Sunday, August 15, 2010

Florence, Italy. Famous for many reasons - one of the biggest being Michaelangelo's legendary statue "David" as seen in the picture below. ... well actually this is a spoof picture from representing what David would look like after time in America. The real David was amazing and unfortunately in a no-photo zone.

One of the neat things I learned from a fellow tourist was about the free audioguides. For those of you with iPods or mp3 players, you can download free audio guide files from Rick Steve's website or get podcasts. This turned out to be quite handy, economical, and we wished we had known about it in Rome. The guide for the Academia (where David is kept) added a lot of value to our visit.

Another great thing we did in Florence was a Vespa tour! We had a quick lesson in driving scooters in Italy and then hit the road. Michelle decided to ride with me instead of taking her own scooter - but it worked out well since she could take pictures while I drove. It included a drive around the Tuscany countryside as well as a visit to a winery!

This is some of the typical scenery from our trip. It was a gorgeous day and a lot of fun to drive. Fortunately, I'd already had some practice on Yoshi (a similar Honda Metro) - cheers Amy! Driving in Italy is a bit different though - lanes are merely guidelines.

Here are some wine casks in the cellar for the winery we visited. The whole process was described very well and we were able to sample two of their wines. They also produce olive oil and we learned about that (and sampled, of course) as well.

Florence was great and I'll finish with these two fine statues: Perseus slaying Medusa followed by Hercules and the Centaur. There was a lot of other stuff to do... and see... and buy in Florence. This is one of the areas I enjoyed the most and felt I'd only seen a glimpse of. The food was amazing on top of all that!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Here are few last pictures of Rome before I move on to our next stop!

Clearly, gelato is a big winner in Italy...

Another nice statue at the Campidoglio. The backlighting was too harsh to see the statues very well, but the profile is kinda neat too.

Below is a nice shot of the Tiber River on a sunny day. We spent a fair bit of time walking along the pleasant river side.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Us at the Trevi Fountain in Rome! Yes, Michelle and I went to Italy after our short stay in Madrid. We had a long day of travel getting to our economical guest house (just beyond the edge of Rome's historic center). We stayed at Welcome Rome - run by a Anna Maria and her son. It was a nice location on the 7th floor with a balcony (show below).

The hot weather in Rome made hard-core touring unpleasant, but we did explore the city quite a bit in the evenings. The pure quantity of old buildings, art, sculpture, and decorated cathedrals was overwhelming! I'm quite sure we could have stayed in Rome for many weeks without running out of things to see and places to visit. We'll have to go again some day (when it's a bit cooler).

This is one of my favorite sculptures from Rome. It was a just a side room of the Palazzo Nuovo at the Campidoglio. I don't know much of its true significance or history, but I like it a lot!

This is a night shot of the famous Arch of Constantine very close to the Colosseum. The grass turned out sorta weird, but it makes for a nice picture anyways.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Madrid, Spain was our first stop after New York City. I'd been there years ago on a trip with my sister, grandma, and aunt, but my memories of Madrid were vague at best... We only spent a day or two in Madrid before flying to Italy, but we did get to explore a bit.

I tried a traditional vermouth (fortified wine - basically spiced wine) at a tapas bar in downtown Madrid. Restaurants open for dinner at about 9 pm and close around 1 or 2 am. I remember hearing about this last time I was in Spain, but it's not an exaggeration. Dinner is typically very late.

Here, we see Michelle trying the iconic dish, paella. On my last visit to Spain, paella and flan were server at nearly every dinner on the 10 day tour. It turns out that it comes from Valencia, but is often associated with Spain in general.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Time for more photos! We just got into Rome last night - I'll be lagging behind a couple days on photos, but things are going well so far...

Before I get into the travel photos, a quick shot of the wedding is in order... Below we have Mikey, Phil, Jason, me, Michelle, Jen, Brienna, and Shelley. It was a great wedding - even with a few weather related mishaps. Credit for this photo goes to none other than my great friend Chuck Y. Thanks for coming to the wedding Chuck!

... and now back to NYC adventures. We got to be experts in the use of the subway. In fact, we haven't used a taxi in NYC yet. Interesting fact of the day: Jay-Z (music artist whom I know nothing about) got his name from the subway lines he took to get to school: the J line and the Z line.

Me and my new wife (!!) in the midst of a typical afternoon at the notorious Times Square.

Followed by a wide shot of the chaos and advertising monstrosity!

Followed by a rather awesome shot Michelle took during our bus tour. I'm sure the brownish tone could have been added afterwards with some photo editing, but she took this picture through her sunglass lens!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Heading out to Madrid this evening. In the meantime, here are a few photos from our recent stay in NYC!
Central Park looking awesome as usual! Apparently the whole thing was designed by two guys who had never designed a park. They seemed to do an alright job though...

Me modelling some Arizona iced tea. Michelle and I spent a relaxing Saturday afternoon at Central Park, watching some baseball with some takeout from a deli on Columbus and 106th.

A few days ago, we got tickets for a NYC night tour and enjoyed it quite a bit! I believe we were just crossing the Brooklyn Bridge here and got lucky with beautiful moon above the city.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm currently in NYC with my new wife, Michelle! Got here earlier this afternoon and we had a nice lunch with one of my WWU classmates, Chuck. We wandered around the huge Toys'R'Us store in Times Square before taking the very humid subway and settling into Hotel 99.

We are just about to head out for something to eat. The next few days should be full of adventure and fun!

(photo above from ). I'll get my own photos up and running soon!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Last day as a bachelor?

Tomorrow, if all goes according to plan, I'll be married! I never would have guessed how much work and planning was involved in creating a successful wedding event. It will be such a relief to have it behind us and just enjoy time together.

We'll be heading overseas towards southern Europe soon. More info on that (and pictures?) soon...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Due to the increasing number of spam comments, I'm adding the annoying word verification feature. Sorry, but maybe it will cut back on the male enhancement advertisements and intellectual posts from excellent readers like blondhotty99...

After a very long hiatus, I am back in the blogging world! I've missed reporting on a great number of activities including: dropping my BA in History, getting engaged, Ben's wedding, traveling around Australia and New Zealand over Christmas break, a visit from Michelle's family, finishing Winter quarter, and ongoing wedding planning!

It's a big list of things to talk about, but in the meantime, I am on break - doing cleaning, planning, taxes, finances, and working on some senior project stuff for school. Of course, I've also been spending quality time with my fiancee!

A highlight of this weekend was contra dancing. Since school is on break, the group was a little smaller and more experienced than usual and it was truly delightful to dance! A "lowlight" for this weekend was climbing. A group of us tried to go climbing today but the weather was so abysmal that we turned around after the drive out. Better luck next time, I suppose.

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's Thanksgiving break at Walla Walla University... but not for me. My epic struggle to catch up on homework started yesterday. My goal is to squeeze 80 hours of studying into this week and I'm starting a little slowly. So far, 7 hours Sunday and 3 hours today, but the night is young and I remain hopeful.

I've stopped measuring my reading pile in pages and started measuring in feet.