I love dancing in front of people. And you know I love dancing in front of people at famous locations around the world. And you know I love dancing on skinny platforms high above hundreds of tourists near famous locations around the world… but, for me to do all of that with a watch and a bracelet on my other arm? That took guts on my part.
Either way, there’s no one else I’d rather risk my life with Cha-cha-ing on top of a fence with than you.
5. 8:00AM – We should’ve probably skipped this one
So I’m all for adventure but I think I’m gonna have to say that this was one of the low-lights of the trip. For future reference, even though taking a “Coastal Boat Cruise to the Mediterranean’s Largest Island” might sound like a good idea; consider the source and don’t buy it from a Middle Eastern man on the street with only one good eye. Live and learn.
At least the doctor said it’s fairly likely that you’ll get feeling back in most of your fingers. You made it to the top and only had to borrow like 9 layers of clothes!
To the beach we go.
6. 8:30AM – Tom Ford Tuscan Leather smelling like a brick.
I don’t understand about 90% of Drake’s lyrics, and this one is no different. If your leather smells like bricks, it might be time to replace it. Also, what do leather and bricks have to do with Tuscany?
Wine, hilly countrysides, and Vespas. That’s what Drake should be singing about. You don’t always believe me when I tell you that motorcycles get the girls, now I think you know what I’m talking about. 85 miles to the gallon on this hog.
Also, remember Antonio the sommelier at that villa? That guy was super weird, “no dude, Vespas aren’t made to hold 3 people, get off!” Sweet hair, though.
7. 9:00AM – Rick Steves knows his crap
These aren’t the white sand beaches of the Caribbean but I’d revisit them any time! The Cinque Terre is beautiful and you only made it more so! Let’s move tomorrow.
Here’s a shot of us on day one, still trying to warm up from that fake Sicily hike. The only thing I never got used to was the Speedos. So many Speedos. Too many Speedos. I think the Speedo manufacturers were even tired of how many Speedos were there. We can see all your business, Italian dudes.
8. 9:30AM – Can we buy this cafe?
This place was the perfect place to eat (that’s probably why we ate there four times). I say we buy it. And eat there every day. And put burgers and pizza on the menu cause squid isn’t very good. Maybe the people in Italy just don’t know that burgers are better because nobody has ever told them. But I’m fine if we do. I know they would agree to stop eating squid if somebody would just let them try a burger.
That storm looks pretty ominous but I don’t remember it being all that bad. Just a little mini-monsoon. Makes for a good picture though, right?
9. 10:00AM – Maybe QR codes don’t translate to Italian?
Speaking of the cafe we’re gonna buy, I’m gonna say we should go ahead and get some menus printed. (With burgers) This has gotta be a hassle writing them down every day over and over!
Screw it, we own a cafe in Italy, we can do whatever we want!
10. 10:30AM – Views for days. And bugs.
Welp, this one was worth the trip (and the hike). I still contend that we should have rented donkeys though. I bet donkeys like hikes, they live for this, they’re top-of-the-mountain-selfie-kings.
I’m glad we decided not to walk to all five of the villages but I am also glad that we mustered up the courage to tackle this climb to a couple. Even after climbing Mt Everest a couple days ago.
Side note: I don’t think you can actually classify those flying things as mosquitos, I’m pretty sure they have to fall in the category of small bird. Terrifying. A traditional fly swatter’s got no chance, you gotta have a full tree branch to fend one off.
11. 11:00AM – Weird habits to pick up when traveling.
I think this guy’s name was Giovanni. Or Angelo. or Lorenzo. After the fourth limoncello, I don’t think we actually cared. They were tasty. And strong. I’m sure he’s killing it with sales to the hiker’s on the path but maybe he should open a second location down in town.
By the way, I’m all for you picking up some culture when we travel but did you really have to pick up the habit of cigs? I’m hoping the long plane ride home rids you of that one. Così è la vita!
12. 11:30AM – Tobias and Amelie
I’m thankful for meeting folks along the way. One of the things I was most worried about before heading out on a long trip like this was that I was going to have to come up with words to use like everyday. Thankfully we met a few folks along the way to ease that burden.
This was Tobias and Amelie from Austria. They were great! But I’ll admit, I did cringe a ton for the first couple of days when you kept asking them about the Sydney Opera House, kangaroos, and kept saying things like, “gooday mate!” and “throw another shrimp on the barbie.” It wasn’t until the third day when he finally broke down and told you that Australia and Austria aren’t the same place and that if the best cultural references we as American’s have is movies then we should be thinking in terms of the von Trapps and not the Dundee’s. Whatever Tobias, America’s still better than your rinky-dink nation. These colors don’t run.
13. 12:00PM – Cliches
Because I’m the most romantic guy you’ve ever married, I went ahead and scheduled one of them fancy romantic storybook things to do: renew our vows on the water with a boat load of pirates watching!
You looked great in your dress and I know I was banging in my white pants and shoes. It’s also pretty fortuitous that lady just carried around a bridesmaid dress with her generally on every vacation so she could stand in for us. Bummed that the priest got captured by the pirates but it was good that the best man/husband/one-button-down-too-many dude could fill in on short notice. English definitely wasn’t his first language but I think he made it work with the little bit he knew (the lyrics to “My Humps”).
Aside: Do you find it weird that pirates like to watch weddings or is that just me?
14. 12:30PM – Cliches pt 2
Who can resist a beautiful view and a non-overused gesture for taking couples pictures? Not me! I loved this place (it felt like what I think Hawaii might feel like, or at least what I see on those HGTV shows in Hawaii). Hand-hearts for the win!
15. 1:00PM – On the road again…
As much as I loved our time along the Mediterranean coast (and we’ll be back), I didn’t love that the Airbnb description of “full studio apartment” failed to include we’d be sharing the single room and two twin beds with the homeowners themselves. Italian couples seem to argue a lot. And I don’t think they loved the fact that you kept smoking in the house, but hey man, it’s Italy. “Stupidi Americani!”
Here was the train ride that took us from the beach to Venice; thanks Corona, we had it mostly to ourselves! Save for that weird who kept asking if we liked beef jerky.
16. 1:30PM – Pole dancing in Venice, Italy
Get your mind out of the gutter!
Venice is beautiful but their poles to anchor the boats have a lot of splinters! They should consider getting some sandpaper for them. It might have been better if I was able to just hope on and hop off real quick but I wanted this picture and you wouldn’t take it until you finished your cigarette. Man, addictions are hard.
The things I selectively remember from Venice: more iPad photogs; boats; the smells of sea animal death; art; and Art (who could forget Art, he was hilarious!)
17. 2:00PM – Art
Venice was full of art. I didn’t understand most of it because I don’t understand most of art. But Art, I understood Art. That card trick he did is still blowing my mind.
It was kind of that iPad photographer to grab this shot of us looking at some art in one of the galleries. I think this piece was titled, “Cinnamon Bun.” Or at least that’s what Art called it.
18. 2:30PM – Man I miss that shirt.
Thankfully, after a full day in Venice… you can sort of, kind of, possibly not notice the smell as much. Enough so that we could at least get out and visit with some folks on the evening square.
You looked great and that shirt I had was banging. I wish I still had that shirt.
Crazy to think that we got robbed at the hostel and the only things that were stolen were this shirt and my bracelets. Italians, man. (Surely it wasn’t Art, right?)
19. 3:00PM – Gay Paris!
Ever since rocking 3 years of French in high school with Mrs Martinez, I’ve known Paris is a place I needed to see at least once. No doubt that Mrs Martinez has succumbed to father time, diabetes, or heart disease by this point but I know she’d be proud that I was able to use the 6-8 words I learned in her classes.
“Je m’appelle Grégoire” and “Aimez-vous vraiment la viande de canard?” (which translates roughly to, “do you really like to eat duck? you’re weird”)
We went ahead and ran through the Louvre to see a few things, the Mona Lisa was a little smaller than I imagined but it was still cool to say that we saw it.
20. 3:30PM – Cafes and coffee and bikes and tomatoes (but no duck)
Paris was cool. Less iPads and more berets. I thought it was pretty cool when they asked me to sing, “Champs-Élysées” to the whole restaurant and it was cool that you didn’t just walk out. You just puffed that cigarette like a boss, only this time you upped your game with one of those long cigarette holder things. So baller of you. I did think it was weird when they asked me to sing it again and allowed folks to throw tomatoes at me but I guess that’s just something they do to welcome folks. Guess I shouldn’t have slept through that day in French 2 class. (By the way, in 20 years, your throwing arm has really gotten strong, you should start throwing batting practice to the boys!)
No Paris trip is complete without a trip to the Tower de Eiffel. It was lit up beautifully and I don’t think anybody even minded that I looked like I had just taken a bath in tomato juice! Parisians aren’t nearly as bad as most people say. I’d say on a rudeness scale from 1-100, they rank at about New Jersey.
21. 4:00PM – Oops
How that get in there?! That’s from the private collection!