Congratulations All Around

Lots of things to be happy for the past few days… thought it deserved a post on the spot.

Michelle – To grad school and beyond! Hoping to hear about the NPR story too =).
– Bryan – Welcome back to the west coast. Many Vegas, snowboarding, and surfing expeditions to come….
– Jieae + Laurie – Congrats on the grad school acceptances my Italian friends! Even though you are going to the dark side, keep in mind that you will always be a bear. Go Bears!
Jess – Congrats on the new job!!
Potter Puppet Pals – congrats to winning the YouTube video awards! I knew it was a winner.

Did I miss anything? Let me know so I can update this post.

Spring is here. Put those poopy faces away.

UPDATED 3/26: Added a few more congratulations!!

Plugging Back In

Back in Rome … the last week has been a blur with Tuscany, a little bit of Venice, and the Amalfi coast which = good food, monuments, more good food, and amazing art. I am first to admit that I went through some slight internet withdrawl. Crazy how much I rely on the internet.

I hate to admit it but I think I am officially sick of Italian food. Looking forward to some ramen, pho, kung pao chicken, burritos, curry… pretty much anything. Don’t get me wrong, we have been very blessed (or tainted, depending on how you view it) by amazing food here, and I will miss it.. but like all things, I’ve reached my limit.

Anyway, we fly back tomorrow morning. More trip details, more food details, and photos all to come later. I’m simply too pooped at the moment.

Buonasera! Actually, for those folks on the west coast, it might actually be morning… so Buongiorno!

All Roads Lead To Rome

It is 5:35 AM right now… and I can’t sleep. Not sure if it is because I am too excited because we head to Florence today or if it is because I had a too much grappa (maybe too little?) with dinner last night. Anyway, I figure this is the perfect time to write this blog, so here it goes.

It has been pretty wet here but we haven’t let it damper our spirit (or our stomachs). I actually think the rain might have actually enhanced some of our experiences here… aka walking around the Colosseum while the rain came down was pretty intense. Unfortunately for Laurie and Jieae, they had to deal with all the one liners I recalled from Gladiator. Anyway, here are a few lists to sum up Rome.

My two favorite sights of Rome:
1. The Colosseum – the fact that this ancient stadium can seat up to 70,000 people is insane. Big thumbs up. (mental image: me sitting in the stands giving the thumbs up to a gladiator…)
2. Museum Borghese – Situated in the beautiful Villa Borghese gardens, this museum rocks. Beautiful from the outside and filled with mind blowing Bernini sculptures. Also interesting is the fact that it is so small. We had to make a reservation two days in advance for a two hour appointment in the museum (seriously, they kick you out after two hours). Two hours well spent.

My two favorite restaurants of Rome: (for those foodies out there, Jieae is keeping close photo records of all the food we eat.. expect a post on this when I get home)
1. Le Sorelle (The sisters) – The short, stocky sister was our waitress. The fresh pasta with bacon.. the mushroom risoto.. all incredible. We need one of these in San Fran.
2. La Cicala e la Formica – You can’t beat this little place for lunch. 5£ for a plate of fresh penne with olive marinara, it was very difficult to not order it twice in one sitting! Also, something about the daily handwritten and photocopied menu makes it very… cozy.

Some other random stuff on my mind:
1. The stomach is a powerful body part – I calculated that we probably spend half our waking hours either in the process of eating (walking to food, reading a menu, deciding on where to eat, etc.) or actually eating.
2. Would you like food with that wine? – I think one root cause of (1) might be the fact that wine seems to be the drink of choice with every meal (don’t worry, I’m not including breakfast). I’m hoping it isn’t just an urban legend that a glass of wine a day is actually healthy…
3. Get an Italian-English dictionary. How else will you be able to interpret all the gelato flavors? I’d say this is pretty critical.
4. Museum audioguides – I am officially addicted to these. Walking around the museum like you are on the telephone looks retarded, but the stories behind the art are what really get me going. The 5£ are well worth the expense.

All Hail Caesar!

Greetings from Rome! After a grueling 14 hours of travel, we finally made it. All I have to say is that this city is simply amazing. Something about the cobble stone streets and the old massive cathedrals makes me want to slow my life down, have a cup of coffee, and watch people stroll by. In our first day we already got to check out some core attractions… but instead of boring you with all the details, I will post my pictures when I get home.

Here are a few things I have already learned so far:
1. Kids are clever. Laurie almost got picked by these little girls on the subway (granted, there wasn’t anything to steal besides her Lonely Planet book…). Luckily, a nice local woman tipped us off on what was happening.
2. Italian buildings blow my mind. If you are into architecture at all.. you have to come here.
3. Eggplant pizza is extremely awesome. Do I need to say more?

Time for breakfast and another action packed day. Ciao!