Friday, February 27, 2015

Where In the World Are #stephandgio? - NYC, Miami, Las Vegas, and Aspen

Yes, we know it’s been a week (or two or three) since we’ve updated our blog.  Since returning to the US from Thailand, we’ve been crisscrossing the country – catching up with friends and enjoying the winter weather before we fly to Lima next week.

After landing in NYC, we headed south to Miami, excited to attend the nuptials of #fioreandniall.  Not only was the wedding picture perfect and the bride stunning, but Giorgio gave a pretty amazing speech. 

From Miami, we flew back west to Las Vegas.  Giorgio will tell you that the highlight of our short stay was fulfilling his lifelong dream of seeing Britney in concert.    

Of course, we also thoroughly enjoyed plotting evil with Alden, stuffing ourselves with several very fancy dinners, and fulfilling Steph’s lifelong dream of seeing the professional synchronized swimmers at a Vegas show. 

Furthermore, Steph, who typically avoids gambling, won $16 playing the slots and Gio won an undisclosed amount playing craps and blackjack.

From Vegas, we sped east in our rental car to Utah, where we visited Zion, the first of several national parks on our US itinerary.  But more on all the national parks we’ve visited in our next post.

From Utah, we continued to speed east in our rental car, at least until Giorgio got a ticket from a very friendly Utah policeman.  From that point on, we opted for a more leisurely pace for the rest of our drive to Snowmass, where we spent over a week with the assortment of visitors streaming through the condo. 

Giorgio boarded for eight days straight and has the bruises to prove it.  Even better, he conquered his first black diamond, tackled several moguls, and survived various run-ins with trees boarding through the glades.  Good thing Owen was there for most of the time to guide Giorgio through the trees and protect him from the precipitous drops on the chairlifts.

Steph didn’t ski for the full eight days, but is still plenty sore from the combination of being in charge of the boys and hiking through the snow-filled woods with Sara.  At night we enjoyed plenty of apr├Ęs ski activities, treating ourselves to home cooked meals in the condo as well as a fancy dinner in Aspen.

Together - Cassie, Giorgio, Owen, Sara, and Steph attempted to change the Crestwood’s hot tub into a hot tub time machine, but we won’t divulge any further details on the failure or success of that endeavor.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Phuket and Ko Yao Noi: Beachside Honeymoon(s)

For a change of pace from crowded buses, motorscooter adventures, and bustling metropolises, we decided to spend our final week in southeast Asia at the beach.  Furthermore, for a change of pace from rustic cottages, hostels, and eco-resorts, we opted for a taste of real honeymoon luxury.  

Beachside Honeymoon Part 1: Modern Luxury

Our flight touched down in Phuket late last Sunday night and we straggled into our modern all-villa hotel a few hours later.  Our large backpacks and borderline scruffy attire proved to be a bit incongruous in our spacious glass-walled villa boasting unbeatable views of the Andaman Sea.

We spent much of our time in Phuket trying to decide which infinity pool was the best: the private one adjacent to our villa or the almost-always empty giant one on the beach.

We also continued Giorgio’s birthday celebrations with a New York-style steak dinner (thanks #donandsusan!) and continued the honeymoon celebrations with a romantic barbecue at the villa.

Beachside Honeymoon Part 2: Island Luxury

On Thursday, we reluctantly left our super-modern new home (which included far more space than most NYC apartments) and took a taxi to Phuket’s marina.  Hopping onto our resort’s ferryboat, we quickly motored out into the bay.  Next stop: The Six Senses Ko Yao Noi! 

We spent the second half of the week on the small island of Ko Yao Noi, reveling in the luxury of our own villa overlooking the crystal clear waters and picture-perfect islands to the east.  The Six Senses was also well aware that it was our honeymoon, resulting in yet more classy bed decorations and a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine.  (That complimentary bottle of wine was appreciated even more than usual after we discovered that Thailand imposes so many taxes on wine that they accumulate to over 400%!)

At the Six Senses, we discovered the best infinity pool yet (in Asia at least) – boasting incredible views of the islands in Phang Na Bay and equally incredible fruity cocktails.  (We still think, however, that the pool at Namibia's Grootberg Lodge cannot be beat.)

We explored our surroundings via kayak.  Despite Stephanie's super strong paddling skills, it turned out to be much more fun to jump out for swim in the bay and an impromptu synchro routine.

Via long-tail boat, we sped through the neighboring islands and found our own private beach for the day.

We spent plenty of time exploring our resort...

...enjoying the unlimited supply of free ice cream...

...and trying a few too many fruity cocktails.

When we could tear ourselves away from the vistas, we spent as much time as possible out on the beautiful blue waters of the bay.

Since this was our honeymoon after all, there was a romantic dinner for two on the beach... a beautiful sunset viewed (along with champagne) from our own desert island.

We are now en route back to the US, eager to catch up (briefly) with friends in NYC and attend what is sure to be a beautiful wedding to celebrate #fioreandniall!