Friendship is Magic

europe

In Florence, Italy, we ran into these girls who were out experiencing the world. They were from the US, studying abroad. I wanted to take a couple of photos to document their amazing night. I thought I lost these BUT.. here they are girls šŸ˜

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Budapest. A Week with Friends.Ā 

europe

Budapest would probably not have made the list original list, but we could not come to Europe and not visit our friends! Spending a week in the city, living as ex-pats instead of tourists, was an eye-opening experience. We still did all of the touristy bits, like sight seeing and exploring the city, but we also got to meet a lot of great people temporarily living in Budapest, going on with their daily lives. Budapest has a wonderful company that gives free walking tours of the city, including a general tour, a communism tour, a tour of the Jewish district, and a pub tour. We learned a lot about the city and the history of Hungary. With more information to come in a guide to Budapest, here are some of our favorite photos!






Santorini. Santo. Rini. Saint. Peace.Ā 

europe

After a few days in Athens, we were ready to pack up and board the plane to Santorini! As we scheduled our cab for the early morning flight, the driver,says “are you sure your flight isn’t cancelled because of the strike?” This was news to us, but when I checked my email, sure enough there was a message from RyanAir (in Greek?!) apologizing for having to cancel our flight and offering to move the flight to another day. This threw a wrench in our plans. But instead of panicking, we looked for alternatives, and settled on taking a ferry instead. By the end of the day we had booked 3 seats on the Blue Star Delos all the way to Santorini (8 HOURS), so we headed home to pack our bags and head out to the island life! Today we arrived back on the mainland, and while the excursions that we took will get their own posts, here are a few photos of this little slice of paradise. (This post should have bee preceded by a post about Athens and Jodiann joining us for a week in Greece, sorry we’re a bit behind! Wifi is spotty here)

         

  
    
    
    
    

   
   

   
    
    
  

The Ruins of Delphi

europe, Greece

After a leisurely few days in Nafpaktos, the wanderlust kicked back into high gear. It was time to explore. We rented a car, consulted a map, and headed down the open road. We never planned on driving in Europe, since the street signs are different and there is no wifi for Google Maps, but it always seems to lead to the best adventures. 

Delphi, for those of you who need to brush up on your history, is the mecca of Greek mythology, thought to be the naval of the Earth. Home to the Pythia’s Oracle, Apollo’s Sanctuary, and the precursor to the Olympic Games, Delphi is one of the most significant sites in western civilization. Google it. 

As we walked towards the entry to the ruins, we crossed paths with tourists dripping in sweat, clambering about the showers they have to take, and we thought to ourselves, what were they doing? The answer is hiking up the ruins. From the entrance we had a long trek to the top of the ruins. The trail is steep, the steps are tall.. some original, some reinforced due to thou do of years of use.. All adding an extra element of difficulty to the trek. But the hike is well worth it. The Ruins in Delphi are home to the world’s largest outdoor library (of course the pages are boulders and the words are in an ancient language that even most Greeks cannot read), an ancient amphitheater, multiple ancient columns and temples, the Rock of Sibyl, and the stadium which was host to the Pythian Games. It is a must see if you are in Greece. We can’t wait to go back! Once back in the car, it was just a few short hours and we were back in Nafpaktos. Of course, we stopped at a few abandoned beaches on the way. Here are just some of the photos from this unforgettable day. 

  
    
    
    
    
 
  
  
  
 
  
    
    
 
   
    
    
   
   
    
 

A Hidden Treasure

europe, Greece

After a few days in Nafpaktos, Greece, I am surprised that this place is not crawling with tourist 12 months out of the year. Every local I talk too says the same thing: “you should see it in the summer.” And I would love to, but it’s beautiful now. Orange and lemon trees fill almost every backyard and most of the streets. The rocky beaches are home to a plethora of coffee shops, which swap their espresso for ouzo as the sun sets. The port is home to a bakers dozen of fisherman’s ships. Looking out over the Aegean Sea the Peloponese Mountains, cloaked with a wisp of early-spring fog, jet out of the bright turquoise waters. Kite surfers dot the sky gliding atop the ocean breeze; sidewalks are lined with local shops, and the young and elderly alike meander through the streets. To top it off, nestled in the hills to the West of the Sea, the Nafpaktos Castle quenches wanderlust for even the most historically-driven adventurers. Stories about this town begin in Greek Legend, suggesting that prior to invading the Peloponnese, Heraclidae built his fleet in “Naupactus.” Mentions of Nafpaktos begin as early as 455 BC when the Athenians took control from the Ozolian Locrians. The town is rich in history, surviving through the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, becoming a part of independent Greece in 1829. It truly is a hidden gem. Just a few photos that cannot do the beauty justice below.  
 
    
      
 
 
  
    
    
  
Keep a look out for our trip to Delphi! 

Our Whirlwind in Naples

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We spent just a short few days in Naples and I would love to post photos but my Apple SD card reader has stopped working! So I have a few photos from my phone but I will add more once I figure out why my reader says “no photos to import!”  

In Naples, we caught a tram out to Pompei and took a tour of the ruins. Most of the photos are on my camera but here is a photo of Mount Vesuvias from the tram! 

 This is the castle in Naples!
My new favorite – gelato ball!
    
 

We left Naples yesterday and have arrived in Greece! New post to come soon!

We’re Engaged!

europe, italy

Today, we leave Florence, promising to return to our forever city. This city, so packed with history, museums, art, and inspiration, has made a large impact on our hearts.  From the villas of Tuscany to the galleries and basilicas, he could not have picked a more perfect location.   

This morning we planned to get up and go watch the sun rise on Piazza Michaelangelo, but come 5:30am I was less than inclined to peel back the covers. Little did I know that I have been consistently thwarting his plans to propose for about a week now. Refusing to get up was the last straw. We had packed the night before so all that was left was to say goodbye to our little oasis and head to the train station. Even though I felt like we might be late, Michael insisted that we stop for a final coffee at our favorite place around the corner from our AirBnB. As we gathered our things, ready to set off on our next adventure, Michael insisted we take a few more photos of the church I have been so enthralled with throughout our trip. Of course I didn’t understand why, I had already taken 500 photos of that same view, but I let him drag me up the steps anyway. Standing out on the front steps of the Basilica di Santa Croce, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. (Spoiler: I said yes!) Carrying around this box with him, airport to airport, without giving himself away is a feat. It does explain why he has been so concerned with pickpockets! Alas, we had to leave. We had only one hour until our train was scheduled to leave; we had to find the car, find the return lot, and make our way to the train platform. With a new sparkle in my eye and some pep in my step, we set off for Naples. 
Florence had already been crowned my favorite city, but now it has an unfair advantage. I cannot wait to return, but I am even more excited to start this new chapter in our lives! Ciao, Firenze. Until next time.Ti Amo! šŸ’• 

    
..and Happy St. Patrick’s DayšŸ€ā˜˜šŸ€

A Few Days in FlorenceĀ 

europe, italy

Ciao! Hello! Sorry it has been so long. It has been so hard to keep up with large blog posts since every time we get home I am either too tired to write or it is the perfect time to call home with a 7 hour difference. So I am going to try and at least post a few photos daily then do our guides at the end of the trip! 

Italy has been amazing! We’ve spent the last few days in Florence. We have stayed in two different AirBnBs in the Santa Croce area. I am in love with this little neighborhood, but tomorrow morning we leave for Naples! While in Florence, we have visited multiple churches, two museums, and wandered up and down the Tuscany countryside. Today, we rented a Fiat Panda, drove out to Villa Machiavelli, toured the villa where he wrote The Prince, and had an amazing lunch at Ristorante Albergaccio! From there we drove down the A1 autostrade to CASANUOVA Locanda & Fattoria to visit friends of my cousin Ann Marie’s. I will post more about all of these places soon but today, I will just add some photos so I can share the breathtaking views.  

   
    
    
   

   

   
 

   
    
   

   
    
   
    
    
     

Milano Ć© Perfecto!Ā 

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Still no large blog post.. I was going to write on the train from Milan but we were seated next to the most interesting octogenarian who told us stories of her Hungarian “man-friend” and his childhood experiences with the Cold War. The story was so enthralling that I couldn’t bring myself to write instead. So for now more photos of Milan and a real post soon! Ciao!   
      
   ^^Aliens love Italians who use crosswalks..? 
Stairs to no where..   
  
  
  Groot?     
     We haven’t quite figured out what these are yet.. They’re definitely Easter-related! Decorated eggs of sorts.
  
  
 
  
   
 

Milan! Day 1.

europe

 We are in Milan! Italy is amazing. We’re only in Milan for 3 days so there is not time for a long post, just a few photos! We will work on a post on our train ride to Italy! Until tomorrow!