Archive for September 2012

Later that Night and Into Tomorrow…

Wednesday August 15, 2012

Our plane was scheduled to leave at 9:40pm, lucky for us, we managed to board the plane going unnoticed with our oversized carry-on luggage. On the plane we were informed that there was a fog over Venice, too dense to take off in – so we sat waiting for it to clear. While waiting, the cheery captain with a British accent came over the loudspeaker and informed passengers because of our delay he was allowing any curious passengers to come on down to the cockpit for a tour! His ability to keep a light mood, the friendly stewardesses, and cheap fares has made EasyJet our favorite European airline. The flight to London was short, we arrived at Gatwick around 10:45 (gained an hour with the time change) overwhelmed, exhausted, and unfortunately we still had to find a bus to our hotel.

We didn’t appreciate how glad we were to be back in an English speaking country until we got off the plane, easily found a bus, and were able to ask for clear directions to our hotel! Strolling through the streets of Crawley with luggage was all too familiar – it seems like we’re constantly hauling luggage around the UK. The hotel was easy to find, located in the middle of downtown on a pedestrian only street. Walking up we were tempted to stop in next door at “OCOTPVS” for a pint, but after a 12-day cruise we agreed liquid calories were the last thing we needed. Megan had booked our room at the Ramada Crawley Gatwick hotel simply because it was the cheapest hotel close to the airport – but when we arrived we were in for a big surprise.

This particular hotel was part of the Ramada chain, but it was originally “The George Inn”, a historic inn, thought to be built around 1579! The best part – it’s a haunted hotel! Although we didn’t see any ghosts, we did get a good 4-hour night sleep, hot showers and free Internet. We woke early the next morning for our trek back to the airport to catch our flights home to the US. Of course as soon as we walked outside it started raining, but we were glad to have it, the Med was dry, and the temperature back home was projected to be around 110ºF. The journey home was relaxing, and the ten hours seemed to pass quickly. We had a layover in Las Vegas before finally touching down in Phoenix, ironically we are probably the only people we know NOT happy to fly into Vegas.

There's no place like home.
Nothing beats the blazing heat and really good Mexican food with family and friends on your first night back in town! …Although our 80-day adventure was an unforgettable one we don’t recommend doing everything we did in one shot, unless you’ve obtained the proper gear. Because we had originally planned on spending all our time abroad in London we loaded our luggage with jackets, boots and raincoats. Kyle had to pack “fashionable” for castings, go-sees and auditions. In the end we found we had hauled around way more junk than necessary, and found ourselves without essential items – like swimsuits for our month on Tenerife! Go light, nothing was worse then attempting to get around Europe lugging a hundred pounds of luggage. Of course we wouldn’t trade-in any of it; our new friends and experiences made the trip well worth the effort – but man was it was good to be home!


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Icing on The Cake

Monday August 13 - Wednesday August 15, 2012

The last stop on our Grand Mediterranean adventure was Venice! It was a different experience arriving at this particular port because we would be disembarking the ship following the day our arrival. We thought saying goodbye to the beautiful blue waters of the Med and pulling into the port for the last time was going to be difficult – but our “sail in” to this majestic city was left us speechless. As the hour approached two in the afternoon the decks were crowded as every passenger emerged to watch the gigantic cruise ship gracefully navigate her way down the narrow canal to the port. It was stunning to see the city from the sea, and its many canals, churches and gondolas!

We didn’t have to leave the ship until official disembarkation at 9 the next morning, but we couldn’t resist an evening adventure. From the port we took a short tram commute to Piazzale Roma and off to explore Venice! We had booked a room in Venice for the following night at a hotel just off the famous Piazza San Marco – and we were hoping to find an easy path along the narrow walkways and bridges, as we would each be hauling 80lbs of luggage each the next day. Wandering through the maze of carless streets and endless canals we met numerous dead ends on our search for San Marco. Of course we had no map so we backtracked to the area near the port and instead shared a real Italian pizza at a small café on the water.

Returning to the ship at dark was eerie as we walked alone through the empty harbor. When we finally made the mile trek back we rewarded ourselves with soft serve ice cream (sadly for the last time). Three bowls each later we went back to our cabin, did a final inspection of the room and went to sleep in our comfy beds for the last time. The next morning we had to wakeup at six, rush to grab breakfast, and pack our remaining toiletries so that we could disembark by 9. Unfortunately in the hustle and bustle Megan forgot to grab her “confiscated item” from the gangway – a hand carved camel bone knife from Istanbul (we’re still working on getting this back from Norweigian if anyone has tips on how to go about doing so – we would really appreciate it)!

After collecting our luggage from the dock we headed out of the port, onto the tram and once again into Piazza Roma. The previous days adventure made us aware of the fact that San Marco by foot was out of the question and we would need to take a taxi to get to the hotel. The coolest part about Venice is there are NO roads at all; boats on the canals do everything from food delivery for restaurants to taxi service. Kyle managed to flag a boat down and Megan asked the rate the guy responded with a huge grin €60! Nearly choking as she repeated the rate – which was more than the hotel for the night – we graciously declined. The man laughed and told us that there was a public “water bus” just around the corner and rates were about €6 a person. Thanking the man as he floated away we hauled our luggage to the waterbus station and got on the first bus to San Marco.

An hour later, and slightly nauseous from zipping around on the choppy canals, we made it to the bustling heart of the city. Kyle insisted we find our hotel, but Megan once again got caught up in the many souvenir stands selling beautiful porcelain masks with intricate decorations. When we finally made it to the hotel it was still too early to check-in, so we dropped off our bags and proceeded to get lost in the magic of Venice. Wandering the streets near the heart of the city is amazing; there are so many vendors, huge outdoor cafes, souvenir shops, beautiful buildings, expensive Italian designer stores and gondolas all over the canals! Following Mykonos as being the coolest place we saw as far as landscape goes – we agree that Venice is the most marvelous European city we have ever been.

Exhausted from hauling luggage all day we went back to the hotel, finally checked into our room, put on a movie and passed out. When we woke up it was dusk and we were starving – for some good sunset pictures! Camera in hand we made our way to the Rialto Bridge, stretching the length of the Grand Canal it is arguably the most well known bridge in Venice. We were approached by a gondolier who offered us a discounted romantic sunset ride for two at the small price of only €150! astonished at the “discounted” price we graciously refused. After a few hours of walking the canals we stopped for dinner and drinks – travelers be warned it is difficult to find fairly priced food in Venice, luckily all of the food is made from scratch and delicious.

Making our way back to the hotel we passed through Piazza San Marco, which is possibly even more beautiful at night. The plaza was still as busy as midday, people danced in the streets as live music was being played at many of the cafés. All around us bright blue lights were being shot up into the night sky and slowly fluttering back down to earth (street vendors sell toys with blue LED lights that kids launch into the air). The incandescent glow of the streetlights illuminated the different types of marble on the Basilica di San Marco, Megan decided this is her favorite church in all Italy. We spent most of the night walking around, enjoying our last night in Italy and on the Mediterranean, we were flying out to London the next day before finally returning home.

The next day was exciting because we had planned on meeting up with our good friends Yara and Eros who would be driving an hour and a half down from their home town of Udine to spend the day with us! We finally met up with them around two in the afternoon, they had to park at Tronchetto (the only car park island) and walk all the way into the main part of town. Poor Eros even had a broken knee and still managed to make it over the many bridges and stairs to the city center. As we normally do with Yara and Eros we found a quiet bar off the town square and indulged in some traditional Italian Aperol spritzer cocktails – something that was new to both of us.

As time slipped away the wonderful couple offered to take us to the airport in their car, by far the sweetest gesture ever. When we got to the airport they did not drop us off but instead parked the car and came in with us. We dropped off our luggage at the EasyJet kiosk, noticing our “carry-on” bags Yara panicked at their size (clearly too big for EasyJet’s standards) as she snatched one from Megan’s hand and hauled it over to the bin used to measure width and length. It BARELY fit, so she warned us that at the gate they might charge a $75 fee to check them – we are so lucky to have met such amazing friends on our trip abroad. Having a little time left before our flight, the four of us had dinner at the airport café, strangely enough the Marco Polo airport had the best food in all of Venice, fresh pasta with a homemade alfredo cream sauce. After dinner they walked us to security, as we passed through they continued to stand and wave until we were completely out of sight. Megan couldn’t help but tear up as we walked to the gate sad to leave Italy and our wonderful friends!


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Athens Almost Didn't Happen

Saturday August 11, 2012

Athens seemed like an easy port to conquer. Kyle had lived there for three months when he was modeling back in the summer of 2009, and had become fairly familiar with finding his way around. Of course, Athens isn't a port city - we docked in Piraeus, a short 20-minute train ride from the city center. Upon exiting the ship in Piraeus we searched for a bank, we only had Lyra left and had spent our remaining Euros on the Ho-Ho bus in Istanbul. Unfortunately being familiar with Athens meant Kyle was unfamiliar with Piraeus, and we walked around for nearly two hours trying to find a BNL (global network alliance with Bank of America) ATM before giving up and paying the transaction fee and exchange fees at a random Greek ATM. With money finally in our pockets we attempted to locate the metro station - which proved to be yet another difficult task. Turn after turn in the wrong direction, and without a map we seriously considered heading back to the ship... just as we saw the big blue "M” marking the metro station – what a relief!

We gladly paid €4 for two 24-hour unlimited metro passes and jumped on the first train bound for the historic area of Athens. Our first stop was the Acropolis, where we were again pleased to find that for only €12 each we could by bundled tickets for the Acropolis, Zeus's Temple, the Ancient Agora, the Roman Agora, Theatre of Dionysus, Hadrian’s Library, and Keramikos! Packaged tickets are available on the South side of the Acropolis, and can also be found at any one of the seven points of interest (students with a valid ID can get tickets half price.) As we passed through the gates that led to the Acropolis we were blasted by hot stale air, and a light dust from tourists who kicked up the loosely packed dirt path before us. We began our exploration with the Theatre of Dionysus wandering around the remnants of thousand-year-old stadium seating. Next we climbed the steps past the Odeon of Herodes theater, which is still in use today and walked up the steep hill to the Acropolis. Investigating our surroundings we noticed the many construction sites of ancient relics, which were being rebuilt - a trend in Athens that we're not sure we agree with.

Being herded like we were cattle we finally reached the top of the Acropolis, and here is what we saw:

Ancient Acropolis from Traveling In The Moment on Vimeo.

After taking in the majestic views of the ancient buildings, the legendary Parthenon, and the stunning city below we headed off to conquer the remaining sites our tickets allowed. Without a map we asked the closest tour guide for directions to Hadrian's Library - after pointing us in the right direction he glanced at his watch and informed us that all of the places we could see closed at 3:30pm... and it was already 1:30! Panicked that we might not get to see EVERYTHING, Megan shifted gears from admiring tourist to deranged do-it-all'er - as we sprinted down from the top of the Acropolis. Zigging, zagging and flying past tour groups and families we located a map, and managed to make it every single stop on our tour list that our tickets entitled us to. We even managed to squeeze in a pit stop for some authentic Greek frozen yogurt before heading back to Piraeus to board the ship.

Our time in Athens was short and rushed but we still managed to tackle the better part of what was recommended to see and do despite the intense heat. It’s a little disheartening seeing the fading remains of what was once one of the most magnificent societies of our time. We’re grateful for our youth and the ability to literally run around a city while still being able to learn about its history and take in its majesty.


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Turkey Town

Friday August 10, 2012

Although we were able to squeeze off a post the day we were actually in Izmir, there are a few things we would like to share. Izmir isn't as spectacular as Istanbul, and we highly recommend taking a trip to Ephesus if you're ever in the port of Izmir - we didn't , but wish we would have! If you're in Izmir for the day we heard that the Kemeralti market is a must, similar to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, but and outdoor market with more reasonably priced knick knacks. Head to the city center and Konak Square to see the Saat Kulesi clock tower, built in 1901 it is the city symbol of Izmir. Take a stroll along the coast and check out one of the many outdoor cafes, smoke a hookah and try some fresh squeezed juice at Üsküdar Çaycısı, a small restaurant off the boardwalk.

Intent on capitalizing on the free Internet provided by the cafe mentioned above, we didn't do much in Izmir but relax and catch up on news, gossip and virtual life. We took advantage of the Lyra to Dollar conversion and wined (fresh juiced) and dined ourselves as we smoked hookah and took in the sights. Izmir was a well-deserved break and we enjoyed the peace and serenity.


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The Sex is in the Heel, the Cast and the Crew

Very few things compare to the madness associated with booking a last minute modeling job. I got off the plane from an overnight flight, dropped off my bags, and headed straight for Premier, my London Agency. After checking in with Leesa, the director of the men’s board, I found out that the next morning I would be going to meet with Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott (world class photographers who shot me for DSquared2) on the set of the Brian Atwood F/W 2012-13 campaign…WELCOME TO LONDON! I had no idea what to expect, was I shooting or was I just there to say hello?

Upon arrival Savas, an old friend, and Mert and Marcus’s manager greeted me… It’s always a pleasure to work with familiar faces. With an enormous smile, I proceeded to help myself to some breakfast as I waited to find out how I would be spending my day. I quickly finished eating and made my way around, catching up with everyone I knew and introducing myself to the people I had not yet met. The next thing I knew I was trying on clothing and going through hair and makeup, what a pleasant surprise. A few hours later my friend Chad White walked in asking if he was in the right place… another familiar face I thought sitting in the make up chair. “Chad! What’s up man!? It’s been forever!” It had literally been six months since I had seen him in New York City at Soul Artist Management’s year anniversary party. Chad sat down in the chair next to me while the lovely hair and makeup team finished their work. Neither one of us knew exactly what the day had in store for us, or that we would be working with a Victoria’s Secret Angel.

Candice Swanepoel is as sweet in person as she is stunningly beautiful. It can be awkward shooting with someone whom you’ve just met, especially when you’re both practically naked. She handled everything with confidence and professionalism that one could only expect from a seasoned veteran of the fashion industry. If you don’t know by now I’m no stranger to shooting nude… The way I look at it is – you have one life, and you only get one shot at making the most of it, you either go big or stay home.

What none of us knew when we started the day was that the shoot would last from 10AM, and not wrap until 3 o’clock the next morning. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for the production team to build the set and to place all the cameras and video equipment. Mr. Brian Atwood was present to oversee the shoot. He had a twinkle in his eye and displayed a surreal excitement, walking around set with a big grin on his face. To my knowledge, this shoot marked Brian’s first global fashion campaign, and I feel like it exemplified the “go big or stay home” motto. He clearly has every reason to be excited, the campaign speaks for itself, “The Sex is in the Heel.” At the end of the day it was an amazing start to my summer in London, even though I left so exhausted that I fell asleep in the cab on my way home.

- Kyle Ledeboer

Campaign Video

Behind the Scenes

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Header image:Arizona Roadtrip Sunset, By: Kyle Ledeboer
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