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By Ben |

This is the story of our honeymoon.  As I write this, it's not all written down yet... we have notes in a notebook, photos, and videos, along with our memories, to consolidate.  But here's the backstory:

We went to Italy because both of us had it on our short lists of places to visit before we die.  Jessie's interest was mainly because of the art -- she took a whole class just on the Rennaissance and is a particular fan of Michelangelo, plus as we learned Italy has a whopping 60% of all the world's archeological treasures, according to the UN.

I was interested mainly because of its environmental situation, which may require some explanation...  When I worked at World Population Balance a few years back and was studying population-related statistics, Italy kept showing up as an outlier: it's one of the few countries whose population is shrinking (due to the low birth rate and unusually low immigration rate); it has one of the oldest median ages and is getting older (due again to the low birth rate and also a low death rate), yet its GDP is strong, quality of life and other happiness indeces are high, and agriculture is still as productive as ever even though Italy has been farmed consistently for longer than any other country on earth.  So they must be doing something right, and I wanted to see what that was... considering that worldwide population is predicted to decline (at last) during our lifetimes, I figured a look at Italy might be a look at a sustainable future.  Plus, Venice is underwater in the way that many coastal cities may soon be -- how are they handling it?

Our itinerary was pretty straightforward: 3 days in Rome, 3 days in Florence, 3 days in Venice, traveling by train, and 3 days to drive back to Rome in a rental car.  For the most part we stayed on track.  There were some misadventures along the way, but they only helped us to appreciate more the parts that did happen according to plan, and to appreciate that we got through them smoothly as a couple.  So all in all it was a perfect honeymoon!

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