Sunday, December 7, 2008

So... I kinda went over there again...

Most of you know I spent the first 4 months of 2008 overseas...

...well, I also got to spend Thanksgiving there, too.

This time, though, I was not with a bunch of college students backpacking Europe: I was with the parents... um... roller-luggaging through Europe. In a similar fashion to my first trip - train by train and hotel by hotel - we made our way from Milan to Rome with quite a few stops in between.

So, this was round, two...


We left the ATL on Friday afternoon the week before Thanksgiving... just a bit busy. But not too bad, honestly. All the typical airport photos, of course.

This was something like my 18th or 20th time to fly this year - 3rd flight across an ocean - but for my parents it was their first. 9 hours is a good start to that. To take off almost dark and land just after sunrise the next morning is just a good way to go...

And, landing in a rather familiar place for me: Milan, Italy.

And, as always at the foot of the Duomo, the panhandlers and pigeons were out in force. There must have been a marathon/triathlon thing coming to town because the plaza was full of tents and things, but... was as usual.

It is fun going to places like this a 2nd or 3rd time and being able to not worry about trying to see all the grandiose stuff. I really enjoyed being able to take a walk through and see the little minute details that I might have missed the first time because I was so distracted by the big stuff.

And its always wonderful when the weather cooperates like this...

From the top of the Duomo, the lower Alps were easily visible.

Oh, and it wasn't really too bad cold, either. A bit breezy, but not too bad cold. I guess blame it on the Mediterranean world.

And mother was enjoying herself. It was one of their first experiences with a truly absurd structure like the Milan Duomo.

So that was Milan for the most part. The hotel was nice but a bit far away. And we hadn't slept much in 36 hours... 'tis time for dinner and sleep.

In an effort to get stamps to send the requisite post cards, it requires going into a tobacco shop. In a bold moment, my mum went in to figure out how to ask for them. In an area of Milan outside the major city, we were not in a bilingual section of town... but to make a long story short, she did eventually get them...

...but to find out later, they weren't marked with enough postage to make it to the States... but eventually DID make it there anyway.

They must have taken pity on the silly Americans.

And the next day was a little train to...


One of my favorite images from my first trip to Venice was from the steps of the train station. And here's a new one...

It was a such a good time to be in Europe. The tourist are to a minimum and the hotels are cheap (its the European off-season). So, if you ever want to miss an American holiday like Thanksgiving, that's the ideal time to go to Europe.

Again, I've said it before, and I'll say it again, "Places like this just don't exist."

I can just assume what these guys were chatting about... maybe the level of the water?

(((Why might I say such a thing? Well... because within days of us leaving, THIS HAPPENED!)))

But, our days were beautiful there.

Can you tell I'm just a little bit fascinated by this place? It belongs in a movie. Or science fiction. Or in the imagination. Its just weird.

And the 'rents thought so, too. This was the stance most of the time:

And as should they be. Venice really is cool.

Except for the bird people. They love their dirty birds.


Turn around from the pigeon dudes and you'll get:

But I just love the stuff you can't get anywhere in the quick-and-easy-cookie-cutter-nothing-older-than-50-years America that we've established ourselves.

Maybe its a bit harsh to say, but if you look around our "megacities" like New York and L.A. name a building older than 250 years.


I mean, Venice had already gone through its golden age and was in decline before Christopher Columbus sailed across and met the Native Americans.

I guess its a perspective check in my mind...

Speaking of perspective, Venice at night is nice. Everybody leaves. All the tourists that made day-trips from Florence or Milan or from the cruise ships have all gone away and the real Venetians come out to play.

Pardon the motion blur... handheld at 1/4sec will do it.

So, that was the first couple days.

What's coming up? Um...

Here's a teaser.

Stay tuned,
~Noah D.

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