The Babymoon Tour

mood: rested | drinking: always

alpine

Boy and I have been away. Far, far away.

Which should explain the lack of updates here. I considered writing from Prague but really, it’s better to be out there seeing the sights than sitting indoors blogging about them.

We have always loved to travel, and we vacation well together. Which is to say that vacations have typically been a pretty blissful experience for us.

Since 2009 was a crazy year, full of upheaval, change, and a new house, we figured we’d probably stick close to said new house in 2010 and not really go anywhere exciting.

And then that plus sign showed up in January, and our world went a little topsy-turvy.

So we decided that we’d take one last big hurrah before the Bean arrives. One last solo world tour, just the two of us. When Bean’s old enough, of course, we want to take her touring with us, but we know that for the next few years at least, we’ll probably be lying low.

The itinerary wasn’t too hard to figure out. We wanted to visit some places neither of us have ever been, and Prague was at the top of my list. So we connected the dots from there.

We flew out of San Francisco on April 13, landed in Frankfurt, Germany, very early the next morning, and immediately hopped a train to Munich. From Munich, we continued south to Innsbruck, Austria, then from Innsbruck to Vienna, then on into the Czech Republic to Prague, and finally back to Frankfurt to fly home. We were gone for two weeks.

The Babymoon was amazing, not only because of all the beautiful places we visited, but because Boy and I got to just hang out with each other, exploring each day as a new adventure. Truth be told, though, this trip was quite a bit different from the other times we’ve traveled internationally. Usually we don’t check out strollers and buy baby clothes.

But our first day in Munich, Boy became enamoured with the cool-looking strollers. (Europe just does baby gear so much better than the US. Everything looks so mod.) And of course, we brought a boatload of goodies home for Bean–an adorable stuffed pony from Munich, the sweetest little dress from Vienna, and an amazing marionette from Prague.

One of my favorite memories will always be the picture above, our literal mountaintop experience. While in Innsbruck, we took a funicular and two gondolas up to an Alpine peak called Hafelekar. It was gorgeous up there in the clouds, and very hard to come down.

Boy will probably remember the giant steins of beer in Munich, and I was as giddy as a little kid to see the Lipizzaner stallions perform at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. Prague was full of beauty, and that’s where we decided to take a few belly shots of my 5-month bump. belly

It was an amazing time, and we’re so glad we took the trip. But now it’s back to reality–which is itself pretty damn good.

As our friend Michael said, “If you have to come home, at least you get to come home to San Francisco.”

And speaking of coming home, we got lucky with the volcano from Iceland. It erupted while we were in Austria, and of course we were keeping close tabs on all the airport closures and whatnot. We met many fellow travelers who were stuck, and marveled at the way an ash cloud from Iceland could keep everyone in Europe on the ground.

But the airport in Frankfurt re-opened on a Thursday, and we flew on Sunday, so everything worked out.

As fun as it is to leave for adventures, I’m very happy to be back home, too. And now I’ve got my plate full with some new poems and shooting part 7 of our 8-part cin├ępoem, The Tyranny of the Mirror. Not to mention getting ready for Bean’s arrival. So I’m not going to be bored at all.

-Lo, with vacation afterglow.

There and Back Again

Mood: Beehive Brain
Drinking: Tea

I’m on the brink of a European vacation and fairly vibrating with the excitment. I can’t concentrate on work, am completely worthless in meetings, and really just need to get on a plane and go, already. But I haven’t packed yet. And that will take awhile…

This time around, Boy and I will be visiting the lovely cities of Paris, Zurich, Florence, Milan, and wherever else we happen to stop along the way.

I’ve already got my tickets to see DaVinci’s Last Supper in the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia, and one of my favorite paintings, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus at the Uffizi. I’m also hoping to come face-to-face with the Mona Lisa while in Paris.

It won’t all be museums, though. There will be lots of eating and shopping and general meandering about. I find that getting lost in a new city is one of the best ways to get to know it. And I plan on getting lost both on foot and by scooter. We’re going to be doing a lot of rail riding, as well, but I’m pretty sure we’ll stay on track with that mode of transport.

I’m hoping to get inked by Laura Satana while I’m in Paris. Boy and I got our first international tattoos while we were in Rome last year, and we want to continue the tradition on this trip. (I’m sure my mom will be happy to hear that.)

One of the best parts of this trip is that we’ll be meeting up with friends while we’re in Italy. It will be fun to see some familiar faces in a strange land. Last year, toward the end of our two-week stint, I really started to miss my friends. It’s eerie to be in a country for an extended period of time and realize that absolutely no one except your partner knows who you are.

There is so much to look forward to. I’m already inspired and I haven’t even done anything yet! I predict this trip will yield a cinepoem (or two). Meanwhile, I’ll continue to be manic and worthless. Perhaps I’ll start packing early, just to make myself feel better. It’s going to be a miracle if I can close that suitcase without sitting on it!

-Lo, who has been trying to recall those two years of college French but so far can only remember “Je m’appelle LaDonna” and that football player with Tourette’s who sat next to me with an occasional twitch.

Back to Insanity

Mood: Running on vapors
Drinking: The usual poison

Returning to the real world is proving to be more difficult than I thought. It’s my 2nd Monday back in the swing since returning from the lands across the sea, and I still feel fuzzy about the brainpan.

Can’t blame it on jet lag anymore. Not reliably, anyway. But I may be able to blame it on my weekend of geek theater ecstasy, since I saw both Neil Gaiman’s MirrorMask (gorgeous) and Joss Whedon’s Serenity (orgasmic). So I’m lost somewhere between the streets of flying fishes and River’s ballet of Reaver death. And if you understand none of that, I guess you’re not a true geek. Which is good or bad, depending on your point of view.

I think I need to see both movies a dozen or more times to thoroughly saturate myself in the otherworlds, but I do have a living to make and so here I am, deskbound, procrastinating by babbling incoherently. Fun!

About the Italian adventure…my real world friends should prepare themselves for an avalanche of photos, coming to inboxes soon via Ofoto. For the virtual world, though, I’ll condense it to a list of highlights, since I am as yet unable to post photos here. Consider yourselves starcrossed.

When In Rome…
– Be sure to eat not only pizza and pasta, but nectarines from fresh air fruitstands like the one on Via Imperiali. Juicy and delicious.
– Rent a scooter, if you dare. We did and I found myself alternating between laughing maniacally while speeding in between moving buses and swearing incoherently (ohfuckohfuckohfuck!) while trying to maneuver my way out of a traffic circle. It was great fun!
– Marvel at the Sistine Chapel. Not just the ceiling, either. God and Adam are just part of the crowd.
– Get a tattoo near Vatican City from a man named Massimo who speaks no English. When it’s finished, smile and tell him “Bellissimo!” He will laugh at you, but you won’t care at all.
– Touch the stones of the Colosseum and wonder who was touching these same stones on the other side of 2,000 years or so.
– Make friends with the stray cats, but don’t let them follow you home.
– Imagine the Roman men dressed in Centurion outfits. You won’t be disappointed.
– Instead of throwing coins in Trevi Fountain, throw yourself in. It’s more fun. (I should have taken my own advice on this one.)
– Eat all the pizza you can stomach.

The Five Wonders of the Cinque Terre
1. Steps. So many stone steps.
2. The water is bluer than the sky.
3. Follow every path you see because you never know what kind of wonders lie at the end of it. Or not. But either way, you’re walking off all that Roman pizza!
4. The cats know many secrets.
5. Don’t miss Vernazza — it’s the best of the five towns.

Venice Must Be Seen To Be Believed
* Streets of water are even more beautiful in person than in all the books you’ve ever read.
* St. Mark’s Square is better in the early morning hours, shrouded in mist and empty of people. The pigeons are always waiting, though.
* Rent an apartment between St. Mark’s and the Rialto bridge. Never leave it without applying red, red lipstick.
* When taking a gondola ride, be sure to do so at dusk. None of your photos will turn out, but some pictures are better in your head, anyway.
* Mask shopping is a must. You should go into every shop you see, find a favorite, and visit it three days in a row. Then when you make a purchase, be sure to buy at least four.
* Internet cafes are magical.
* Don’t be fooled by the creme-stuffed canolis and their sultry red cherries. Try the apple-filled ones instead.
* Avoid the Rialto bridge at noon unless you want to be caught in a sweaty tourist sandwich.
* Get lost. Over and over and over.
* Ride the public boat for at least an hour, just to see what you can see.
* The mosquitos in the shower are actually tiny vampires. You won’t feel them bite, but they will leave a mark that lasts for a week or more.
* Leave your windows open at night so you can hear the drunk gondoliers singing Italian opera as they float down the canal outside your apartment. (The mosquitoes are already inside, anyway.)
* Gwen Stefani looks better on Italian MTV.
* Ricky Martin is SO gay. You know this without a doubt after seeing his new music video five times in a row sometime in the middle of the night.
* Decide that watching old Italian men arguing is your new favorite hobby.
* You don’t have to go to Murano to buy pockets full of glass.
* It’s ok to dream of Venice, as long as your heart is still in San Francisco.

Five Things You Should Do In London When You Only Have 25 Hours
1. Sleep.
2. Walk to Buckingham Palace.
3. “Look kids! Big Ben. Parliament.”
4. Ride the London Eye, but try to get in a pod with the German tourists. The Americans are too annoying.
5. Eat pub food. Not just fish and chips, either. Try the bangers and mash.

– Lo, who’s already planning her next overseas adventure. How about a hike to Count Dracula’s Castle, eh?