I know this is past-due and probably unnecessary really, but I still feel like the details of our crazy, whirlwind two weeks in Europe should be documented for future reference, when we're old and senile and can't remember what we did on our Honeymoon! I'll try to keep it short, but no promises, I'm a bit wordy on a good day and today is Sunday!
Wednesday, June 8th: Packed the kids and too much luggage in the car, dropped the kid's at the "resort & spa" (NOT a resort & spa in actuality, but that is another story), and got on our way to England, JAX-NEW-MAN style.
Thursday, June 9th: Arrived in England (thank you Uncle Freddie for picking us up!), took Mike for a quick visit around the village, had lunch in town, and went to see my cousin's cute little apartment. Were super jet-lagged, so we napped and then had a lovely dinner at The Owls in Standish...yum!!
Friday, June 10th: Spent the morning getting ready and then said goodbye to Grangy at his funeral, cremation and reception at The Beaches. After the reception, Mike and I went to meet his Dad, Step-Mom, and sisters for dinner and celebration of Mary's 30th Birthday! Celebrate we did, a bit too much probably, but it was a lovely meal and a lovely evening overall with the Mahoney's!
Saturday, June 11th: Spent a lovely day out in Chester with the Smith's and Mahoney's. Chestival, woo hoo!
Sunday, June 12th: After two weeks of marriage, Mike and I again vowed to love each other, for better or worse, forever, at our blessing in St. Wilfrid's Church in Standish, with our families. We had a beautiful reception following the service, at Ashfield House...it was another perfect wedding day, we're so lucky!!
Monday, June 13th: Got up WAY too early to catch our flight to Ireland as the Mahoney Family took on Dublin! Arrived at our hotel, got settled, took the bus into Dublin and toured the city on the Hop-on, Hop-off bus that circles the city. Great first day in Dublin!
Tuesday, June 14th: Went to the hotel pool (it's a Mahoney thing) before eating a full Irish breakfast and heading back into Dublin. Visited Christ Church before heading to the Guinness Brewery for a tour and a beer, it was fantastic! Had another great meal out that night in Temple Bar, after having drinks before at THE Temple Bar in Temple Bar-very cool place and a really cool part of the city!
Wednesday, June 15th: Got up even earlier so that Mike and I could catch our next flight to Rome! Total success with Ryan Air, by the way, they're perfect for crusing around Europe inexpensively! Spent our first day in Rome with pizza (amazing pizza, I might add!), a great tour of the Colliseum and a nice walk around the city, stumbling upon beautiful churches and ancient buildings. Great dinner that night at La Hosteria!
Thursday, June 16th: Spent the day exploring: saw the Pantheon (had gelatto outside the pantheon), Trevi Fountain, el Campo di Fiori, and the Roman Forum. Another great dinner at Mani in Pasta with tiramisu & espresso at a cafe in Travestere!
Friday, June 17th: Vatican Day! Had a great lunch in Vatican City then toured the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. We walked around outside St. Peter's Basilica to get some pictures, but decided not wait four hours to get in. Beautiful part of the city, amazing history! Had our favorite meal in Rome this night, at a tiny little restaurant near the Piaza de Novano....yummm!!
Saturday, June 18th: Picked up our rental car and hit the road to Tuscany! The first stop was Siena, our accommodations being at the Castel del Quattro Torres, a completely amazing castle just outside Siena. Had a relaxing afternoon drinking wine at the castle and headed into Siena for the afternon and dinner. Yet another amazing meal (we did a lot of eating and were never disappointed!) in a beautiful place ( I loved the Piaza del Campo here the most, it felt really alive and real, not at touristy!).
Sunday, June 19th: Drove through Tuscany towards Greve, stopping for lunch in the tiny village of Castellina-amazing lunch, of course, of bruschetta and a meat & cheese plate-and made it to Greve in the early afternoon. Greve is a very small, quaint town, so we spent the afternoon at the hotel pool (the only one in Greve!), walked around town and then had yet another amazing meal! Dinner included pate, papadelle pasta with wild boar sauce (Ah-mazing!), grilled pigeon (Mike was SO excited, he'd read all about it and really wanted to try it!) and roated duck! Unbelieveable...and yes, you can fit that much meat into one meal!
Monday, June 20th: Headed out of Tuscany to Florence for our last day/night in Italy. Had a rough start of things trying to navigate Florence, the roads are tiny and packed with people and all one-ways, not ideal for people traveling to Florence for the first time. After we dropped the car off (we'd never been so excited to be done driving!), we walked around the city, saw the beautiful Duomo and other ancient buildings! Had our favorite meal of the trip this night, at La Giostra restaurant. Beautiful antipasta display served complimentary, with a glass of prosecco!, delicious pasta, and then the mac daddy of a steaks, a One-kilo T-bone steak, the bistec Florentine! We couldn't get through it all, but it was definitely a great ending to our wonderful trip!
Tuesday, June 21st: Headed out of Florence back to Manchester for our last night with my family, before heading home.
Had a pretty rough trek of things getting home the last day, but we made it and had an amazing time to show for it all. Nine flights in 14 days, plus buses, trains and rental cars, we never lost our luggage and managed to never want to kill each other, not even once! :) It was a once in a lifetime trip and we are so glad we did it! If you ever need books on Italy, just ask!!