Why you say? WHY NOT??

For some reason, crossing a big wide ocean is like going to the moon for some (even though no one has ever been there either, don't get me started) ANYWAY. Experiencing another culture is not just gazing at typical attractions but shifting your eyes to the lifestyles of the locals. These people remind us that there is more to life than work. More to work than profit. It’s ok to linger, its necessary to USE the benches in the park. And a picnic blanket is a staple in your life.

This is not vacationing. It’s traveling. It's work, but the most rewarding and life-changing journey to take. These will be the memories we will share with our kids.


Having kids may not be the reason we are going. But not having kids is the reason we can.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Change of plans.

Our second day in Venice became our third day..., on the second day. Our delicately layed out schedule had us going to Verona today BUT apparently ALL of Italy went on strike. This meant NO public transportation for us. No boat to the train station, NO train to take us to Verona, and NO reception desk clerk. TIME TO CHANGE CLOTHES AND CHANGE ITINERARY!
This tragedy was quickly dismissed when we made our way to the Venetian Market. Fresh food heaven! Produce/Fresh, colorful, vibrant and the grapes were huge! Meats/Chickens with heads and feet attached, Fish/Octopus and fish we have never seen before. Watching the local market workers clean the fish right in front of you was a treat! These fish are an every day occurrence here in Venice, but many are something rare to even GET in our country.

Here is a collection of some great photos of our day out and about in Venice.

Venice is definitely on the top 10 most romantic citys. We will definitely come back!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Au revoir Paris,.....Buongiorno Venice

We rolled into Venice at the train station early in the morning.  The early morning rain reminded us that we were in a new place.  Riding a train overnight had been a fun experience and we were looking forward to the next time we'd be back on one.  Liz was at her skills immediately, directing us through the new territory. A vaporetta (water bus) got us within walking distance of our hotel.  Our first exploration on Venetian streets was locating our accommodations.  The misty morning was refreshing and didn't keep us from reaching our destination.  We were soon in the reception area of our next 'palace' (as they call them here).

Wasting no time, we got our bags settled and were out to explore & eat.
 An instant favorite was discovered! In an area not frequented by tourists, we came upon Al Cova
 A place that is owned by a Venetian and co-run by his american bride of 26 years, it exceeded our expectations.

A highlight for us all was the zucchini flowers that were lightly dusted with flour and stuffed with cheese. YUM.
The food fueled our site seeing to new heights.  We made our way to Piazzo San Marco, which is the most famous square in Venice. Climbing the Campanile (bell tower) gave us great views of most of venice.
 Before we headed to dinner, we enjoyed a ride on the canals by gondola.  Its a form of transportation dating way back into venice's history.  

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Lourve

Im glad to see that mom is paying attention, and she is RIGHT. We have not blogged YET about our last day in Paris. Maybe its because we spent the night on a trian. It was....and ExPeRiEnCe. We were first class...........nothing like a cabin with 2 sets of bunk beds and a door that locks. Lol. We were too wound up to get any GREAT sleep on the train like we had hoped. BUT back to our last day in Paris. We said goodbye to our adorable little hotel,...had brunch at an old favorite of me and Coreys--Angelinas.

Of course not to forget, getting my anniversary gift! 7 years! Tiffany's Pearl Earrings. I FINALLY have my pearl earrings. Happy Anniversary to us. :)

The lourve was.....crowded! Little did we know that the museum was FREE today...too bad I bought tickets ahead of time. Let me know if you need 4 tickets. :) Because of this fact, it was pretty busy. We saw some great things; Venus de Milo, The Turkish Bath, Winged Victory of Somothrace, Mona Lisa, And the Italian Sculpture...as well as Michelangelo's pieces and wandered into room after room. Getting lost in the art. The sculptures were a favorite to explore.

 We had just enough time to have one last meal in Paris before bustling off to our train station. Ryan won this one with his Famous French Beef Bourguignon With Steamed Potatoes at Cafe Flemme. With a New Fav Beer "1664" Cant wait to see if Global Brew carrys this!.

Back to the train ride to Venice.....

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Today we traveled out of Paris to the Royal Residence of the Past King Louis and Queen Marie Antoinette.
Not without our groceries! We decided to act as locals and pick up our yummies from the local store to snack on while in the Versailles gardens.

Versallies is most impressive. Massive and detailed. It was amazing to see how royalty lived, while the common people were living in poverty. We finished off our exploration of this palace with a Serenade in the Hall of Mirrors, and a gorgeous fountain/fire/llight/and fireworks show. We fought our way through 20,000 people who attended that show, just to make it back to the LAST train to Paris. We weren't done yet! 1 am was the perfect time for a crepe at the Eiffel Tower.

Day 2....feels like a month!

We have done SO much already, feels like we have been in Paris for a MONTH.
Here are a FEW highlights.
We were speechless when we visited Paris's Catacombs. At the end of the 18th century, over two million peoples BONES were relocated 50 feet beneath the city. We traveled down there... and It smelled better than Ryan expected. :) The bones were artfully stacked and arranged for our viewing pleasure. We were down there for about an hour. This much time, that far under, with so many bones.....made us slap happy. Amber realized that she liked to touch the bones., Corey and Ryan...not so much. It was ok with me, but didn't find it as enticing as Amber did. As you see below. LOL

The Surprise is OUT!
Ryans big SURPRISE was an evening at the Ecole Ritz Escoffier Paris.
Corey and I treated Ryan to a once in a lifetime Culinary experience.
3 Hours cooking at one of the best culinary schools.
We got to watch for a few minutes, and take a few photos...but when we left, we were worried that maybe Ryan was a bit too advanced for this class...as you see here. Ryan and the Chef were about the ONLY ones who knew how to handle that lobster. Through a translator, he was taught the techniques of french cuisine. He hopes to apply these techniques very soon. What are they you wonder? You will just have to find out....the yummy way.

Restaurant Capucine
Pan-Fried Duck Foie Gras Escalopes, apple and Balsamique Juice
This was Ambers dish! And our favorite dinner so far!
Our service was impeccable and the food did not disappoint!
Other things to stand out on the menu was the spicy beef tar tar, seared duck, and filet of sea bass.
And for dessert, chocolate profiteroles.
We just couldnt help to mention those other dishes.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

FOOD POST! Jerry gave us a great idea, 1 food post a day. And that is definitely an easy thing to do. You cant walk 1 block without wishing you could sit in EVERY cafe, and EVERY restaurant. So much charm and appeal. Persians sitting. Thats the usual setting. So much so that Amber is trying to figure out if anyone here works. :)
Our first lunch was a bit overwhelming. We found a lovely corner cafe where we dined outside. La Taverne De L'arbre Sec....Off the beated path and No english on the menu, so you KNOW its good, and scarey.
This was one of our favorite-unique dishes from yesterday.
 Tartare d'avocat, crevettes de mague
Shrimp Tar Tar with avacado and mango. AMAZING. And what better way to nibble this down than on a crunchy banquette!

We did our best to ignore JET LAG and hit some great sights on our first day. At sunset, we made our way to the Eiffel Tower, its unveiling was amazing as we rounded the corner. This was indeed the BEST way to end our day. Sitting on the grass, enjoying a bottle of wine, waiting for that moment. That moment when they flip the switch and the lights come on. Breathtaking! "I want one"/

Leaving on a Jet Plane

So if its not hard enough to pack efficiently for a multi-stop international trip, you also have to get there! That can sometimes be stressful and complicated.  Not for this trip!  Thanks to a gracious co-worker, Cari H., she made getting to the airport a breeze.  Then while waiting, we just happened to 'bump' into Will S. at our gate.  He generously hung out with us and made waiting time fly by. (no pun intended)  To both of these people, we owe a great thanks.  We were on our way to Chicago for our connecting international flight.
 The 45 minutes took no time at all.  Safely touched down and made our way swiftly to our gate where they were already boarding.  We took to the skies with great weather and the prospect of touching down early.
 The super smooth flight was very enjoyable.  We all managed to take in a movie before a nice little snooze.
The view from the skies was gorgous.
 We made it safely to the other side of the pond.  Its been a long fun day and we'll update in the morning.