I started going to submarine balls with Mike before we were married. The year that we were engaged, we went to sub ball in Hawaii and then the next year, when we were married and in Arlington, we went to the ball in Washington, D.C. While they were very different experiences, both were fun in their own way and we knew that we wanted to make an effort to attend the European one this year in Naples, Italy. Coincidentally, it happened to be while Karen was visiting, which made it even easier to justify! Thanks Kare Bear!
So, after two days in Rome, Karen and I boarded a train from Rome to Naples. It's about an hour ride and it's extremely easy. Mike usually does most of the travel planning, so I was super proud of myself for navigating us around Rome and getting us from Rome to Naples. It wasn't that hard, but definitely required some planning. Anyways, we made it to Naples without a hitch and I was glad to hand off the tour guide reigns to Mike for a few days.
|The train ride through Italy|
|Views like this make the train ride go faster.|
Speaking of Mike, did I mention how happy I was to see him? Because I was. I know it had only been two weeks, but man did I miss him. We spent all of our dating relationship and engagement apart, but spending the past year and half with him by my side every day made those two weeks so much harder. My heart hurt for him and I was so glad to see him walking through the doors at the train station Saturday morning.
|He's my fave|
|Even though he's the worst :)|
After a long-awaited reunion, Karen, Mike, Mike's friend Scott who is stationed at Naples, and I headed out to drop our stuff off at the AirBnB we were staying at and do a little sight seeing before getting all dazzled up for the ball that night. I hadn't heard great things about Naples, so my expectations were pretty low. People had told me that it was a pretty dirty city and nothing that spectacular to see. While it did seem like there was a lot of trash around, we all walked away realizing that there are a few pretty cool things about Naples.
Including the world's best pizza!! Apparently, Naples is the place of origin of pizza! WHAT?!?!?! That's awesome! It only took about 30 minutes from the time we dropped off our bags to the time we had pizza in our mouth. Scott took us to L'Antica Pizzeria Da Michele which is one of the oldest pizzerias in Naples. They only have two kinds of pizza, the Marinara and the Margherita, but the line was out the door when we arrived. Luckily, that was to get a table to sit at. Scott barged in and was able to get carry out pizza for all of us within 15 minutes and we were all thankful that we didn't have to wait long. We found a piazza to eat our pizza (hahahah piazza...pizza...get it?) in and DEVOURED all of the pizza. I wouldn't have been surprised if people had been watching in amazement as the four of us sat on a curb shoveling pizza in our mouths. The fact that we remembered to breathe is actually a miracle. I was starving, so almost anything would have tasted great, but that pizza was delicious. While I did miss having toppings, it was one of the best Margherita pizzas I've ever had.
We needed to walk off our pizza, so we did some sight seeing.
|Inside of the shopping mall...|
|Man, did I miss this guy.|
|Getting to travel with one of your best friends is truly an amazing experience.|
We went inside the local duomo, not to be confused with THE Duomo in Florence.
And then walked through town a little bit more
After we had walked off our pizza and seen the basics of the city, it was time to head to the AirBnB to shower and get ready for the ball. Karen and I quickly showered, did our hair and makeup and got dressed in time to head to Scott's so the boys could get ready. While the boys gave us a hard time about how long it took for us to get ready, I was quite impressed with our speediness. 45 minutes is not a long time!
|Our brave driver navigating the Italian highways!|
|Limoncello before the ball!|
|We clean up nice|
|Sadly, I think I'm standing on my tip toes in this picture.|
Two of Scott's friends have this AMAZING house in Pozzouli, which is outside of the city. The house is huge and overlooks the water. Karen and I were in awe and probably would have spent the night just hanging out on the balcony because the view was THAT good. Give us a glass of Italian wine and we're all set.
|Is this real life? When can I move in? I'm currently homeless...|
After our little photo shoot, it was time to head to the ball. While we didn't know a ton of people, there were plenty of people who had heard about us thanks to the evacuation and were curious to hear about how everything was going. Admiral Foggo, who is the Commander of the 6th Fleet at Naples, is a former Olmsted Scholar. We met him last fall when we went to the reunion in Germany and he helped Mike navigate the Navy aspects of an evacuation, so we were eager to thank him for all of his support. We also were looking forward to dancing and eating good food and celebrating the Submarine Force's birthday.
By the end of the night, we were happy and tired and ready to sleep. Our AirBnB had interesting decorations, but was the perfect set up for Mike, Karen and myself.
We didn't get a picture of Mike and my room, but imagine Minnie and Mickey and possibly Daffy Duck.
Sub Ball is always a good time and being able to enjoy it with friends such as Karen and Scott, as well as some of Mike's fellow officers from the Jacksonville was a ton of fun. Happy birthday Submarine Force! Fair Winds and Following Seas!