Back From Vacation: Part I!

Last week, Pete and I joined his family on a week-long vacation in Ocean City, NJ. The annual Schuster beach shenanigans are always a blast (this coming from my two years of experience, but still…), so this time, I decided to document parts of our trip.

My dad gave us a kite to fly at the beach, so Pete and I tested it out by frolicking around and probably definitely making fools of ourselves. It was Pete’s first time flying a kite and I think he mastered it like a pro.

Goobers.

Thanks to Pete’s generous parents, we stayed on the top floor of this beach house, which was a quick stroll from the beach.

We spent our evenings roaming the boardwalk, playing card games, watching tv and being lazy.

Pete and I played shuffleboard for the first time (although my dad tells me I played when I was a wee little thing).

There were many intense faces made during shuffleboard, which were repeated yet again during the annual game of Goofy Golf (sorry for the lack of photos). Picture putting a ball at a hippo eating a hoagie while “who let the dogs out?” blares in the background. It’s pretty darn good. Shocker: I got the low score.

Pete’s mom made her famous monkey bread, which is to. die. for. We also indulged in caramel corn, berries and loads of other delicious goodies that undoubtedly made me gain a few pounds (totally worth it).

Pete’s aunt and cousin (and her adorable baby) came to visit and I went a little crazy with taking photos of the cute little lass. I don’t often find myself in the company of kids, so I like to take advantage of photographing them whenever I can. It’s always a fresh of breath air to photograph children because they don’t shy away from being themselves or get self conscious when the shutter clicks.

She thought I was interested in stealing her Goldfish crackers…which I might have been…

Nothing beats baby smiles!

She was showing her Grandma where her eyes and nose are located…she’s smart like that!

So. Cute.

Going to the beach also means lots of trivia and reading, which included Bossypants by Tina Fey, who might just be my favorite person ever. Pete caught me Google stalking her after reading the book in a day, which I realize is stalkertastic.

The boardwalk is always fabulous for people-watching, photo booth posing and Skee Ball playing.

We had more than our fair share of fish tacos, smoothies and ice cream. The smoothies at Bryn and Dane’s (a local restaurant based out of Horsham) were the best thing I had on the boardwalk without a doubt.

Pete and I couldn’t resist some Medieval Fantasy Mini Golf, which was definitely worth it just for the black light, airbrushed holes indoors.

Ree-diculous.

Yes, that’s Pete yielding a golf club sword amidst glow in the dark wizards and dragons. There was talk of larping and playing D&D, but hopefully we’ll save that for another year. Or never…

It was pretty challenging trying to take photos in the dark, but I’m glad I was able to get a few shots of the fabulous fantasy world that exists only on the Ocean City boardwalk.

I had to remind myself that I am unemployed and should save my money for more grown-up purchases when I stumbled upon this seashell owl.

We topped off our romantic evening stroll on the boardwalk off with some Elvis crooning while the sun set behind us. Pretty darn priceless if you ask me. Stay tuned for part II of our beach adventures tomorrow, where I’ll share our exciting reunion with a much-missed Betty White.

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Italy Vacation Planning Begins…

Pete and I plan to travel to Italy in September 2011, so I’ve started the initial planning process for a 10-12 day trip. I’m sure we will change our minds a million times, but for now this is a really basic itinerary:


Fly into Venice’s Marco Polo Airport and take the ATVO Venice Express bus for a half hour from the airport in Venice to the Piazzale Roma (around €3). Spend 1 day and 1 night in Venice. Some must-see spots: St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace—walk over the famous Bridge of Sighs. Visit the Rialto Bridge at night and take a cruise along the Grand Canal on the vaporetto #1 water bus. Visit the Guggenheim Museum if there’s time. Take the train from Venice (switch in Milan) to Cinque Terre. Visit Trenitalia for help with train schedules.


Spend 3 days and 2 nights in Cinque Terre in Manarola. Hike the trail that links the five towns in the morning. Hike, enjoy the sights and take photographs like it’s nobody’s business. Head south to La Spezia (the largest city just south of Riomaggiore) and catch a train for Florence. The train (around €12-21 per ticket) is 2.5-3 hours (switch trains in Pisa).


Spend 4 days and 3 nights in Florence. Mission #1: stuff our faces with gelato. Visit the Uffizi and have a Caravaggiogasm. Visit Siena for a day trip by taking the SITA bus (€7-ish one way) for 1.5 hours (depart across from the main train station and go to Siena’s bus stop at Piazza Garibaldi). Take the bus for a day trip to San Gimignano for a dose of Tuscany lifestyle. Depart from Florence’s Santa Maria Novella Station and head to Rome’s Termini Station (about a 2 hour trip and roughly €56 per person).


Stay in Rome for 2 days and 1 night. Visit the Colosseum at night, the Sistine chapel and the Trevi Fountain. Eat. A lot. Leave from the Rome Leonardo da Vinci airport.

Once we finalize the basic itinerary of the cities we want to hit, we can start figuring out the B&B’s or hotels that best fit our budget, as well as restaurants and other spots we won’t want to miss. We aren’t as interested in visiting cathedrals as we are exploring the towns and soaking in the architecture and arts. Any advice from seasoned travelers? This will be my first out-of-country experience (sorry Canadians, I’m not counting Niagara Falls), so I have a lot of research to do. Oh, and I should probably get a passport.