Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Pups

As I was sorting through all of the old pictures on our camera to create the post about our cruise, I realized how enormous our collection of puppy pictures had grown. They're a huge part of our lives, and I figured they deserve a post of their own. We've had our dogs since January of 2011, and rescued them from the Humane Society. Taylor and I both really wanted a dog before then, but couldn't in our living situation. As soon as we got a house of our own and the parents had helped us move in, we immediately adopted these two. Our original plan was one hypo-allergenic, no-shed, well-behaved goldendoodle puppy. Hah. We decided to visit the Sarasota Humane Society "just to look around", and immediately put down a deposit on these guys.

Zasha, our white-faced, blue-eyed beauty is the younger and smaller of the two (somewhere between 3 and 6 years old we think). She's rambunctious, misbehaved, and incredibly sweet. She was a little chubby when we first got her, but we've slimmed her down a bit. She loves to bark constantly, and will whine like crazy and pretend like you've broken her leg if she even thinks you might scold her. 

I know, I know. You're not allowed to have favorites, right? If we did have a favorite dog, it'd be Zeus. He's the world's best combination of sweet, goofy, gentle, and well-behaved. His only flaw is his tendency to cry during thunderstorms, or if he thinks he's being left behind somewhere. He's a bit older than Zasha--- probably 8 or 9 years old. 

Another difference? Zasha loves to swim, and Zeus is terrified of water. He doesn't mind really calm water up to his ankles, but any splashes or waves, and he pulls on his leash in the oppposite direction. He never goes in past his knees. 

Zasha on the other hand would probably swim until she drowned, if we'd let her. One time she went off into the lake behind the house and had to be rescued by a boater when she swam so far that we couldn't see her---- just the ripples and she continued to doggie-paddle away from us. She'll pull us around in kayaks or canoes, and loves chasing splashes when we throw rocks or shells at the beach.

We love our pooches and couldn't imagine our life without them---- through there would be much less hair. Did I mention that huskies shed?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mediterranean Cruise

The day after my graduation, Taylor and I left for Rome running on about two hours of sleep. We bundled up on the airplane and slept clear across the Atlantic Ocean.

We had a day to play around in Rome before heading to Civitivecchia to leave on our 12-day cruise. We visited all of the main sights, and had a delicious dinner near the Trevi Fountain.

I enjoyed veal with lemon sauce, Taylor had veal with a creamy apple sauce, and we both shared a few glasses of the house white wine (some of the best I've ever had).

Our hotel was a steal. We flew over without having any reservations, so we spent the first hour of our trip hunting down a hotel. We stayed at a tiny four star hotel near the train station. The room we stayed in was usually 380 Euros a night, but because it wasn't booked and we showed up at the last minute, we only payed 120. What a deal.

Of course, you can't leave Rome without having some gelato. Taylor was a big fan of the Nutella flavor, but I prefer lemon.

The next day we actually boarded the ship. The Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas was a wonderful ship. We got to try our hands at rock climbing, ice skating, and loved the cafe where we snacked on ham and cheese sandwiches. 

Taylor splurged for the room with a balcony. We loved eating our sushi and cheese watching the scenery go by.

The views were gorgeous. Because we were near land most of the time, there were always interesting things to see. 

The sunsets were gorgeous, and Taylor spied this little fort as we pulled out of one of the ports. 

Our first stop was in Palermo, Sicily. Our favorite part of this stop was the food markets.

There were huge tuna everywhere, and people hacking at them with giant cleavers. 

 They also sold snails by the scoop, as they climbed all over one another in plastic milk crates. 

After Italy, we headed to Rhodes, a little island off the coast of Greece. I was feeling really sick (I think I caught the flu), so Taylor had to drag me around the city. This little cat sleeping on a scooter cheered me up.

The old town was amazing. There were Byzantine forts scattered among a sprawling shopping area. 

Taylor and I tried to keep in touch with family, visiting wi-fi cafes to send emails. Every cafe's password was number based, and probably would have been easy to guess (1234567890 and 0987654321 were pretty common).

Next stop, Athens. This was probably our least-favorite stop on the trip. Seeing the Acropolis was pretty cool, but the city itself was dirty and full of graffiti. 

After Greece, we went to Turkey. Istanbul was probably our favorite city we visited. Of course we had to go see the Blue Mosque. Taylor and I had never been in a mosque before, so it was a pretty neat experience. 

The interiors were pretty bare compared to the Roman churches, but the architecture was pretty cool. 


Turns out we committed a bunch of social faux pas' during our travels. Apprently it's rude to carry your shoes into a mosque (they prefer you place them in a bag first), or blow your nose (not good if you're recovering from the flue).

We also visited the Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, and Spice Market. At the spice market, they had huge jars of leeches for sale, which was interesting to see. 

After two days in Istanbul, we headed to Kusadasi. Taylor and I didn't feel like visiting Ephesus, and instead spent the day shopping and sitting in a local cafe.

The Turkish tea was delicious, and the Turkish coffee was sure strong (tasty though). How funny to finish your cup of coffee and have a half cup of coffee grounds at the bottom. 

Then we were back to Greece, where we visited Crete. We rented scooters for the day with two other couples we met on the ship. It was a fun experience, but definitely a little scary. At least I didn't have to worry about driving---- just holding on!

Also, we looked awesome in our helmets.  

Last stop, Naples, where we went on an excursion to visit the Isle of Capri.

We took a chair lift to the very top of the mountain on the island. It took thirteen minutes to get all the way up to the top, and there were lots of breathtaking views on the way up.

We only had fifteen minutes to spend at the top of the mountain before we had to head back down to meet up with our tour group. We also visited the Garden Augustus on the other side of the island and then took a cable car to the marina. 

Our trip was so much fun, and over too soon.