Thursday, August 21, 2008

Little Ole Me

This time it's just me. All by my lonesome from St. Petersburg, FL. So, you'll have to forgive me if this post is lacking in amusing quips. Patrick really is the brains of this operation but unfortunately, he's up in Tally-Ho without a computer and I'm alllll the way down here!

Pat and I talked and decided that we were going to keep up this blogging business. Not because we think people are all that interested in our regular lives (as opposed to our lives when were gallivanting around Italy), but because we are both amused when we go back and read it and thought it would be a good way to document all the fun stuff that happens.

I figured that I oughtta do a little round up of our trip. After our last blog in Florence, we had one last very emotional (and not just for me, whether he admits it or not) night in Rome. We ended up staying out waaaaay to late, just walking around the city, taking tons of pictures and trying to pretend that our honeymoon wasn't over. The tallies are in and I believe the count of pictures we took is over 3,000. You can check my FB but Patrick took the majority of them, and he's becoming quite the photographer! I hope to post some of them soon once he gets done working his magic!

So, as I said before, I'm back down in St. Pete getting ready to start school on Monday. Patrick's up in Tallahassee working and looking for a new car to replace the truck tried to spar with the semi. Honestly, it blows. We're newlyweds and don't even get to enjoy it ... yet. But, we will and the time apart will make October 1 and the following months and 80+ years of wedded bliss that much sweeter!

I suppose that's all for now. Hopefully the next installment will contain some of Patrick's wit!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Coming to an end ...

Our honeymoon is coming to an end, and way too quickly.

The ride back from Venice to Florence was much more pleasant than the one there. Our seats were actually where we had chosen, the train wasn't packed, and there were no stinkies. It was quite a feat for us to make it to the train on time, since the previous night, our last night in Venice, we had 1.5 liters of the house wine. It was delicious but we are lightweights and it was interesting trying to get back to our hotel that night. We'll share some pics of Pat in a state of uncontrolable laughter upon our return.

Once we arrived in Florence, we found our hotel which is suuuuper nice. Even better than the one in Venice! We are definitely 4 for 4 on picking the accomodations. We're right on the Arno river and have our own little balcony with a river view.

After checking into the hotel, Patrick wanted to walk to the Fortezza di Belvedere. It's a fort that supposedly has a great view of the entire city. I say supposedly because we never made it. We walked, and walked, and then we climbed for about a mile at about a 45 degree angle UP a HILL. When we finally reached the base of the fort walls, we saw that it was closed. We tried walking around to find a sneaky back entrance, but that place was bunkered down like a keep. It was probably a very effective fortress back when that was its purpose! We went on this hike to avoid having to pay the 10 euro/person for a ticked into the gardens that led to the fort. After walking that far, our calves were on fire so we gave in and paid to enter the gardens from the top instead of the bottom. I wasn't a very happy camper. Because Mr. Cheapo over here didn't want to pay 20 euro, we climbed ... and ended up paying the 20 euro anyway. But, I'm glad we did because the view from the Boboli Gardens was AMAZING. We took lots of pics but the weird indian guys who own this internet point won't let us download anything onto the computers. At least they don't smell bad.

Today, we saw the David. Patrick and I are two people of the same heart. We know how to do the museums right. One lap, no stopping (except for The David itself) and out. Museums are for the boring. And the weak. The David was pretty cool though.

After our brief stent in the Accademia, Patrick drug me around town. In all we counted we walked about 8 miles and saw a wholelotta nothin, which is just about everything there is to see in Florence. This is definitely our least fave city yet! Ok, we see the crazy indians approaching .... I think our time on the computer is up.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Stinky Frenchies

Yesterday we traveled from Siena to Florence to Venice. We've decided that it was, without question, the worst traveling experience yet. The train from Siena to Florence was 25 minutes late. But, we had 40 minutes in between connecting trains so, no big deal. When the day turned sour was when this french couple sat down behind us. And they smelled of rancid old onions mixed with sweat. UGH. The highlight of the ride was a man we lovingly referred to as fashion designer man, as he was dressed in a white linen suit, a neon lime green shirt with an orange scarf to accent. He did not appreciate anyone sitting next to him, especially the stinky frenchies. We thought that would be the worst train ride ever, until we boarded the train from Florence to Venice. We weren't sitting together nor were any of the passengers near us very courteous. Basically, it sucked. But, that just made our arrival in Venice that much sweeter! Especially once we found the hotel and learned that we had the nicest room in the place, complete with a glass chandalier and fresco on the ceiling. Niiiiice.

Venice has the best weather out of any city we've been to, if you can ignore the occasional stench of fish wafting through the alleyways. The streets are packed but that's nothing new compared to Rome! We took a Gondola ride last night and that was absolutely beautiful! Pretty much out of a movie: The Newlyweds take a romantic gondala ride on their honeymoon to Italy. The Gondalier - or Gondola Man as we like to call him - talked about all the architecture and different spots along the ride, and honked before we rounded a corner by SHOUTING some Italian that we couldn't understand. Every shout followed by 'This my horn.' Today we visited Palazzo Ducale which is a palace that was occupied by some important people. We didn't care enough to read all of the signs around the place to tell us why it was so important, we were too busy sneaking picutres in the 'No Foto' area, for which Patrick got reamed out by the Italian museum federale.

An interesting competition that Patrick and I have begun since we've been here is who can take a picture of the shortest, tightest man shorts in Italy. I am currently winning with a sexy little white number, complete with the bottom of the cheeks hanging out the back. We will definitely post all of our competition photos for your viewing pleasure at a later date.

We're off to dinner at a restaurant recommended for its authentic Venetian food by our hotel's front desk clerk. Yum yum.

Tomorrow we head to Florence to see The David! On top of our exhaustion, we're beginning to feel bummed that our trip is coming to an end :( But, we're trying to look at is as a beginning instead!

Buona Sera!

Pat & Riley

Friday, August 8, 2008

Un giorno interssante

This picture illustrates what you may look like after consuming 1 liter of red wine and wandering around the city for two hours. However, we weren't exactly wandering on foot. We got on bus No. 10, the bus our hotel told us to take. Little did we know that bus No. 10 has two different routes. One that goes outside the city, to some little town called Bellverde. Another that stays around town and stops at Via Orlandoi, the road on which our hotel is located. Well, as you can probably tell, we went to Belleverde. Then, after returning to the city (where we started int he first place) and riding for about another hour, we decided to take our chaces, pressed the "fermata prenotata" button and hopped off. Hence, the look of confusion and anguish in our faces. Actually, not anguish because we were just laughing at ourselves by the this point.

Our obsevation about everything in Italy running late still holds true. After a half day in Pisa taking goofy pictures, we made it to the train station at 15:42 when the train back to Siena was scheduled to leave at 15:38. We decided to make a run for it and made it in plenty of time to hop on, take a seat, and a nap, and have a snack, before departing :) But not before validating our tickets - which we neglected to do on our way from Siena to Pisa this morning, when the train driver just made a "tsk tsk" noise and said "No stamp." How is it that they know we're American?? He was nice enough to leave a little note on the back of the ticket for the next conductor so we didn't get kicked off.

Oh, and one more even of note. Patrick and I tasted the best thing of our entire lives today. And it wasn't the roasted rabbit sauce Patrick ordered on his pasta (which was not so delicious ... poor Ryan Seacrest) It was la pizza Italiana from La Speranza restaraunt. Pizza with buffalo mozzarella, baked cherry tomatoes (Yes, I loved it even WITH the tomatoes!) and basil. Yum yum! Patrick says That alone was worth the trip :)

There are so many other things to note but, we're exhausted! We're headed to Venice in the morning for some shopping and a Gondola ride. Sorry that this edititon of "The Life of Riley (and Patrick, I guess :)" didn't contain any witty remarks. We're too tired to think and will try to be more entertaining in our next episode.

Until then, Buona Notte!!


Pat & Ri

p.s. For those who have been inquiring - my Italian has been ... sufficient. Better than I expected it to be since it's been over a year since I've had to use it, but not as good as I wish it was! Pat likes putting me into positions where I am forced to speak Italian. I don't know if he likes to see me squirm, or really has faith in me. Either way, I'll thank him for it later since it's given me a chance to practice!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day 2 a Roma e Day 3 a Siena (so far...)

Buon Giorno,

We've all heard it said that you can't conquor Rome in a day. Well, we just about did. We saw every major monument in the city, along with some not so major sights, with the exception of the Pantheon yesterday. We toured Il Colloseo with those neat little audio guides that you hold up to your ear and tell you what you're looking at. Then we moved on to Il Foro (The Forum) and then some big white building that we think may be the Capital Building. It's one of our favorite things to see and we're not even sure what it is! Next we rode our City Sightseeing Bus (THE best idea on the trip yet ...) to La Capella Sistina and Musei Vaticani. And of course, we spent LOTS of time in Bascillica di San Pietro (The Vatican!!) You should have seen Pat's face. Well, you will because I took a picture!! Pure amazement.

Towards the end of the evening we went to Piazza Spagna (Spanish steps) on our way to which we also passed Chanel, Dior, Armani, Baby Dior and MAC - where I bought makeup remover for TWENTY EURO! But, it was a necessity! Last but not least, we went and threw a coin in La Fontana di Trevi. And somewhere in between all that we also saw Castel di Saint Angelo, Piazza del Popolo and the rest of the city by bus.

Whew!! Needless to say, we were ready for a break. But, breaks are only for the weak so we woke up early this morning and jumped on a train to Siena. And of course, it was running 31 minutes late which put us arriving in Florence 11 minutes after our bus to Siena was scheduled to depart. However, for those who know of some of my adventures from my last trip, we know that everything in Italy is slow, and we were able to make it to the bus, load the luggage, take a nap and have a snack before it ever departed for Siena ;) Today in Siena Pat and I have just spent the day enjoying the city and seeing my old stompin' grounds. And let me tell you, we were feeling adventurous!! We stopped by the Duomo but sleveless shirts aren't allowed, so we couldn't go in. Hopefully tomorrow!

In the morning, we head to Pisa for a few hours to get the obligatory pictures of us trying to hold up the leaning tower. We have some exciting variations in mind so hopefully ours won't be just yur run-of-the-mill Pisa pictures :)

So far, Pat loves Siena and I am remembering why I loved it so much before! Keep checking in and we'll post when we can!

A presto,
The Lovely Couple

p.s. please excuse the typos. I'm on a European keyboard and am trying not to waste money to fix the mistakes! Hopefully you get my drift!!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day 1 a Roma!

On the metro ride over here, Pat and I were trying to think of what we wanted to say on here and here's what we've come up with so far.

First, we wanted to say how absolutely amazing our wedding was. In Patrick's words ''I think one word sums it up. Starts with a P and ends with and ERFECT.'' We had a blast and I dare say that most of our guests had a blast as well. We couldn't have hoped for a better night to start out our lives together! It was definitely worth all the stress and hard work that went into everything.

For those who don't already know, we had a slight blip in our pre-wedding bliss when Patrick decided to tango with a semi on I-95. Although the semi driver ''Thought he killed that boy,'' Pat only had a few scratches and bruises. And that, my friends, is what we call a miracle. The his valliant garnet & gold ford ranger was not so lucky. But that's okay - New Car!

Anywho, we spent a few days in Houston before travelling on to Italy and it was so much fun. We got to visit with my 93-year-old Great Grandmother and she is just amazing. We learned a lot from just spending the day with her. We advise everyone who knows someone who has experiences that much in their life to spend some time talking with them ASAP!! Because it really is amazing the things they know and love to pass on to us youngins.

Theeeeeeen, we flew to Rome. Well, first it was Newark. WORST flight of my life. I never get motionsickness, not on airplanes, in cars or on rollercoasters. But let me tell you it was a struggle to keep down the pretzels I ate in route. The flight from Newark to Rome was pretty nice. We each had our own little TV and we had a whole roll to ourselves!

We arrived in Rome an hour late and, after some searching, found Florido Severini, our driver. Wooooooow. That's all I can say. I'm pretty sure I was either 1) terrified at his weaving in and out of traffic and passing in the emergency lane or 2) laughing at his profanities and hand motions to the other drivers - the entire drive!

Today so far we say St. Peter's Bascilica, the Roman Forum & Colloseum (although we're going back there tomorrow) Santa Maria Maggiore Cathedral (Pat was AMAZED - can't wait to see his reaction to the Vatican tomorrow!) and a bunch of other stuff that we don't know the names of that we took tons of pictures of from the TOP of a double decker tourbus! Yes, we're going all out, nerdy tourist style - including the cameras aruond the neck :)

Pat just mentioned one other thing we saw today - the back of our eyelids. Oh, wait!! We haven't seen that in a while! So off we go to get some pizza and to get some sleep so we're ready for a FULLL day tomorrow! Day after that, we're off to Siena and hope to catch up with yall again then!

Patrick & Riley LANDY -- (still haven't gotten used to that :)