It’s sweater, snuggle-up-under-a-blanket weather here in Germany. (Already, ugh.) Okay, it’s not that cold—51 degrees— but the air is snappy and the leaves are turning. And we’re to the point where you give up hope of a few warm summer-ish days and start baking just to stand by the oven door.
My current strategy for beating the chill: think warm. It’s failing miserably, btw. But here is one of my favorite warm-weather pictures. Sunset after a stormy day in Sant’Agnello, Italy.
“Why yes, I did match my outfit to the scenery. Thanks for noticing.” —Some random tourist
There is a saying in Italian. Il dolce far niente. The sweet act of doing nothing. That’s precisely what I’ve done with the pictures from our trip to Italy. Until now.
Here it is. The FIRST post on our trip to Italy. I’m not going to wait until everything’s typed or all the galleries are made; it will never get done that way. So, these Italy posts aren’t going to come all at once (and maybe not even in order). There’s an “Italy” link and right over there –> and the related posts plug-in seems to do a pretty good job. You can figure it out.
Our trip: We drove from Germany down to the Amalfi Coast, and back, over 15 days. It went like this: our house > Garmish, Germany > Venice > Pisa > Sant’Agnello (Amalfi Coast) > Rome > Pisa > Garmish > home.
Driving in Italy is crazy. We saw cars driving three abreast in two lanes, passing on the right, driving on sidewalks, making left turns from the far right lane into oncoming traffic and many other acts of stupidity (or bravery depending on your perspective). AND no one used their turn signals. It was like we were back in America. (Man, do I love and appreciate German drivers.)
A couple photos from the passenger seat:
With the exception of a few, like the highway from Pisa to Venice, most major roads in Italy are toll roads. I intended to keep a tally of how much we spent, but quickly lost track because there were so many tolls. Plus a toll thru Austria.
Couple things we did learn:
1. At the toll plaza, go to the lane with the hand and the coin on the sign. That means there is an attendant to give change. Otherwise you’ll get stuck behind the guy who’s money keeps getting rejected by the machine. Or worse you’ll be that guy—frantically throwing money at the machine while the drivers behind you lay on the horn. Italians love to honk.
2. Google Maps sucks at estimating times. Really sucks. It seems to do okay up here, but in Italy it always took minimum 1.5 times longer than Google said it would. We didn’t run into any major traffic jams and don’t exactly stick to the speed limit either.
Driving has certain advantages; I’m glad we did it. But I think next time we’ll just hop a Ryanair flight.
M O R E P H O T O S
From Our Italian road trip. Shot all over Italy June 5-19, 2011
Travel porn. I feel it’s only appropriate to kick off the new section with this photograph. It was taken in Pompeii on our trip to Italy last year. It’s a fresco on the wall of a home shared by two brothers. (Brothers? Really?) The structure was being restored while we were there. I had to climb over a barrier and sneak back to get this shot.
What is travel porn?
I’ve been kicking around some ideas re: ways to post things quicker. Earlier this year, I started photo-only “in pictures” posts (see London, Prague, Budapest, Copenhagen) with the intent of later delving into more detail. Still I have, quite literally, a BAZILLION pictures (the curse of the digital cameras).
Man, is it easier to post when I don’t have to write much. And do I ever love the spam comments. Especially ones like this: “Hello, you used to write wonderful, but the last few posts have been kinda boring¡” Or the one I got congratulating me on my pregnancy. Ha. Ha.
So we have the “travel porn” category. It’s pretty much going to be one picture with limited commentary. On that note, I’ll shut up.
I’ve scrapped Naples from our itinerary. For some reason I hadn’t booked it yet. Maybe it was because I’m hard-pressed to name anything that’s in Naples.
I finally got to reading the Naples section of Rick Steve’s book. He says: Napes has more than one million people (one third are unemployed), is home of the Camorra crime family, has almost no open spaces or parks and is “Italy’s grittiest, most polluted, most crime-ridden city.” I get the feeling there lot places in Naples you don’t want to be, and you’ll likely get robbed. Not exactly a stellar endorsement, Rick. So we’re going to stay a little south of Pompeii in Sorrento. Maybe take a boat ride along the Amalfi Coast or go diving.
What IS there to do Naples? The Museo Archeological. All the artifacts, statues, mosaics from Pompeii and Herculaneum are here. Pretty cool, but here’s the real interesting part: the Gabinetto Segreto (Secret Room). This room houses all the erotic and pornographic statues, frescoes, etc. According to Rick Steve’s book, this includes frescoes that functioned as a menu of services from a brothel, a statue of a goat being sodomized by a satyr, a faun playfully pulling the sheet off a woman only to discover she’s a he and a bunch of stone phalluses.
Here’s a little more on Wikipedia. Interesting how it’s been open and closed many times and how it was only viewable by men for some time.
WARNING: DO NOT do a Google image search (unless you like gay porn).
On Monday, we started seeing something we haven’t seen in forever: the sun. The sun is shining, and it appears deceptively warm out. It’s only 50 degrees, by no means warm, but I’ll take it. The weather is pulling me out of the winter funk and making me want to travel.
Firmed up our Italy schedule this morning and booked our hotel in Rome. We are staying in a B&B with AC, private bathroom, free internet and breakfast. It’s 850m to metro, 4 stops to everything—supposedly all the sites are a 15 min metro ride away. For only 59€ a night.
There seems to be a limited number of cheaper hotels in Rome near everything with AC and a non-shared bathrooms. (I looked at hostels; they were 110 a night!) So I’m pretty excited to find this one. 59€ a night is not unheard of, just usually reserved for hotels outside the city ring (long ride into the city). We’re taking a chance as there are no reviews (I think it’s a new B&B), but the pics look good. And it’s Rome, so who cares.
Found out we can get gas vouchers for on the bases in Italy so we can buy at the reduced military rate. There are crazy toll roads in Italy, but when you can throw bottles of water, a French press, snacks and a tent in the car, I think it’s worth it. And then I don’t have to worry about planning train connections or packing neatly in a suitcase. We going to save money where we can by camping at military campsites in Garmish and near Pisa ($16 a night!).
This may change slightly once the Italy book I ordered arrives, but here’s what we’re doing.
Day 1: Drive to Garmish, Germany (on the Austrian border) and camp
Day 2: Venice
Day 3: Venice, trip to Murano/Burano
Day 4: Camp near Pisa, maybe stop in Florence on the way
Day 5: Camp near Pisa
Day 6: Naples
Day 7: Naples
Day 8: Naples, probably Pompeii this day
Day 9: Rome
Day 10: Rome
Day 11: Rome
Day 12: Rome
Day 13: Camp near Pisa
Day 14: Camp at Garmish
Day 15: Home