Honeymoon Days 4 & 5: Cecina and Volterra, Italy

We easily found our hotel, Hotel San Lino, in the quaint Medieval city. We were happy to find it with a great AC, and a fridge…and a very helpful front desk woman willing to call the airline and explain where to deliver luggage in Italian-to-Italian. Much more reassuring to know they had reconfirmed the hotel location! After our sweaty adventures around Cecina the pool looked awfully inviting, so we changed into suits and took our late lunch picnic to eat on the patio. It felt good to relax, and soak in some sun. We scheduled Volterra as our relaxing stop on the trip, and it felt so good to just chill out for the afternoon by the pool.

In the evening we decided to go to town, and were wandering through shops when we heard drums beating in the street. We had discovered the Medieval Volterra fair kickoff in the center piazza! Totally not in our plan but we decided to check it out. There was a flag throwing display, marching brigades of drummers, trumpets and men yielding crossbows. We watched 4 different groups parade into the square in full Medieval costume, the mayor make a speech, and them all file out again. It was pretty cool.

From the fair we wandered town to get our bearings, then feasted on some amazing gelato. We went back to the hotel to relax before dinner, which ultimately led to us deciding to skip dinner all together and go to bed early.

The next morning we ate breakfast at the hotel, then headed out to explore Volterra. On the way downstairs we got great news: our luggage had arrived! Woohoo!

The usually sleepy town was bustling with visitors for the medieval festival. We decided not to pay admission to see the booths and displays, which sadly kept us from exploring the archeological site where it was all being held. We had a great tour of town though, and spent a good chunk of time exploring the Etruscan museum. It was really well done, and fascinating, but my attention span for absorbing history (especially when getting hungry) is more limited than Matt’s. By the time we moved on to lunch I was turning into a grumpy mess and so we get food pronto. It was a great lunch too…cured meats and different spreads with a small carafe of chilled house white.

We wandered town a while longer, then retired to the pool until the sun went behind the building. Time to get ready for dinner! Since we skipped dinner the previous night we were ready to go out and really find some good Tuscan fare. After not finding our first recommended restaurant, and no space at the second, we ended up at the last table at a classy little place off of one of the main streets: Ombra Della Sera.

It first caught our eye because it was a) packed, b) had house wine, and c) a good looking menu (although that was through piecing together Italian key words…we took no translations as a good sign). Dinner was excellent. The long menu was almost too much to deal with, and we started asking questions when they pulled out an English version. Oh so much better! And interesting! A big part of this trip was trying regional dishes, and we wanted something really Tuscan, not just Italian. We were also big into eating light lunches so that at dinner we could enjoy all the italian courses. We immediately knew what to get when we saw it.

Antipasti: prosciutto and melon (I had been eyeing this the whole trip)
Soup: traditional Volterra bean soup
Primi: pappardelle with hare sauce
Secondi: braised wild boar

Wow what a meal! Every single course was amazing. Plus, it was some of the best service we had on the whole trip. Great dinner. Then I am pretty sure we got more gelato.

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Honeymoon Days 1 – 3: Seattle to Rome, Italy

Written September 4th, 2012 in Venice, Italy

First of all, flying out after work around 6’oclock was totally perfect for avoiding jet lag. Matt and I slept the whole way to Amsterdam, then again on the flight to Rome. Perhaps the sleeping to Rome had something to do with our exhaustion after sprinting through our connection in Amsterdam. We made it to the gate just as it was closing. We arrived in Rome the late afternoon. And when I say “we” I just mean Matt and I. Our luggage was somewhere still in Amsterdam. Luckily we planned for this and had a weeks worth of clothes and critical things in our carry on, so we gave our travel information to the barely-speaking-English desk attendant and left praying that we would be reunited with our luggage at some point.

We found a bus to take us to Rome, and then trekked to our B&B that was 2 blocks from the Colosseum. Awesome location! We had made hotel reservations for all our italy stops early and it helped us just get to the sites rather than search upon arrival. Someday I hope we do an unplanned trip, but this was not going to be that one.

B&B Aleskia was a beautiful, small place, with only three rooms, but it had a view of the Colosseum, air conditioning and a fridge. (the latter two we learned over the course of the trip are pretty high on our future criteria list). It was so hot in Rome. Well, it was pretty much hot the whole trip, but this was the first taste of it for our poor Pacific Northwest skin.

We rinsed off the sweat and took an evening walk around the Colosseum at sunset on our way to find dinner. We ate at a little place called Il Clemintina. We were so excited to finally get some legitimate Italian food in our bellies. We shared a carafe of house red, bruschetta, fried zucchini flowers, a prosciutto pasta, and saltimbocca. Oh yum. It was great.

The next morning we DID Rome. Rome is big, and there is a lot to see, so we headed out early with a rough plan of attack. And we did it. A few priorities: we did not want to pay entrance admission to things, we wanted to maximize good photography light on things if possible, and we planned to walk all of it. Mission accomplished. Trevi Fountain was amazing. The Vatican was very impressive (with an equally impressive line to go into St. Peter’s so we will do that next time). Rome’s abundance of free, cold water meant our Nalgene was always full. We ate pizza for lunch near the Vatican, then continued on with ever tiring feet. Uneven cobbled streets really wear on feet waking all day! Gelato in the afternoon was a well deserved treat.

After coming back with sore feet and drenched with sweat, we showered then waiting till sunset to venture out for dinner. The heat of the day was waning, and we enjoyed a long stroll along the Colosseum before a somewhat odd dinner at a random restaurant we stumbled upon. Good food, very bizarre atmosphere and even more bizarre service. At least Matt could check carbonara off his list of things to eat in Rome!

Rome was beautiful, but after such a long hot day in a city, the next morning we were ready to get to the Tuscan countryside.

Buon Viaggio!

Tomorrow is the day! We are headed off for three weeks of honeymooning relaxation and adventure. Matt’s mom is taking us to the airport, where we fly to Rome to start our epic Mediterranean tour. We are so excited for the food, culture and sunshine! I am pretty sure “excited” does not do our anticipation justice. The tickets are printed, passports in the to go pile, and bags getting closer to being packed. We received news last night that we got upgraded to a $3,200 per person verandah room on our cruise! Woohoo! Excitement just went up another notch (if that was even possible).

Wedding Planning: Honeymoon – Itinerary A

Snow + a new fast computer = HONEYMOON PLANNING!

This is the last real “big” part of our wedding that we needed to tackle. With all the other big things out of the way (all that is left is little details: painting, send invites, seat assignments, table runners etc) we really needed to buckle down and start getting some dates on the calendar.

A few months ago we finally decided that our honeymoon destination was Italy. Romantic, warm, historic, great food…sounds awesome right? We had picked our wedding date so that we could have 3 weeks off between getting hitched and me starting grad school. Now, what to do with 3 weeks?

We also decided that we would like to try to incorporate a cruise into the itinerary. We found a stunning 12 day Mediterranean cruise that leaves in and out of Venice, and decided that is the one we wanted. Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Monenegro, Italy…ahhh! Now all we have to do is wait till it is closer so that we can book it with Matt’s discount. With the cruise, we will have a full 7 days in Italy prior to stepping on board the ship. This weekend we figured out where those 7 days will be spent. Now, it is not easy picking just 7 days worth of destinations. I was dying to see the Amalfi Coast, Matt wanted to show me Florence (where he lived for a summer), and with guidebooks galore we had a list a mile long. Eventually we had to buckle down and get realistic. We would keep our trip north of Pinned ImageRome since that is where we planned to fly into, and we only have a week to get to Venice from there. We also ditched Florence since we had both been there, and know that we will go back one day. Result: a wonderful sounding 7 day itinerary that balances city with countryside, relaxation with a little more adventure. I cannot wait!

Days 1 & 2 – Rome

Days 3 & 4 – Volterra

Days 5 & 6 – Santa Margherita Ligure

Day 7 – Venice

Days 8 – 20 CRUISE!!!

Oh man, I am so excitedPinned Image!

Ok, but the reality of this plan is that it may not happen. The cruise discount deal is something that we will not be able to book until 3 months out. Eek! This means that we need a backup plan, Itinerary B. Once we get our Rome hotel booked (the only one left now!) we can start brainstorming what this backup may look like!

Then I get to start planning my honeymoon wardrobe 🙂 Can’t you just see me running around Greece in this?

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