Friday, November 20, 2009

Twilight: Babymoon

Learning of V-Train's "condition" was sure exciting, but soon the implications of our family increasing in size by 50% began to sink in.  We weren't going to be DINKs anymore, but DIOKs.  That meant we'd have to stop lighting cigars with twenty dollar bills and, instead, carefully snuff out and store unfinished cigars to finish later and, by later, I mostly mean 18 or so years from now.  Another realization was that we were at the twilight of the era of our freedom.  It would be a long time before we had a real, non-child-oriented vacation again.  Except, that is, for the Babymoon, which is a word I learned at approximately the same time we considered taking one.

At first, we weren't thinking of going far.  Hawaii seemed like a good option.   But then someone said to me "you want to take your seven month pregnant wife who is annoyed about having to buy special swimsuits and isn't supposed to spend time in the sun on a beach vacation?"  And so it was that just a few weeks before we were due to go on vacation, I somehow decided that going to Rome and Florence would be totally awesome.  And the wife, who never says no to Europe, was quickly on board.

What has two thumbs and loves ancient ruins?  THIS GUY.

Italy has a lot to offer the nearly seven months pregnant woman:  It's 20 hours away by plane, everyone smokes everywhere, they pretty much require you to drink wine at every meal, the cheese is unpasteurized and, because they have only rudimentary public transportation but so many sights to see, you must walk many miles every day.  "It's perfect!", thought I, blowing up my chance at being named the 2009 Husband Laureate.

Honey, look at all this stuff that you love but can't have!

But there was at least one major redeeming quality.   Italy, it turns out, has maybe the best Italian food outside of New York.  And if there's one good thing about being pregnant (I'm told), it's that you're granted like a double-oh license to eat.  It's not just the extra caloric needs of the free-riding baby on board -- they tell you that the variety of flavors the mom eats while pregnant or breast-feeding can shape a child's food preferences for life.  Eating a lot of different foods is something of a duty for a pregnant woman.

Oh, the sacrifice.

And so in late October, we found ourselves on a plane to Italy where we spent 4 days in Rome and 3 in Florence.  V-Train, I must say, handled it like a trooper.  Which kind of sucked for me since if she wasn't complaining about her feet hurting, I certainly couldn't.

If you turned the arch 90 degrees to the left, it would kind of look like a pregnant woman.

My heavy work travel schedule isn't exactly fun for either of us, but one major perk is that we were able to use all of the accumulated points and miles to fly there and stay at some pretty swanky hotels for the very reasonable price of nearly free.  On our last night in Rome, we got stuck in the lobby of our hotel for a while as bagpipes announced the arrival of the motorcade of President Napolitano with King Abdullah of Jordan.  For reals, y'all.

The window of our room in Florence is actually visible in this photo.  Holy crap.

Italy really did have something for each of us.  V-Train got to visit the birthplace of some of her very favorite foodstuffs, while I got to gape in amazement at things --two and three thousand year old things-- that I'd read about in stories.

Gelato technology is more advanced in Italy.  Shown here, a reversible gelato.

I'm always amazed when I visit really old historical sites, and it reminds me that modern American history is, well, modern.  You visit the east coast and they tell you this carefully preserved building is four... hundred... years... old, and it's kind of amazing.  And then you visit Europe... and the detail in your hotel room is four hundred years old.  But over here, well, here is where Julius Caesar got stabbed to death. Why don't you have a seat on this two thousand year old column that somebody 70 generations before you chiseled by hand and take it in?

DJ visits the thousand-year-old Baptistry of St. John.  Good thing we got that checked off... sin away, baby!

Oddly, some of my favorite things were the religious monuments.  Ok, I guess it's not that odd, since we're talking about the capital of Catholicism here.  But with so much to do in so little time, we almost left the Vatican Museum off the list.  Which would have been a shame since it turned out to be one of my favorite sites, second maybe to the Academia and the statue of David.  The Vatican Museum is basically the garage of the Catholic church.  It has so much stuff, ancient stuff, priceless stuff from over the world, that they stick it in the hallways and don't even bother to label a lot of it.  It's surely a monument to the spoils of holy wars past, but holy crap.  Their hegemony is my gain.

For those of you who don't speak Italian, capella sistina means "no pants" or, literally, "pants without."

And so, it turned out that Italy was actually a very nice choice for a last hurrah.  Though exhausting, I think it proved far memorable for us than a beach vacation would have been.  And while I think it would be great to take a 10 year old to ancient monuments, we really did get to keep a pace and do a lot of stuff that probably won't be feasible for the next few years.  Which, after all, was the whole point.

1 comment:

Wendy Mihm said...

You guys are total studs. This looks like a fantastic trip!