Saturday, July 02, 2005

Italy = not a picnic

OK, Horvus A. Callithumper has shamed me into a quick post. I had thought maybe I would take a little break from the web, but no no no I could not resist checking in, and there are comments from mtnRoughneck and even Anonymous, so OK.

If this post looks strange, it is because I am typing while wearing sunglasses. Oh yes, and the funny diacriticals in unexpected places on Italian keyboards.

I can offer anyone planning to travel a few pieces of advice.

1. If your several-years-old glasses break at some point while you are in the comfort of your own home, and it seems easy enough to fix them with superglue, go ahead and fix them, but then really you should get yourself some new frames. You do not want the little arm to break off afresh while you are in a foreign land, particularly when you have recently arrived and you do not have anything else to wear or any tools or any recent sleep.

2. If possible, when traveling overseas, do not check your bag, especially if you are planning to travel lightly anyway. Sure, sure, I hear you about not wanting to lug the thing around in airports, and about worrying whether there will be room for it in the overhead bin, and about how you want to bring you handy Swiss Army knife along. Get rid of those thoughts immediately, for they only lead you down the path of pain and suffering. After all, many airlines see getting your checked bag on YOUR FLIGHT as an unnecessary bonus, especially when they are about to go bankrupt.

3. Believe what it says on tubes of superglue (or colla rapida, as they say here in Italia) about the glue working fast and sticking to skin. Especially believe it when you are considering, given your lack of any pins or similar items, whether to try to bite off the little tiny end piece on a tube of superglue. Especially since biting off that little end piece exposes more glue than a little pinprick would.

4. On a happier note, remember that there is little that a shower and a good night's sleep won't make tolerable. Even better if you can combine that with clean teeth, newly acquired deodorant, and a clean shirt and undies.

5. Even happier, sometime before you die, take the train from Roma to Rapallo. Somewhere around Pisa you start seeing beautiful mountains on the inland side of the route, and a little north of there the route veers west so that you are barely not in the Mediterranean. You go in and out of tunnels, since the coastline is mountainous, and each time you come out you get a stunning sight off to your left, that clear blue of the Med. Gorgeous. And the little towns along your right are all painted in those gorgeous oranges and pinks that look horrid anywhere but this kind of light.

6. And if you ever stay in the Hotel Italia e Lido in Rapallo, spring for the camera vista mare, with the sea view. I figured it might just be a tiny glimpse out of one corner of the window if you are the right height and the stars are perfectly aligned, but in fact it is splendid, with the Castello, the beach, and the sweeping coastline all right outside your window. I wonder if I'll be able to see the lights tomorrow night, when they are all set afloat in celebration of the festa of Nostra Signora di Montallegro, and maybe the fireworks, too. I hope they are visible through my prescription sunglasses.

p.s. to Tim: here in Rapallo, the weather is perfect. Heh.

1 comment:

Horvus A. Callithumper said...


I'm touched (and still jealous). Your post reminds me of what it's like to travel. Did I mention that I'm jealous?