Monday, May 23, 2005

Meet the Parents

There's been a definite lack of internet access lately. Just to catch up for those of you playing connect the dots, here's where we've been since Venice:

Reublic of San Marino
Lido di Ostia
San Gigignano

My parents arived three days ago and they have joined in all the sightseeing fun. This week we are based out of a farmhouse in Lucca. With a little luck we'll spend a day or afternoon just sitting still. And eating a gelato.

Everyone's getting along great. Whoohoo!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Kayak Mania

Writing today from the "internet bus" at Fusina Camping. This double decker bus has been converted into an internet cafe. It's next to the disco and pizza parlour. It's fancy camping.

The last couple of nights we've been surrounded by kayaks. Our visit to Venice's nearest camp site has coincided with a kayak race. Full to bursting, there are boats, life jackets, and super-sized caravans everywhere.

Venice is lovely, by the way.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Touch the Sky

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On the way to Geneva from Rome we flew over the Swiss Alps. From the plane they looked close enough to reach out and touch. The last few days we've been getting supplies for our next couple months of camping. A tent. Sleeping bags. Foam pads for under the sleeping bags.

And we've been washing clothes. While on the plane from Rome we were smelling quite ripe. It's nice to be clean again after a long long time of being not quite clean.

The European roadtrip is about to begin.

Monday, May 02, 2005


So tired after another 50 kilometers or so of walking up and down the streets and back alleys of Rome. We didn't see the Pope. No big surprise there, although I read on the AP wire that we stood in the same place as the Pope today. We visited Pope John Paul II's tomb in the morning and Benedict XVI visited a few hours later. Maybe he was there, paying his respects, we walked through a nearby neighborhood, observing the creative grafitti on posters celebrating his election to Popedom.

We saw lots of big things today. Colossal buildings. Colossal paintings. Scuptures. Big stuff. By the time we got to the enormous Pantheon building, it seemed small and plain. "Ah, seen bigger. With more gold." Sad state of things when you find yourself dismissive of the Pantheon.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Roma Roma Roma

No offence to Greece, but we don't miss it at all.

Many things happened in the last couple of weeks. Meant to write about them but couldn't quite be bothered thanks to a Greece induced funk. But we're in Italy now and everything's wonderful. People are friendly and helpful. Kind of forgot what that was like. Businesses and museums are open longer than banking hours. The food is yummy. And it's so beautiful here. Better than I could have hoped. So beautiful that my eyeballs ache from all the amazing visual stimulation they tried to take in today.

Yesterday we arrived in southern Italy after taking an overnight ferry from Greece. For several hours there were no trains from Bari to Rome so we ditched the backpacks at the train station and went looking for the bones of Santa Claus. St. Nicolas's remains, stolen from Turkey, are entombed in the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari's old quarter. The bone thieves were sailors from Bari. Not surprised to learn this considering the wanna-be thief who was intently checking out my belongings at the train station. Bari may possibly be a den of thieves, but it's also a beautiful port town to visit while waiting for a train.

We took a train into Rome and checked in to the first of three hostels for the four nights we'll be here. Rome is booked out. We had to do a patchwork of reservations to have places to sleep. Perhaps it's people coming to see the new Pope. Perhaps it's people here during Mayday's long weekend. There are people everywhere and all of the decent places are full. We're staying in the dirty, broken window, broken toilet seat kind of place. Sometimes you take what you can get.

We walked something between 15-20 kilometers today. At least that's what it feels like. Everything aches. We started off wandering and ended up visiting the following list of places:
Piazza de la Republica
Piazza San Bernardo
Piazza Barberini
Piazza del Quirinele
Trevi Fountain
Piazza Colonna (Column of Marcus Aurelius)
Pantheon (locked)
Piazza Navona
Chiesa di Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
Lago di Torre Argentina
Piazza Mattei
Jewish Ghetto
Ruins of the Portico d'Ottavia
Piazza Venezia
Column of Trajan
Chiesa di Ignazio di Loyola
Chiesa del Gesu
Thanks to Chris there is a list. I would just remember everything as a blur of churches and classical architecture if it weren't for him.

Tomorrow we're off to see the Vatican - on a Pope hunt. And I'm supposed to finish at least one of the four books I'm currently in the middle of. Tonight I'm reading the one that is set partly in the Vatican. Maybe tomorrow I'll go back to the one that takes place in Switzerland. And Herodotus is still waiting with his scandalous stories of what used to happen to unattractive females in the Hellenic realm. Classical Greeks could be mean.