Aimee checking in here! It's 10:30 PM and we're winding down from a great day, celebrating our first anniversary as a married couple.
We started the day bright and early with a 3 or 4 block walk from the hotel to La Bellavia, where we posted our earlier blog and had some delicious, filling breakfast. Afterward, we walked around a bit and Chris took some lovely pictures of a gorgeous church called the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany (quite a mouthful) before we headed back to the hotel.
We decided to exchange presents early so that we wouldn't have to carry them to the restaurant later (we have walked everywhere). We both got awesome nerdy presents from each other-- from me, Chris got a bit torrent media server and player, and a hard drive to go with. Chris gave me a 32GB iPod Touch, which makes me so happy! I have been watching him use his iPod for such cool stuff since I got it for him, so I've been wanting one myself! I can't wait to load it up with music and cool programs!
We had a nice nap, and around 11 or so headed out again for some downtown wandering. We found a great photo gallery nearby and browsed in there for a while, as well as going to Animas Trading Post, which has been in Flagstaff forever (or at least as long as I've been there). After working up a new appetite, we went to a restaurant that was new to me, Karma Sushi, which was fabulous. Chris ordered a bento box with oceans of food in it, and we shared its non-sushi contents (soup, salad, etc) while I ate some cooked fish sushi. It was a nice light lunch, which was good because our dinner was both fabulous and filling.
After lunch, we went over to the NAU campus and walked around a bunch. I showed Chris a lot of my old haunts, and we went through the student union. I was surprised to see how much it has changed! It used to have two distinct eating section and that was it; it's now a much bigger building with tons of food choices, including name brand stuff like Einstein's Bagels (jealous!), Starbucks, Pizza Hut, and so on. Quite a different atmosphere from when I was there!
Somehow, I managed to take a second nap after we got back to the hotel (I love vacation!), after which, we got dolled up to go to dinner. We ate at Brix Wine Bar and Restaurant, which is also new to me. It's contemporary American cuisine, and in spite of its pretentious menu listings, the food was both excellent in quality and in quantity (no tiny plated entrees with a single asparagus spear poking out or anything). It was a bit fancier and bit pricier than anywhere we'd normally go, but that made it perfect for an anniversary! At the end, we shared a few bites of our wedding cake, which had held up remarkably well in our freezer this past year. It still tasted like cake, albeit a slightly dry cake.
After we were done with dinner, we met up with Caleb and Shayna to go to Lowell Observatory. Caleb and Chris used to work together before Caleb went over to LTA--Live Tax Advice--and then moved to Flagstaff. Shayna works at Lowell, so we were able to get in for free (thanks guys!!!!) and saw some fabulous stuff. We got to see Jupiter through a smaller telescope, and it just so happened that four of the brightest moons were visible and in a straight line, so that was cool. We saw a ring nebula that Shayna says they usually describe as a "soggy Cheerio" for people who are having issues seeing it. And then we got to look through the coolest telescope of all, which is the Clark telescope. It was installed at Lowell in 1896, and is still in perfect working condition. It's just an amazing feeling to realize you're looking at stars through the same telescope that has been used by many famous astronomers. Shayna told us that a lot the foundation of the Big Bang theory was developed using a spectograph at Lowell, and Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and the rest of the team used the Clark telescope for pre-moon mission mapping. Also, Lowell is in works with the Discovery Channel, and they're building a 4.3 meter telescope (huge!) that hopefully will be done within the next couple of years.
All in all, this was an amazing anniversary day, and has been a fabulous weekend. I miss Flagstaff so much, and it's bittersweet to be here again, but I wouldn't want to be anywhere else for our special weekend!