Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Napoli or Nastoli...

Specialty Pasta shop!
Well, needless to say, Naples is disgustingly dirty!  They were on a trash strike when we were there and trash was piled up about 5 feet or so lining the streets!  GROSS!

Watching our pizza going into the oven...
Aside from the nastiness, we still walked around for a little bit and found one slightly charming street.  Ok, I'm exaggerating a little, 2 or 3 charming stores and that's it.  We found a pasta shop owned by an old Italian couple.  They sold specialty pastas, spices and oils.  They were so cute and welcoming, so we all felt obligated to buy some.  Let me tell you - I'm glad I did because it's delicious!  I found some oak leaves multi-flavored pasta (for those who don't know, the Navy Nurse Corps insignia is the oak leave)  Dorky, I know.  Lauren found a few souvenir stores on the same street and I found my homemade tirimisu I've been waiting for!  After that, Amy and I found a pizzeria that we had to get some lunch at.  I mean, come on, we were in Naples... the birth place of pizza!!!  There was no way I was going to visit Naples and not get pizza!  We had a brick oven pizza with olive oil, buffalo mozzarella, basil, arugula, and tomato!  OMG, it was one of the best pizzas I've ever had... Amy and I devoured it!

The rest of the day we spent on the ship doing Zumba on the deck (yes, Amy was teaching us Zuma, since she's an instructor out in the Stan), and reading/drinking by the pool.  That all equates into a lot of needed best friend girl time!

Good-bye Naples... sailing away at sunset!
The girls at dinner on the ship.
Caitlin and Lo enjoying some rays while in the hot tub.
Amy teaching us Zumba!!
Caitlin and me relaxing on a couples hammock :) 
Napoli from the ship

Monday, August 15, 2011


Greek Theater in Taormina
After having to change our itinerary on the cruise because of bad weather in Monoco that closed the port down for the day, our first day ended up being an "at sea day".  The 2nd day we pulled into Messina, Sicily.  The girls and I had a balcony room which apparently was on the right side, because we woke up to an amazing view of the port every morning!!!

We traveled up the coast a little to a small town on top of seaside cliffs overlooking Mt Etna.  Taormina was a BEAUTIFUL Italian town with the old town feel.  It had cobblestone streets lined streets with cafes and shops.  We stopped at a cafe to get a espresso/cappuccino and gelato in the morning.  We walked around and went shopping most of the morning before heading to the Greek Theater before lunch.  I was able to find some Italian pottery that I fell in love with, so I felt that I had to get it.  (I'm still happy with my purchase)  The Greek Theater was holding a concert later on in the week, so it was setting up for it while we were there.  We were still able to get some good pictures with the Italian coast and Mt Etna in the background.
We stopped for lunch at a traditional Italian restaurant.  It was by far the best food of the trip for me.  Caitlin and I shared 2 dishes... homemade macaroni noodles with eggplant, tomato, onion, and basil & a pizza with spinach, tomato, mozzarella, and basil.  I would eat the pasta every day if I could!  During lunch we also got to enjoy a little music entertainment when a guy started playing a guitar and singing.
The two Italian guys serenading us at lunch.
some of the Italian pottery... i got a decorative plate. 

Amers in the town square.
Many of the alley-ways were filled with art or flowers!

I think this was the theme of our whole trip!
View from the Greek Theater
Catching a little rest in the Greek Theater

I love this one of us!!
A volcano of the Sicilian coast that was erupting as our
ship was sailing by!  Very cool to see!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Viva Barcelona...

Park Guell, Barcelona
Home to a lot of Gaudi's work.
Me, Lauren Decker, Nikki, Amy in front
of Sagrada Familia

I have to start posting about my European cruise I went on 3 weeks ago, but it's just taking a while with work and whatnot.  So bear with me... slowly but surely, they will be up here!
Amy, Caitlin Putre, Lauren Schuetz, and I all met up in Barcelona for a day and a half before we got on our European Cruise!  I was even more excited to have Nikki Pritchard and Lauren Decker (2 more Navy Nurses) meet up with us there for the weekend.  I haven't seen Nikki in over a year when she was passing through Kuwait on her way home.

Nikki & I
Even though I arrived pretty late, it was perfect timing for Barcelona time to go out to dinner.  We ate at a pretty good Italian place and the spent the rest of the night drinking sangria while listening to live music.  We spent the whole next day sightseeing!  Of course we did all the sights... Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, Las Ramblas, and Pueblo Espanol.  I loved all of Gaudi's artwork all over the city.  Park Guell was amazing with all his intricate mosaic artwork.  Sagrada Familia is a famous cathedral designed by Gaudi but still under construction for over 100 years!  After seeing it, I can see why it's taking so long to complete with all it's details.  We went to the fresh market on Las Ramblas for lunch.  That was probably one of my favorite parts of Barcelona with all the fresh fruit and veggies and organic dishes!  The rest of the afternoon we spent walking around the shopping district.

Front side of Sagrada Familia.  Each side had a different theme.

Organic tapas at the market... I had the cuscous stuffed bell pepper!
Fresh market off of Las Ramblas.  These juices
were fresh squeezed and delicious!  I had mango-coco!
Dried fruit and nuts... of course I got some for snacking on
during the cruise!
That night we went to a flamenco show in Pueblo Espanol.  Pueblo Espanol is an old Spanish village left over from one of the world fairs that now they house many shops and restaurants.  During the show we enjoyed traditional spanish tapas and sangria!  What a perfect combo!!
Lauren, Amy, Lauren and I wine tasting before the flamenco
show in at a shop in Pueblo Espanol.
Lauren, Amy, me, Caitlin, Nikki and Lauren waiting before
the flamenco show!  It was awesome to watch!

View of Barcelona from the top of Park Guell
Sitting on the mosaic bench designed by Gaudi.
So intricate!!!  Wow!
Lauren and Caitlin finally met up with us and we finished
the rest of the sites of Barcelona after lunch in the market.
Fountains in Plaza Catalunya.
Montjuic Castle
Casa Batllo, one of Gaudi's designs.
The girls shopping for sangria in Pueblo Espanol
A mosaic wall in Park Guell.
Cool looking grotto in Park Guell.
Project Runway did a show here.
Park Guell
Entrance to Park Guell
Caitlin, Nikki and I in Pueblo Espanyol
Montjuic Castle lit up at night!