Italy has come to an end

Jenny and I have been in Italy almost 2 weeks.  It is our last night here right now.  We are in La Spezia which is near Cinque Terre where we spent the afternoon.  If you have never heard of this place, check it out online.  It is BEAUTIFUL!  The cities are built out on the cliffs right over the water.  It is one of the coolest places I have ever been.  It is unreal.  You can walk between each city or take the train.  We were only able to walk between the first 2, Riomaggiore and Manarola, because they have had tons of rain recently (including today) and the paths were closed down.  The walking paths are along the cliffs and towards the last few cities they apparently get pretty steep and rocky.  The one we were able to walk along is called “Via dell’Amore” or in English “Walk of Love.”  It is paved and has railing up so they didn’t close this path down, which I am very glad for.  It was incredible.  The waves were crashing below us during the walk.  We then had a DELICIOUS dinner at a ristorante in Manarola called “Il Porticciolo.”  I had some very tasty pasta with pesto and Jenny had some linguine with lobster.  After dinner, our waitress brought us complimentary limoncello which was by far the strongest we had in Italy.  We had sampled a couple more during our journey.  Now we are back in our hotel room getting ready for bed.  We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow.  We are taking the train from La Spezia to Milan and then on to Geneva, Switzerland.  We are both looking forward to Geneva very much.  We have been told the cheese fondue at our hotel is delicious.  Can’t wait to have that!

For the last few days, we were in Venice.  What a fantastic city!  I enjoyed the vaporetto a lot.  It’s really cool to have to travel through a city by boat.  We toured the Doge’s Palace and Saint Mark’s Basilica.  We also had English tea at a place called Florian’s in St. Mark’s square.  Florian’s has been around 290 years.  The restaurants around the square were very different because they all had live music playing outside all day long.  We also had fun walking around Venice and getting lost.  The first night we were there we walked around for about an hour trying to figure out where we were going while it was POURING.  Venice was the first time in our 2 weeks of the trip that we had bad weather.  It rained most of the 2 days we were in Venice.  Last night, we had a thunderstorm that reminded me of home.  It was raining really hard and lightning a lot.  We were on the vaporetto during that.  This morning we got up and got back on the vaporetto in the rain and went to the train station and came here.

Also, it has been much colder the last 3 days.  Our first 9 days in Italy the temperatures were between about 70 and 78 everyday.  It was sunny during those days as well except one day in Rome when it rained for 45 minutes lightly.  Over the last 3 days, it has been about 55 to 58 each day and has rained on us a lot.  Quite a bit different.

That is all for now.  I am including some pictures from the last few days.  I will update either in Geneva or in Paris before we head home.  We will be home in 1 week.  I am kinda looking forward to not living out of a suitcase anymore.

Also, one more quick thing before I go.  I really love how passionate everyone here is about football/soccer.  It makes me really want to watch more of it and attend more games when I get home.  I want to go to a Dynamo game in the near future.  Who wants to go?


Now in Sorrento

Jenny and I have made it safely to Sorrento.  This city is SO different than the first 3 cities we have seen.  We picked yet another great hotel.  Our room is on the Floor 2 and has a balcony that overlooks the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius.

The train from Naples to Sorrento was very interesting.  It was very old and kind of run down.  The views on the way were spectacular.  There were some Italian boys that were probably 16 or 17 that were REALLY loud and annoying on the train.

This afternoon we were tired so we took a little nap and then walked around the city.  We started by walking towards the water and looking out over the bay.  The view was amazing.  Then we walked through the orange and lemon tree orchard that is right down the street from our hotel.  It was really cool to be in a city and all of the sudden there is a citrus orchard.  We then walked into the main part of downtown.  It was packed.  We walked down a really steep hill to the port and walked around there for a few minutes.  We were hungry by that point so we started looking for a place to eat.  We chose a pizza place called “Jhonny Pizza & Sfizi.”  It had all sorts of awards on the wall.  We ordered the sausage and peppers pizza and brought it back to our room.  It was delicious.  We enjoyed it out on the balcony.  Our hotel had live music tonight in the bar.  It was loud enough to hear from our balcony so we enjoyed that while we ate our dinner.

Today was the least we have walked on our trip so far.  We only walked about 7.5 miles.  Yesterday we walked about 14 miles so it felt good not to walk as much today.

I am very glad our hotel has internet so I can catch up on some things and provide everyone back home with some updates.

In the morning we are going to Vesuvius and Pompeii.  It is supposed to be a beautiful day.  On Monday, we are taking a boat out to Capri and we plan to spend the day out there.

Rich and Sarah left Europe this morning.  It was so great to get to share this trip with them.  We will definitely miss them the rest of the trip.

That is all for now.  I hope everyone back home is doing well and we will see you in about 10 days.  I will put up a few pictures at the bottom from Rome and Sorrento.  And yes that is a picture of me wearing my new man-pris.

Goodnight for now.

We are in Florence!

So this is the first time I have had internet this whole trip and to tell you the truth I haven’t really missed it that much.  Yes I have missed it some (especially baseball stuff) but overall not too bad.  I thought I would give a quick update on what’s been going on.

We are now in Florence, Italy after taking an overnight train from Paris last night.  We were on the train for about 14 hours.

Paris was BEAUTIFUL!  Everyone there was so nice.  So many people told us how rude the French were and how no one would speak English to us.  We never had anyone be rude to us and TONS of people spoke English to us when we needed them to.

We saw the Eiffel Tower and walked around the park around it.  On Thursday, we walked around The Louvre and the Champs-Elysees.  The Louvre was enormous.

The highlight was probably climbing Notre Dame.  There were so many stairs! It took some time to get to the top.  The views up top were AMAZING though!  I will put some pictures in at the end of this post.

We have had amazing food so far.  In Paris, we had several eclairs and pain-au-chocolats.  We also took some bread and cheese over by the Eiffel Tower on Thursday night and watched it sparkle.  It was spectacular.

Today in Florence we walked around the market that is set up in the street.  It was so much fun! There were so many great things to look at and buy.  Tons of Genuine Italian leather goods that are handmade.

Tomorrow we are getting up early and taking a train to Pisa to see the tower.  We are planning on having lunch there and then heading back to Florence.  We leave Florence on Monday to go to Rome.  I will try to update from there next.  Until then, ciao!

Also, I am leaving the country more often.  The Astros are 3-1 since I left.  They have now doubled their wins in the last 4 days.  Go Astros!

We are leaving for Europe today!

So I have not posted in a few days because we were not sure what was going to happen with our Europe trip thanks to the volcano with the extremely long name in Iceland.  We have been trying to get all last minute things done before our trip leaves.  We now know that our flight to Paris WILL be leaving as scheduled Tuesday afternoon.  Jenny and I will be gone about 3 weeks.  We are very excited to be taking this journey around parts of Europe.  Neither one of us have ever been there so it’s going to be so much fun.  We are also glad that for the first 10 days of the trip Rich and Sarah will be with us.  Really wish Josh and Rachel could have come too.  Would have made this amazing adventure even better.  I will update on here as much as I can with comments and pictures of our trip.  Our plane is supposed to leave Houston at 4:15 PM central time on Tuesday and arrive in Paris at 8:35 AM on Wednesday morning.  Hopefully we are able to get some sleep on the plane.

If you have any questions, please comment on here or email me.  DO NOT TEXT ME!  It’s 50 cents per text.  If you text me, you pay for that text.

Astros off to “great” start…

So this is my first blog on WordPress.  I thought I would just write a little bit tonight.

0-8.  What more needs to be said.  The Astros are off to their 2nd worst start in team history.  They have a chance to tie their worst start in history tomorrow afternoon when Bud Norris faces off against Kyle Lohse in the series finale in St. Louis.

Their offense is just horrific.  They have now scored 14 runs through 8 games.  That’s 72 innings.  They are averaging 1.75 runs per game.  It’s kinda hard to win games with that kind of run support.  The only run the Astros scored tonight in their 2-1 loss to the Cardinals was unearned in the top of the 1st.  There was a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today about why the Astros are scoring so few runs.  Here is that article from the Wall Street Journal from today, April 14, 2010:

“The Houston Astros began the season with seven straight losses largely because of an anemic offense that had scored just 13 runs, or 1.86 per game. Part of the reason is that their hitters are swinging at everything; they have the highest swing rate on pitches outside the strike zone, at 33.4%. Hunter Pence, above, has chased 46% of pitches out of the zone, and he’s one of the club’s best hitters.” – Dave Cameron

Those are very interesting statistics.  My brother-in-law Jon also compiled some interesting stats about the pitchers we faced the first 7 games.  Here is his take on it.

Day Pitcher 2009 ERA 2009 Wins Notes
Mon Lincecum 2.48 15 2 x Cy Young
Tue. Zito 4.03 10 Cy Young Winner
Wed. Cain 2.89 14 11 no-dec. in 2009
Fri. Happ 2.93 12
Sat. Moyer 4.94 12
Sun. Halladay 2.79 17 Cy Young Winner
Mon. Wainwright 2.63 19 Prob. Should have won Cy Young
Average: 3.24 14 4 x Cy Youngs…

Now this is no excuse for the poor play in the first week of the season but still very interesting to see.

Jenny and I will be going to Europe next week for 3 weeks.  I will try my hardest during that trip to blog every other day with what we have been doing and photos of places we have been.  That’s all for tonight.  Maybe some more after the game tomorrow.  Goodnight.