April 29, 2011

lemons and salami - honeymoon part 3

Eager to extend the honeymoon as long as possible we escaped to Tuscany for Easter weekend. It was a simple weekend full of good books, good wine and delicious food. Unlike the Swiss who plan everything at least a year in advance, we planned this trip on Thursday and left on Friday. We stayed at Locanda dell'Amorosa, which I had found through our photographer/friend Amanda's blog. She and her husband had stayed there for a couple days on their honeymoon and gave it wonderful reviews so I called right away and was both surprised and thrilled to hear that they had rooms available. We had to change rooms each night, but it was totally worth it, and we had fun seeing different parts of the villa.

I spent a lot of time experimenting with my new camera so this post tends more towards images and less towards text.
I bought a new lens that is supposedly good for food photography, but it is more well known for its portrait capabilities. Zach and I had fun playing with the different settings and these are some of the test shots. I obviously can't take credit for the shots of me, those were taken by Zach. I absolutely adore the larger one of me. So much happiness compressed into one little image. If only we could go to Tuscany every weekend...
I meant to try one of the lemons off one of the many trees growing around the hotel, but I never quite got a chance.
simplicity and joy rolled up into a newspaper and a nice place to read.
All dressed in her Easter best this little girl stopped by to say hi, perhaps in the hopes that we were hiding some painted eggs.
And now I have to come to terms with the fact that the honeymoon is actually over. Although maybe I'll continue to consider each little weekend trip we take a mini-moon.

Happy weekend everyone! We are hanging around Zurich tomorrow and if the weather cooperates heading to the Jungfrau region for a day hike on Sunday.

the (first) kiss

I have been royally distracted and entertained this morning/early afternoon/now bordering on late afternoon watching William and Kate tie the knot. I watched through of at least three pieces of raspberry-chocolate filled pound cake, five handfuls of Haribo gummy bears, too many dried apricots, a parmesan and salami sandwich (the yummy Italian kind that I am currently addicted to after our trip to Tuscany) and then finally some veggie soup to top it all off. Hopefully salami is one of the canapes at the wedding brunch...doubtful.

It's a miracle I caught the kiss on camera.If I had blinked I would have missed it,and the second one wasn't much different. I only wish I had more pictures of the hats - the horrendous, horrible, hideous hats. Shockingly bad, but also, admittedly, wildly amusing. And the dress, oh the dress, it was stunningly perfect and simple yet elegant.

Oh and yes...I had two computers going, one with the abc live streaming so I could tune into the overly dramatic American babble and the other was simply a better live-feed from the Royal Wedding Youtube channel.

April 28, 2011

cape town & the winelands - honeymoon part 2

I had been so focused on the safari portion of the honeymoon that I barely thought about the time we would be spending in Cape Town, but it far surpassed any expectations we had or would have had had we done more research. It is an absolutely beautiful and unbelievably fascinating city. Our two days in the city were not nearly enough time to take it all in. I guess we'll just have to go back!
My parents went to Cape Town last year on their way to a wedding in the Winelands and went on the peninsula tour and highly recommended it. My mom must have mentioned it a few times a week during the honeymoon planning process and continually suggested we schedule a driver for one of our days in Cape Town. In the midst of all the planning Zach and I never got around to it, but waiting for us in our room in Cape Town was a little note from both of our parents saying they had scheduled the tour for us - off we went! It was spectacular. I can't imagine not doing it. It really allows you to see so much of the coast line and the the little nooks and crannies and different towns that make up larger Cape Town.
The first stop was Hout Bay to see the seals. It was quite a tourist attraction and the seals were super duper smelly, but the little boat ride out and back was worth the stench.
In case you can't read Afrikaans, the sign says 'Cape of Good Hope - the most Southwestern tip of the continent of Africa.' The more well known and frequently photographed English sign is right to the left in this picture, but the line was long and Zach thought the Afrikaans photo was more authentic. I agree!
According to Ryan, our tour guide for the day, it is good luck to stand on this rock. Zach, apparently in need of some luck or just feeling agile, ran out to the rock ledge. Once there he noticed an icky mass of dead kelp that had washed up on the rocks. Ooey and gooey and icky - I want to see!!..it was pretty gross and completely full of bugs.
After the Cape of Good Hope we headed to Cape Point, which was our favorite spot of the trip. I think I was so struck by the scenery that I actually forgot to take photos.
A little bit of turquoise at Capes Bay where we went for a walk before dinner.
Our second day in Cape Town was brief, but we made the most of it by going up to Table Mountain first thing in the morning and going for a long (longer than we anticipated) walk along the top.
After finding our way down from Table Mountain we got in our rental car and I drove on the wrong side of the road (!!!!) all the way to Franschhoek in the winelands outside Cape Town (think the Napa of San Francisco). We spent the afternoon and night simply relaxing and taking it all in - after all it was our last night in South Africa!
We stayed at the most amazing little hotel called Le Petite Ferme. Wow. First off the restaurant is incredible. It was far and away the best meal we had on the honeymoon, but also probably the best meal we've had in the last year. Scrumptious gnocci in a saffron sauce paired with a roasted butternut squash salad with feta and crispy croutons followed by slow roasted lamb and trout risotto. I was so engaged with eating that I forgot to take photos. Needless to say we also drank some yummy wines with our meal, my favorite was their house rose.
We lounged on the grass and then on the lounges on our little private terrace.
I think I might set a new rule that we only plan trips to places that have palm trees.

April 27, 2011

happy birthday dad!!

A little interruption in the honeymoon posting to wish my dad a HAPPY HAPPY Birthday!! It was easy to figure out what to make in honor of your birthday - an ice cream sandwich. You'd probably still prefer the good humor brand to hausgemachte (home made), but I promise this one is pretty irresistible. Other things that crossed my mind for your birthday post - cheddar cheese, Doritos, Welch's grape soda, grape popsicles, green jello and Boursin cheese. Aside from the Boursin nothing else is available in Switzerland! I promise lots of Boursin cheese when you come visit so you forget about all the other American goodies you'll be missing. Perhaps a bratwurst and a cripsy weiner schnitzel will win you over to Swiss cuisine?!
The above photos were taken with my new camera!
photo credit: Amanda Herzberger, Orchard Cove Photography

How great is this photo of the fam in the Swiss photo booth at the wedding? Can we say Christmas card?

Happy Birthday Dad!! Love you and miss you!

hakuna matata - honeymoon part 1

Khaki from head to toe we entered the South African bush! It was a long journey from the beaches of Florida to the red dirt earth of Africa, but I am so glad we decided to look at our honeymoon as an opportunity to do something we wouldn't do otherwise. We spent four nights at the Ulusaba Game Reserve in the Sabi Sands preserve in North Eastern South Africa, and we loved every single minute of it. I would say 98% of those minutes were spent sitting enjoying ourselves, whether on a game drive, at one of the six meals during the day or watching the hippos. Heavenly.

The photo above is of our tracker, Anios, who has been working in the park for over thirty years. During one game drive he got up out of his seat, with only a radio in hand, and disappeared into the bush in search of lions. Who actually looks for lions, alone, without a gun?
This is one of my favorite photos. The layering is wonderful, from dead tree, to cheetah, to tall grasses, to the denser bush in the background, it really capture the Sabi Sands landscape.
Where are the dinosaurs? When we spotted our first rhino we took a minute to look around the area for any signs of a stegosaurus. No really I almost did. The girth and armor like skin of the rhino recalls the time of the dinosaurs. Rhinos are really just cows in a different body, eating grass all day, everyday. I adore the bird tea party that is happening on this rhino's back.
The look on Zach's face when we were on the game drives was my favorite part of our entire honeymoon. Excited. Curious. Happy. I had to remind myself that we were out to see the animals and that I could stare at my new husband later. This picture really captures Zach during those five days on safari. Here are a couple shots in and around our lodge. Ulusaba was unbelievable. Considering this was our first safari trip we don't have anything to compare it to, but we would highly recommend it! The lodge is composed of a series of low tree houses strung together with wooden walkways and rope bridges. Our room was its own little tree house, complete with mosquito netting around the bed, a claw-footed tub and a porch with a view onto the river and bush beyond. Monkeys and Nala were frequent visitors to the trees and grass around the lodge.
One of our favorite afternoon activities was to walk out along the raised tree-walk to the hippo pond. The top photo shows how long the walk is and the bottom photos give a little bit of context. Considering it is not advised to go for a walk in the African bush, having this elevated walkway above the bush allowed us to view the animals from above and also go for a little excursion after lunch.
Cubs! The Lioness and her two male cubs were enjoying the afternoon sun in the grass when we spotted them. This elephant got so close to our Land Rover that I had a hard time taking a photo of him. Speaking of photos and cameras...I got a new camera as a wedding gift from my parents! A Canon DSLR complete with three different lenses. Not to worry I am still attached at the hip with my little Canon S90, but without the zoom lens of my new camera a lot of the photos in this post wouldn't exist!
Zach spotted a kudu right from the porch outside our room. In addition to the kudu we spotted a couple warthogs, copious amounts of impala and some nala.
One of the highlights of the trip was catching a pack of wild dogs in the middle of dinner. They had just killed an impala and while some ate it others watched for unwanted guests. These pictures didn't come out that well, but this was Zach's favorite part of the safari so I thought it best to include them.
spots and stripes - such funny wilderness outfits!
Me in all my khaki-coated glory! With my new camera in hand.
Zach's favorite sighting was the wild dog kill, which we were able to capture on camera, but my favorite moment was a bit tougher. Imagine sipping champagne in the middle of an open grassy field where the only light is coming from the headlights of the Land Rover and you hear a deep grunt. Yikes! A family of Rhinos had come to join us for cocktails!

Stay tuned for honeymoon part 2 and 3 coming in the days ahead.