Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Our Europe Vacation!

We just got back from our two week trip to Rome and Paris. What a great trip. So much to talk about so decided to narrow it down to the highlights and lowlights ...

Top Ten Highlights
  1. Colosseum and Forum
  2. Just soooo much history, hard to believe when this all was built, what it was like to live there, what it actually looked like, how advanced they were, and so on. Got to hear from Anthony and Nick just how much they know about the history. Amazing, way way ahead of Julie and me!

  3. World Cup Football (Soccer)
  4. The team in the country where we were just kept winning! We went to dinner at a restaurant in Rome with a HUGE TV, looked kind of like dorks with matching Italy shirts, and had a great time. Listened to the fans cheer while at dinner with friends and then took the metro back with some really rowdy fans in Paris (a bit scary). And saw the penalty kicks in the final while in the Chicago airport on our way home with HUNDREDS of travelers!

  5. Two weeks with family and off work
  6. Don't have to say much here. Just like to hand out with the family, bond, etc. Great to take a break from work. Very very few interruptions due to the great team that I have.

  7. Vatican City - St Peter's Basilica
  8. You just have to go there to see this. It is the center of the Catholic Church. It is impressive, especially St. Peter's Basilica - just HUGE. By the way, Sun powers the Vatican web site.

  9. Ostia Antica
  10. This is a small city outside of Rome. There are some amazing ruins that you can wonder around and see. Great place to run around, imagine what it was like, etc. We had a great time here!

  11. Dinner w/Friends (Corrado and Martine)

  12. We got a chance to meet up with a couple of friends from Sun while traveling. Corrado runs sales in Italy and Martine is field marketing across Europe. It was fun to talk to them, hear their thoughts on what we should see, etc.

  13. Luxembourg Park and Scott Takahasi
  14. On the last day of our trip, we went to Luxembourg Park to see Scott Takahashi (a neighbor same age as Anthony) play with a band from Santa Clara. The park there is absolutely amazing. It is huge, beautiful and the weather was great. We listened to a concert under a beautiful treed area with lots of Parisians. Scott is very good and did a number of solos. All together a great show.

  15. Cafe's, Beers, Croque sandwiches
  16. It was fun to eat at a bunch of different places, especially cafe's where you are out on the sidewalk having a beer ... The food was good. And in most cases the help was good as well (there were times - especially in France ...).

  17. Apartments (rather than hotels)
  18. It was nice to have an apartment rather than a hotel. It gave us a bit more space. The kids had their own beds. And we could have a few meals at the apartment rather than going out.

  19. Giverny (Julie's Favorite!!)
  20. This was actually pretty cool. We took a train to Vernon and a cab one way, bus the other to Giverny. It is a really quaint town, lots of flowers and nice buildings. And the gardens are really nice. Julie would like to go there and do some painting in the future ...
Bottom Three Lowlights
  • Back / Sciatica
  • A couple of days into the trip I had a sciatica problem. I had (have) muscles weakness in my left leg, numbness down my shin and a pain. With some work, we found a doctor that spoke English and got medication. This allowed me to do most things - other than sleep:)

  • Lack of Air Condition in Rome
  • The apartment in Rome was nice and had a stand alone air conditioning unit, but it was almost useless and the weather was really warm!

  • Pompidou
  • Ok - so I am not much of a modern art fan, but this was really bad. Cool building, so go see it from the outside. Nothing worth seeing on the inside. I think the definition of an artist of modern art at the Pompidou is someone who has no artistic talent!
That's about it.