Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Honeymoon pics .. and captions

----Honeymoon - from NY up thru & including Capri

if you want to view all the pictures together in one place - VIEW ALBUM mode, click here

------Honeymoon - from Positano up thru & including Ravello

if you want to view all the pictures together in one place - VIEW ALBUM mode, click here

-----Honeymoon - leaving Ravello (for Benevento/Rome) up thru & including leaving Rome for NY

if you want to view all the pictures together in one place - VIEW ALBUM mode, click here

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

'Italy' Journal - (or, honeymoon wrap-up)

ALAS.. the below is a probably-altogether-too-detailed log of all that we did on our honeymoon. It is perhaps more for me and Esra to aid in memory and laughs years down the road than for anyone else (good protection against you finding any of it boring, eh? : )
Also .. Thou (you) shall not pass judgement (unless it's heaping praise or cash prizes) upon what I write, how Esra and I live, eat, drink or the things we (ok, me) admire or poke fun at. I am 'me', with my own outlook, possibly probably different from yours, describing on behalf of Kory (and yes, Esra to a degree, unless/until she writes her own honeymoon-wrap-up), the things I experienced and how I absolutely-love-my-wife for allowing me to continue the enjoyment of experiencing. I offer sincere condolences to husbands out there with wives who are not understanding that men are still boys and boys will be boys.
Also importantly, it is not for you to care who else is reading this. I, or Esra deemed you worthy, mature & respectful enough of us to share kory's semi-sorta-twisted view on our honeymoon.

- WEDDING! day. Rain! (a separate journal entry talking about the wedding to follow)
- something we would learn later from an italian local:
" sposa bagnata - .. . . "a wet bride
, sposa fortunata" .. . is a lucky bride"

- AM: wake, quick dress, quick drive to hotel in Fishkill for family & friends goodbyes
- back to Catrock to pack up a wedding worth of stuff with family & friends-of help
- back to NYC, unload now-Fully-packed zipcar & return it
- chill watching NFL kickoff game (thank you Oh Lords of Football, please don't leave me again) while Esra emailed our Capri hotel (spending 4 hours gathering train schedule details etc so they can meet us at Naples train station .. to no avail. they later claimed they didn't get it (although they DID get it because they had the pictures of us she included, so they could identify us at the train station))
- pack till 1:30 am

- surf around (calmly) on computer while Esra does last minute packing scramble (not as calmly)
- 5 minutes AFTER we'd agreed to leave the house, I witness Esra .. getting in the shower to shave her legs!! I am flabbergasted and stop her, playing the Angry Cop Role with "Ma'am, step away from everything NOT-leaving-the-house-right-this-minute-related"
- car service to JFK, minor rush through check in to gate.
- JFK runway changes place us 15th for take off (45 minutes inching across JFK property)
- 7 freaking hour flight. Ugh. Kung Fu Panda though proves to be quite awesome.
- Steward on flight gives us free wine, then champagne as Esra befriended him in line at JFK pizza place (me loving her more and more for the beautiful irony of airport pizza before flying to the land of pizza).
- however... wine + champagne + airplane seats = kory no sleep. sense arrival of grumpy-Kory to come.

- Roma! get airport food (surprisingly good), coffee (surprisingly small), and being the Raider-dork we all know me to be, insist that I check Raider score of the game played while we were in the air, at an airport internet terminal (surprisingly humiliating.. a 41-14 loss, ugh)
- a walk over to airport's train station finds the automated ticket system bottlenecked down to 2 machines (out of 7 or so), & tired-newlywed tempers flare getting tix to Rome train station.
- at train station, get coffee, WC, a pressed sandwich I thought was being pressed only to find the guy had forgotten about me & had to end up giving me it unpressed so we could catch our train to Naples.
- aboard train, join 3 nearly-non-stop-talking Italian 20-30 somethings who chat & chat until ticket agent comes through, finding one of them with an invalid ticket. in addition to getting kicked off at an unscheduled stop, he gets a €400 fine!
- other two guys KEEP talking to us.. tho they speak 25 words of English each & we rely mostly on Esra's Spanish & hope for the best. Best happens as we all awkwardly manage to communicate for the whole ride.
- Get to Naples Central station. No meet-&-greet present as arranged. Mild tempers, phone calls to Orsa Maggiore (our Capri hotel). I soothe my panicky bride with "we're Dayani's! we kick adversity like this in the ass!". Get cab to Naples ferry port for ferry to Capri.
- get 2 risotto balls, calzone, beverages and one ferry to Capri please!
- met at dock by hotel's driver (ahem, WITH our picture), driven up Capri's OhMyLord-barely-8-foot-wide roads, thru the town of Anacapri to Orsa Maggiore. Sweet Italian Jesus, it is awesome.
- N-a-a-a-a-a-a-p ... a nap of ages.
- sit out at pool for sunset-iness, make S-l-o-w pool entry (yes, I know.. quick pool entry is better, I did slow entry to spite everyone who's ever said Just-Get-In! to someone), a lil' swimmin', pool-hugging, rejoicing in honeymoon-ness.
- get prosciutto & melon at pool, olives with white wine. marvel at being .. in Italy.
- *, shower, begin writing these mini-day-summaries.
- wine on our room's terrace with sea & moon view
- ravioli caprese & veal scalopini (with, of course, Capri lemons.. auuuuggg) ... because we didnt have a menu & Esra was asking them what we should order over the phone, Esra tells me "I ordered you something scalloped. Whatever it is, I'm sure it'll be good". It was veal and it was amazing.

- breakfast (god bless ye merry Europeans for loving Nutella so), leave Orsa for the day, finally
- tempers flare over who'll, of all things, carry our not-at-all-heavy guidebook and who'll go back for digital camera battery we forgot in the room. neither of us do, tempers settle.
- walk up to Piazza Vittoria in Anacapri town center, get disposable camera & a calzoney-thing.
- tour Alex Munthe's Villa de San Michelle. amazing.
- chaaaaair liiiift! sooo freakin' beautiful & totally safe-style-scary. deposits us atop Monte Solaro for pics, espresso, chips & lemonade. experience first bit of locals-who-hate-tourists attitude, shrug it off.
- begin 2 hour walk/hike down, head right at fork in road to Santa Maria a Cetrella & continue along path, we thought, to Anacapri, Instead, we reach a mountain edge with an 800' vertical drop off, decide to not continue that direction. Take pics & backtrack to fork in road, passing all the "stations of the cross" statue-reliefs placed along the trail. Dusty as hell, beautiful everything-everywhere, carefully navigating winding switchbacks, taking pictures and then I hear: Wyyyyeaaahhh!! - a garter-type snake quick slithers up a rockface near Esra. We eat a berry off a branch, I play Boy Scout, looking all-knowledgeable about everything-in-the-universe as I've recognized an anise plant for her. (thank you San Diego shrublands, overgrown with anise)
- near the bottom, pass homes & gardens growing fig & lemon trees, grapes, etc, etc, etc, etc (did I mention "etc"?)
- check out a local-family graveyard
- back to & through Anacapri
- next to Chiesa San Michelle is church building only containing drawings of all different Capri churches. Then to the Chiesa.
- take pics of an italian wedding in progress in Anacapri's main piazza. quick beer & 'tost', small-supermarket stop.
- back towards Orsa Maggiore, watch sunset along way, stop at a mini-mart for peaches, nectarines. (best. peaches. Ever. no exageration...also necartine and lemon the size of a football.)
- Say hi to 2 lambs living in someone's front yard.
- At Orsa, check out rooftop garden, pick, eat a fig.
- shower, nap, Esa reads & ate her alloted Fonzies, drank Peroni whilst getting ready
- took cab (an open air cab with a retractable fabric cover, they're all over the island) to Capri-town, walked & saw shopping areas of Capri-town.
- dinner at Restaraunte Da Giorgio, window-seated (our "luna de miel"!), white wine, caprese salad, figs/ham. White clam spaghetti for Esra, shrimp scampi for K, assorted fish, red wine, pizza bread as bread.
- more walking, kissing, honeymooning, looking over Bay of Naples
- walk to Quisisana where Esra's friend stayed on their honeymon, have a limoncello & water, play the people game ("that couple is from ____ and they do____")
- make out with statues (see pics), get taxi back to Orsa.

- 'quick! breakfast time almost over'. breakfast.
- check internet for boat rental details and ok, fine, I also checked football news.
- lounge at pool, write this, swim, eat lunch at pool.
- get ride from Fabio (no, not that Fabio) down to Blue Grotto, rowboat in, wow. Esra swam
- walked hillside path to 'Da Giovanni' for prosecco & Campari, pics of cliff jumping kids
- find MUCH much lower rocks (20-10 feet) to jump off of. I jumped & dove & dove & dove & jumped & dove off sweeeet sweet rocks.
- bus back to Orsa, shower, *, sunset, nap
- get ride to Ristorante Materita in Ana Capri for tuna, anchioves salad, 1/2 a pizza, tagliatele con lemon gambori, pasta with zunchini flowers, wine, limoncello
- walk the 20 min beautiful winding road back to Orsa


- 9:30 wake up call, breakfast
- finish packing, pay bill, ride to No!-wait, Esra buys glass thing in Ana Capri while I wait with taxi at gas station (100 to fill up his tank!). ride to Capri town, check bags in a .99cent-type-store that, it seems, checks bags for tourists. on to rent boat
- Boat & boat & boat around the island. You do not even KNOW (so i'll tell you) how much I love driving a boat. (a lot). it's a little ridiculous.
- swim at 'green grotto' (see our pics) more boat & boating. return boat, have icey lemon granite thing & mad dash to ferry for Positano!
- arrive in Positano, haul bags up & up & up stairs & ramps to a tourist info place that informs more stairs will be involved. take said more stairs to taxi. kick self for not using the island's porter service.
- check in at Pensione Maria Luisa, a family run hotel, truly awesome.
- shower, nap, go to terrace for a coin-op coffee (that ruled) and a smoke
- stroll (past the two recommended restaurants) down & down road, captivated by the awesomeness of Positano. side stairs to shortcut a switchback is crazy beautiful as well.
- unsuccessful shopping attempt (shorts for me, sarong for Esra)
- dinner at La Terrazo - bellisimo! see a wedding party there, in bathroom we run into "Iyem thu moothAH o theh BRIYEED, ACHHH!!" Ok, her accent was really only 1/10th as thickly scottish, but for the rest of the trip, she was basically Groundskeeper Willie to me, popping into conversations Esra and I would have where any kind of accent was being talked about. This cracked us up (and still does) to no end.
- stroll, more fruitless shopping (Es-only), more strolling, hazelnut gelato (auuugg), catch bus up the hill
- drinks at Montemare terrace bar, chat with cool waiter guy, back to Maria Luisa, sleep

- wake to thunder, lightning but no rain. then Rain. big rain. a torrent washes down steps (literally covering every step in about an inch of rushing water, people almost got swept away). Rain cleans Positano but good.
- automat coffee then breakfast supplies from hillside market, back to hotel, eat in community dinning area, watch clouds.
- "Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn't quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you are gone" - John Steinbeck
- Walk down the one way road into town, shopping for lemon spoon rest, among other things, continues (background: on possibly our first day in Capri, I saw a ceramic spoon rest with an all yellow background and three lemons painted on it. Being that the Amalfi coast is known for it's ceramics, whenever we'd be out shopping, I'd have us pop into ceramic stores to look for the elusive yellow-lemons-on-a-lemon-background spoon rest. It is also quite possible that I did not see but dreamed said spoon rest and/or that I was imagining some ideal amalgam of different spoon rests I'd seen). Esra buys sarong beach bathing suit coverup thingy.

Interjection: I'm writing this in a coffee shop on atlantic after going to the post office to insist our On Hold mail isnt un-On-Holded. (to which I was told "well you aint got no mail here so it MUST be off-hold. here, I'll give you a # to call to Off Hold it" - grr. never put your mail on hold) So I'm in this coffee shop I've never been to and about 5 street youths, for lack of knowing what to call urban street youth without coming off as un-pC, just came in & said "yo, can we play ouiji board if we buy something??". the guy behind the counter says "what?", they repeat, he says sure, they shuffle to the back.
Behind me now i hear "yo! ... YO! you know how to play this game?" ... a timid girl not knowing which way to answer says "i think you .. just ask it questions and ... then it .. sorta answers you". The guy says back "YO, i DID that, it dont work, look!" then immediately to someone else near them "yo, You played this game befo?". then a minute or so later to his friend "damn nig@a i TOLD you this sht don'work, keenan straight up playin you nig@a. be all movin' sht widdis fingers & sht"
Incidentally, I think the guys who work this place are trying to drive them out by playing JCMellancamp's "Hurt So Good" (it's almost working on me is why I thought of it)

- go in to town church, take pix of bloody knee Jesus and pix of the cross allegedly stolen by pirates during a storm, only to then hear ghostly voices of Posa! Posa! ("put it down, put it down") to which they did to which the storm subsided to which the pirates ran away like scared girls. I'm sure the italian version of the story is a bit more heroic. Positano is named thusly because of the Posa part of said word.
- watch italian wedding party prep for a wedding in said church. Esra shops for a beach/bathing suit cover thing which ends up being, I have to admit, pretty cool (see pics - then again, what DOESNT she look good in? am I right? exactly) then, to the beach! which praise Neptune, is a topless beach. Now, knowing me as you do, or soon will (more of, maybe than you wish to) .. I love the boobs. Always have. Some people are legs guys, I appreciate little more than a fully natural, non-plastic pair or human (female) boobs. And no, there's no other way to say it. Not 'breasts', that's a clinical term some people (mature people) think of as the 'correct' term to use. No, 'boobs'. 'Boobs' is (are) fun and playful and beautiful and before I continue, I should say that Esra condones said boob-love and thinks my love of boobs is cute, harmless and lovingly-borderline-obsessional ..in a GOOD way. which it is, all of those things. I do not, did not, Stare at said boobs on the beach, but neither can my biology avoid them and, I think, psychically, I knew where they were, exposed, at any given moment through my ever keen sense of boob-dar. It was then that I probably insisted that, being on a European beach, Esra should take the opportunity (and me vicariously? 'Dr Freud to the waiting room') to go topless. Did guys walk by and look at her boobs? yes. Was I proud as hell of it? hell yes. Why, you ask, since they weren't my boobs on display? I don't know, I just was. deep down, I know you understand.
- We power-tan & read (despite being from SD and having middle-eastern olive skin that tans way better than yours (sorry), I'm not much of a go-out-and-tan-person). Es un-topless-ifies herself to go & get a panini and a €3 sprite (which was not quite 3-delicious). Still, the paninis we had in italy were honest-to-goodness better than all but (i'm guess-timating) two that I've ever had.
- back on the beach, I'm torn between Esra's toplessness and some italian teens playing in-the-breaking-waves soccer. Somehow, I manage to peep both, enjoying Es's toplessness way more (at this point, with my favorite pair in sight, I'd forgotten about the other boobs still on the beach).
- more sunning, reading, toplessness-enjoying then ... what the .. rain?
- price out grilled squid at 5 different restaurants, end up at what would have been nearest choice to beginning of search.
- Having bought a Scopa deck, we ask a local to remind me what the Scopa rules are. He explains the expert version that old guys play before explaining the little kid version I knew. we play
- slight tension. K tired. silly argument.
- K walk's back up to hotel (20 mins) while Es writes postcards.
- Not having soap on hand, I shower using a h-e-uuuuge lemon we brought from Capri. Bad, bad (bad) idea. It sticks everywhere. Good news is I smelled lemony fresh.
- Nap, wake to an open Peroni being handed to me, listen to Lou Monte's italian classics on our mp3 player/speakers, dance.
- walk to Medditeraneo for wine, anchioves antipasto, filet mignon w/ spice cream, fish of day, strega! limoncello crema! and Pietro Rainone(.com) italian classics on guitar/voice.
- walk down to a guidebook-recomended dessert place (Zagara). Enter the italian twilight zone. Watch a love boat style lounge singer in super tight white package-display-pants (who, swear to god, looked just like Ricky Gervais, I'm still not sure it wasnt him) crooning out Wham!'s "Careless Whispers". Eat the recommended Positanese chocolate cake (which Es swears was good. Me? eh.) & a lemon cake thingy with a beer & limoncello. Watch a May-December weird hookup (attempt?) in progress.
- As we're leaving, I hit the bathroom, come back to comically interrupt greasy meatball dude trying to smoov-talk m'lady. He gives me the Machoman Handshake. We leave. I proceed to not miss single life.
- Busses have stopped so we stumble (not really stumble, though tipsyness was in effect) up hill.
- take pics, *, sleep.

- wake slow & nice, *, shower, breakfast upstairs.
- cannon, firework fires from an opposing hillside, echoing all through and back, across the U-shaped hillsides of Positano.
- walk down. Es buys white top, I buy her a mustard skirt (damn my love of all things mustard colored!). I try on orange linen pants, remember that I am not a gay European dance club owner, take pants off. Coffee at Bar Murino.
- run into Chris & Beth, one of my best men's wife's best friend and husband who also got married on Sept 6th & happened to be honeymooning in Positano!  yes, it's a small world after all ("e un piccolo mondo dopo tutti")
- internet checkage, pizza at Buca Di Bacco.
- walk along Via Positanese De America to Spiagio (beach) Fornillo.
- beer, vodka & soda for Es. aranciata (riceball - freakin' deliiiicious)
- Elevator(s) up to Pensione Maria Luisa, nap.
- walk up & up & up to Il Grottino Azzuro for wine, bruscetta, spagetti carbonara, swordfish, misto di pasta. Es buys a bottle of their house wine.
- walk back down & pix along way. to Mediteraneo for more Scopa, drinks.

- Slow & happy wake, coffees, chat w/ the proprietor Carlo.
- walk down to Bar Murino, exchange $ for €, check internet while Esra watches a wedding-in-progress. (Raiiiiders win 23-8, yeayy! ..football score, not wedding score)
- grab coffee, water, sit on beach, write this + postcards
- toilets, internet to print addresses, toilets again? limoncello. walk back up
- Pack, pay, chat with Carlo, take bus down, get lemon granite while waiting for ferry to Amalfi.
- ferry to Amalfi
- turns out what I thought was our hotel in Amalfi is actually our hotel in Ravello, about 3 miles away. This irks me as info on website was a bit misleading. Oh well.
- get a cab to the hotel (Villa Scarapariello Relais), a 10th century castle turned primo-residence(s) on the steep coastal hillside. Wow. The place is sprawling. We have a terrace in addition to about 30 other places on the grounds we can chill, relax and honeymoon. Oh and there's a pomegranate tree right below our room.
- put bags down, Es reads while K takes nap. Es swims in ocean (they have a private dock sort of thing, of course, jeeez) w/ some Swedes while K hikes back up hillside to room for bathing suit. Return, swim.
- shower, lounge while Es readies, *, walk down to Atrani, the nearest village that everyone's recommended as being more chill than Amalfi but just as (or more) quaint. the walk to Atrani (& Amalfi beyond) is a bit sketch - a narrow "two laned" road (in America it'd be considered a 'narrow one-way alley). "Walk on the seaside only", they say. We do manage to never get killed on said road, for what that's worth.
- Buy stuff for lunch the next day at a market on the way. K then charged with carrying Esra's super gay fabric bag for the rest of the night. K looks fabulous.
- 'Leap of Faith' short cut down a that-narrow-winding-stairway-amidst-locals'-houses-looks-like-it-Could-head-into-the-town-piazza-but-man-it-looks-a-bit-scary.
- Dinner in the piazza (umberto) at something-something-Luisilla. Fish ravioli, ziti in onion sauce (cooked for 4 hours! MmMmmM), filet of fish in lemon sauce, egglant, house wine, Es is curious asks for shot of Cynar [insert thumbs down symbol here ... blech]
- walk up Arani street thinking I would recognize the cave restaurant I'd seen on Mario Eats Italy. Do not find.
- back down to water edge then back to piazza for a wine & beer. sitting next to annoying 3 drunk girls with an italian player guy who was absolutely angling to sleep with all of them. (lead drunk girl ended up being on our flight back, incidentally enough)
- taxi back. "the nighttime rate is €20" says taximan. which Es does not like in the slightest, *.

- 9am wake up call. slow wakies spooning while loving view from bed (mountains, ocean, italian hillsides.. y'know.. all that beautiful crap). Barely make it to breakfast in time. write this.
- laid out by pol, read, up to room, ate on terrace, back to pool area, more sunning.
- up to room, Es readies self, K naps, we wait for bus out on road.
- end up walking 1/2 way to Atrani before bus comes to fork in road for Atrani/Amalfi and Ravello (the hillside Ravello, not coastal Ravello).
- Amalfi! finally! (we sort of planned the honeymoon around Amalfi which is why I was a bit disappointed to be in Ravello, not Amalfi)
- walk down side streets to a limoncello laboratorio (who'd charge 75 for s/h to the US? Ya, right). Weird stoner girl and two guys seemingly hit on me, us. (Because of my awesome Skinny Puppy shirt from high school with the Gustav Dore etching design from Dante's Inferno?! it's possible)
- in to the piazza itself (wow), browse/shop our way up the street (yes, more spoon rest hunting)
- Es gets ham & cheese pastry thing & 3 mini balls (minds out of the gutter people, rice & cheese balls), a beer & an espresso for me.
- up to the Chiesa (church) for pix. I light a candle for mi mama. back down steps.
- more walking, shopping, browsing, hit up the tourist office, totally unhelpful.
- back through town to "travel agency" for info on scooter, car rentals. totally helpful.
- Es buys K most awesome wallet in the world.
- up & down & around & through steps & passageways to (restaurant) El Teatro (an old, converted children's theater .. thanks kids!) for a liter of wine, salad, veal scallopine with lemon, squid with mint sauce
- back to travel agency, get Strega factory address, Es calls bank to clear up a non-issue.
- to piazza, get a limoncello & strega, merangue & macaroon, bus back
- drinks on terrace Nastro Azzuro, Mmmmm, music, moon, *.

- slow wake, *, shower, breakfast
- read on our terrace, walk into Minori, btchass-bank-clerk coldcocks my $/€ exchange attempt
- on to Maiori. Es has egg panini, K salami. bitter lemon & orange soda. rent scooter! (ciao!)
- up to Ravello! (ciao!), park. check out small, empty cave church, up to Northern piazza.
- take pix, eat a plum, check out a 5StarL hotel & it's view, in to check ceramic stor-naments, check out the park from the movie Beat The Devil! more pix.
- to Villa Rufolo - accidentally go immediately to exit! oops. back thru, view V. Rufolo.
- tour the town & shops a bit on way to Convent San Francisco (complete with bench marking a spot where Saint Francis of Assisi supposedly sat). pix, on to Vila Cimbrone.
- no one's at the ticketbooth so I whisper "keep walking", this does not work as ticket taker appears out of thin air. walk throughout the Villa, wow. truly amazing. (see pics, as per usual)
- back to & thru town. stop at ceramic store where a gloaty-boobed-saleslady brags that she "just sent these to Rachel Ray and these to Oprah, these to Bloomingdale"
- Scooter (ciao) back down to Atrani then to Amalfi, buy presents, SITA bus tix for later so we can go out and eat, drink, take bus
- back to Villa Scarpariello (ciao!), nap, Es showers, miss bus, walk to Atrani, tempers flare.
- dine at Paranza, K sullen (tempers wear away at me), fish appetizer baked w/ mozzarella, pasta di mare, risotto scampi (not so scampi'y), Es suprises K with prickly pear dessert (we kept seeing them growing everywhere). Deem desert to actually be Hard-Innedible-Seeds-With-Essense-of-Cactus-Flavor. maybe we just got a bland one. outside, a beautiful tan siamese cat mewed at us incessantly. funny, cute, a little scary (stop, already!)
- down to piazza, Es gets limoncello, K still sullen (ed note: get over it already, dude)
- cab back with same driver, sleep (not with driver)

- slow wake, resolve sullenness from last night, breakfast, ready for day.
- scooter (ciao!) to, up through Amalfi, on to Conca Di Marini for the
- Grotto de Esmerlda (emerald colored water, same idea as blue grotto - underwater hole lets light in, lights an enclosed cave). elevator dwn to it, steps down, up, Es needs bathroom so back down, up, elevator, in to ceramics shop (still no spoon rest) to use bathroom, back down elevator, stairs, 10 to a boat around .. what turns out to be a 100' by 100' cave.
- only .. let's say .635 as cool as the blue or green grottoes. a nativity scene underwater? really?
- wenchy coffee puller makes K Hulk angry. Es buys postcard, then ciao! to & up & up through Minori. See a dog hanging out with a chicken hanging out with a horse.
- Stop for gas, open tank, wait, wait, look around, ask someone, "oh, we are closed".
- back through Maiori a bit, drop off scooter (ciao, ciao!)
- Es chills at beach, K walks, looks for travel agency
- SITA bus back to Scarapiello, read at pool, ta, rest, read, wind kicks up so up to room.
- shower, *, ready selves.
- hurry to bus (then wait for it) in to Amalfi, btchass tourist office unhelpful again.
- pass another ceramic store, ask if Es wants to go in, get "I'm going to kill you if you dont buy one" look back. And whadayaknow? a spoon rest! it wasnt yellow lemons on yellow background but IS a yellow-lemon on a pomegranatey background which we'd both agreed was a viable alternative. I impress Es with bargaining skills (tho I kick myself 'cause the guy seemed like he might have gone lower)
- on to restaurant on beach with amazing view of Amalfi.
- anchioves, spaghetti (in 'paper envelope', with fruita di mare), seabass, white wine di Volpe in honor of my Volpe-last-named set dresser friend who's hooked me up with many a job. espressos, limoncellos.
- walking, Es gets a chocolate thing, lemon dipped in choc.
- volunteer girl for teachers gets 50p out of us. walk, no soccer bars, please, drink at bitchy Bar Francais, 1st no tip of the trip
- miss bus back (plus our tix were expired, but Es wanted to try anyway), have to take cab. €30 please. Es: NO! get our hotel manager up here right now! ok, €25. NO! Ridiculous! Ok, ok.. 20. Ok, 20. (I love this woman). drink a beer, wine, Es no likes people talking below, starts making racket while I try to quiet my cutely drunk wife. turns out to be quite hilarious. *, sleep

-8:30 wake up call, get to breakfast at 9:30. (getting out of the house is not Team Dayani's current strong suit)
- back to room, pack, check out w/ young jerk dude (vs the awesome dominique with stories and admirable bitterness galore and the 4 month old hair dye job and possibly 4 month's-dirty pants)
- cab (a mercedes no less, most cabs in italy seem to be mercedes & alfa romeo, or weird euro-minivans) to Salerno. windiness of Amalfi coast makes us both nauseated in a matter of minutes. somehow survive the 15-20 remaining minutes there without hurling (or hurTling, as in: off the steep cliffsides)
- get to Hertz in Salerno, car isnt ready so to bank, exchange $ for €'s - for which the guy enters my passport info into a computer, xeroxes it, faxes that off, makes me sign 3 documents, faxing 2 of those with 3 receipts for everyone. Other places we've changed $ have barely glanced at passports (Istanbul didnt even do that, just give us $, yo!)
- go to a kebab place (first middle-eastern food of the trip) but the taxiguy before us gets 7 or so portions of shaved chicken skewer meat so there's barely room enough for one shwarma-esque sandwich (auuuuggg, non-italian-deliiiicious), Es gets piza next door, back to Hertz
- load up our typically-italian-Euro-tiny-car, start car, lurch forward, stalling out... Oh. stick shift! Yeay! (do american rental car co's even offer stick shift anymore?)
- follow Hertz-lady's directions out of town, mess up, circle Salerno traffic for 25-30 mins, find Autostrade, finally! ciao! to Benevento (Strega factory location)
- follow signs to Avelino, get to Avelino then uhh.. then what? get lost. try to 3-point-turn, cant get IN to reverse, mild panic, realize need to pull up on stick shift sheath thingy.
- ask at gas station / coffee bar / bar (yes, a fully-liquored bar inside a gas station/coffee bar/bar), find Autostrade again, On To Benevento!
- Es says, in same escalating tone each time, "korRY!" each time I (safely) pass a car. Arrive in Benevento but it's huge (sorta, 60K residents we later hear) and we're supposed to find a factory in a huge (looking) town?
- Es uses her (mostly) Spanish & we ask two different guys, not really understanding but hear "train station" which we end up somehow running right into (not Right Into, but in front of) and what happens to be right across the street? The Strega Factory.
- which. Is. Closed. (K manages to not cry (on the outside))
- Buzz in to security area, make impassioned plea to italian security guard guy who gets a lady on the phone that we make impassioned plea to who says our visit is unexpected but she will be down in 10 minutes to talk to us. (K still not crying). Lady shows up with a gift bag (which I think is very nice of course but am sad because this is probably our "parting gift"). Alas, she says "if you dont mind the rain, I will give you a tour of the factory"!! this would be the moment the happy-crack was released into my blood stream. Despite mild'ish headache I've been nursing all day, I am out of my mind thrilled. Es snaps pics as we get a full, awesome, personal tour. Moderate rainfall ruins Nothing. Happiness increases tenfold when I realize she's going to let us into the closed Strega shop out front. I shop the F out of that store, buying 2 bottles of Strega reserve (aged 10 years in wood barrels and not sold in the US), strega crema, strega baba, a bunch of chocolate and part of my gifts for my groomsmen. And a t-shirt. And she gave us 6 strega glasses. And the gift bag had a buncha sweet Strega shwag of course. Again, I say, Heaven, my surroundings were. Also, she gives us directions to the outer-circling freeway for Rome (exactly like D.C.'s-"beltway") called tangenzione.
- Drive, drive, pass cars, rain sucks, drive some more, drive.
- stop at an AutoGrill, get best Oh-Good-Lord-I-Am-SO-Hungry food ever. Phone eats our phone card while trying to call the girl who's hooking us up with our vrbo.com vaca rental.
- Drive. dont stop to call Elena (above mentioned girl, bitch), drive, K stressed, Es stressed, freeway traffic, Roma tangenzione reached but we still dont know where in Rome we need to go (poor planning perhaps? perhaps) Es says: roll down your window then, I'll ask someone! to which I'm thinkin' 'yyyeah, that's really gonna work'. Somehow, someway, it works. Sort of. A lot of the which-way-should-we-turn or which-road-should-we-take-now we chose completely out of imagined instinct so if there was a patron saint of dumb luck, he must have been in our glove compartment.
- Es asks where Stazione Termini is (central train station terminal) and for a phone card at a Tabacchi (cigarettes & phone cards arent sold in stores, only "tabacchi" shops, usually a news-standy kinda place, usually with an espresso bar attached), no phone cards, try next tabacchi, yes! phone card. make the call to Elena (bitch!)
- Ugh. Elena .. tells Esra over the phone that.. she is, not at the flat we're to stay in, but home already. (it is 20 minutes after 8pm, our meeting time was between 7-8).. and that she wont come back to let us in to the place, we can try again tomorrow. Esra pleads, begs, pleads more and finally loooses it. hystrionics ensue.
- K is a F'n champion at soothing his now insane bride. drive around, looking for hotels, traffic sucks but within 20 mins, find nice great hotel, check out rooms & take it despite price. circle car, bellhop unloads our bags and embarassingly-huge-Strega booty haul, get to room, chillll on bed with eyes closed, then a little (our first of the trip really) tv, a little more tv while Es readies herself.
- pizza? ok. pizza, beer, veggies & grapes brought back to room to watch more Fantasia with (the hypnotically-freckle-boobed) Barbara D'Urso. Es says it's ok if I marry her too (ok, no she didn't, but she DID let me remain magically-captivated and commenting on said natural and gravitationally-hyperactivated-boobness - have I mentioned how much I love this woman? (Esra I mean, not Barbara D'Urso))
- We drink 1 beer each of the 3 we bought, pass (the F) out, sleeeeep.

- wake at 8:30, *, fun, quick shower, up to roof garden for breakfast
- throw a small piece of cut melon at a pesky pigeon that has the balls to land on the corner of our table. It misses and flies off side of roof (hopefully hitting another pigeon on the street below)
- get car from garage, get turned around trying to find Hertz, go back to gas station, ask, find Hertz, it's closed.
- Es goes in & asks at a ritzy hotel, gets directions to a mall with a Hertz in underground parking area, return car! Yeay! Ciao! (I've never been so happy to get rid of a car), find bathroom, accidentally bump into a guy going in to bathroom area, Es says be careful (of Rome muggers)
- I imagine, and then go into detail relaying to Esra, the whole imagined-fight I just had in the bathroom with two muggers involving my use of multiple shin kicks (your brain shuts down temporarily with a good shinbone strike, it's true). Also, sneak-attack ice cream headaches are employed, wherein I shove ice creams into the faces of my assailants until they are also mentally-incapacitated by delicious, but brain-freezing ice creams. To this date, I believe this to be my finest and most foolproof imagined fight scenario yet.
- Down to Spanish Steps, have awesome mushroom pizza with truffle oil from small pizza-by-the-kilogram quick-pizza-stop (best of trip, possibly).
- to Trevi fountain, recreate photo taken 30 years prior of me in my dad's coat, at Trevi fountain. pics & more pics, drink fountain water. To pantheon, pics
- towards colliseum (into 2 churches along way, you almost cant avoid sweet churches in Italy), stop at Supermarcato (K loads up on typical K-travels stuff (shampoo & toothpastes in Italian)), get food at sidewalk restaurant (gnocchi with gorgonzola & pears, salad). To Vittoriano.
- Up & up & through Vittoriano, on to colliseum
- Tour dude tries to sell us on joining his tour group-with-extra-tickets. Turns out they Don't have extra tickets but as we've been chatting, he hush-hush walks us past a 30 minute line to a different window (the didactic (audio) tour line). Audio tour colliseum. As awesome as I sorta-halfway-but-do remember it from when I was 8.
- Out of the colliseum, we head up to a park to catch the last bit of sun before sunset, rest head in Es's lap, a great moment.
- Up through rest of park, quick peek into Chiesa Santa Maria, past Basilica fountain, then on & on. In to a bookstore, a tabachi, buy 3 packs of smokes & fonzies then realize our paper money situation is too low to account for smokes/fonzies AND cab rides to dinner & train station tomorrow. Embarassingly explain to guy need to return for cash we just paid.
- back to hotel, naaaap deeeply. Es showers, readies self, keeps readying.
- tempers re: readying and where her "approved ATM's" are, where our restaurant she picked for the night is (far) and how we should go about Getting a taxi there.
- taxi comes, to fountain area, find the recommended restaurant, it's 2 million thousand € per plate (slight exageration), back down street to Casa Romano, get seated outdoor. Appetizer, wine. Es is too cold, we move inside (only after drunkly-loud, singing dutch girls clear out). Great bacomati spaghetti, not so awesome meat in white sauce (cooked awesomely rare, tho they never asked our preference), spinach, bottle of chianti, back to hotel.
- In taxi we bet how many miles we walked that day (Es: 8.8mi, K: 10mi ..winner TBD)
- Es gets in a mood about taxi rate, questions & requestions taximan about it.
- back at hotel, Es arranges wake up call, we pack, more packing, sleep (only 4.5hrs - ugh)

- 6am wakeup call, Es gets up and readies
- 6:55 K out of bed
- 7:05 we leave room, check out downstairs
- taxi arrives, we give last €10 we have, get credit card train tix, train to Fumicino airport
- No signs to "Terminal 5", find the shuttle bus for it anyway, go through 1st security check, get to check-bags, then security scan then passport stamp line then another shuttle bus to Another terminal. Duty free, get food, deal with food-place-chaos. Finally at our gate where we board yet Another shuttle bus to our plane.
- I'm excited to have my first window seat of the trip (I've deferred to the Mrs up to now but no more!) only to find out that our seats are in one of those middle isles.
- George-Clooney-athon holds interests (go George Clooney, gooo!)
- meal on plane is the first pesto I've seen in all of Italy (that we've seen).
- land, passport control, get bags, cab back, blah blah blah, we're home!

Thoughts on, after being back:
Someone recently asked me "Kory+wife=bliss, right?" - not sure if it was meant tongue in cheek or not, I answered it seriously. In hindsight, I summed up a lot of what we've been feeling since the wedding:
'bliss' being relative to the moment, it comes in waves, mostly. honeymoons are funny that way, vacations too i reckon - both geared towards fun & relaxation yet everyone i've been with on one (well, been on vacations with, at least) always seems to suffer a share of tempers at just how that fun & relaxation are to be had. since we've been back though, there's definitely an overriding sense of a heretofore-unknown-type of bliss that's taken away a lot of the old petty nonsense & bickering that used to crop up. maybe it's 'no more wedding and honeymoon planning' but it's weird, i cant shake the feeling that it's somehow coming from the wedding ring itself. Or the strange "oh my god, we're married" feeling which for a while is probably still gonna have us both thinking "wait, we're not OLD enough to be married!". ya, 38, and i'm feeling like it's something only older people do. weird. giddy. ....blissful.

ALSO: there'll be an official journal entry with slideshows for all the below, but if you want a sneak peak (that doesnt include a disposable camera I havent gotten back yet to upload nor the wedding photographer pics) ... feel free to copy/paste the below....

----K & E's wedding wknd pics

----Honeymoon - from NY up thru & including Capri

------Honeymoon - from Positano up thru & including Ravello

-----Honeymoon - leaving Ravello up thru & including leaving Rome

Wedding Pix .. part "our camera"

And lo, unto the happy couple, a glorious wedding did appear. See for yourself (the pics from Esra & Kory's camera only.. the wedding photographer photos will be posted as soon as we get them)

(to view all the pictures together in VIEW ALBUM mode, mouse over the slideshow below, then the text bubble box, bottom left and click on the underlined "Wedding weekend" link)

Bachelor Party pix party

I just uploaded pictures from my bachelor party in the Catskills .. they can be found approximately right here: