Friday, September 14, 2012

Mediterranean Honeymoon Highlights

After spending two weeks the Mediterranean on our honeymoon, we're convinced that taking a cruise is completely the way to go.

Bye bye, Denver! One of our friends had a flight out at a
similar time, and she graciously offered to give us a ride.

The trip began with a flight from Denver to New York, and from there it was off to the Roma Aeroporto di Fiumicino - Leonardo da Vinci.  On the flight from New York to Rome we slept about as well as could be expected thanks to our handy neon green earplugs and classy eye masks (or eye bras as one our friends likes to call them).

Upon arrival in Rome, we exited the plane on the tarmac sans jet way and were taken by bus to the airport building itself.  Due to some unfortunate timing, Ali and I got split up during this process and it wasn't clear if the buses were taking passengers to the same entry way door.  Luckily, everything panned out just fine and we did end up at the same location prior to going through customs.  It was a bit stressful, but everything after that was smooth sailing, pun intended!

We picked up our checked bags from the carousel and then the cruise staff took care of the rest.  With all of the staff members on site, it would have been nearly impossible to get lost at that point.  After a short shuttle ride through the Italian countryside we arrived at the Civitavecchia port.

Check-in was smooth and included much appreciated cookies and punch.  From there, Ali and I spent 12 fantastic days aboard the Celebrity Equinox in a veranda state room seeing the following cities:

The lovely whitewashed buildings surround the caldera.

The Hagia Sophia is a pretty amazing place!

  These ancient ruins bring a whole new meaning to the word "old".

It was crazy windy, so that's why Ali looks like Medusa.

 [ Sorry, no photos! We went to the beach and cameras can't swim.]

Herculaneum - Fewer tram stops from Naples,
 one tenth the tourists of Pompeii, and arguably 
better preserved!

Along the way, we met two cheery friends that we had dinner with nearly every evening.  One, a Facebook employee, and another a PhD candidate studying microbiology.  Wow, talk about curious coincidences!

I suppose now is also the time to say that the food was absolutely fantastic.  We thoroughly enjoyed every meal we ate, both on shore and on the ship.  Ali, the more experienced cruiser of us, can confirm that the food we had was better than any cruise she'd been on prior.

After the cruise ended, we were back in Rome for a few more days of site seeing (and food eating).  Three days seemed just about right for seeing most of the highlights in Rome, and by the end of the last day we were tuckered out and ready to come back home.

The Colosseum is much like today's modern sports 
arenas. They were so ahead of the times with their
running water, bathrooms, and shade covers.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip.  Thanks to everyone who helped to make it possible!  We wish everyone the best and hope you've enjoyed your summer as well.


Matt & Ali

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wedding Reception Notes


We had an awesome honeymoon and made it home safely.  Honeymoon posts will be coming soon.  But first, I want to post about the great reception we threw with our families last weekend in Minnesota.  We liked the idea of having a small wedding followed by a big picnic party with family and some friends in our hometown.  For better or for worse, we picked labor day weekend, as it allowed us to fly directly from Europe to Minnesota with a few days to get ready.  We shopped around for venues last winter and decided on Bryant Lake Pavilion in Eden Prairie.  It's a lovely space, close to a beach and park, and equipped with electricity and a fridge. 

Both of our families put in a lot of work the week of the party helping us cart around rental equipment, assemble things at the party, direct guests, and clean up afterwards.  The team effort really paid off.  One of my relatives said it was the best wedding reception he'd ever been to.  

We rented tablecloths and a popcorn machine from the local party rental company.  Food was takeout from Buca diBeppo, one of our favorite pasta joints.  Matt's mom and grandma made the flower arrangements.  All the flowers were either growing in the garden or were wildflowers picked around town. 

Matt's dad got into brewing a few years ago, and now makes some pretty tasty libations.  He brewed us some wheat beer and hard apple cider to serve at the party.  There were many extra bottles, so a lot of guests got to take a bottle home for later.

My sister helped me organize a photo arrangement in three parts.  Matt and I went through each other's childhood photos (so much fun!) and picked out some snapshots that we liked of the other person as a kid.  We printed off some pictures of the two of us from our nine years together so far.  It's appalling how many pictures of us have funny facial expressions.  The last panel of the photo arrangement consisted of wedding photos that we printed so that friends and family that weren't at the event could experience it in part.

Instead of a guestbook, we had people sign fabric squares.  I intent to make it into a quilt someday to hang on our walls.  I don't yet own a sewing machine, iron, or any quilting materials.  But those are just details.  I'll get to it.  

Probably the silliest part of the party was the photobooth we put together with accessories purchased from goodwill the day before.  My favorite was a set of dog and cat ears with attached nose (sported by yours truly below).   

All in all, it was a pretty great event, and we enjoyed seeing friends and family from Minnesota and around the country.  Thanks to everyone who came!