#Europe

I said YES!

It was one of the biggest and easiest decisions that I’ve had to make. The day started relatively normal for us. We were crashing at a friend’s house in Paris (yes that normal) and we had a lazy start. Alex left us a lots of breakfast so we ate in and after the usual extensive conversation of what we were going to do for the day, we settled on Montmartre as a starting point, and walking through Paris for the rest of the day. I was explicitly told to put everything I needed for the day on the bed and he would pack it in the day pack himself. The reason being that I’m a “disaster” and it would avoid stuff being haphazardly thrown everything not really new behavior in our relationship. The day was gorgeous – for Europe – I could even see the sun.

We meandered through Montmartre, visited Sacre Coeur, hung out at the steps in true tourist fashion before making the walk down to the city. I was “allowed” to look at shops and do some casual shopping without Matteo getting suffering from shopping-induced anaphylaxis. I should’ve figured it out  then…. However, our little road took us to Gallerie Lafayette where we admired the ceiling (it is that what you would call gorgeousness) and spent some time basking in the sun on the rooftop. At some point I pulled him to a jewelry store and pointed to some ring that was 72K euros and I was like – holy crap – what the hell?! So he started explaining the possible reasons like clarity and whatever other reason that could cause a diamond to cost 72K. Even then I thought maybe he just knows stuff (as usual). For someone that was suggesting he should buy me a ring – I knew very little about them…apparently.

We lunched at some cafe that re-inforced my ambivalence for French food. I heard that they feed fat to duck/geese whatever poor creature through the beak with a tube so that they have a fatty liver so they can flaunt the Foie gras they are so famous for. Really?

Marseille_Paris2015 6890We meandered towards the Eiffel Tower and dined at a French restaurant in a less touristy area close to the tower. At 10pm we walked out the restaurant to catch the hourly bling bling of the Tower lights. We missed it by a few minutes…and since I had seen this before, I thought we could just go home. He managed to convince me to stay for the 11 pm bling. Of course – awesome girlfriend that I was – I agreed to hang around in sub-optimal temperature (22 Celcius) and watch crazy people hanging out in the park.

At 11pm I got my camera out and started taking pictures when he said – “I need to ask you something, look at me”. I think that’s the first time I suspected….

“Voui sposarmi?” he asked.

I understood what that mean since I knew “sposare” is  “to marry”. But I said – “are you serious?” and then can you say that in English so I know what Im saying yes to….

Now the hard part. The wedding is in Zimbabwe.

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Venice and home made sandwiches – A year ago

Before I came to Vienna, I had a list of places I wanted to visit – crafted on a week by week and holiday by holiday basis. This weekend, I was invited to Italy for the weekend with the promise that we would spend a day in Venice. Sunday was reserved for a Christening and in true Italian style, the whole family was going to be there. It was also initially advertised as an opportunity to meet everyone at the same time. Which I declined.

It was a 12 hour (half) day in Venice. From Udine to Venice, it was an easy 90 minutes by train (~ €22 return ticket). There was no plan. It was close to end of April but the weather was the best it could possibly be. Quirky things I learned from a one day trip in Venice.

Love Locks Venice. Apparently they have these everywhere in the world. Great place to put one though!

Love Locks Venice. Apparently they have these everywhere in the world. Great place to put one though!

Why spend money buying lunch in Venice when you can pack it from left over food you took from Vienna?

Yes, we are in the middle (ish) of food culture (Italy) and for lunch, we ate a wurst sandwich and apples under a bridge. His excuse is that most places in Venice can be considered under a bridge. Sometimes it takes a long time to find a decent place to eat if you are in a place you are not familiar with. However, in certain parts of the world like Italy, France, India, Thailand..I don’t know – places with really awesome food – packed lunches should be out of the question.

My red umbrella pictures would need additional creativity

For those that don’t know – I had a red umbrella theme for my photographs. So everywhere I went, I tried to put a red umbrella in at least one picture. Usually I was the one taking the picture. In this case, I was met with resistance because it would be too embarrassing to be seen with a red umbrella in a place where you don’t know anyone for a couple of minutes. Apparently the other reason was that there was full-blown sun and Italians don’t use umbrellas unless it’s raining. The compromise was that I hold the umbrella and hope that he takes the right picture.

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First attempt needed some refocusing

Red Umbrella Venice

We got it right the second time

Venice is as unique and as beautiful as they say and write about

The weather was perfect and with that, the colors of the boats and houses along the waterways, the energy of people moving about, the on and off a boat way of living. You can see masks in many stores in preparation for the carnival. I put that on the list of must do’s. I don’t know if I could conceptualize living in an area where you get around by boat and not by car. I would love to try it one day. I expect significant resistance to this idea though.

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Driving under the influence is allowed (?) on water, or maybe just Italy.

You can avoid the large offloads of Cruise ships

For good reason, I expect many cruise ships will stop in Venice. There are a lot of tine little roads if you care to explore the city away from the main drag.

Piazza San Marco

Piazza San Marco

One of the Cruise Ships

One of the Cruise Ships

Off the beaten track

Off the beaten track

You can’t drink Apperol Spritz like orange juice

We took a break from walking around the city at around 4pm and sat at a small cafe for a late afternoon apperitivo. It was hot (I like hot) and a cool drink was just what I needed. By the time we finished dinner we had added a few more. The best thing about traveling with someone else who feels responsible for you is that if you pass out on the train back, someone will know which stop to get off.

Apparently “we invented it” says the Italian

 

 

12 week Crash Tour – Cesky Krumlov

My days are numbered in Vienna. All of a sudden, I realize that there are a lot of places that I would like to visit. So here begins the 12 week Europe crash tour.

1 March is a special day in my life and I decided to celebrate outside of Vienna. The location was a well selected town/village (I never know in this place) in Czech Republic. The original idea was to go to Prague and I was outvoted on that one because the only reason I picked Prague was there is a clothing store there I like that doesn’t exist in most European countries or the US. Apparently shopping is not a good reason to select a destination.

Cesky Krumlov is in southern Bohemia. I can now say that I have actually been to Bohemia. I didn’t realize this until I got there. I was expecting Bohemia to have “gipsies”. Can I say this? I learned that I was in the home of amazing beer. Unfortunately, I don’t drink beer. Totally bad luck since it only cost about $1 for half a litre (16oz). Taste x price makes it “amazing”.

I was somewhat disappointed by the food. It lacked some imagination and definitely color. There was no red or orange or even green on any plate. Well red cabbage. But I stop there. Cabbage, stewed meat and dumplings. I had pizza the first night. But if beef stews is what you’re into, then most of Europe is where you need to be. Ok. The US has burgers, but there are a thousand ways you can do a burger. With goulash – I haven’t seen a goulash menu with variations. I was alone with this opinion though since boyfriend ate Bohemian with great pleasure all weekend.

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