Sunday, December 11, 2011

Our Friend Firenze

Florence was the next stop on our European Tour.  We spent four days here, so I will try not to bore everyone with the day to day details; instead, I'll just hit the highlights!  Conor picked out our hotel, which was absolutely wonderful, but had a couple of quirks!  We had a great view of Florence and the Duomo from our patio, where we had many many glasses of wine.  The lobby of the hotel had a bar, which we visited frequently!  Especially when we needed that extra bottle of wine after dinner.  :-)  The only real downside to our hotel room:  the shower was so tiny, it was nearly impossible to wash your hair in there!  Also, we were on on the top floor, so we had to go up six flights of stairs every time...ooh the legs were burning after a long day of sight seeing!

We had plenty of time to enjoy Florence, so we relaxed a little bit more and weren't in a rush to see everything as quick as possible.  We had great weather in Florence (only one day of rain), so we spent as much time outside as possible.  Our first night there, we went to dinner at Buca Lapi (a recommendation from my friend Christy Bloom).  This meal was such a treat, but you definitely paid for it!  It was probably the most expensive meal we had in Europe, but it was so worth it.  Not only was every thing absolutely delicious, but the ambiance was enjoyable as well!

We spent almost an entire day at the street market trying to make some deals, which started out as fun...but then I got a little antsy (read: I needed a glass of wine ASAP if we were going to continue shopping for one item all day!)  Conor really wanted to buy a leather bag, but it took a long long time to get the price down as he wasn't buying it without a deal.  I get so awkward in these situations; I just don't understand why they can't put a reasonable price on things!  To take a break from all the street fair mayhem, we went to the Mercado Central to search for some lunch!  This market was incredible, but also a little disturbing as people were selling cuts of meat that I couldn't even look at, let alone imagine eating!  However, we avoided all the raw pig & cow and decided on a Rick Steve's recommendation, a great sandwich spot.  We then found a wine store, got two plastic cups, and were ready to find some Church steps to enjoy our lunch on!

One of my favorite things that we did in Florence was climb the Duomo.  Conor's brother, Kyle, told us to do this at sunset (about an hour before they close) to avoid the lines.  This was the best piece of advice!  Usually there was a huge line to do the climb, and a very slow process as not everyone is in as good of shape as us! ;-)  Luckily neither of us are claustrophobic because the staircase was steep and very very narrow!  The view at the top was absolutely spectacular!  Such a wonderful view of the city; you are really missing out if you don't climb the Duomo.

My parents recommended that we take a day trip to Siena since it's so close to Florence.  Siena wasn't quite as busy as Florence, so it was nice to get away from the crowds of people.  We walked around for a bit to work up an appetite, and then found a deli that, yet again, Rick Steves recommended.  This was the most simple, yet best lunch we had!  The shop was very authentic, with an Italian man sporting an awesome handlebar mustache helping us.  Unfortunately he is not a fan of tourists, so no cameras are allowed inside.  At this deli you pay by the weight of your sandwich, so this guy loaded up some baguettes with salami, prosciutto, and pecorino fresco.  That's it!  Washed down with some red wine, it was perfect!  We enjoyed our lunch in the sunny Piazza del Campo.  There was such great people watching we could have spent the whole day there; but alas, there was more exploring to do!

Our last day in Florence was the only day of rain.  This worked out perfectly, since we planned on spending the day in museums.  First, we went to la Academia to see the David.  I was moderately excited about this activity, since I think it's absolutely ridiculous to pay a bunch of money to see something that you used to be displayed in public for free!  However, it was well worth it; I was completely blown away by how magnificent the statue is in person!  There are many other great things to see inside as well, but the David is definitely the highlight.  Our next stop was supposed to be the Uffizi Gallery, but we decided that neither of us were actually all that interested in the we skipped it!

We had a much better time hiking up to Piazzale Michaelangelo!  This is where the original David used to be; there's a replica there now that is just terrible looking once you've seen the real thing!  Here you get another great view of the city, which never gets old!  We left the square and went to Ponte Vecchio where we strolled with more gelato!  I got black cherry this time and it was to-die-for!!!

The next day we hauled all our luggage back to the train station and had a little time to kill.  So of course we had the last glass of wine from a bottle from the night before.  I know what you're thinking: "We had leftover wine?!"  This time we couldn't find cups anywhere...oh well!  Roma is next!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our Introduction to the Spritz

Our European Vacation: Part II

Ah Venice, what a magical place!  We arrived around 10am, absolutely exhausted, and with no real plans.  First step, finding a water taxi and then our hotel.  This was the beginning of numerous wrong turns and many miles of hauling luggage, but we loved every minute of it!  With our Rick Steves Italy book in hand, we rather easily bought tickets for the water taxi and were on our way.  Venice was more beautiful than I had even imagined!  It was a wonderfully sunny day and we were ready to explore...after a brief nap of course.  Luckily, Conor's blackberry worked in all of Europe so we could use GPS and not have to rely solely on maps.  This made finding our hotel much easier.  Although I thought we had packed "rather" light, considering our three week trip in three different countries, I was very wrong.  Venice is full of steps!  We had plenty of canals to walk over to get to our hotel and my bag was a little too big & heavy for all that lifting!  (Just for a mental picture, we each had a shoulder bag and piece of rolling luggage, and then there was an extra duffel bag.)  But just so you know, I hauled my monster of a bag all over Europe with no complaints!
We stayed at a small bed & breakfast which was just perfect for us!  The owner was so nice and helpful which made our entire Venice experience wonderful.  After touring through Europe, I now have a definite preference for small, boutique hotels.  They are just so much more personal!  We took a nice long nap, and then finally began exploring the many streets and canals of Venice!  First things first, we found the nearest campo to get a glass of vino and make some plans for the day.  Refreshed, we made our way to San Marco Square to take in all the action.  Wow, there were tons of people...or I should say tourists! 

Venice was such an incredible place, the pictures don't even do it justice.  Sometimes, I even think it looks like we're standing in front of a green just can't believe it's real!  After walking around and getting our bearings, we got ready for dinner with Claire and Alberto who soon became great friends!  Claire is (get ready for this): Conor's, sister's, study-abroad-roommate-in-Spain, who visited Conor's family in Montana once years ago...  She is from France but currently lives on the mainland near Venice with her boyfriend Alberto who grew up there in the town of Maestra.  Conor had met her once we quickly got past introductions and into one of our favorite nights of the entire trip!  It was such a fun evening!  Claire and her boyfriend, Alberto, picked us up and took us to the mainland for aperitifs and dinner.

This entire night was quite the experience!  First, we went to a bar where Alberto ordered everyone a Spritz...I was a little skeptical of whatever this "Spritz" was going to be, so I opted for a glass of processco instead.  However, I really missed out!  The Spritz was delicious!  Alberto told us it was processco, Aperol (or Campari), and a little bit of club soda.  Add an orange slice and an olive, cin cin (cheers)!  We have since made many of these at home!  Mmm, so delicious and refreshing.

We had originally decided to have pizza for dinner, but after they got two drinks in me they pursuaded me into switching to "crudo" (raw) seafood, eek!  I had been warned about seafood in Venice, and how everything would come with their heads still on, scary!  Conor was super excited. I, of course, did not want to be a downer that evening, so I figured I would give it a try.  I had no idea what I was in for.  Alberto took us to a restaurant owned by their neighbor.  We were greated right away by this neighbor, his mother, and brother the chef.  We smiled and waved since no one was speaking English.  In fact, they were speaking an Italian dialect that even Claire had a hard time understanding.  No menus; Alberto chatted with the mother about what was currently fresh and made selections for the table based on that.  I had no idea what I was gonna get and was very nervous about it.  Not to mention the fact that I was starving!  The Italians eat late, and I was not prepared for this! 

Course 1: Polenta with fried baby shrimp...interesting.  Conor finished the last third of mine. :-)  Course 2: Various unidentifyable pieces of seafood, except for some shrimp (thank the lord ;0) ).  Conor's was raw, but I had my plate cooked.  I thought this was the main course and only plate of food I would at this point I was a little nervous that I would leave a little hungry... boy was I mistaken!  This picture shows my, "I'm not so sure about what I'm about to eat, face!"

I have to say, I really opened my mind to this meal and ate most of what was put on my plate...but no heads :-). I let Conor have those.  And lots of it was actually quite delicious.  I was pleasantly surprised!  Conor loved everything and was in complete heaven.  However, he was a little worried about me and not sure how I was handling the food.  I think I even surprised him a little.  After the first massive plate of seafood was finished they brought another!  Course 3: More seafood.  This time mostly shellfish.  There was lots of razor clams that I had never had before, but I loved them!  I finally starting thinking that just maybe, this meal would fill me up.

Course 4 (the best course): Porchini mushroom risotto.  Oh my goodness, this was the best thing ever!  I was already feeling full, but then they brought out a massive seashell of risotto.  And then filled an entire dinner plate with it!  Talk about a big dinner!  I thoroughly enjoyed this portion of the meal as we dove into our second bottle of wine.  By this point, you'd think the four of us were old friends!

Next, we were brought sorbetto al limone to cleanse our palates before dessert.  The sorbetto was a dessert all on its own.  After this dinner, no meal on our trip was complete without sorbetto.  And I like how you drink it out of a champagne glass, so fun!  Lastly, we had a wonderful chocolate dessert and after dinner drinks.  Conor was introduced to grappa, which he loved!  The grappa was way to strong for me, so I had some liquor similar to Sambucca.  The whole meal lasted about three hours, but felt like it just flew by.  We didn't want the night to end.  Sadly, we left Claire & Alberto at the train station and began the long walk through Venice, over the Realto Bridge, and back to our hotel. They were both such incredible hosts and we hope they will come visit us in Seattle so we can return the hospitality!

Our second (and last day) in Venice was a Sunday, so not much was open.  However, we did go to mass at Saint Mark's Basilica.  This was one of my favorite experiences in Italy.  Obviously, the mass was in we didn't understand a word, but it gave us an opportunity to pay closer attention and not just go through the motions.  It also gave us plenty of time to really take in the inside of the church.  It was incredible and unlike any other church I've been too.  I was so happy we took the time to do this.

Afterwards, we sampled our first bit of gelato.  I was in love!  I wanted gelato at all times of the day, and it was hard to limit myself during our tour through Italy.  First flavors sampled: hazelnut & pear.  Hazelnut was the best!

The rest of the day we ate & explored.  What could be better than that?!  We never took a gondola ride...they are so expensive, besides we enjoyed walking around just fine.

If you're a fan on seafood, Venice is for you. If you're looking for pizza and pasta, Florence & Rome probalby have it beat but it was still delicious. In Venice, many of the restaurants really cater to the tourists and you can definitely get ripped off so you have to do a little research and find the good spots.  We used recommendations as much as possible to tried and avoid this problem.  The vino rosso della casa was never a disppointment however!

Monday morning came, we packed our things, and headed to the train station for our trip to Florence!  Another great sunny day in Italy....whoever said it was the rainy season was sorely mistaken this week!

We had some time to kill before our train left, so we bought a few bottles of processco & red wine to enjoy as we sat outside the train station watching people and killing time.  Thank you for no open container laws!  There's nothing like sitting in the sunshine and enjoying some wine at 10am. :)  The train ride sure flew by!

Next up: Four days in Florence!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Trevor Cross is the New Rick Steves

My long time friend Trevor Cross spent this last year living in London, so I called him up to get suggestions on things to do.  We talked and talked and talked; he had so many great recommendations, and not just your typical tour-book must-sees... he even mixed in his personal favorite, off the beaten path, recomendations!  As if I wasn't excited enough, Trevor got me even more energetic about our trip!  If you know Trevor, you know that he could get you excited about dang near anything.  I swear he could turn a Cougar fan into a Husky, just give him 15 minutes!

With Trevor as our "guide," we mapped out our tour of London on the train ride into the city!  Conor had to work that morning, so we didn't get into the city til about 4pm.  We were determined to see everything on Trevor's list in one night, and we planned on walking everywhere.... Let the madness of London commence!

Our first stop was the Borough Market to get a late lunch.  This a beautiful outdoor market that Trevor said had a Pike Place Market feel but very London local.  Since it was already starting to get dark by the time we arrived, most of the stalls were shutting down.  We walked around as quickly as possible, taking in all the smells and delicious looking food.  I wish we could have ate about 10 meals there!  Our options were limited, so we decided on some "proper" fish and chips...and it did not disappoint!

We devoured every last bite of the fish....well almost every bite.  It came with the skin on...and that got a little gross towards the end of our meal!  We walked off our lunch on the way to Shakespeare's Globe Theater.  Since it was past 5pm on a Friday night, nothing was open.  So we began the walking look-from-the-outside tour of many of London's sites.  Obviously, you can't see much of the theater from the outside, so we moved on!

Next, we saw Big Ben!  I was actually really excited about this!  I looked for Peter Pan, but unfortunately he was nowhere in sight.  ;-)  Big Ben wasn't quite as "big" as I was expecting, but a beautiful sight nonetheless.

One of the highlights of the night was riding the London Eye.  Luckily, it wasn't too crowded, so we didn't have to lose any time waiting in line.  The views were spectacular, and I'm so glad that we did this at night...not that we had a choice.  This Ferris wheel, of sorts, is absolutely massive, and was such a fun experience.  I highly recommended it to anyone traveling to London, even though it's a little bit pricey!

We kept walking through the city and made our way to Parliament, Westminster Abbey, & Buckingham Palace.  It's a different experience to explore a city at night, but we really enjoyed it.  You never know what you'll run into walking around out there... For example, on the way to the Palace, we were suddenly overtaken by an impromptu rollerblade party! About 150 rollerbladers, some packing back-pack boom-boxes, and bike escorts. Awesome! As the evening went on, the drunks of London leaving the pubs were a sight to see.  Our favorite "gentlemen", became the one who stumbled out of pub, gave a huge belch, and then exclaimed while holding his gut: "Arg... pub pain!" Ah, how lovely!
Our final stop was The Jerusalem Tavern.  This pub came highly recommended by Trevor!  He explained it as off the beaten path and something straight out of a Dickens novel.  He was absolutely right!  With a little difficulty, we finally found the place.  The front door was completely blocked by patrons and tables, so we ventured into the alley that led us to a side door.  The place was so tiny, but exactly what we were hoping for.  We squished our way through the many pub goers to make our way to the bar.  It was so wonderful to sit down and enjoy my cider!  We had just finished at least 11 miles of walking and were pretty exhausted.  We called Trevor to tell him we had made it through London and found our way to the best pub ever!  He told Conor he had to try the honey porter, which he did...and it was delicious!  Even I had a few sips, so it had to be good!  We wanted to stay forever, but the pub was closing down.  We figured it was time to get back to the train station anyway, since our flight to Venice was at 6am. 

We arrived at the station at 11:45pm, perfect timing to catch the midnight train back to our hotel....or so we thought!  Apparently, we misread the train schedule, because the last train left at 11:25....big oops!  The next train wasn't until 4am, and it's an hour ride, so there was no way we would make our flight!  After a little bit of panicing, we went to the ticket booth to try and figure out another way to get back to our hotel.  We finally discovered there was a bus that could get us where we needed to go.  So we walked outside into the bitter cold, and waited...and waited.  Forty minutes later, we thought the bus was never going to arrive and frustration set in again.  Finally the bus pulled up to the stop, and we both gave a huge sigh of relief.  Little did we know, this bus ride was going to take about 2 1/2 hours.  Utterly exhausted, we finally made it to our hotel room.  We had a wonderful (or terrible...) hour of sleep, and then packed our bags Ryan-Air style... and walked to the airport to catch our flight.  Needless to say, the Keenans were sleepy for the their arrival in Italy!

Coming up:Venice, Florence, & Rome!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Absolutely No Nasties!

Our European Vacation: Part I

Conor had to travel to England & France for work, so we planned a little vacation around it all!  The first week of our trip was in Cambridge, England where Conor was very busy with work all week. For me, however, it was just the beginning of my 3 week vacation!   We arrived on Saturday and walked around  for awhile to get our bearings and feel for Cambridge.  It's actually quite a small town with almost everything within walking distance.  Very small curvy streets and people everywhere!  We stopped at our first pub which was long, narrow, and absolutely packed.  When I ordered a hard cider, the bartender asked if I wanted a pint?  I must have given him a strange look because he proceeded to ask if I wanted a half pint or a pint!  Who wants a half pint?!  "Oh sure, just give me a little splash of beer please!" Silly English.

Although everyone speaks "English", half the time I felt like they were speaking a completely different language.  Some of the accents are very thick, and I frequently found myself asking people to repeat themselves. Some of their sayings just crack me up!  I noticed the label on a soda I was drinking that read: "Absolutely no nasties!" Nasties?  Is this something I should be worried about? Have other things I've drank had nasties?!  After trying to forget about "nasties", we went to an Indian place, aptly named The Gandhi, for dinner with a few of Conor's coworkers.  It was some of the best Indian food I have ever had!  We quickly learned that Indian cuisine is quite popular in England, so we ended up having it more than once!

Another thing I enjoyed about England: They drink lots of tea here!  Tea in the morning, tea at lunch, afternoon tea, tea after dinner.  If you're bored....make some tea!  To say the least, I drank a lot of tea and cider!  On Sunday, Conor had some work stuff, but luckily I got invited to join them!  We went to the Imperial War Museum where we had a private tour and got to see many different air craft from World War 1 and on.  Some early commercial airliners were there as well, like the Comet 4 and a Concord jet.  It was pretty interesting, but... we were there for 5 hours, so I got a little bored.  One can only look at parked airplanes for so long. :-)

Day three rolled around, and I still felt jet lagged.  Woke up early with Conor. Couldn't go back to sleep.  Tried to take a nap at noon, didn't work.  Took a nap at 4pm, finally slept til Conor got back from work.  Pretty exciting day!...  I hoped that the next few days would be better.  The food in Cambridge proved to be more and more interesting as the days went on.  The hotel had a great hot breakfast so I hit that up every morning.  However, I'm pretty sure they put tons of cream in the scrambled eggs because they are waaaay too good!  I found a fun place for lunch that wasn't too far from our hotel, but still proved difficult to find.  Its hard to find street signs here and the roads are so curvy.  I ate at a place called The Cow which is known for their pizza.  Thin crust, pretty similar to something you would see in the States except that the ingredients are just a little different.  Mine had prosciutto, marscapone, and red onions and it was delicious.  It wasn't cut into slices though, they just gave me a fork and steak knife....kinda interesting.  This was my first meal alone, and I think I did okay.  That glass of wine at noon helped! :-)

I got invited to one of Conor's work dinners at the Cambridge Chop House.  It was a very nice restaurant in quite an old building.  The main room was tiny with a bar and a few tables, then you took a wooden spiral staircase downstairs to a much larger room, and then down another half floor to the room where we ate.  So our room was more than an entire story below ground...little bit creepy.  The menu was fixed since we had such a large group and was definitely interesting.  I believe the choices for the main course were: a rump roast steak, sausage and mushroom pudding, fisherman's pie, some type of vegetable and cheese pasty, and "coil" which is pretty much a coiled up little sausage on a plate... Where's the chicken?!  I am starting to get more adventurous with my eating habits, but this was a little much.  I took the safe route and ordered the steak.

Conor and his coworkers
After dinner we went to the oldest pub in Cambridge called The Eagle.  This is supposedly where DNA was discovered as the men who discovered it frequently visited and talked over pints.  Exciting stuff!  Also, World War I soldiers took lighters and burned things into the ceiling which was very interesting to see.  Once again, I had my fill of cider while Conor got to work tasting every kind of warm beer he could find.  There are plenty of cask ales over here, some of which Conor thought were very different but good.

While Conor was working, I spent most of the days walking around, figuring out where I was going, and taking in everything around me.  Such a fun and fascinating place to be.  The weather had been sunny and clear skies most days, which is so rare for the London area.  I enjoyed being out in the Fall weather and seeing all the old buildings at many colleges and universities.  My days pretty much centered around my meals, and I spent time in-between out exploring. :-)  The streets are packed here everyday since it is a college town.  Everybody rides a bike and has these massive wicker baskets on the front.  Even the manliest guy out there has this cute little basket on his bike.  But there is nothing cute about these cyclists!  They are crazier than the cars on the road and stop for no one.  One day I even saw a bike wreck!

One evening when Conor had to work particularly late, I had dinner by myself at a sit down Thai restaurant (I had to get away from all the English food for a night).  I have to say this is the very first time I have gone out to dinner alone.  I sat at a table in the corner by myself.  I had a glass of wine while waiting for my food, and I have to say it was pretty awkward.  Finally, I pulled my kindle out of my bag and just started reading.  I had become the person that I always feel bad for at restaurants.  The old maid reading alone in the corner with her wine... :-)  I survived though and my meal was delicious.

Eventually Friday afternoon arrived and after our driver dropped us off at our airport hotel, Conor & I took a train into London for one crazy night of sightseeing!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Back to Back: Part II

Conor went into work really early that Friday, so that we could get on the road to San Diego a little earlier than usual.  I drove the first half, making excellent time...even though Conor had his eye on my speedometer constantly!  After a brief bathroom stop and the purchase of a couple "travelers," we continued the drive.  The radio stations driving through the dessert are always a little interesting. But lucky for us we heard Party Rock at least 6 times during our drive.  Nonetheless, when we arrived we were ready to party!

As I reached my hand over the fence to open the gate to The Hanson's house, I found an unwanted surprise.  Curt had artfully placed two Smirnoff Ice's on the ledge....very sneaky Curt!  A stomach ache later, I decided the icing needs to stop!  We'll see if that really happens or not.  That night we all went to El Camino for drinks and the hopes of some good music.  Well, the drinks were delicious as always, but the DJ was absolutely awful!  Such a disappointment.  But that didn't stop us from having fun.  Here is just a small sampling of all the crazy pictures we took that night.

The next day we walked to the local street market just a couple blocks from their house and then spent the next 2 hours talking about what we should do.... No big decision makers in the group...!  Finally,we decided on one my now favorite activities of the summer: paddle boarding!  Conor & I had never done it before and were very excited to try it out!  It was a beautiful sunny day in San Diego, just perfect weather to be out on the water.  I've heard from many people that paddle boarding is a really good workout...but not for this group!  We took the more leisurly approach, just casually paddling along and then stopping for mini naps on our boards.  It was incredible....but next time, I'd bring a cooler! ;-)

That night, it was TJ & Erin's turn to take us to their favorite Thai spot!  We ordered a ridiculous amount of food, so as to be able to try as many things as possible.  It was all so delicious, albeit a little spicy!  Erin ordered a glass of reisling with dinner which seemed odd at first, until I realized what a perfect match the sweetness of the wine with the spiciness of the food is!  How did I not know this?!  Since then, no Thai meal is complete without that glass of Riesling.  Thank you Erin!

After dinner, we turned on the Wii for some Family Feud!  I can;t believe I never knew about this game before, it is awesome!  I highly recommed that every household purchase it!  Such a fun time full of many  laughs....Survey says: "Laura & Erin win....again!"

Sunday morning, chef TJ got up early and made everyone some delicious crepes.  Since I have now been to France and had crepes there, I can say with confidence that TJ made the best crepes I've ever had.  Paris crepe stands have nothing on him!  I enjoyed every little bite.  Afterwards, the boys played some whiffle ball  to work off their breakfast.  It was a beautiful morning and felt like fall was in the air!  I was dreading the drive back to Arizona where our temperatures were still in the upper 90s.

Before we left San Diego, Curt wanted to show us his place...and I was really excited to see his cat, Leo, who is a maine coon (one big cat)!  He was just adorable and of course I now really want one.  However, we are not crazy cat people and cannot become a 3 cat household.  Someday I suppose...

Next few blogs: Our Euro Trip!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Back to Back: Part I

Still playing catch up on the blog.... 

Anyways, Conor & I have been trying to get our San Diego friends to come to Arizona all summer, but with 115 degree temps it was a little difficult.  Finally, at the end up of September things  cooled off (temperatures only in the 90s), so they made the trip over.  Our friend Curt recently moved to San Diego, so he joined TJ & Erin for the trip.  Unfortunately, his wife currently lives in San Francisco so she wasn't able to join.  But we skyped her as much as possible!

The first of night of their visit, Erin & I  sat outside enjoying the nice weather and a few cocktails.  The boys were up to no good and spent most of the evening cruising the neighborhood on our new tandem bike!  Conor & I are very excited about it.  She needs a paint job (we're thinking candy red) and few other things done, but she runs just fine!

TJ looks like the happiest boy in the whole wide world!

Saturday started off with breakfast, and what else....gin fizzes, mmm!  Just a normal Saturday morning prefunk before our float down the Salt River.  After breakfast, Curt finally found the Smirnoff Ice I left on the shelf in his bedroom the night before.  Gotta love a nice, warm icing first thing in the morning!

Conor & I had floated the Salt River once before and had a blast, so I was really excited to do it again!  The whole thing is organized so well: a bus drops you off and picks you up, they provide the tubs, and you can bring whatever you want to eat or drink, just no glass!  And you get to listen to some pretty awesome music while on the bus...usually oldies courtesy of Rhonda!  I have no pictures because we didn't want the camera to get wet.  There were some pretty strong rapids, and people were flipping out of there tubes all the time!  But not me of course ;-)

That night we took everyone out to our favorite Thai restaurant.  The place was quite busy, and we didn't get the great service that we normally do...but the food was still delicious! The three of them love Thai food, so we were hoping this place would be up to their standards.  I'm pretty sure our guests were very happy since everyone was making yummy noises while eating, and we licked the plates clean!  Plus the extra round of drinks the owner bought us at the end of our meal helped a little too!

Once back at the house, everyone was pretty wiped out from being in the sun all day, so we just relaxed on the couch playing some Catch Phrase.  Except when you're as competitive as us, it's actually not that relaxing.  Erin & I kicked the boys butts as usual...we're just THAT good!

Sunday morning showed its face way too soon, as it always does.  We have such a fun time together, we never want the weekend to end!  So it was decided...Conor & I had no plans for the following weekend, so we were gonna road trip to San Diego!  At least we had the week to recover for more fun with T, E, & C!

Next up: Part II