Anniversary Trip: What Really Happened…(Pregnancy Ain’t Pretty)

So I have a confession.  There may have been a bit of “lying by omission” happening in my post last month about our anniversary trip to the Northeast.  Now don’t get me wrong, we had a lovely time and I wanted to, and did, share the highlights of our adventure.  Buttttttt I also may have glossed over some of the less-than-flattering moments for me during that trip…

IMG_3188First off, let me tell you, there’s not much that’s pretty going on for a six(ish) weeks pregnant woman on vacation in August in a world where even the Panera is serving a lobster roll. I was tired, I was nauseous, I could smell EVERYTHING, and I wanted nothing to do with basically everything on their seafood-heavy restaurant menus. Normally, I’m all about enjoying seafood when we are on a coast, but after I ordered a lobster dish on the first night and took that first fateful, and disgusting, bite, I carefully navigated around similar offerings from there on out. Since most options sounded terrible or actually made me throw up (let’s just say it may be a while before I order chicken parm again…) I ordered a double portion of the buttered noodles off the kids’ menu the night we went out for our anniversary. I was even wearing a dress. Dan had the mussels and the Yankee pot roast; my first course was a fruit cup.

Thank God for kind waiters… Continue reading

Anniversary Trip: Beantown!

Always looking for an excuse to travel, Dan and I seized the opportunity to commemorate our first year of marriage with another adventure; albeit stateside this time. In true DeRose fashion, rather than wrapping up surprises for one another, we decided to replace the gift-giving tradition with a pair of plane tickets, and a week-full of memories to go with it. After all, since the first year is supposed to be a gift of paper, plane tickets were totally apropos!

Thankfully, our flexible work schedules allow us to take full advantage of off-peak travel specials so when we found cheap flights to Boston and a couple good deals on Airbnb, we quickly decided a tour of Harvard Square and Fenway Park followed by a quiet (and productive!) week-long retreat on Cape Cod would suit us just fine. After securing subs to take over my CrossFit classes, we packed our suitcases, laptops in tow, and headed out for our 8-night trip to the Northeast. Continue reading

One Last Stop…Istanbul!

IMG_2708An amazing flight deal to O’Hare via Turkish Airlines prompted us to spend our last weekend abroad in Istanbul, Turkey.  In order to go out with a bang, we cashed in the last of our credit card points and stayed at a nice hotel off Taksim Square, a busy and young district in downtown Istanbul on the European side of the Bosphorus Sea. (Istanbul, previously known as Constantinople, literally sits at the crossroads of Asia and Europe and is the only city where you can be in two continents at once; in fact 2.5 million people commute from Asia to Europe every morning for work! Crazy!)
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Mykonos

IMG_2614Let’s just say there is NOTHING to complain about when you’re in the Greek islands!  Even though our luggage appeared to be gone for good, the sunshine, amazing Greek food, and a quick stop by Zara for some island clothing essentials, made me forget that I was missing my favorite creature comforts; even if that meant I wore the same thing to dinner every night!  Thank God for an in-unit washer at our apartment rental!

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DeRoses Do Italy <3

After leaving Milan, we boarded a high-speed train to meet Dan’s parents, Dan Sr. and Suzi, for an 8-night adventure through Tuscany and Rome. Sadly O’Hare, notorious for delayed flights, struck again and they were stuck at the airport for five hours before they had begun their voyage across the Atlantic.  By the time we picked them up at Firenze, they were exhausted, but excited to have finally made it to their vacation.  They managed to stay awake long enough to go out for dinner where we sampled bistecca (the Florentine speciality of steak grilled on a plank of cedar–yum!) and had our first round of pasta and tiramisu; both becoming daily staples for the duration of our trip!

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Milan: Fashion Mecca

What better place to attempt a commentary on European fashion than from the fashion mecca itself: Milan, Italy! Throughout our travels, I have been keeping an eye on the locals to try to catch a preview for what’s sure to cross the pond and land on our dress racks within the next 6-12 months. Maybe it’s because I am starved from weeks of zero optionality within my backpacking wardrobe, or because my favorite shopping season has arrived, but it’s been impossible to ignore the trends surrounding us at each new city. Continue reading

The High Price of Zurich

After several days exploring the progeny of Yugoslavia, we ventured to a place with no hint of any strife whatsoever: Zurich, Switzerland. As we’ve been on this journey, rarely a day (or walking tour) has gone by where we haven’t learned about some battle, city sacking, or other geopolitical tussle in recent history. Switzerland, on the other hand, has been able to stay famously neutral and, seemingly, only grow richer. Continue reading

Three Countries, One Plane Ride

One of our favorite things about traveling has been discovering new parts of the world and the rich history of each new place; routinely starting out our exploration with a guided tour at each destination.  So when we arrived in Dubrovnik and learned that its location was essentially a junction of three nations, we jumped at the chance to book visits to both Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina to broaden our discovery of the region.  While I certainly have not become an expert of the complex past of these countries in just a few short days, I did my best to sort through the flood of information we gathered and have tried to paint a bit of context below.

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Vienna, the Regal City

Our three day weekend in Vienna was simply lovely.  A dear well-travelled Chicago friend gifted us a stay at the Marriott for a night and we relished the chance to enjoy a 5-star accommodation and the unlimited access to their Executive lounge; now that’s the way to travel! We definitely got this said friend’s points’ worth in our enjoyment of the ongoing food buffets during our 24-hour visit!  And lucky us! We found an apartment rental available within the hotel to finish out our weekend stay; a great way to continue the weekend!

View from the top of the hotel

View from the top of the hotel

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The Pearl of the Adriatic

After we said goodbye to Central Europe on Sunday, we boarded another flight and headed east to a country that has only been on our bucket list for a short time: Croatia. We didn’t know much about the coastal country before we left, other than it was once a part of Yugoslavia, but my friend, Amanda, had raved about it so we kept our eyes peeled for a cheap deal to get to Dubrovnik. When I heard Dubrovnik was also the backdrop for the set of one of our guilty pleasures, Game of Thrones, it was easy to pull the trigger when we found a good fare on Austrian air! Continue reading