Monday, April 19, 2010

Visitors and Honeymoon!

We have a lot of catching up to do! Last everyone heard from us in March, friends Kristin and Landon had just left. Since then, Jeff’s parents Dan and Terri Ann have visited, friends Cody and Kate have visited, and Jeff and I have gone on our honeymoon! Now that we have been back for a week and some usual daily routine to recover from the craziness, it is time for a blog update and some photos! First, our time with Dan and Terri Ann was a really nice reminder of home. We have been munching on the treats they brought ever since! They joined us in our daily work for a couple days in the community, Dan in the garden with Jeff and TA in the weavery with me. Then we headed out for a couple days and saw parts of Ireland that we had not seen yet! Here are some photos from the weekend:

The same day Dan and TA left the island, Jeff’s friends Cody and Kate came to visit. They joined right in on the Easter weekend celebrations, and then we all headed down to Dublin for some fun and a hostel in Temple Bar. Jeff and I flew out the next morning for Italy! Here is an Easter photo:

So, from Dublin to Italy! We had a flexible itinerary and found ourselves in Parma the first evening for pizza and a nice walk. Then we moved out to the Cinque Terre, which is a beautiful region for cliff towns, the beach, and hiking, for five days. Francesco, a round Italian man with enough English to offer us an apartment and haggle a price, swept us away to his grandfather’s old apartment for our time in Vernassa.

From Cinque Terre we took a train to Florence and rented a car to drive through Tuscany. Our first night we stayed in Volterra (of Twilight fame), a walled city atop a small mountain. We really loved it there, except for the parking ticket and crowd of Italian teenagers having a birthday party in our restaurant. Incidentally (due to a parking ticket blowing our budget) we stayed in an old seminary that night, which was surprisingly cool.

The next night was our splurge night—we drove into Chianti through rain and a little snow (!) and stayed at a vineyard agriturissimo. We spent the afternoon in front of a fire trying to warm up our chilled bodies. There were barely any other guests there that evening, and so we had the restaurant and therefore a chef and waitress to ourselves for a four course meal! Imagine all the candles lit and fireplace crackling, a bottle of wine, and olive oil chocolate on cheese. Amazing. Photos speak:

Unfortunately, we left my passport there and drove back to Florence to return the car. Upon checking in our last hostel (a very strange metal cubicle!), we realized it was missing and freaked out! When we realized where it was we rented a car and drove back. They gave us a bottle of wine for our trouble, which we had to consume that night because we could not bring it home! So bottle of wine, pizza, and a lot of noise from more Italian teenagers staying in cubicles all around us. Somehow we both slept very well, and headed out the next day. Not a great way to end the trip, but we were ready to come home and overall had a great one.