Sick.

I’m falling behind on my daily posts! I’ve been feeling pretty under the weather these past couple of days, so I’m sorry for the lack of posts. Here’s a little picture recap of what we’ve been doing.

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  •  We bought the new version of The Game of Life.  I like the older version better, but it’s still fun!

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  •  Mom and I went to the market and bought all of these veggies for 1 euro, plus 4 peaches for 50 cents.  Can’t beat those prices, and everything is so fresh! These guys were roasted up with olive oil and Italian spices as a side dish one night.

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  •  I hope we ate these before ‘End of Dluo’. Whatever that means…

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  •  We took a tour of the Bourbon Tunnels. Really, really interesting, the tour company offers three different experiences: the basic walk-through tour, an adventure tour complete with rafting down a part of the aqueduct and zip lining, and a ‘spelunking’ adventure where you are given hard hats, flashlights, and a suit and you can crawl through some of the narrowest parts of the aqueduct.  We only did the basic, but I reaally want to go back and try the adventure tour.

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  •  That, ladies and gents, is a Reese’s ice cream sandwich.  Soooo good, especially when you hit a chunk of peanut butter. love it.

And that pretty much catches us up! For the rest of the day I plan on being parked on the couch with a box of Kleenex next to me, trying to watch America’s Next Top Model.  Jealous?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Museum + Pompeii

Blaine and I finally achieved our goal of going to the Archeological Museum and Pompeii back to back.  I’ll skim over the museum since I already covered our family visit there and I’ll get to Pompeii in a second, but first I have big news!! I applied to become a Sweat Pink ambassador a little while ago and I received my welcome e-mail this morning! I am completely stoked about it 😀 Cheers to new experiences!

Click on my badge on the side of the page if you’re interested in learning more!

Okay back to recapping 🙂

Art history/archeology  guy that he is, my brother Quin joined us on our visit to the museum on Monday.  We were a little nervous when we arrived because there were notices all over the place about exhibits and wings being closed, which made it sound like Blaine wouldn’t be able to see the Pompeii artifacts he learned about this past semester in his Roman history class.  Luckily, 90% of what we wanted to see was still available.  Phew!

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I loved going through the museum again with both Blaine and Quin because they knew so much about a lot of the exhibits.  It’s good to know people!

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My little sea goat!

My little sea goat!

There was an Italian couple who went through the whole museum carrying their two Chihuahuas around. The dogs were completely complacent the whole time and I thought there couldn’t be many other places in the world where you can bring your pet around 2000 year old objects.

That’s what I thought until we went to Pompeii and we saw a man walking through the ruins with his adorable pet chocolate lab.  I guess since stray dogs walk around Pompeii all the time there isn’t much of a point in keeping pets out, but it was still pretty funny to see.  It took me and Blaine three hours to get to Pompeii by train.

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When we first arrived at the site, we thought we’d just wander around with our audio guide, stopping at things that looked particularly interesting.  We quickly discovered that wouldn’t work and sat down in some shade to pick out our must-sees from the huge map we grabbed. Despite only choosing about 5 sites to see, it still took us three and a half hours and we were no where near covering the whole place. Pompeii is huge!

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My favorite part was the amphitheater; it’s the oldest surviving Roman amphitheater and is one of the best preserved ever. Blaine and I enjoyed pretending like we were gladiators, standing in the center and pretending the crowd was roaring for us.

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Blaine’s favorite spot was the House of the Faun since he learned so much about it this past semester and saw a lot of the original artifacts in the museum the day before.

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The House of the Faun was our last stop and we managed to time it perfectly because right as we were leaving storm clouds rolled in and thunder started a-rumblin’. Luckily we made it back on the metro before rain fell, but the 2 hour journey home put us on the couch for the rest of the day. No complaints here! 

Slow Learners

Before I get into our day, did you know that a serving of Frosted Mini Wheats has less sugar than a serving of Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal?

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I was surprised! I recently read that a woman’s daily intake of sugar should be around 30 grams, so I’ve been reading nutrition labels out of curiosity. I didn’t expect Kashi to out-sugar Frosted Mini Wheats! [screen shots from http://caloriecount.about.com]

Moving on to our day. We spent a little time kickin’ around ideas for today since our original plan for Pompeii fell through. We came up with visiting Castel Sant’Elmo and Certosa di San Martino. It was quite easy to get to both sites because they are riiight off a funicular stop, plus they are practically back to back so navigating from one to the other was a piece o’ cake.

The Castel was built as a hexagon, which was really interesting to walk around.  We took an elevator to the second floor (we didn’t try too hard to go to the first floor, but it wasn’t easy to get to so we skipped it) and both kind of felt like we were walking around the Alamo.  The fortress had a very Western movie feel about it, which I thought was strange since it was built in the 1300’s…

We took a quick spin through the small art museum, enjoying the Impressionist art and cocking our heads at the Modern stuff. Blaine and I had a debate about this sculpture:

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He sees a man on a high-wire holding a balancing stick, I see an airplane with a crazy pilot. What do you see?

The best part of the Castel was definitely the views it offered. We could see all the way down Spaccanapoli (the long straight road that divides Naples in two), including the cloisters we visited the other day.

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There were neat signs that pointed out major sights and landmarks so you could see what you were looking at, which was incredibly helpful for us. Walking around the walls got our bellies rumblin’ so we headed off to Certosa di San Marino, hoping there would be a cafe or something nearby so we could fuel up before round two.  As luck would have it, there was a restaurant directly across the street from Sant’Elmo that provided a lovely view of Naples and some pasta that sounded delicious so we sat down to enjoy ourselves.

I tried to branch out today guys, I promise, but the restaurant didn’t prepare risotto if only one person ordered it so I had to change my pick from zucchini flower risotto to Rigatoni Siciliana. Rigatoni with–you guessed it–eggplant.

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It was soooo good so I’m not too disappointed I couldn’t order risotto, although I did want to try something new.  Blaine had a gnocchi-type pasta that was aiight. I’m afraid I steered him wrong because he’s not a huge fan of shrimp and I didn’t realize the pasta was served with the little guys. Sorry buddy!!

IMG_3693Still yummy though.  We took a long time at lunch enjoying the view and the food and some cappuccino 😉

We pried ourselves from the table and headed 30 yards down the road to Certosa di San Marino. I laughed at what we found.

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We’re battin’ a thousand right now. So it goes. We looked around a few of the little cameo shops nearby and then started walking back to the funicular. Since we had just had a huge meal, we both felt like walking around a little before heading home, so we took a stroll around a pedestrian area right by the funicular station. We hit it during reposo though, so most of the shops were closed. We seem to have a knack for that. You know what was open? A gelato shop!

IMG_3695We made friends with the girls behind the counter as I tried to pronounce the word ‘spoon’ (cucchiaio– it’s hard!) and left with a cup full of Nutella and Kinder gelato.  Yummy yummy yummy we got love in our tummies!!

It was fantastic. We were then ready to head home and start preppin’ for our trip to ROME tomorrow!! I’m so excited I can barely stand it!

Striiiike Out!

Our plans today were a big fat BUST 😦 Quin and Mom had some errands to run, so Blaine and I were on our own. I thought it would be a great plan to go to the National Archeological Museum today, and then go to Pompeii tomorrow so we could get the whole picture. Pretty smart, huh? Too bad I didn’t do all my research. It turns out that the museum is closed on Tuesdays, womp! It had taken us a little over an hour to get out there, so it was a pretty harsh blow when the museum was sealed up tight. Luckily, we had just treated ourselves to a cappuccino and a graffa (a donut dusted in sugar) so the morning wasn’t a total loss.

We regrouped and decided to take a spin around the Flavian Amphitheater by the metro station near our house. There are some cool ruins there, I actually knew how to get there, and it was near a pizza place my mom had recommended. Win-win-win! Except when we showed up we saw this:

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What a huge bummer! Obviously I need to get a little smarter about these attractions. At that point, Blaine and I just laughed and decided to go get some pizza and beer. (Our landlord took us out to dinner one time and insisted that the only thing you can drink with pizza is beer.  I’m not going to second guess the advice of a 70 year-old Italian man). We went to a place called Zona A, right near the metro station, and I left Blaine to order our drinks and pizza. When I sat back down, these babies were delivered to us

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Like my point of view? 😉 It was a lot of beer, but surprisingly refreshing after a hot day of disappointments.

When our pizza came we were a little confused because we thought we had ordered a pizza with eggplant and friarielli (which is rapini), but our pizza looked like plain cheese.

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We decided to dig in anyway since I didn’t want to fumble around with asking for a different pizza, and it’s a good thing we did, because there was a surprise inside that crust!

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It was stuffed with sausage-friarielli-eggplant goodness!! That was the first time I’d had stuffed crust pizza here, and it was a real winner. We left full and happy, the day’s earlier disappointments  forgotten 🙂

When we got home, I coerced poor Blaine into watching the latest episode of The Bachelorette (anybody else disappointed in her picks??) and now we’re watching Casino Royale to make up for his pain 😀

Biking in Reggia di Caserta

We went on a little day adventure today! Mom was free to drive me and Blaine around today, so we took the opportunity to go visit Reggia di Caserta, a royal palace and garden about 40 minutes away.  I won’t bore you with too much detail since we’ve already taken a family trip there that I wrote about, but Blaine and I made one huge adjustment to our game plan today: we rented bikes!

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Mom went off to a shady part of the garden when we arrived and Blaine and I hopped on our bikes to explore the place (get on your bikes and ride!). It was sooo much nicer on the bikes than walking, especially coming back downhill 🙂 We parked at the very top and ate our lunch by the fountain, which was absolutely perfect.  The view was amazing and cooler temperature by the fountain was much appreciated.

IMG_3666Side note, I highly recommend those Columbia water bottles! We put cold water in them at 10 o’clock when we left the house and after hanging out in the sun until 2 o’clock the water was still chilly. Awesome.

I really liked riding the bikes around, there isn’t much of an opportunity to ride bikes around Naples so it was fun to feel the wind in my hair again 🙂 We took a bit of a long route back to the palace and saw a little mini castle that was built for the prince to play in.  What a childhood! Right by the play place was a beautiful magnolia tree, so obviously I had to pose in it! Too bad I didn’t have my mouthguard with me!

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We only rented the bike for two hours, so we turned those babies in and went for a stroll around the palace.  I think it’s clear Blaine enjoyed himself 😉

 

 

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The palace was as impressive as ever; I especially enjoyed the special exhibit featuring sketches of the garden in its planning phase.  Pretty neat!

Blaine and I took on dinner duties tonight, and since we had some eggplant to use up we decided on a little eggplant parmesan action.  We double teamed it and it took no time at all! The rest of the fam gave it rave reviews, although I wasn’t completely won over I still really enjoyed it.

Preppin' the eggplant

Preppin’ the eggplant

Time to treat myself to some dessert!