Sunday, December 16, 2012

In Which I Boil Down a Two-Week Vacation into a Single Post

The nice thing about not sharing a blog with the Husband is that he sometimes writes about events in detail, which spares me from having to do the same.  So, if you want all the details about our big trip, check out his blog, where he has recounted the whole thing.  We did a lot of amazing things so I'm glad he got into the nitty gritty of it.  I'm also glad because now I can just whittle the whole trip down to a single top ten list.  It's numerical (duh) but not ordered in importance.  Well, except for #1. 

(I should also say that one of the highlights of any trip, regardless of the destination, is the company you have.  Drewbles is always good company, but it was fun to spend so much time with Elise and Jeff throughout.  Jeff is a pro navigatron and Elise makes awesome sandwiches.  Of course it was nice to see Emily and KC again too, who are excellent hosts with excellent food.)

1)  The Colosseum.  

This building (or the remains thereof) has had a special, large chunk of my heart ever since it almost singlehandedly led to my decision to switch from Illustration to Art History in college.  It's so grand and old and Roman!  
This was a recurring theme of the trip, but it is so strange to see something in person that a) you never thought you would see for yourself and b) you'd only seen in pictures.  In some ways it was hard to even grasp that this was, in fact, the ACTUAL Colosseum.  I am still processing this, but as it is, I loved it and stroked the travertine with much fondness (I tried to find patches that looked less tourist-touched).  
2) Food!

We ate SO much food and it was all so good.  A few of my personal highlights were: the sandwiches Elise made for our trip to NYC.  Yes, they were just meat and cheese (turkey and provolone, if I remember correctly?) on potato bread, but I was so hungry and I will never, ever forget those sandwiches.  

*Ahem*  Aside from those delicious things, the breakfast buffet on the ship was truly magnificent (aside from their dry bagels and low-fat cream cheese--travesties, both). Gelato and pizza in Italy were always winners and the nightly sourdough rolls at dinner were my favorites.  Also, there was a turkey and Swiss panini I got more than once from room service.  Free room service!  That's how life should be.
Chocolate gelato in Florence!  It's amazing Drew got any of this.
Pizza in Pompei!
More gelato in Rome!
 3) The D.C. Museums

Because my trip tunnel vision was focused on the Colosseum, I didn't really stop to think about, you know, the Smithsonian and stuff.  We spent most of our first day in D.C. at various (free!) museums, and I was both amazed and impressed at what we saw.  There were so many artists and paintings that I have loved and never seen myself, like Gilbert Stuart and John Singleton Copley.  Be still, my American art-loving heart. 

The other highlight, which must be mentioned, was seeing the ACTUAL Star-Spangled Banner.  For some reason, I did not expect this flag to be real (???) or to still exist.  And then it was just THERE in its own exhibit and it was just amazing to me.  It was so large, so grand full of holes from Americans wanting souvenirs. 

4) The David

Here's a secret: I have never loved Michelangelo's David.  I always preferred (and still do) Bernini's version.  But I will say that seeing Michelangelo's in person was really quite awe-inspiring.  Awe-inspiring enough to not notice the hordes of people everywhere. 

5) Arts

So many arts!  So many things I have only seen in slides!  I saw some Caravaggio, some Gentileschi, some El Greco, some Velasquez, a copy of Laocoon, some John Singer Sargent, some many beautiful things.  I bought many postcards and a guidebook from almost every museum.

6) The European Coast

Um...need I say more?  (No.)

7) London!

Okay, our time here was short (exTREMEly short on the way over), but it was so delightful and inspiring to be back on English soil, even if it was only Heathrow soil.  I'm happy to say that we loaded up on pretty much every English chocolate and candy we could.  And no, we have not eaten it all yet because I want to keep it forever. 


8) Markets

So many markets!  And so many delicious looking things!  I don't even know what to do with most of the goods available, but I wanted to buy them based on how pretty they were.  Wouldn't it be amazing to have something like this in our neck of the woods?  The closest comparison I can think of is the Bloomington farmers market and sadly, that is not in my neck of the woods anymore.
The Barcelona market
French market

9) Supreezes: Barcelona and Sorrento

Here's another secret: I have never had any interest in Spain.  I have no explanation or reasoning for this, other than that I can only have so many countries in my heart at once and the ones already there aren't budging.  But both of these cities were such pleasant surprises, and were so pretty and interesting and full of interesting things.  Barcelona had the amazing market, and Sorrento had the ocean views and narrow streets you expect from Europe.

10) Seeing-all-those-things-you-never-think-you'll-actually-see-in-your-lifetime.
(Insert like 20 more pictures here...too much work)
Like I said, this was a recurring theme.  I always have trouble registering when I am in a new place after being hundreds of miles away the day before and this happened many days in a row.  So, I am still absorbing the fact that I have, in fact, seen the Duomo, been to Italy, walked through Pompei and dipped my toes in the chilly Mediterranean.  I will probably still be processing this in a year, but I do really enjoy seeing these places on TV thanks to hours of international House Hunters and recognizing them.  I always SAID I would surely go to this country or that one, but I don't think I ever thought I would ACTUALLY go.  And now I have!  Wacky.  I like this life of mine.

(No, this won't be followed up by a list of 10 Lowlights.  But in case you're wondering, it has one item and it's called "Too many airplanes.")


  1. What a great top-ten list! So much tidier and more concise than my verbose blogposts. Many many famous and beautiful things. (But none more famous or beautiful than you! Yes, you, famous.)

  2. Loved this post, Julie, and enjoyed reminiscing about some of those places we also visited. We LOVED the gelato, too. The best we found was in Luca. I loved that little town. I also loved the markets. I brought back spices and dried dates and figs and tomatoes. I want to go stay one day in Italy but in a place with a kitchen so I can shop and cook with all those amazing ingredients. Looks like you had a great time. It takes awhile to process. I still don't believe I've gotten to see so many of those amazing things. My favorite thing in Rome was the Trevi Fountain. We were meandering through the streets and these tight little alley's and then, all of a sudden, there it was.