S: Our Honeymoon to Rome, Paris, and Barcelona
1: Our Honeymoon | Travel Itinerary | Mr. & Mrs. Sporhase 15102 Redman Drive Omaha, NE 68116
4: 5/19/11-5/21/11 Hotel Stendhal Via Del Tritone 113 Rome, 187 Italy | Number of Rooms: 30 Number of Floors: 6 | This hotel opened in 2003 and is well situated for guests to enjoy Rome's historic sights. It offers charming accommodations, along with impeccable service and a superb city-center location, near Piazza Barberini, the Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain. Just a short walk away, guests will find themselves on Via Condotti, Rome's prestigious shopping area.
8: A stroll through the Imperial Forums
9: Arch of Constantine
11: Construction on this amphitheater began in A.D. 72, and it was a marvel of engineering since its enormous weight rested in a swamp (Nero's former lake) on artificial supports. The completed stadium was dedicated by Titus in A.D. 80. Covered with marble, it could hold 80,000 spectators who watched games that nearly rendered extinct many species of animals from the Roman Empire.
14: This is an 18th-century extravaganza of baroque stonework ruled over by a large statue of Neptune. Visitors are suppose to toss a coin into the fountain, which is said to ensure that you will some day return to Rome. But with all the commotion, I think we forgot to toss one in! | Trevi Fountain
16: The Pantheon | This fabulous ancient monument was built and rebuilt several times, first by Agrippa who began it in 27 B.C. The present structure is the result of an early 2nd century A.D. reconstruction by the Emperor Hadrian. The Pantheon stands on Piazza della Rotonda which is complete with obelisk and baroque fountain. It is in an astonishing state of preservation, considering nearly two millennia of vandalism.
17: The building is a circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered, concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height of the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same - 142 ft. It is one of the best preserved of all roman buildings! Because the dome is open to the sky, there are small holes in the floor to allow for draining after the rain!
18: Spanish Steps
19: The Spanish Steps (Scalinata della Trinita dei Monti) are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinita dei Monti, dominated by the Trinita dei Monti church at the top. The Scalinata is the widest staircase in Europe! The monumental stairway of 138 steps was built in 1723-1725. | View from the top of the Spanish Steps...
20: Dinner on our first night in Rome....
22: Walking to the Galleria Borghese
23: The Galleria Borghese is one of Italy's greatest art museums. There are sculptures by Canova and Bernini and paintings by Raphael, Correggio, Titan, and Caravaggio. After we finished at the museum we enjoyed walking through the Villa Borghese gardens, which are said to be one of the most beautiful in all of Italy.
24: A quick snack outside the Vatican
25: The Vatican Museum was one of our favorites tours of the entire honeymoon! Our tour guide, from "Angel Tours", was a very entertaining Scottish who lived in Rome and studied art. He kept us laughing throughout the tour with his sarcasm and "fun facts". It was easy to pick him out in the crowd, as we just had to follow the umbrella with angels. Clint picked a good tour company! | The Vaticuan Museums are among the greatest museums in the world, since they display works from the immense collection built up by the Roman Catholic Church throughout the centuries, including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world.
26: View of St. Peter's Basilica
27: Above: Sfera-con-Sfera (Sphere within a Sphere) is a bronze sculpture by Arnaldo Pomodoro. No one knows for sure what the sculpture is trying to depict. Right: Our tour guide shows us poster to explain the various paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
28: Octagonal Garden Left: Clint poses with a coffin! These huge coffins were built to hold multiple family members. Above: Famous sculpture by Michale Angelo that had the arm broken off. The arm was found more than 450 years later in a Roman antique store!
30: Hall of Maps | The Hall of Maps is 400 feet long and featured dozens of maps of states and cities around the world and throughout history with a focus on ancient and modern Italy. Classical geography already defined Europa as the earth's ruling continent, divinely favored by climate and geographic position.
32: While it looks like this ceiling is textured, the pattern is really painted!
33: While we didn't take any photos while inside the Sistine Chapel, Bekah found some pictures on the internet to include in our scrapbook. | The Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina) is the best-known chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope in Vatican City. It is famous for its architecture and its decoration that was frescoed throughout by Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Under the patronage of Pope Julius II, Michaelangelo painted 12,000 sq ft of the chapel ceiling between 1508 and 1512. The ceiling, and especially The Last Judgment (1535-1541), is widely believed to be Michelangelo's crowning achievement in painting. | Today, the chapel is the site of the Papel conclave, the process by which a new Pope is selected.
34: St. Peter's Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. St. Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world. While it is neither the official mother church of the Roman Catholic Church, nor the cathedral of the Pope as Bishop of Rome, St. Peter's is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic sites. It has been described as "holding a unique position in the Christian world" and as"the greatest of all churches of Christendom".
35: In Roman Catholic tradition, the basilica is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to tradition, the first Bishop of Rome and therefore first in line of the papal succession. Tradition and some historical evidence hold that Saint Peter's tomb is directly below the alter of the basilica. For this reason, many popes have been interred at St. Peter's since the Early Christian period. There has been a church on this site since the 4th century. Construction of the present basilica, over the old Constantinian basilica, began on April 18, 1506 and was completed on November 18, 1626. | Michelangelo's Pieta | The Peita (1498-1499) is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo, housed in St. Peter's Basilica. It is the first of a number of works of the same theme by the artist. This famous work of art depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion. The statue is one of the most highly finished works by Michelangelo.
36: The Swiss Guards
37: St. Peter's Square
38: Above: Smiling for the camera as we mail our postcards from Vatican City! Right: Clint mocks Bekah and does the "hand on hip" pose for the camera. Vatican City is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of just over 800. This makes Vatican City the smallest independent state in the world by both area and population.
39: After touring Vatican City, we ate lunch at a nearby restaurant that was recommended by our tour guide. We enjoyed a delicious caprese salad with delicious ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Then we devoured our "pizze salame" which was simple and rustic. | Not only was the food great, but the atmosphere was a sight to take in as well! The walls were covered in family photos and memorabilia and there was even a large glass tank of turtles! The owner was a large Italian woman who spoke/yelled at everyone in a loud voice. And at one point began to bicker with what appeared to be her husband. | Turtles! | Restaurant Owner
40: Bus Tour
42: The hotel helped us celebrate our honeymoon with a complimentary bottle of champagne and potato chips! We enjoyed a little bubbly before heading out for an evening bus tour of the city and our last dinner in Rome. Since our bus tour pass was good for one day, we figured we would take advantage of the "free ride" and "hop off" at a recommended restaurant. We didn't realize the tour would take such a long time and when we finally arrived at the restaurant we were starving! But, it was a beautiful evening and the buildings looked really neat at night. Top right: Clint holding our room key Right: Clint and Bekah take a self-portrait in the mirror of the tiny elevator.
43: Dinner number two in Rome! We went to a small local restaurant that was somewhat "off the beaten tourist path". We enjoyed two great pasta dishes and some traditional bruschetta! Right: Clint posing outside the restaurant: "La Trattoria" | Clint's Pasta Carbonara | Bekah's Pasta Pepe-e-cacio (pasta with cheese and pepper)
44: 5/21/11-5/24/11 Hotel Baltimore 88 Bis Avenue Kleber Paris, France 16th District | Number of Rooms: 103 Number of Floors: 6 | Located in a select and most beautiful part of Paris, The Hotel Baltimore is close to Champs-Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. Transformed into a luxury hotel in the 1920s, this building has a particularly Parisian charm, and is named for its first guest, the famous Lord Baltimore. An attentive and dedicated staff creates a personalized and superb experience, which combines a high level of respect, discretion, and a constant desire to meet guest's expectations
45: Of all the hotels we stayed in on our honeymoon, the Hotel Baltimore had the best location. It was close to subways, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triumphe, and the Champs de Elysee. We had a small balcony that opened up to the street below and again, the hotel provided a celebratory bottle of wine!
46: Arc de Triomphe | The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle, at the western end of Champs-Elysees (and right down the street from our hotel). | To get to the center, you must use an underground tunnel to take you under the roadway.
47: The monument honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. | The monument stands 164 ft in height, 148 ft wide and 72 ft deep. The Arc de Triomphe is so colossal that three weeks after the Paris victory parade in 1919, (marking the hostilities in World War I), Charles Godefroy flew his Nieuport biplane through it, with the event captured on newsreel.
48: The best BLT ever! | The most expensive | coke ever! | Afternoon lunch in Paris: | Good eats and great location! | This was one of our favorite lunches of the trip! We sat at a corner café and shared an excellent BLT! Even though the cokes cost the equivalent of $8.00, as Clint says, "You're paying for the real estate." So we enjoyed the views and people watching!
49: Clint with the rental bikes | 1.70 Euro for a day ticket | 8 Euro for a 7 day ticket | thousands of bikes | hundreds of stations | Although we never rode the bikes, we were fascinated with them! We were a little scared to try them out, but that's ok because we mastered the subway!
50: Walking to the Eiffel Tower... We were so excited to see the Eiffel Tower up close and personal! We stopped several times on the walk there to take pictures with the famous monument in the distance. We have plenty of proof that we were there! | We saw a building that had a wall completely covered in plant foliage - very cool!
51: When we finally arrived at the base of the tower, we were in awe of its size! The tower stands 1,063 ft tall, about the same height as an 81-story building. During its construction (in 1889), the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title held for 41 years, until the Chrysler building in New York City was built in 1930.
52: Above: Clint outside the Hotel Baltimore at sunset before we headed to dinner. | Walking through Paris at sunset
53: Dinner at Le Corner Café... This restaurant was just a few blocks away from our hotel and had excellent food! In fact, we ended up eating there twice during our stay in Paris. It was a relaxing atmosphere and the staff was very hospitable. Clint ordered a Mushroom Omelet and Bekah ordered Steak Frites. Then, for dessert we decided on a chocolate molten cake, served with ice cream! (Always a good choice!)
54: We quickly learned to embrace public transportation while in Paris. Clint had downloaded an app for his iPod touch that guided us through the massive subway system in Paris. It was quite handy and the cheapest and quickest way to get around!
55: First Stop: Musee d'Orsay Our first subway ride was to the Mussee d'Orsay (definitely not within walking distance from our hotel). | You are HERE! | When we got off the subway, we quickly got turned around. Unfortunately, this resulted in Bekah's first "meltdown" of the trip as she was not excited with Clint's plan of walking until we figured it out. Luckily, being the great husband that he is, he pulled out his map and figured out the way! Crisis averted!
56: While crossing the bridge to get to the Musee d"Orssay, we saw the firefighters and had to stop to take a few pictures for Bekah's Dad. | Firefighters practicing by the Seine River
57: Its a shame Clint and I hadn't heard of this phenomenon before our honeymoon to Paris! But, I guess this is an activity we can look forward to doing when we return someday! As the tradition goes, a couple writes their names on a padlock and locks it to the bridge. Then they throw the key into the Seine River as a symbol of their undying love. | Pont des Arts bridge | "Love Locks" in Paris
58: The Musee d'Orsay is housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, an impressive Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1915, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. It is probably best known for its extensive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces (larges in the world) by such painters as Monet and Van Gogh. Below: Thanks to our Paris Museum Passes, we were able to skip the massive lines and get right in to the museum! Whoohoo! | d'Orssay | Musee
59: Another subway trip... Destination: Versailles | Welcome to Versailles! A quick pit-stop for lunch before heading to the Palace! Another great sandwich on a French Baguette!
60: The Palace of Versailles is a royal châateau in the Ile-de-France region of France. When the chateau was built, Versailles was a country village; today, however it is a suburb of Paris. The court of Versailles was the center of political power in France from 1682, w hen Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Regime. Left: Another mime poses for tips. | Palace of Versailles
62: The Royal Chapel Following the tradition of the Palatine chapels, the Royal chapel has two storeys. THe galleries were reserved for the King, the royal family and important members of the Court, while the rest of the congregation occupied the ground floor. Consecrated in 1710, and dedicated to Saint Louis, ancestor and patron saint of the royal family, the chapel was the last building to be constructed at Versailles under the reign of Louis XIV.
63: The Diana Drawing-Room The whole of the decoration of this room refers to the legend of the goddess Diana. Above the fireplace is Charles de Lafosse's Sacrifice of Iphigenia, and opposite is Diana watching over the SLeeping Endymion (1672) by Gabriel Blanchard. | The King's Bedchamber
64: The Hall of Mirrors
65: The Hall of Mirrors decor is devoted to the military victories and political successes of Louis XIV. The Hall functioned as a passageway giving access to the King's Apartment. Grand celebrations were also held here, such as full-dress balls, or the masked balls given on the occasion of princely marriages.
66: A Walk in the Gardens of Versailles
72: Fountains in the Gardens
75: THe Hall of Battles
78: Musee du Louvre The Louvre is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world, and a historic monument. You could literally spend days walking around the museum, but we picked some of the highlights and got through it in just one morning. (We were on a tight schedule.)
82: Paying a Euro to use a clean restroom in Europe... Yes! We did it! And it was well worth it! We had just left the Louvre and figured we should take advantage of the facilities before heading to our next stop. If you think we crazy, we weren't the only ones in line! And, as you can see, from the vast array of products for sale, the business does pretty well! Each restroom was cleaned after every customer visit to ensure customer satisfaction!
83: Flowers for sale on the way to Notre Dome
84: Notre Dome
85: Lunch in Montmartre
86: View from the top of Sacre Couer | The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, with its many cupolas, is a brilliant white and as much a part of the Paris skyline as the Eiffel Tower. At the top, we were able to take in one of the greatest panoramic views in all of Europe - on a clear afternoon they say you can see for 40 miles! Right: there was a couple taking wedding pictures, and Bekah just had to snap a picture of them!
87: Bekah was fascinated with the yarn balls that were sold in this store. She almost convinced Clint to buy a set of them to take home for future Baby S. nursery, but luckily he convinced her that it wasn't a good idea to try and manage on the multiple plane rides left on the honeymoon!
91: View from the top of the Eiffel Tower
93: We had to make one final trip back to check out the Eiffel tower at night! And the sight was spectacular! Every hour, on the hour, there was a special lighting of the tower. With thousands of light bulbs flashing, it lit up the night sky with its glittery glow!
94: 5/24/11-5/27/11 W Barcelona Placa de la Rosa dels Vents 1 Barcelona, 08039 Spain Area: Barceloneta | This stunning icon offers 26 floors of pampering. The hotel is a modernist masterpiece of avant-garde architecture, where historic Barcelona meets the timeless Mediterranean Sea. Make yourself at home in the Living Room, or be a part of the scene at the poolside WET bar after making a splash in the infinity-edge splash pool. And with direct access via a dedicated entrance, the beach is easily within reach. | Number of Rooms: 473 Number of Floors: 26
95: View from our room!
96: Happy Hour
98: European Breakfast
100: Cook and Taste | Bekah wanted to "surprise" Clint with something special on the honeymoon, so she decided to book a cooking class in Barcelona. The surprise didn't last long though, within days of booking she had to tell Clint! She knew he would be excited, and it ended up being a highlight of the trip. We spent a whole morning learning how to cook traditional Spanish cuisine! But the best part was getting to sample our own creations!
102: Catalan Cream | CREMA CATALANA Ingredients: (Serves 8) 6 egg yolks 200 gr of sugar (0.5 pound / 7 oz) 1 l of milk (4 cups) 40 gr of starch (1.75 oz / 0.11 pounds) peel of one lemon 1 stick of cinnamon vanilla (optional) Blend the egg yolks and the sugar until it becomes a fine cream. Add 750 ml of milk and stir to get a good mixture. Add the lemon peel and the cinnamon. Heat it over medium-high heat in a saucepan. Meanwhile, dissolve the starch in the remaining milk and stir the mixture into the saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time and set aside at first bubble. Let it cool for a while, still stirring, and distribute it in little earthenware dishes before it cools down completely.
103: There were about 12 people in the cooking class, and everyone got the chance to help cook a portion of the meal. Bekah helped prep the tomatoes that would be used in the tomato soup! This was a good job for her, as she is used to "prepping the vegetables" as Clint's sous chef!
104: PAN CON TOMATE Ingredients: (Serves 4) 4 slices of farmhouse bread 2 red tomatoes 1 garlic clove (optional) olive oil salt Peel a clove of garlic and cut it in halves. Cut the tomatoes also in halves cross wide. First rub the bread with the garlic with the cut side, and then with the tomato, squeezing gently. Sprinkle it with salt and drizzle it with olive oil. | Left: The chef opens the olives and wine purchased at the local market that morning. Then he shows the difference between olive oil and extra virgin olive oil; followed by the difference between vine tomatoes and roma tomatoes
105: tomato bread
106: Clint's job was to help make the Spanish Omelet! He peeled and sliced the potatoes like a pro! But, the really impressive part of the lesson was when he was entrusted with the "flipping" of the omelet! The instructor must have decided he was competent enough to handle this "advanced" task. (After all, if he dropped it, he wold have a lot of hungry and angry people to answer to! Thankfully, it was a success!
107: Spanish Omelet | TORTILLA DE PATATAS Ingredients: (Serves 4) 300 gr of potatoes, peeled, chopped (10 oz) 1 onion, peeled, in half rings 3 eggs olive oil salt Peel and rinse the potatoes; dice them thinly. Peel the onion and cut it in half rings. Fry the potatoes in plenty of hot olive oil. Add the onion into the frying pan when the potatoes are half done. Leave over medium heat until both the potatoes and the onion are well done. Set aside over absorbent paper. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and season with salt. Pour the drained potatoes and onion in the bowl and mix. Remove excess oil from the pan. Pour the mixture over the heated pan and cook until the bottom starts to brown. Flip it over, and gently slide the tortilla into the pan again so the uncooked part is face down and finish cooking.
108: CHUPITO DE SOPA DE TOMATE AL AROMA DE IDIAZÁBAL de Peio García Amiano (Shot of tomato soup flavoured with idiazábal smoked cheese) Ingredients: (Serves 4) 4 tomatoes, peeled and seeded 20 gr idiazábal cheese, grated 20 gr of allioli sauce 2 spoons of balsamic vinegar 1 clove of garlic, peeled 25 gr of walnuts 25 gr of hazelnuts parsley olive oil salt Peel the tomatoes, seed and blend them together with the vinegar and a pinch of salt. In a mortar, pound the garlic cloves, the parsley and all the nuts. Emulsify with a little of olive oil. Serve in a cup and decorate with a teaspoon of what you’ve got from the mortar, a teaspoon of allioli and some grated cheese. | tomato Soup
110: PAELLA DE MARISCO (Seafood paella) Ingredients: (Serves 4) 4 shrimps or prawns 1/2 cuttlefish or squid 300 gr of clams and / or mussels (1.1 pound / 17.5 oz) 2 cloves of garlic 1 or 2 tomatoes 1 green pepper 1 small sweet onion 6 tablespoons of olive oil 320 gr of rice (1 pound / 14 oz) 1 l of fish stock (4.4 cups) 8-10 saffron threats | Heat the oil in the pan and fry the cuttlefish and the prawns until slightly browned. Set aside the prawns and continue the cooking with the cuttlefish. Chop the onion and the green pepper and add them in the same hot oil and fry slightly. After a few minutes, add the chopped garlic and fry over medium heat. Stir in the grated tomato and caramelize. Add the rice and fry it for some short minutes. Then stir in the stock (it should be already boiling). Rice can’t be touched beyond this point! Increase the heat to medium-high and cook for (+/-) 8 minutes. Reduce heat to minimum and cook (+/-) 10 more minutes. Stir in the clams and mussels. At the last moment add the prawns in a decorative pattern just to heat them up. Let it stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
112: Bus Tour of Barcelona
113: La Sagrada Familia
114: Abandonded for decades, this still-unfinished cathedral finally saw restoration and expansion work carried out when its hermit-like architect Antoni Gaudi came back into fashion in the 1990s. The four original spires -- by the master himself-- are generally acknowledged to be far superior to the additional designed by modern architects. You can now take a ride up to the top of one of the towers and enjoy the fine view. Current construction progress is slow, however and even the most optimistic forecaster doesn't see the whole thing reaching completion for at least another decade!
118: Cerveceria Catalana | Cervecería Catalana is a beer bar and a tapas restaurant in Barcelona. It is considered one of the best places in the city to try the more tasty tapas. We heard about the place from an American couple in our cooking class, and decided to give it a try! When we arrived, there was a long wait, but we got lucky and were able to slide into a couple seats at the bar (which was really the best place to be!) We were able to check out the all the various tapas in the glass cases and order more as we pleased! Everything we had was great! Clint especially liked the "patatas bravas" and Bekah was in love with the sangria! | Tapas | at
119: Helado... What's a honeymoon without a little indulgence? It seems like every night of of our honeymoon we stopped for a little ice cream on our way back to the hotel for the evening. In Rome, it was gelatto and in Barcelona we stopped for "Helado" (a.k.a. ice cream).
120: A Walk Through Barcelona
121: Quick stop for a morning pastry....
122: Visiting the Market was one of our favorite activities in Barcelona. There were so many sights, smells, and tastes to take in! Clint enjoyed seeing all of the various hanging meats! Bekah enjoyed checking out the unique candies and immaculately organized fruit. Clint noticed a man polishing each cherry before placing it out for sale. Before leaving we purchased a smoothie made from fresh fruit, a loaf of pan tradicional, and several scarfs for Bekah to give as gifts!
126: On the streets of Barcelona
127: We had to make a second trip back to la cerveceria catalana! The tapas were just as good a second time around! And the Sangria was still fabulous!
128: Poolside at the W Barcelona
129: Dinner in Barcelona We had dinner at a restaurant close to the beach that offered all the seafood creations you could imagine. We both ordered paella, but it just wasn't quite as good as the paella we cooked ourselves!