Friday, September 30, 2011

the big picture...(of the garden box)

i got a comment today that all my pics of the garden box are close up, and it is hard to see how it sits on the here you go.  these are pics taken the first day we planted...(9.18.2011)

garden box...12 days

everyday the veggies in the box are getting bigger.  their leaves are actually taking on new shapes as they get larger.  this weekend we will have to take some of them out and allow more room for the others to thrive.  we will also add the trellis for the peas to grow up.  here is the box on day # 12.

you can see from the picture above that the second row from the left has a "bald spot" in the middle.  jarad dug it up the other night to see if he could find the seeds, because those ones did not sprout.  it's okay...we will have to thin it all back very soon.  i planted two kinds of basil (far right).  the front patch is sweet basil, and behind the little tag is the ruffle basil.  i got those seeds from my mom.  they are taking a lot longer to come through, but you can see they are starting to sprout.  the strawberries have gone from green to pink to red, and i am waiting for them to get bigger before picking.

the tomatoes are also showing signs of growth.  2 days ago i had a couple of yellow flowers and today i have two stalks with about 4 yellow flowers each.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

garden box...10 days

jarad and i discussed getting a pet, and we can't seem to figure out what animal we could have that is low maintenence enough for our lifestyle.  we are both animal lovers, and have played with the idea of getting a chameleon.  we even went to the pet store last weekend to check them out...although very cool, they are not by any means "easy to take care of".  they require lots of live crickets everyday, daily cage cleanings and they can be aggressive.  they may not miss you during the day when you are at work, but they still need a lot of attention in other ways.  that is why i am thinking our garden box may be the perfect "pet" for us.

the box looks pretty much the same today, but everything looks slightly bigger.

the biggest difference i noticed this morning was the is starting to come through more.  it is starting to look like a small patch of clovers.

we started our garden box a little late in the season for tomatoes.  so we got one heirloom tomato plant and have it in a pot.  this tomato plant, the strawberries and the thai chilis are the only "transplants", everything else has been grown by seed, as the pilgrims did (our goal was to do it the "old-fashioned" way).  today i noticed two flowers on my tomato plant, this is also a new development.

my strawberries are getting some green berries, but also fungus or mushrooms?  i guess that is what you get for using a hand-me-down strawberry pot.

we will have to make a trellis for the peas to grow up, it says they need it to climb up once they reach approximately 3 inches, and i think we are pretty close.

the garden is not as cuddly as a puppy or cat, but it is really fun to see how it changes daily, well at least for now in the early stages.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

travel log...(spain & italy 2011)

the day after thankgiving last year, jarad and i went camping in joshua tree.  it was our first outdoor adventure together, and i know my entire family gave him the speech at thanksgiving dinner to bring me home safely.  i couldn't remember the last time i was camping and i wasn't sure what to expect.  we ate our peanut butter and jelly sammys while looking at the stars and figuring out the constellations on jarad's phone with the "google sky" app, and started talking about christmas gifts for one another.

we both had mentioned getting small gifts for one another and planning a "big" trip somewhere.  we talked about the places we wanted to visit and we both said "thailand."  this was our plan, at least for now...we would make a trip to thailand in spring time.  come christmas morning my family was asking about our travel plans, and my aunt and uncle started showing us their bali and thailand pictures, and had us look through a travel book.  at the time, we were also watching a tv series called "idiot abroad", and we decided that maybe a trip to europe would be better and safer for us.  so our trip planning, although in the early stages, had completely made a 180.  jarad mentioned that he could possibly have a free place to stay in spain, and that his best friends mom lived in milan, and all of the sudden our trip was starting to take form.  we narrowed it down to visiting spain and italy.

there were some hiccups along the way with our travel agent during the planning process, but in the end it all worked out.  we got lots of good travel tips and suggestions from family and friends, and did a lot of our own research and homework.  we had a few good books on Europe and lots of maps.  it was hard to narrow down all the places we wanted to visit, and how much time to spend in each location.  our itinerary ended up being; 4 days in benahavis, spain, 4 days in barcelona, spain, 2 days in milan, italy, 4 days in florence, italy, and 3 days in venice, italy.  looking back, i think we would have done a couple of cities differently, but we had a blast and i wish i could go back tomorrow.

i am good at travel planning (i do a lot of it at work), but i also lack the ability to read a map or a bus/train schedule.  jarad loves reading maps and is excellent at navigating through busy train stations and bus stops.  i like to think that these qualities complement one another and make us great travel partners.  i was surprised that jarad took on the task of writing our families and a few close friends with our travel updates.  his writing is very funny, witty and detailed.  everyone enjoyed reading his emails so much, i wanted to share them with you all.  i included some of our photos to give you a visual. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 1:43 AM

we made it to amsterdam, unfortunately there isn't enough time for us to make a quick trip to the city for some drugs and a tour of the red light district. There's always next time.

Friday, May 20, 2011 at 12:44 PM

little known fact, alamo rental car is part of national rental car in spain. This will only be learned after you leave the security area(which is where you pick up your car) and roam around the airport looking for alamo for 40 mins. Good thing spain has weird security and let me back in to discover the tiny alamo sticker stuck on the national car rental booth.

the stupids were in full effect while trying to figure out how drive to benahavis, we saw a lot of northern malaga(benahavis is south of malaga).

after all said and done, we traveled for 26 hours. We finally got to bed and slept 14 hours, we woke up at 2 today.

Benahavis is a tiny village from the past, the town is dormant from 2-7  during that time you might think you're in a town over run by zombies or vampires, there are barely any signs of life.

We spent the day walking all over town and went to the benahivis gran hotel for a rest and a drink. 

we had some pizza at a bar, i can't wait for pallella in italy. There are a bunch of random dogs roaming around town, Erin is in heaven.

Our free, super nice/modern accomodations are without hot water. They have a tankless water heater that  can't figure out how to light, our caretaker/bar proprietor Mick, gave me the lowdown.

it's 9:30 right now and the sun is just starting to set, it's super nice here. We just missed a super rain storm where the water was a foot deep.

tomorrow we're gonna take our hotrod(citroen diesel)out for a tour, we're heading to rhonda, marbella. I think on sunday we'll check out the prudential rock of gibraltar.

We have access to internet now so we'll be in touch.

Jaime let us know what we should checkout.

Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 12:25 PM

We're finally adjusting to the time change, we woke up at the butt crack of 10 am. Today we headed up to Ronda, a city i didn't even knew existed, it was a 45 minute windy mountain road that opened up to a really cool/old city. There is 100m deep gorge in the middle of it with a stone bridge connecting the 2 sides of the city together. It was awesome, we drove then walked across the bridge. The edge of the is just an enormous cliff. Ronda is also home to the original bull fighting ring, we didn't go in, but we walked around it.

After our walk we headed back down toward the Mediterranean and went to Marbella for lunch. I would call Marbella a gross old santa monica/venice beach combo. It was way too touristy for me. We did have a really good persian/indian lunch at a british restaurant called the banana leaf. Erin is really digging the non mass produced chicken. All white meat, so dad would be happy. We had some gelato on the boardwalk in marbella...twice within 20 minutes.

Tomorrow we are skipping gibraltar because on the words of our irish friends "gibraltar is shit" Full of tourists and a ton of traffic. Instead we are heading down to terifa, the southern most point of spain and i believe europe. From there we're supposed to be able to see morocco.

We also decided against the train from malaga to barcelona, instead we're catching a plane, much faster. That is if Erin doesn't blow all her money on the slot machine at the spanish arch, she doesn't have the Shank luck.

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 1:37 PM

captain's log, stardate 05/22/2011

today we've journeyed to uncharted territory. We awoke at 9 and were out the door by 10. We drove down the coast and caught a real good view of the rock of gibraltar,. It reminded me of all those prudential commercials growing up in New England. We headed south for the southern most point of europe, Tarifa. Tarifa is a mini mission beach like in San diego, but older and full of arab people. We were able to get a good glimpse of Morroco from the drive in, but we figured that wasn't good enough. We decided to hop on a ferry and head to tangers, morroco for the day. We went on a guided tour with 2 other couples our age. The first half was awesome, we had big car tour around the city, hopped on some camels in a parking lot then headed back into the city to rock the kasbah. We walked around the narrow sections and had a "typical morrocan lunch", cuscus, chicken, kabob, some funky soup. Then it happened, we figure out why the trip was so cheap.

    After lunch we were led by our guide to a rug shop where we shown all sorts of rugs(timeshare presentation style) and pressured to by them. Then onto a spice shop where we entertained by the dr...morrocan dude wearing a dirty lab coat. Erin got some saffron, we skipped the ginseng which helps with the "boogy boogy all night long". Next stop was the silver shop, again pressure, and we didn't buy anything, last spot was a store full of crap, "very nice crap my friend, you like?"

 Finally we had 20 mins of free time in the kasbah where our group of 6 formed a circle of chairs at a cafe to block all the peddlars. One dude wanted to sell me a belt and hash really bad, the belt started at 25 euro, i ignored him down to 5, his last ditch effort was to trade me a dirty fez for my timex heartrate monitor watch, i passed.

Morroco can be added to our list of been there, done that, won't go back.

I asked around, but nobody knew who Sam "Ace" Rothstein was, i told him he ran this place. Only the guy making the blueberry muffins shuttered a bit. (obscure reference, but if you guess it, i'll give you an internet high five)

It was cool we got to add another country/continent to our trip, but this just confirms my thinking about coming to europe instead of souteast asia, no body bothers us in spain, even the nigerians selling louis vattan bags are relaxed, they don't push their stuff on you.

Food, last night we went to some place on Mick's recommendation, it's cool place known for it's grandmother style pork, which i got, and was amazing. It's also known for roberto benigni's brother working there, not really but the head waiter acted just like him. He etches glass with a dremel, and gave Erin a glass butterfly as we were leaving. It was a really good dinner.
Tonight we tried going to Jaime's favorite spot but they are cerardo en domingo, so we are at bodega villa josefa for round 2, we ate here on friday night and had some amazing chicken stroganoff, so we're doing a replay.

Dorta, i think the kasbah is a level in call of duty, i was having flashbacks walkingthrough the narrow streets.

Tomorrow, we're off to Barcelona

Monday, May 23, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Congrats to Jason, Kam, and Rick for the casino reference.

not much to report today, made it to barcelona, we're staying in a college dorm in the barceloneta section of town, we're about a half mile from the beach. Our place is really cool, and right off a main drag that has a ton of restaurants, very touristy. We're crashing early tonight.

Last night we had a good time hanging out with Mick, Martin, and Kungur at the cafe bar. We got to hear the bases for the next Romantic comedy coming to theaters about Martin being in love with a Argentinian girl. He's speaks only english, she only spanish. All their conversations are translated/edited by her step mother. Hilarity ensues as Martin guides his way through precarious game of cat and mouse all while drinking vodka martinis with black olives.
We also got to check out Kungur's new i-fone, it was 50 euros and came in a cartoon Cars bag that said speedy on it. It's a very poor chinese copy of an iphone that barely makes calls, we all had a good laugh about it.
We invited all 3 guys to come out to california, Kungur said he can't get papers b/c he's from estonia, we're crossing our fingers for his next attempt. He told Erin he has a great strogenoff recipe, so we'll be trying that out when we get back home.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 1:09 PM

hola!  we are writing from day 2 in Barcelona.  yesterday, we walked all through las ramblas (which is similar to the santa monica 3rd street promenade), and we found our way to the boqueria "mercat", a really cool market with hundreds of vendors selling meat, produce, fresh juices and spices. 

we were looking for the bar that andrew zimmern from bizarre foods ate at, but couldnt find it (jarad was hoping to try brains or bugs).  we also spent the evening in barceloneta, which is right by the beach.  we are finding that not all gelato shops are created equal, but have been having it daily, our favorite flavor is the coconut chocolate (coco loco). the food has been okay, we found a great "wok" style place that we ate dinner at last night and tonight as well.  it would be a perfect addition to somewhere like manhattan or venice beach.  you pick your carb (noodles or rice), protein or other veggies and sauce and they stir fry it for you with an egg and mixed good!!!

today, we got a 2 day hop on hop off bus pass.  we went to the national art museum of catalonya for a picnic lunch, the Olympic center, gothic quarter,.and santa maria del mar cathedral. tomorrow we will take the bus to guell park and sagrada familia.  and we are planning on having dinner down the street at a place that is known for their good paella.  we are loving "jambon"and "queso" sammys on crusty baggette...we also have those daily.

i am convinced that the national dog of spain is the french bull dog...because every other dog we see is one (which I love).  the weather is beautiful, about high 70's.  we are feeling good and having fun. 

love to all,
e & j

Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Gawdy, is that how you spell it, when something is over the top, clown/cartoonish?

I'm pretty sure that word came from Antoni Gaudi, the famous architect in barcelona. Today we did the other leg of our bus tour and got to see sagrada familia, a church that gaudi had been working on when he died. It's a monstrosity of a church with huge towers  and even a small nuclear reactor cooling tower as one of the towers. It's funded my anonomous donations and is said to not be finished for another 100 years. There was a tour available, but since 200 other people heard about this tour and were waiting in line we decided to pass.
 Next we headed up to park guell, pronounced "gway". Well, it was gway awesome. It was designed by gaudi for some rich guell dude/family which from what it sounds, might have owned most of the city at some point. This park looks like it could've come straight out of my childhood(and adulthood) favorite movie, willy wonka and the chocolate factory. We strolled around for a while and got to see a bunch of people selling trinkets and crap. Nigerians are hustlers, they run around the park with satchels full of goods to sell. There are some great views of the city from up in this park. We hiked to the top of the park for a good view and had lunch.

 After that we headed back to main tourist part of the city and walked back through that small streets of la raval, some of the ramble, and bario gotic. Nothing special to report. If you're curios what la rambla is like, head to 3rd st promenade, time square, quincy market/fanual hall. It's all the same shit. People selling trinkets and other crap, the fad at the moment is some annoying ass noise maker you keep in your mouth, sounds like a cartoon duck. Don't worry if you're walking the ramblas and miss the 1st guy selling them, you'll have about 600 more opportunities in the next .75 mile.

We moved into our new room for our last night, it's not the lap of luxury that our first room was, this one is half the size and has bunkbeds(shotgun top bunk). We're hanging for a bit and resting till we head out to walk on the beach and have our last authentic(non touristy) spanish meal. How do i know it's non touristy, there isn't a menu in 8 languages including pictures of every plate. Barceloneta is very similiar to the northend of boston. Tight streets with little restaurants everywhere. We're gonna eat at cheriff, google it, it has good reviews, it's around the corner from us.

This will be concluding the espana part of the vacation, and for those of you who do not "hablo espanol", "el nino is spanish for, the nino". Vini Vidi Vici spain. We're off to Italia. We saw your costa del sol and prefer your south to your north. 

The South is better to chill and relax, day trips and relaxed evenings. You can't get a meal to go very easily in Benahavis, but goddamn is that strogenoff good. Your north is for the real tourists, this is so much to see in barcelona, but everybody knows about it, your streets are packed and your weather is amazing.

Please insert the Italy disc now.

behind the scenes:
-dropped my video camera last night before we went out(i was a little buzzed off of $0.50 beers), it's busted, the video from this trip will be very spanish
-everybody speaks english and they are all dicks about it.
-i'm sick of drinking coca-cola, i got my first fanta today, the orange soda has actual orange juice in it.
-Saw a lone naked dude on the beach last night, so Rick, you were correct about barcelona.
-after getting off the train and realizing we didn't have a clue of where to go, we prepped for florence.
-I had a thought today, the cities here are so huge b/c they didn't get cars till well after they were all spread out. Unlike us where they were introduced very quickly during city planning.
- European science museum made me laugh, what have they really invented.
-Monument to Columbus, also made me laugh, he found america by accident, indians are supposed to have dots, not feathers.
-Suzie, we found you something today that we'll be brining(smuggling) back to the US.

Mom and Dad, you'd like Barcelona a lot. It's newport times 100. Most of what we've seen is super huge new england, guess it makes sense.
Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 1:41 PM

Bonjorno from Italy

We made it to Milan yesterday after a delayed flight on easyjet. We were greeted at the gate by our host mother Peggy Dorta. It was very nice to be able to hear american english. We headed from the airport directly to downtown Milan when the heavens opened up and a freak lighting and halestorm hit. We sat parked on the side of the road for a while deciding what we should do. We settled upon a nice home cooked meal by Chef Peggy of pear rissotto and a long game of mexican train dominoes where for the first time i've seen, Erin destroyed.

Today we had one of our best days. We slept in, ate a light breakfast, and walked to the local(flee/gypsey) market in her neighborhood. Then we headed out to our best adventure yet, a tour of souther Milan wine area called zeano. 

We drove along windy roads and grape vineyards and ended up at a great resturant, le proposte(the proposal). We sat for a good 2 hrs and enjoyed an amazing lunch, it was 4 course, apetito, something else, 2nd, dolce. We had some amazing onion, zuchinni, fried zuchinnin flowers and prucito. Then a homemade pasta course of pumpkin ravioli and spinach ravioli. Next was the meat course, i had veal, Peggy and Erin had pork. Then was dessert, Peggy and I had amazing chocolate mousse and Erin had the best tiramasu i've ever had.

  We took a drive through the vinyards and stopped off at a coop cantina where they had gas station style wine pumps for table wine. Mom, you should get one of those. People were filling up gas cans and huge cianti bottles full of red table wine.

  We then headed into the city and checked out the duomo, which is a amazing church with the craziest sculptures all over it. People can go to the top and walk around on the roof. We could not, they only take 5's and 10's and we had neither. Plan B we were gonna walk around inside but Erin had nothing to cover her shoulders from god, so we were shunned. We walked around for a bit, Milan is a super old city and really cool. Everybody i talked to before i came here poo poo'd this place, i have no idea why. I guess you really need to tour guide extrordinare Peggy to make it worth while.

My favorite part so far is the "ladies of the night" that hang out on the farm roads. Imagine driving in farm country down a road next to a corn field, then hey, look, there's 3 chicks dressed like they're at a casino in vegas at 3 in the morning(that's code for hookers). Peggy said in the winter they'll stand next barrels with a fire in them to keep warm. That is very smart of those slutty bums.

Barcelona airport story:
In the line to get our tickets there was a family that could've been straight out of borat. It was 2 guys, 2 woman, and 3 horrible kids. One guy had a buzzed head with short bangs and gold lobster necklace, the vermin kids were running all over the place running around and touching everything. The other guy had a hannah montanna suitcase.They were blasting some Koki Boocheck (bing, bong, bing bong bing, click click click). I was happy to get away from them, i thought we'd lost them till we were sitting on the plane and watched them storm in.

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 1:00 PM

the cabs are here

guess who else is in Florence, Jersey Shore and boy are they not welcomed. We walked by O'visivio pizza where they are working and Ronnie was sitting outside with a bull horn looking bored as shit. 

We snapped a quick pic on our way by, we didn't get to see who else was working. Erin was completely starstruck, we're gonna walk by there tomorrow and see if we can collect pictures of them all. Rumor is they're not allowed to drink or go to all the famous art stuff. We were talking about it at dinner tonight, this is a horrible location for the show, people in europe don't get black out drunk, there's aren't any guido juice heads, and this is the real mafia, not Al Pacino in scarface. The american college girls are all about them though, i wonder what the age of consent is in Italy.

  We arrived last night by train, it was a nice change to travel by rail. No security to deal with, heck they don't even check your ticket till halfway through your trip. I did some careful recon this time at Peggy's and researched how to get to our hotel so we didn't have a barcelona repeat. We're staying about 2 block from the real david. Our hotel/room is odd. We paid extra for a shower in the room. And a shower in the room is what we got, and a bidet (still don't know how to use those) and a sink. Toilet is out in the hallway in a small bathroom. That was not specified by It's very reminiscent of European vacation(look rusty, big ben). It's still a nice place in a great location, and clean.

  We woke up early and walked all of florence in about 2hrs, it's not a very large city. If you like to shop, this is the place to be. There are tons of leather goods and other knick knack crap to buy. Nigerians are here too, pushing knock-off watches and purses.
 We wandered around, found the special bridge, special for back in the day for killing prisoners, now special for buying jewelry. And Hugo, we found your twin(see the picture).

We saw the duomo(big church), ufficino, art gallery, and a copy of the david. Note to all reading this, do not go to florence on mondays, all the cool stuff is closed. We saw a lot of marble dongs and most of the ninja turtles. I haven't found raphael, but i'm still looking.

 We had a really nice lunch at giostra, the place Ryan recommended. The word is out to the american people about this place. We were lucky to get in for lunch, reservations were hard to come by.

 They go all out with the gellato presentation here, and do nothing with quality, at least with my first attempt today. Erin did find new flavor though, Melon, a flavor i'd serve my enemies. But it seems to be really popular and sold out almost everywhere. I had a taste and a flashback to the first time i had melon and decided i don't like it.

Tomorrow we're off to Siena, a 6 euro train trip to an old walled city. History lesson from dorta taught me that Siena did not survive the plague like florence did, so it never really grew and still has the original wall around it. We're also gonna wake up early and climb to the top of the duomo here and go to the leanardo davinci museum. I learned everything i know about davinci by watching hudson hawk(bruce willis movie, netflix it)

That's is for tonight, my dogs are barking from walking all day

Till tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at 12:57 PM

I take back what i said yesterday about not coming to florence on mondays. It's the perfect day to walk the city. Yes, things are closed, this is a good thing b/c it keeps the tour groups to a min and you can actually move without bumping into old foreign people. New  pro manuever is to do your walking tour on monday, get up early on tuesday and climb to the top of the dome of the duomo. 

We walked right in and there were maybe about 20 other people at the top with us. It was awesome, we climbed a super long spiral staircase, walked the inner circumference of the dome, then climbed inbetween the roof and dome to the top for an awesome lookout.

It was easily the 2nd coolest thing we did in florence, 2nd to talking to Ronnie from jersey shore today about pizza. Ronnie is 5 feet tall and a muscle meat head, but he was super nice. Vinny was hanging out too, but we didn't get a chance to talk to him.
  The 2nd part of tuesday in florence is to hop on a train and head to the walled city of Siena. The train was super easy and relaxing.

We were told it was a long walk up to the city and that we should pay 5 bucks to ride a bus for 5 mins. I think not. We found the super secret set of 10 escalators in an air conditioned tunnel. Then it was a 5 min walk to the wall of the city.

We wandered around for a while and got some lunch at pizzaland, my  new favorite pizza place in the world, literally.

We took a quick look at the duomo, then headed to plaza de campo and climbed the monster clock tower.

I made it to the top in one shot, i had to head back down a level to find Erin sitting indian style on the floor holding onto a railing for dear life. I convinced her that it was less sketchy at the top.She believed me finally and was happy for the awesome view we had.

We got back tonight around 7 and got some doner kabobs for dinner and relaxed. The middleeastern dude that runs the beer store next to the hotel gave me a extra beer as a going away present tonight. I've bought 1 beer a night there every night we've been here. It was super nice. I have a way with convenience store people, the all love me. Maybe that's my super hero power. Like the pied piper of apoos.

We've had breaking news on the gellato front, the best flavor is marscopone. We haven't been able to find it anywhere but siena, but we're hoping that panacotta is similiar. We'll report more as we continue our research.

We discovered florence's willy wonka, he owns a paper shop and loves to blast techno and stand in the doorway of his shop eyeing people while smoking cigarrettes. He dresses super nice even down to his leather shoes, one purple, one green, both pastel. He looks like the bad guy from ocean's 12, he threw us for a loop last night when he was wearing 2 green shoes.

Tomorrow we're traveling to dolo, where we're staying while in venice. We were unaware that the regatta is on saturday in venice, which is why we aint staying there.

A river ditch see.

Thursday, Jun 2, 2011 at 2:09 PM

We did it, we finally completed our last location, Venice.

Yesterday morning we did complete some more florence tasks. We climbed the bell tower of the duomo, did a hot lap by jersey shore pizza place(it was 10 am, no one was there) and we went to the leonardo da vinci museum. The museum was really cool, they had a lot of reproductions of things he worked on, it was a bit like a engineering class i took called mechanisms.

Another food item i tried in florence was the doner kabab, it's like pretty much like a gyro, but better. It consists of shaved chicken off of a big spit, yogurt sauce, tomato, cabage, and the kicker, was french fries mushed into it. The place we went was in an alley, and the power was flickering. The food was great. Erin got white rice with stewed garbonzo beans. When we were walking to the train station yesterday we passed by it again. It was a hard choice to pass it up. When we actually got the train station we had a half hour to spare. Erin convinced me to not be left longing. I sprinted the busy streets of florence, through the market and got another round. I got mayo on mine this time, it was awesome. I've already researched where to get them in LA, the place is called Spitz, or is it swallows, well which one is it, baby.

We're staying in Dolo, a very small town about 10 miles south of venice, there's a boat race on saturday we finally figured out. That's the reason we're not staying in Venice.

Luckily though, there is an awesome pizzeria right across the street. We just got back from our 2nd dinner there, last night and tonight.

Our room is more of a typical hotel style. There are two nice dudes that run the place, brothers or lovers, the verdict is still out.

 Today we made our way into venice by bus, which picks up directly in front to the hotel. Today was our worst day of weather, just cloudy and few sprinkles here and there. My opinion of venice is not that glowing, i don't know if it's b/c we're traveled out or what. It was cool to see the water ways, but it's just another old city with tight streets and people selling crap.

Nigerians made it here too. The toy to have from the street pushers in italy(milan, florence, venice) is a blob shaped like an animal that you throw against the gournd and it splats, then regains it shape. I've seen it done so many times in the last week i feel like I already own one. We did go to the top of tower in san marco square, but we took an elevator. I much prefer the ancient stairs, but it wasn't an option.

We have been on mission the past few days too. At Peggy's, Erin fell in love with a  porcelain Pinocchio wall hanging. We hunted florence, siena, and venice today. Today we found something very close, Erin said it was 80% of what she wanted, but after looking in 217 different stores, i guess 80% has to pass. The lady at the store did a good job of bubble wrapping it. The job was not good enough for the marble stairs at the venice train station where Erin slipped and smacked it against the ground. Now pinocchio is only a head. And yes, the nose did survive.

We decided to just relax in Dolo tomorrow, we feel like we saw all that Venice had to offer. The hotel has a hearty breakfast composed mostly of cakes, Italians haven't heard of country gravy yet. Might need to make a stop at denny's on sunday morning.

Stayed tuned for the Vacationees.