Archive for September, 2007

September 30, 2007

Italy day one (Sep 2)

Okay, so were not in Italy – but we did make it to the airport! Its already been an adventure – who knew that the US Air staff would be taking a long weekend, or that the e-kiosk would freeze up just because I’m a US resident and Puja is Canadian!

Nevertheless – were on our way to Philly for a cheese steak sandwich.

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September 30, 2007

Another hill town! (SEP 5)

We spent most of the in Volterra, a ill town about 20 Km from our villa. It’s smaller than San Gimigano-but 3 liked it better. It was a little less crowded than SG, but every bit as charming.

We Rrived as they were setting up or taking down from a festival S it wasn’t until near theendof the day that we figured out that they were setting up – it just took all day and they don’t appear to be in a hurry!

We did find yet another great spot for a cappucino and we also ad a DIY lunch: Fresh bread, fresh cheese, and wild boar sausage. I can’t say for sure how wild the boar was – but the sausage was delicious!

We also made our way to some of bthe neighborhood- and saw the locals hanging out on the stoop, found a tiny churh where I lit a candle for my twin’s birthday. Along the way, we also spotted some ancient ruins (including a small viaduct, which reminded me that the viaduct in ny home town might soon be a ruin) and almost poached some wifi.

(If anyone knows how to hack a TKIP connection or has a killer universal wep key, I’d like to know!)

We arrived home Puja whipped up a great pasta supper, and we drank a bit (just a bit!) of local wine.

Tomorrow we’re off to either Florence or another hill town!

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September 30, 2007

Birthday in Italy (Sep 3)

It’s my birthday today – my first one overseas. That likely means that I won’t be able to talk to my twin – but I might be able to send a text message.

In the meantime I’ll celebrate with a bike ride into Volterra, a cappucino, and hanging out with Puja!

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September 30, 2007

Three airports so far! (Sep 2)

We’re on the ground and waiting for our friends tomeet us for the drive into Tuscany.

I’m a tad tired, and we haven’t really inhaled any fresh air yet and have subsisted on airport food thus far – which will make coffee and Italian bread a treat come the morning!

Gatwick was having a luggage processing outage, we spotted a Krispy Kreme, the flight crews are much happier in their work, and it looks like the sun is out. No wifi access yet – so these will all post at the same time
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September 30, 2007

The Villa (Sep 5)

Wow. This is something else. Sunny,blue sky, good coffee here at the villa. The villa is about 1000 years old. I’ll post pictures if I can. Still looking for my first wifi connection.

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September 29, 2007

Almost home (Sep 29)

We’re on the penultimate stage of our trip home – this is our 3rd flight in two days – Athens to London, London to Philly, and Philly to Seattle. Puja is napping, and she is the better at math – I’ve lost track of the hours what with the time changes. I think that if we include the waiting, the train ride to Gatwick, and the interminable security checks – it get close to 20 hours of travel. Yikes!

(In case you are wondering, the final segment is from the airport to home!)

That aside – we had a great time visiting some of Puja’s family in London-lots of laughter, a terrific supper, hot shower and a seris of Carrom games, which Puja and I both lost!

We land in an hour or so, and can’t wait to see friends and family, our dog, co-workers and to otherwise pick up the trappings of our very good lives in Seattle.

It might be a few days before we recover from the jet lag, put our pictures in order, recharge our phones and our pantry – but we’ll be looking forward to telling more stories of our travels. Thumb typing on my phone hardly does justice to the fantastic sights, the new and tasty food, and (best of all) new friends!

Note: You should do this. Bank some vacation, get a plane ticket, and just go. 4 weeks seems just about right to me, but you may get more or less. And if you are even a bit adventurous – you don’t need to plan that much – get a backpack (be sure to leave a lot of room in it on the way out!) and find friends and places to stay as you go. It doesn’t even matter where you go, so long as you are willing to learn to say hello, please, thank you, and to be astonished by the goodness of most humans. Send me a note before you head out on your trip.

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September 29, 2007

Athens to London (Sep 28)t

We’re on the final dash towards home! We didn’t get to see much of Athens yesterday – our plane was going the next morning, and despite all of the hard work that the country did getting ready for the Olympics – the metro and the suburban rail don’t quite line up in time for a trip to the airport for a 7 AM flight. It works like this:

Metro goes to the airport, but doesn’t start running until about 5:30 – and it is a 45 minute trip – not early enough for the 2 hour check in. The suburban rail starts earlier – but you can’t get to it by metro in time from downtown, and there aren’t any places to stay out where it starts. And cabs doube their rates at night!

That means that we stayed at the airport – a nice hotel right across the street. We were up at 5 to check out and check in when we discovered another Athenian quirk: You can check your bag and head to your gate and clear security. But all of the duty free stuff and food is BEFORE your gate – and you go through a secondary check point at your gate – and once you are in there – nada. Not a drinking fountain, bathroom, place to grab a snack! And they make you ditch any liquid, too – good thing we didn’t buy anything at duty free!

We get to London about 9 this morning – I’ll see if I can unload my remaining euros there (we’d planned on buying snacks in Athens) and will maybe pick up a bottle of scotch if I can find one that I haven’t had yet!

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September 29, 2007

Athens bound

We loved Naxos – finished our night with a great meal (shrimp, calamari, stuffed tomato and pepper) and a delicious ice cream from the Waffle House.

With a little luck, we’ll get delicious yogurt, honey and fruit before we get on the ferry!

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September 26, 2007

Naxos – last day (Sep 26)

Today is really our last vacation day – tomorrow is travel to Athens, we have the afternoon there. Then on to London for an evening – and then home to Seattle.

I’m sad that our trip is winding down, but will be so happy to see family and friends and my dog and to roast and drink coffee!

We rented a car today and drove around the island, after starting with a pastry. There is a reason that they call this country grease – at least as far as pastries are concerned!

But we saw some spectacular views today, had a great lunch in a small village, and found a remote beach that that we had almost all to ourselves. The water is a tad chillier than it was, and the travel season is definately coming to an end.

Dinner last night was terrific – a lamb and potato dish for Puja and a combo plate for me. We learned that Naxos is famous for potatos, liquour, cheese and honey – and we can vouch for their goodness! We finished the night (courtesy our waiter) with a shot of tequila! We were both expecting ouzo, so it was a surprise indeed!

One more dinner here in Naxos, and then we start the long trip home to family and friends.

Sent from Patrick’s phone

September 26, 2007

Naxos – last day (Sep 26)

Today is really our last vacation day – tomorrow is travel to Athens, we have the afternoon there. Then on to London for an evening – and then home to Seattle.

I’m sad that our trip is winding down, but will be so happy to see family and friends and my dog and to roast and drink coffee!

We rented a car today and drove around the island, after starting with a pastry. There is a reason that they call this country grease – at least as far as pastries are concerned!

But we saw some spectacular views today, had a great lunch in a small village, and found a remote beach that that we had almost all to ourselves. The water is a tad chillier than it was, and the travel season is definately coming to an end.

Dinner last night was terrific – a lamb and potato dish for Puja and a combo plate for me. We learned that Naxos is famous for potatos, liquour, cheese and honey – and we can vouch for their goodness! We finished the night (courtesy our waiter) with a shot of tequila! We were both expecting ouzo, so it was a surprise indeed!

One more dinner here in Naxos, and then we start the long trip home to family and friends.

Sent from Patrick’s phone