Sunday, May 14, 2006


Alright, so I finally found a computer! Our 3rd hotel (and the most remote one at that) actually has a computer with a normal internet connection.

It's connected to a wireless internet network, but unfortunately the owner seems to not understand where the wireless is coming from. Therefore, we're unable to use our own laptops. The good news is, Emily, BoRyan, and myself seem to be the only people in this town concerned about internet access so this one computer is all ours. And, this time it's free.

Question for everyone -- How do you switch the system settings in Windows so that the keyboard is English? I'm sure that if this computer was in English I might be able to read it and figure it out, but it's all in Italian. I'm doing good at this point to have figured out how to switch Blogger to English.


Last night, we arrived in a small city / town near Verona. We're staying in a neat hotel that is pretty large for European standards. The rooms have an Ikea-like feel and the meeting areas are relatively large (and empty which is nice).

The one thing I find to be a little interesting about all of the places that we've stayed is that nobody offers full sized beds. They simply push together two twin sized beds. I'm assuming this must be for flexibility and also, because the stairways here aren't wide enough for a mammoth sized bed.

Right now, BoRyan, Todd, Emily, and Dave are all out on a hike around town. Actually, they're hiking around a lake and mountains. We're in the country right now I suppose. I chose to give myself a break and also, to get a little caught up on e-mails, etc.

Let me start from the beginning...

The first full day in Rome, we went to see the Colliseum, the Vatican Museum, St. Peter's Basilica, and the Roman Forum. I especially liked the Vatican. There are so many amazing pieces of art and history there... and the Sistine Chapel was great too (hopefully I'm spelling things reasonably accurately...)!

After an intense day of touring around, BoRyan and I went to eat dinner at a place that BoRyan went the last time he was in Italy. It's a "slow food" style place called Spirito di Vino. Family-run, the father is the waiter, the son is the wine guy, and the mom is the cook. We had 4 courses and were there for 4 hours. It was great! (We took photos of the experience... I'll have to share with you).

In addition to the great food, Spirito di Vino is also a landmark. Apparently, the building is one of the oldest in Rome... even older than the Colliseum (if that's possible). At first, I thought that this was just a story... until a 30 person tour group came in to the restaurant just to see the building. All customers are allowed to take a look in the place's wine cellar... In addition to being a wine cellar, a historical statue was found there.

Then, on the second day in Rome, we toured around even more. We saw the Pantheon from the inside (I got a great photo of the inside of the dome that I'll share as soon as I can upload to the internet). We also saw Trevi Foundation, the Spanish Steps, the National Museum of Rome, and the Rome fashion district. We also saw another big church, although I don't have the name with me.

The next day, as noted in my previous blog, I was in Florence.

The first night in Florence, we all ate together at an Italian place right along the river there that Raul's father recommended. It was great and we were able to meet the owner (who is friends with Raul's dad). I also took a photo of this that I'll share.

The one full day we had in Florence, we aggressively saw all of the sites. First, we were at the Uffizi museum bright and early. The Uffizi is huge and we had a great time. They have many historical paintings and sculptures, including quite a few paintings by Botticelli. In addition to their normal collection, the Uffizi also had a huge exhibit devoted to Leonardo da Vinci. They had examples of the experiences that he did... copies of his notes... reconstructions of a few of his projects... videos. It was intense! It was great to see and what timing with the new Tom Hanks movie that's out. :)

After the Uffizi, we visited another museum called the Accademia. The Accademia houses Michelangelo's famous sculpture of David. It's AMAZING. He's huge; much larger than I would have guessed. In addition, they had other Michelangelo sculptures that were originally made for the pope of his time. Also... they had a section of the museum devoted to musical instruments... of which all were around 300-500 years old.

After the Accademia, we visited what I call the 'striped church.' I can't seem to remember it's name, so I'm sticking with that for now. Anyhow, it's a huge church in the middle of Florence that is green and white striped on the outside. After touring the inside of the church, BoRyan walked up the stairs onto the top of the church. During that time, I watched a parade of old classic European race cars.

Later that night (last night), we caught a train to the city that we're in now, near Verona. The cab ride from the train station to the hotel was a memorable one. The train station was small, so only small cabs were available. For the 5 of us, we took 2 cabs. Neither of our drivers spoke English and we misplaced the address to our hotel. Luckily, one of the drivers knew the hotel by name.

BoRyan and I had a great taxi driver. He tried his best to speak to us... BoRyan was switching from English to Spanish and the driver was switching from Italian to German. Occasionally, we would all know what was going on. Near the end of our trip, BoRyan showed the driver the GPS device that he had been using to track our drive. The taxi driver loved it! I guess cool technology is appreciated across all cultures. :-)

That brings us to today... as I mentioned, everyone is out hiking around and I'm taking it easy / working.

[P.S. Try clicking on the links above to learn more. The sites should all be in English.]

1 comment:

Jake of All Trades said...

This should help your keyboard woes: