Like what you see?
Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to follow me along as I stumble through traveling and baking adventures. Sign up to receive The Traveling Cupcake via email or RSS feed - the links are on the right! Also, make sure to check out the mini traveling cupcake for all of my baby updates. Hope to see you again soon!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
It started off innocent enough...
Brian - "Hey, leave Saturday open we are going away with Sean and Adrienne"
Tracy - "OK cool, where are we going"
Brian - "I dunno, I gotta talk to Sean"
Oddly enough, I left it at that. If the boys wanted to plan something - fine with me!
Fast forward to Saturday morning at 8am, I was told that we were meeting Sean and Ado at Waterloo Station. Given that information I thought we were on our way to Brighton or maybe
the New Forest. Brian insisted that I wear shorts and comfortable sandals, even though it was a cold and gray British "summer" morning.
Being so early in the morning, I didn't pay attention to where the cab was headed. Suddenly, we pulled up to St. Pancras Int'l Station. Hmm...I was confused. We walked in side and the next
thing I knew we were in line for the Eurostar check in, and Brian was handing me my passport (that he so sneakily stached in his cargo pockets) and pulling out our LV Paris guide book.
For the day?
Sean and Ado arrived shortly after, Adrienne and I doing a little happy dance knowing that we were heading out of the grey day in London and heading for sunny Paris! No wonder Brian
insisted I wear proper summer attire - in Paris they actually have real summer weather during the summer months!
A quick trip through security and boarder control and we were off!
What was the plan for the day? Absolutely nothing. Wander around Paris. Eat. Drink. Repeat.
I have a confession to make. Its a little bit embarrassing.
We have never been to Paris.
Yes, yes - I KNOW that we have lived in London for almost two years annnddd I spent an entire semester abroad in Italy. But, it just never made it on the list. Oh but now. Now its at the top of the list.
My first loyalty will always be to Italy, but holy crap. Paris is amazing. We didnt even see the Eiffel Tower or have a crepe or any macaroons (don't worry - we saved those for our weekend trip to Paris scheduled for mid October). What did we do?
We rode bikes.
Had an amazing lunch.
Wandered around the streets of Paris.
And we enjoyed a nice little spread of Paris's finest on the Eurostar home.
What a perfect day.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Sorry to leave you hangin like that - I didnt want to say anything about our trip until we had the flights booked (Im superstitious like that) and that took a little longer than I thought.
But now - the tickets are booked and my bags are practically packed (and yes I am aware that we arent leaving for another 2 months)
So...where are we off to for our extra two weeks of vacation this year?
We are going to fly into Verona and spend a few days exploring the Dolomites. You know Brian and his mountains (as seen here, here anndd here). Since we are going in the middle of October, there is a good chance that there will be snow at the peaks already, so we are expecting to only do some low level hiking. The scenery is supposed to be amazing -
After spending some time in the mountains - we are off to Tuscany!
The exact route hasn't been finalized yet, but were hoping to cut through Emilia Romagna (hello Bologna), stop for a couple days in Florence (EEEEEE!!!!!!) and end up in Pisa where we will catch our return flight to London.
Reasons why I am excited to go to Italy:
2. Except for the couple days that we spent in Venice last year, this will be our first full vacation in Italy.
3. It will be the first time in SEVEN YEARS that I have been in Florence. Shameful I know. SEVEN YEARS! Wait...how old does that make me then?
7. Its truffle season
Ok, I think you get the picture. Im excited.
Sunday, August 08, 2010
When it came time to chose a place to go on our honeymoon, at first we were a little lost. Its your HONEYMOON - time to splash out, pull out all the stops for a fantastic-once-in-a-lifetime trip to somewhere amazing. No pressure, or anything. We briefly thought about going to the typical honeymoon spots - the Seychelles...the Maldives...Bali...and then we realized two things.
1. we would be bored out of our skulls. Yes we like to relax as much as the next person (or rather, the IDEA of relaxing), but we arent very good at it. Im all about laying on the beach...for an hour or two. Any more than that and I get antsy. And if you think Im bad - bring Brian to the beach without any entertainment and you pretty much should have brought a 5 year old (no offense, hun).
2. a two week vacation in any one of the world class resorts on these amazing honeymoon-centric places would probably break the bank, in several places. So, as amazingly beautiful as those places may be, we knew they weren't right for us.
Things we knew we wanted for our honeymoon -
1. a mix of activities - sea, city, hiking, culture, beaches....we wanted it all
2. preferably someplace that was NOT in Europe. If we are going for two weeks, we can afford a longer flight time, might as well aim for some place far away.
3. we wanted to stay in nice, 4 and 5* hotels, pamper ourselves a bit (we deserved it!) and not go bankrupt (another reason for not choosing Europe)
Conclusion - Vietnam here we come!
I actually love telling people that we've chosen Vietnam as the location of our honeymoon because I generally get a response like -
"Are we allowed to go there?"
"Isn't there a war going on there?"
"My dad went to Vietnam, ask him how he liked it"
And so on, and so on.
To be honest, Vietnam has grown in leaps and bounds as a tourist destination over the last decades or so. Sure, some of it is still a little rough, and there are MANY small villages off the
beaten path that dont have any cash machines/telephones/paved roads, but for the most part Vietnam has become a popular vacation destination. Major roads and highways are paved and easy (ish) to navigate (though you would never drive them yourself - hiring a driver to drive you around the country/city/region is cheaper than renting the car alone), the train system is frequent and fairly reliable (and a great way to cover a lot of miles while youre sleeping) and the number of world class hotels and spas is multiplying like bunnies every year. Basically - awesome.
We decided to focus on 3 cities/regions throughout Vietnam for our 2 week holiday. We would spend around 3 days in Hanoi/Halong Bay in the north...
5-6 days in Hoi An in the central Vietnam region (for the best beaches/maximum relaxation)...
and another 3 or so days in the south visiting HCM (Saigon) and the Mekong Delta.
Vietnam is a pretty small country sq milage wise - however it is long and skinny, so traveling north to south as we wanted to would probably several in country flights in order to cover it all in only two weeks. ONLY two weeks...we are so spoiled.
The wedding was in June, which made for a bad time to visit Vietnam. So, we decided to put it off until the fall. No problemo taking the honeymoon after the wedding - it gave us time to plan it and something else to look forward to. So we were thinking October. And then I spoke to a travel agent who said that Nov/Dec would be better, as we would have a better chance at avoiding the monsoons (avoiding monsoons - good idea). And thennnnn when said travel agent found out that we wanted to spend the most days in Hoi An, he suggested February. Or March. Or April. Huh? April? But thats like....10 months AFTER the wedding? Is that even considered a honeymoon at that point??
After lots of thinking (ok, probably about 8 minutes worth) we decided to be patient, put the Vietnam books down for a couple mos and move the trip to April. Of 2011. Im still telling EVERYONE I meet on the trip that its our honeymoon. So, now we wait for April.
The good news is that leaves us with an extra 2 weeks in our vacation bank for 2010....
Where will be spending these two weeks?
Anyone? Stay tuned to find out
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
We love food so much that it is one of our favorite hobbies. Cooking it,
eating it, staring at it...yes please I'll take three. Brian is kick ass on the BBQ (at one point we had 3 of them in our back garden) and makes a killer breakfast. Im a bake-aholic. If the recipe calls for sugar, my name is written all over it.
And now - a visual tour of our creations...
(From the top - mini muffins,super gigantic smoked pork chop/mexican grilled corn, our beloved beer can chicken, raspberry peach crumble, and last but not least cherry smoked chicken. nom.nom.nom.)
And that my friends...was just the month of July.