What a better day than today, when I look outside to see a gloomy Kansas City morning, to start sharing about our 2 week European adventure! 

Our trip started and ended in Milan, (in which by the way, we found a flight to direct from Miami for around $400 each, which is pretty phenomenal!) and even though both of us had been there before, it was fun to explore more of it together this time around.

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Bike ride through Tuscany


Before we had left for our Honeymoon, I had done a little bit of research on renting bikes in Tuscany. We both love riding our bikes – we were just coming off of a three day ride traveling over 200 miles for Ragbrai (a cyclists' dream experience!), and were hoping we could find an opportunity to rent bikes while in Italy. After leaving Rome for Florence, I again looked up companies that offered bike rentals or bike tours. Brandon called about it, and we had just one option for the few days’ time span we would be in Tuscany. It was an easy ride that included a tour of two small towns and a winery all in a few hours afternoon. A lot more gentle than our sweaty, grueling days of Ragbrai – this ride started by boarding a shuttle bus that would drop us off in the town of Castellina- a small, enchanting hilltop town south of Florence. We were able to explore the town and the castle wall that was once a perch for the military, but has since been turned into a bunch of little retail stores selling artwork, souvenirs and other little goodies. We then got on our cruiser bikes and glided down the hill, about a 45 min trip to Poggibonsi. We had SO much fun biking down that hill! You could see vineyards sprawled across the country side contrasting the bright blue skies and cotton-like clouds. Every direction offered a priceless view, and we stopped several times to take it all in.

After arriving at the bottom of the hill, our guide loaded up our bikes and took us to our next stop of the tour- a tiny walled city called San Gimignano. This little town was full of character: café’s, shops, and gelateria’s. We grabbed lunch in a little square in the city center, than found our way through some of the shops, and looked for interesting corners off the beaten path. Before we left to head back to Florence, we had to stop at a gelateria that boasted it had “The Best Ice Cream in the World”. Brandon was very happy as he seemed to agree with the accolade! I’m so glad we decided to take this little side trip to see the Tuscan countryside by bike. Such a unique experience and one I will always treasure!

Saying goodbye to Venice


I can’t believe it!! The very last leg of our honeymoon. Venice is our last stop- we drove back up from Verona Wednesday morning and will leave tomorrow afternoon to head back to the US!  We have both been to Venice a couple times and this time we just really wanted to relax, shoot some photos, find a couple of good restaurants and wind down as we prepare to fly home. I think when your mind wraps around the fact that you are about to head home, your body follows suit by saying “hey I’m pretty tired from this long trip and the bed at home sounds pretty nice right about now” These last couple weeks were a constant go-go-go and I loved every minute of it, but the thought of home definitely sounds pretty great.

Venice is so crowded with tourists and I wish that one day I could capture it in its true glory- free of the thousands of people shuffling along, and free of the hundreds of street vendors trying to sell you toys and gadgets and paintings. But I still love the gondolas, the way the light of the sunset hits the canals, just the whole feel of Venice, a little city floating in the ocean.

We had lunch in a much less crowded square and ordered pizza and pasta, per usual, but this was the first time we had tried the bucatini noodle. Hands down our new favorite! A little thicker than a spaghetti noodle, and has a nice bite to it.. I am a big fan of a thicker “al dente” type of noodle!

We walked around St Marco’s square at sunset, watching the light bounce off the buildings, and taking advantage of every minute of the golden hour with our cameras. After our very last stop at a gelateria , we headed home to pack and get a good night’s sleep before our long trek home tomorrow.

This backpack was an integral part of this trip! I'm think I'm going to try to make wearing your backpack on the front the "new thing: :P