Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Buckingham Palace Rocked

Dude on odd days in November the changing of the guards happens in front of Buckingham Palace. I went online to see what people had to say about it and most were haters but dude I loooooooooooved it. Maybe it's the wannabe band geek in me.

Starts at 11:30 a.m., but you should get there at least 40 min earlier. If you face the front of the palace, walk all the way to the right end where it looks like nowhere is gathering. I'm telling you it's a great spot!

When it begins, horses travel round with a marching band and soldiers with guns and then they all meet inside for battle of the bands. Dude it was so cool. The band closest to our end played the STARWARS theme. I took tons of video but don't know how to post that here.

Occupying London

So they are Occupying London. They can't occupy Parliament because they'd get kicked out so they are occupying St. Someone's church.

From Westminster to London

The below notes the point in which you move from Westminster into London or vice versa.

That's Not London Bridge!

Below is NOT London Bridge. Duh! It's the Tower Bridge!

Now below is the London Bridge, which is simple and straightforward transportation path.

Dragons are everywhere and if you see the back of a dragon it means you are leaving an area...

Who Cares About Australia's Embassy?

Below is a pic of Australia's embassy? Why do I care? I don't, but apparently Harry Potter fans do because some scene uses one of its facades.

Blurry but Important

Below is the location of the first bar to serve Guinness outside of Ireland. Interesting and perhaps untrue but a neat tidbit shared by our guide.

The Great Fire

Below is a monument of the GREAT fire. It started in that location and while taking nearly everything out was apparently a blessing in disguise as it stopped the plague and in effect sanitized the city.

Where Ms. Middleton became a Mrs.

Westminster Abbey...THE church. Every royal except for three ( or something like that) has been married in there.

Hugh Grant

So we didnt see Hugh Grant, but we believe he was on his way to court regarding the phone tapping scandal. See all the news vans?

Ben Pokin an Eye

Wish it wasn't so dreary but that's the way it is out here. Also it was like 830 in the a.m.

Additional pics of big Ben, parliament and the London eye below. By the way, the London eye was supposed to be only temporary. So much for that! Our guide joe, hates the London eye.

Hop On, Hop Off

We took one of those hop on and hop off buses. Super great idea to learn cool facts and get a lay of the land. The next few posts will be random pics we took from up on the bus. It was friggin cold by the way...

London Calling!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pompeii (kris)

Gus did an excellent job recapping Pompeii. Just a few more notes from me. Bring snacks and water! Actually they do have a cafe there, so either way all good. It just would have been cute to sit on the rocks sharing a meal together.

Above: if you miss the bathroom at entrance of Pompeii, there's this one. One of the cleanest and roomiest bathrooms I saw in italy actually, not counting hotels.

Niño Restaurant Rome (kris)

We aren't in london now, but again this wifey is lagging on posting. Gus recounted our last evening in Rome. It was nice to spend it with some newlyweds as they were about to embark on their adventure and we were ending ours.

Thank god for a wonderful last meal at suggested restaurant, Niño. It's just steps away from the Spanish Steps. Other than the neon green sign, it's pretty nondescript. Upon entering nothing speaks fancy. Just well lit, wood walls and very straightforward food and service. Only downside? Dessert. Don't bother with that.

Above: white beans in olive oil to start. Simple goodness to smear on bread.
Below: salad - hunks of fresh tomatoes and blocks of mozzarella doused with olive oil. Excellent.
Not pictured: Marinated artichoke hearts - so good we ended up ordering another pair for the table.

Above: beef carpaccio salad with parmigianno. According to Gus, it wasn't so much that it was raw, it was more the combination of all the ingredients that made it unique. Carpaccio alone good, all together, with the perfect bite of aIl ingredients - perfect.

Above: beef filet - medium rare. Excellent, juicy, moist, perfectly cooked.

We also ordered pasta with artichokes. This pasta was fantastic as the noodles were homemade and al dente.

Adrian ordered hamburger. And it's a plain looking hamburger patty that surprised Gus and Adrian as totally flavorful in its rareness.

Sam ordered a penne arrabiatta. Me n Gus didn't try it, but it looked decent.

Dessert was not so hot. Tiramisu PALED in comparison to what we had at Pandemonio in Florence.

Sorrento Day 3 (Gus)

We definitely wanted to check out the Amalfi Coast while in Sorrento. Again, no tours and there were rock slides so the road was closed to buses. A private car was really our only choice (since Kristin would not jump on the back of a Vespa and they don't rent Ducati Monsters).

As luck would have it we met this couple recently engaged wanting to go to Positano. They wanted to check out the Church on the beach that they were planning on using to get married. However, they have only seen it online and they were just trying to get everything buttoned up this weekend. The 4 of us got a private car.

Again, lady luck was smiling down on us. It was about 70 degrees and perfect. Our driver Tony grew up in the area so he was very knowlegable on what was where and where to stop for the good pics. He worked on a cruise ship after college so he knew like 5 languages so communication between English, Spanish and Italian was easy. It really was the perfect way to end our Italian leg of the trip.

Not much to do in Positano or Amalfi but check out he Churches. The Church in Amalfi is unique because St. Andrew is buried there. St. Andrew is JC's OG! He was the dude fishing that laid don his nets and started to follow JC around. Anyhow, Amalfi was also the area that was closest to the holy land so the crusaders would leave and come back to that port. Oh, and these bad ass knights from Malta chilled there hence the cross.

Sorrento Day 2 (Gus)

I love watching the history channel, nat geo, discovery and shit like that. I once watched a special on Pompeii. It's amazing how advanced they were with infrastructure and architecture 2500 years ago. It reminded me of Tikal a Mayan city in the jungles of Guatemala. I've been therea few times so I knew that I had to check it out Pompeii in person.

It almost did not happen:-( it's the slow season in Sorrento so the tour companies are shut down for the winter. We took the train and decided to do the self tour. We get there and I ask Kris for some money and she says all she has is 10 Euro (it's 11 a person to get in). I start to dig through my pockets and find 12 Euro in coins mostly. In our hurry to get out and to the train station I forgot to grab cash out of the safe. Luckily we has just enough and we got in.

Frogger and a movie being filmed.

There are a bunch of stray dogs that live in the city of Pompeii. Also, there is a non-profit that cares for the dogs and tries to get them adopted. You should check it out.

Friday, November 18, 2011

More on the Pizza Below! (kris)

Ugh, Gus friggin posted the below pic of pizza and pasta from our first day in Sorrento.

Details as follows...

Ugh we were LOST and had to get to via corso...thank god for pizzeria leone Russo. We stopped carried our luggage in and sank into our chairs. Gus ordered frutti di mare - seafood pasta. It tasted like the sea!

I ordered the Vesuvius. Dude it was awesome! Half calzone half pizza. So the little mound you see there is like Vesuvius volcano bubbling with ham cheese and tomato and then it's surrounded by the Pompeii of mozzarella, arugula and tomatoes. Ingenious!

Waiter was super cool! Barely said a word but after we paid he gave us limoncello shots. I drank both. Strong mothersuckers!

Movember is alive and well in Italy!

To donate...


Sorrento Day 1 (Gus)

We jumped on the train from Rome to Naples...easy right? Once in Naples we are to take the local train to Sorrento...not so easy:-( no one told us we were suppose to switch trains and together with a Canadian couple we missed our stop. By the time we ended up in Sorrento we were tired so we decided to take it easy have some food and rest up for Pompeii. The Hotel is a cute lil B and B on the main drag and the room reminds me of my aunts house in Guatemala so I'm right at home.