DATE: May 16, 2004
SUBJECT: We have an announcement to make...
Six weeks ago, we sat down to start planning our wedding in earnest.
After an hour or two of trying to decide who to invite, where to hold the
ceremony, what food to serve at the reception and which hotels to contact,
we ceased to be excited about “our day” and became wrapped up in the
details. In fact, we almost had an argument over wedding cake! On a
whim, Sarah said, "What if we just eloped and went to Europe for a couple
of weeks?" The more we thought about it, the more we realized it was a
good idea, so we decided to do it.
We have invited our respective parents to brunch today; what they don't
know is that they'll attend our wedding ceremony before we go to the
restaurant. Since we're sending this out pretty much as they're arriving,
we can't tell you how it went, but the plan is to tell them, give them 30
minutes to recover, head out, get married, have lunch and get on the plane
to Europe. No muss, no fuss.
So, as you are reading this message, we are either on the plane or
enjoying the first few days of our honeymoon in France and Italy. We
leave Kingston at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday for an overnight flight from Toronto
to Paris. We'll be flying from Rome to Toronto on May 30th. Ben's sister
Chris and her partner Jamie have helped tremendously; they are holding the
fort and looking after Kali in our absence.
Although it has been suggested many times, we will not be hosting a
reception when we get back. We certainly don't need any gifts and we want
to avoid the headaches associated with co-ordinating such an event.
Instead, we are looking forward to several small visits with friends and
family over the summer. We'd like to see everyone, but would rather have
a few casual social gatherings than a large party.
While we're very sorry that you won't be celebrating a traditional wedding
ceremony with us, we hope that you respect our decision and are happy for
us. We had a guest list drawn up and you were most certainly on it, but
in the end we decided that this is how we wanted to celebrate our love for
We will be hitting some internet cafes while we're overseas, so we'll be
sure to send out emails and we'll be able to receive them as well if you
want to send any. While we're on our trip, we'll be checking
firstname.lastname@example.org as often as we can.
DATE: May 22, 2004
SUBJECT: Our last day in France
Our vacation is half-over and, fittingly enough, this is our last night in
France. We'll be taking an overnight train to Turin tonight where we hope
to meet up with some friends who are also travelling in Italy. It really
is a small world.
Besancon is wonderful; we recommend visiting if you're ever in France.
The town fortress, La Citadelle, was built in the 1680s and is a marvel,
as were the churches. The local comté cheese is also fantastic.
We both really want to see the south of Italy, so our current plan is to
visit Naples and Ishcia before we head for Rome. Internet cafes abound in
France, but may not in Italy, so our next message may take a while. We'll
do our best to keep you posted.
Ben and Sarah
DATE: May 24, 2004
SUBJECT: A message from Italy
We're sending this from an internet cafe in Turin, Italy as we wait for
our laundry to finish. We arrived yesterday morning at 7:00AM after
taking an overnight train from Dijon. The couchette was great. (A
couchette is a set of 4-6 bunk beds in a small room on the train.) We
both slept quite well, but arrived rather exhausted in Turin.
Turin is a rather strange city. They're hosting the Olympics in 2006 and
it seems like the whole city is in a state of upheaval as they make
preparations. There is a lot of construction and a lot of restoration
going on right now. Despite this, the city feels much older than either
Basancon or Paris.
We happened upon a festival of sorts and lucked into some free cheese,
bread and honey treats. We walked around the city until our room was
Our hotel here was absolutely fabulous. We had marble floors, a huge bed
and our own balcony overlooking a small square. Sarah even hung laundry
on a line off of our balcony! (She was quite excited about this...)
We slept for part of the afternoon and then struck out into the city
again. We'd missed the lunch hours, so we wandered around trying to find
something to eat. (We'd only had a couple of pastries and the the food
from the festival.) We spent some time in a park; people seem to let
their pets and children run pretty loose here!
Eventually we found a great restaurant where we had salad, excellent flat
bread pizza and wine. Afterwards, we found some home made gelato. Of
course, it was amazing!
We walked around again and then retired for the evening. Today we plan
more sight seeing; churches, piazzas (squares) and the shroud of Turin.
We're going to try to meet up with Pat and Yandu (Two friends from Ottawa)
at the shroud. We're also planning to consume a huge plate of pasta at
least once today. (Oh, and more gelato, of course.)
We're heading out on an overnight train to Naples this evening. We plan to
spend a few days there visiting islands and seeing some Roman ruins.
We'll then head back to Rome where we'll be flying out on Sunday morning.
Dad Hall has graciously offered to pick us up at the airport, it'll be so
nice to see a familiar face.
As you can surely tell, we're having a fantastic time. Thanks for all of
the messages we've been receiving, it's really been great to hear from you
Ben and Sarah
DATE: May 26, 2004
Hello again everyone,
We're mailing this from our hotel room in Naples. We first arrived on
Tuesday but immediately left for Ishcia, an island in the Bay of Naples.
Ischia was unlike anything we had seen; imagine a small semi-tropical
island an hour and a half away from a huge bustling city. It was amazing,
we took about a roll and a half of film. (We're starting the fifth roll
tomorrow, so don't worry, we have lots of pictures.)
We managed to find Yandu and Pat in Turin on Sunday. We spent a lovely
afternoon and evening with them. We visited the Shroud of Turin, had a
lovely Italian supper with a good bottle of wine, and finished off with
the best gelato of the trip. They left us at the train station and here
We arrived back in Naples this afternoon. We had some trouble finding a
hotel, but lucked into a very nice room that's about five minutes from the
train station. We went out for dinner tonight to a pizzaria that has been
making pizza since 1870!! We had a pizza and a beer each, the bill came
to a whopping $10! We then had gelato (Italian ice cream) and canoli
(tubes of chocolate pastry filled with sweetened ricotta cheese.)
We'll be touring Naples tomorrow and then leaving for Rome at about 12:30
on Friday. Rome is only two hours away, so we'll have part of Friday and
all day Saturday to explore Rome.
Alright, that's enough for now. We'll try to mail once more from Rome,
but if we can't find a place, we'll send a wrap up message from home.
Thanks for all of the lovely messages,
Ben (Hall) and Sarah (Whittaker)
DATE: June 6, 2004
SUBJECT: Message from home
This is our last message, I promise.
Sarah and I got home on Sunday night. Mom and Dad Hall were there
to pick us up at the airport. We talked their ear off for the first
hour and a half, then Sarah fell asleep and the three of us continued
the conversation. We arrived home at midnight and slept in the next
Sarah and I both took Monday off, we took the time to get food in the
house, exchange the last of our euros, eat a big Canadian breakfast
and to prepare to get back to reality.
We've been at work/school since Tuesday. We've been meaning to send
this letter out sooner, but we've both been very busy catching up.
Just to make things interesting, we're both still dealing with lingering
jetlag. (We've been going to bed before 9:00PM most days since we got
Anyway, we had an amazing time. Our eight rolls of film have been
developed now. We had them make us CDs of the pictures as well. I've
almost finished the site for all of this. In the mean time, I've posted
pictures from the trip, the diary we kept, a copy of our ceremony and
pictures from the wedding at:
Enjoy, and thanks once again to everyone who wrote us.
Ben and Sarah