Thursday, September 21, 2006

Change is in the Air!

It's the first day of fall, and we've been engaged for 1 week now! Jim and I had an amazing trip to Italy, complete with seeing all the sights, getting lost in Venice, and eating great food with some wine tasting too. The picture to the right is from inside the Colosseum in Rome. We also saw the Forum, Pantheon, Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St Paul's Square in Rome. We were also able to see in person some of the places mentioned in Dan Brown's Angel's and Demons such as the Fountain of Four Rivers (part of which is shown at below and on the right).
"Where's Kate?" Find me on the Spanish steps (also in Rome).
It never ceased to amaze me what detail and talent went into the art, architecture, and design that was around every corner. Local tour guides with specific training for each town or city we visited told us the history and meaning behind it all. In Florence, known in Italy as Firenze, we experienced medeivel entertainment complete with court jester and lords and ladies in costume who danced, sang, and played music for us. The court jester would choose participants out of the audience for different games to play. Jim was chosen for a contest where he and another man had a rope with a cork on the end tied to their middle belt loop in the back of their pants and they had to figure out how to blow out a candle on the floor using the cork. Jim, of course, figured it out first. I was chosen later to hold onto keys that would free one of two "ladies" who had been chosen from the audience and their "lords" had to complete a task and then find the keys. Here's a picture of the two of us at the palace this dinner was at. The next day we traveled to Venice, and stopped at a winery along the way for lunch. We had fun learning about the process it takes to make the Chianti country wine, and of course tasting it. After that it was on to the city made up of many islands, Venice. It is one of the most quaint, romantic places I've ever been. They only allow cars on one of the islands, and all the other transportation is water taxies or walking. Once we dropped our things off at the hotel, we headed to St. Marc's Square, which is a special place by day and magical at night. We met up with our tour guide and used our portable radios to hear what she had to say about the gorgeous mosaics, marble, and domes inside the St. Marc's Cathedral. We had to be quiet because there was a service going on at the time, and couldn't take any pictures inside to preserve the art work. After that, our group was ready to head next door to the Dolges Palace for our tour there. Jim and I were near the back of the group, and he came up behind me and took my headphone out. I turned around and asked him what he was doing, and he dropped to one knee, and took a ring whose sparkle was only magnified by the afternoon sunshine out of his pocket. He asked "Will you marry me?" and all I could manage in my surprised state initially was "yes" which I said a couple times. As we are promising to love each other forever, not only our tour group but also a random Asian tour group are taking our pictures, and I imagine others that I wasn't even aware of. Until our group converged on us to congratulate us, it was like we were the only two people in that great big plaza. On the L is a close up of St Marc's, below is a picture of us right after it happened with St. Marc's in the background. I think we both heard about 10% of what the tour guide said about the palace we toured next- our heads were up on cloud 9. We haven't set a date yet, but I'll keep everyone posted. It's time for me to go spend some time with my fiance, so I'll update some more later.


Scott K. Johnson said...


Great pictures - looks like you both had a wonderful time!

Thanks for sharing!

Kate said...

Thanks Scott! I think because I was slow in converting my blog to the new version I didn't get your comment til now, but thanks! We did have a great time.