WE'VE BEEN SITTING ON A SECRET. When we were in Mykonos, our dear friend Ash wondered aloud how he and his husband Paul (known here for his beautiful maps) could meet us on the road, how we could orchestrate a vacation for them and a chance to see each other. Then, in a flash of brilliance, he decided he'd secretly plan it behind Paul's back, as an anniversary surprise. Leaving him blissfully out of the loop for six (torturous) weeks while we schemed and planned and texted back and forth across timezones, we mapped an epic road trip from Nice, France to Venice, Italy.
But I didn't want this part of the trip (maybe especially this part) to go without one of Paul's beautiful maps. We decided it'd be super-fun if he actually knew every detail, except the part about going. So several weeks before Ash told him, Paul sat in his studio creating yet another illustration, probably stewing that such a trip was even happening. He's been a real sport to draw all these locations for me, but little did he know, he was plotting his own two week adventure.
And so when the day came to tell him, Ash printed the map and tucked it into a card. Paul, his smile bigger than his guffaws of laughter, stared, cocked his head, as it sank it. This was his trip, too. (Video proof here.)
And so the boys will join us in the South of France where we'll meander through Cannes and Nice and Monaco before crossing into Italy where we've rented a series of incredible AirBnB's in La Spezia (Cinque Terre), Siena (just south of Florence), Milan and a canal house in Venice. We've hired a boat to sail the Mediterranean while in Cinque Terre and will have lunch in Bologna and dinner in Parma. We'll eat and gay and love like crazy. We miss these guys bigtimes and cannot wait for this to start.
MAP BY PAUL DOTEY, PART OF AN ONGOING SERIES.
You can see in the map that Jeff and I will continue to Rome, taking in the southern bits for a couple of weeks before we start our final leg; we'll fly from Italy's capital to Copenhagen to board a two-week cruise back to Florida. We have the time, and because it's a repositioning cruise (getting the boats back to the Caribbean for winter) it's cheaper than flying. The only horror: Wifi is prohibitively expensive, so we'll be disconnected for almost the entire trans-Atlantic voyage. This is a scarier proposition than ordering chicken in Thailand.
LOCATION: Edinburgh, Scotland
DATE AND TIME: Thursday, August 15, 2013 12:15PM British Summer Time/Thursday, August 15, 2013 7:15AM EST