About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Venice - Day 2

We woke up early this morning to get ready for the day. The Alloggi hotel serves a basic morning breakfast of croissants, rolls, tea, juice and caffe. It was a tasty beginning to our day.

It was chilly and overcast this morning. Katrina and Brandon put on their jackets. I unfortunately, did not bring a jacket and only brought lightweight short sleeve shirts. I would just have to suffer. I found this rather amusing after a recent discussion with my sister in law Laurie. She was in Venice several years ago and mentioned to me that Venice was one of the hottest places she had ever visited.

Today we would board a Vaporetto for Murano, the island of glass. We stepped out the door of the hotel and were immediately blasted with cold air blowing down the alley. It only got worse as we headed out to the perimeter. Once we arrived on the walkway along the perimeter the wind died down a bit. I think it was all being funneled down the narrow alley ways. We caught the Vaporetto for our 20 min ride to Murano.

Church located on San Michele

On the ride to Murano the boats pass San Michele, the cimitero (cemetary) of Venice. It is its own island. We did not stop there, but I think we will need to make a point of it if we visit Venice again. There are many famous and important Venetians buried there.

Murano is the largest island in the lagoon. It was inhabited in Roman times. In time the island became an important landing for ships in the Adriatic. It became a busy trade center. There were mills and salt mines. The island was important to Venice, which allowed it a certain amount of independence for a time. In 1291 the first glass furnaces were moved from Venice to Murano. Before long it became one of the worlds leading manufacturers of fine glasswork.

We arrived in Murano a little early. Most of the shops were not open or were just beginning to open. We strolled the fondamenta (walkways along a canal) looking in shop windows and enjoying the peacefulness of the town. We were in search of an open furnace demonstation and the glass museum. We found the museum and explored. It features examples of over 700 years of glasswork. Again, no pictures allowed inside.

Brandon took this picture of a hay bale made of glass. Every little piazza has an outdoor diplay of some sort.

Brandon and Katrina having fun with the cameras.

Another Murano piazza display.

We continued to wander around the island town. We eventually found out that most, if not all, of the glass furnaces were closed on Sunday. We really wanted to see a demonstration, so we decided we would have to return to the island on Monday or Tuesday.

We stopped for lunch at a bar on the canal. Brandon had toast, white bread with prociutto and formaggio. Katrina and I had piadinas.

The Church of Santi Maria E Donato was built in the 7th century and dedicated to Mary. The body of St Donatus was brought there from the island of Cephalonia. He was a warrior saint who had slain a dragon.

Brandon took this picture of a decorated boat as it made its way to the main canal. Apparently an annual rowing ragatta was being held today. Katrina found some information that said an estimated 200+ boats participate each year. Today must have been an interesting event due to the wind and waves.

You can see how important boats are to the residents of these islands.

Another interesting public glass sculpture.

We made our way towards the Vaporetto stop on the backside of the island to catch a ride to Burano.

The lighthouse of Murano.

On the way to Burano we spotted many partipants of the regatta paddling from Burano to Murano. The open water was very choppy. We spotted all sorts of boats making their way through the waves.

Not everyone was lucky enough to make it through the waves. They looked cold!

Brandon enjoyed standing along the rail on the Vaporettos.

A Vaporetto passing us as we head to Burano.

We passed this deserted home as we headed into the main canal at Burano.

Burano is the island of lace. The island was most likely inhabited already in Roman times. Refugees from Altino settled here in the the 5th century. It became of considerable importance to the Republic's economy when the lace industry began to flourish. The inland has about 4,000 inhabitants. The houses are almost all alike, on two floors, seperated from one another only by their bright colors.

Typical colorful homes in Burano.

Colorful alley in Burano.

We had picked up a 'Venice for Kids' book at the Correr Museo yesterday. It was full of all kinds of interesting information about the places we were visiting. It kept Brandon busy most of the time. He would read interesting tidbits of information to us through out the day.

One tip mentioned trying the bussollai, typical of the island of Burano. The package says, "The bussola buranello is the typical biscuit from the island of Burano, the 'pearl' of the Venetian lagoon...These biscuits date back to time immemorial when they were made by the islanders, mainly on Easter Sunday. After they had been lovingly prepared, the biscuits were then wrapped in the family's linen because they gave off such a mouth watering smell of butter..." We found some in a bakery and gave them a try. They are the tastiest little cookies. We devoured a whole bag before leaving the island.

We were tired from hours of walking. We caught a Vaporetto back to a stop near our hotel. Brandon and Katrina slept during the boat ride. Our feet hurt so we headed up to the room. Brandon wanted to take a nap, but never slept. Katrina slept for about 45 minutes. I just relaxed on the bed and dozed in and out.

After taking awhile to wake up and get ready, we headed back out to explore Venice a bit more. We headed for the Rialto bridge, stopping many times for Katrina to take pictures and to look in shops. You could always tell when we were getting near the tourist areas, as the walkways would go from a few people strolling along to masses of people trying to get by each other.

The Rialto bridge has a long history. The Rialto was the only connection between the two sides of the Grand Canal for hundreds of years. The bridge was originally constructed on boats in the Middle Ages. It was replaced by a wood bridge in the 13th century and was rebuilt many times over the next 200 years. In 1444 the weight of a crowd caused it to collapse. It was rebuilt of wood again, but this time with shops on either side and a draw bridge in the middle to let big ships through. In 1557 it was decided to build a bridge of stone, the one that stands today.

Katrina had been hunting for a new watch since we arrived in Italy. She finally found one in a shop on the Rialto bridge.

We crossed the bridge and began to look for a place for dinner. We wandered through the famous, but vacant for the day, fish market. We stopped for dinner at Il Giardino di Giada, a cinese (Chinese) restaurant. What a great meal. We have actually had some really great cinese food in Italy. Katrina and I had a meal special: wontons, sweet and sour chicken and white rice for Katrina, wontons, fried cinese chicken and fried rice for me, and egg drop soup for Brandon.

After dinner we slowly made our way back to the hotel. We stopped many times for nighttime pictures and for gelato...of course.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Venice! - Day 1

Venice. Oh, where to begin?

History: Venice was born in a lagoon 1500 years ago as a refuge from Barbarians. Over time it became an important trading empire. As the importance of Venice fell, decadence grew. Venice partied through the 17th and 18th centuries on the accumulated wealth of the earlier century. Today 62,000 people live in the old city of Venice, down from a peak of 200,000 during its dominant trading days. If you add the populations of the old Venice with the bigger mainland city, the area boasts a population over 500,000. Venice is very expensive to live in. A 120sq meter apartment can cost over e300,000. What draws tourists and romantics to Venice is its charm, its history and its canals. To residents, these things pose daily challenges. Everything must be boated into the island, then moved by hand over rough walkways and over bridges. The average age of Venetian residents is growing year by year. It is now almost 65 - Venetians who have lived on the island all their lives. Younger generations are finding it hard to deal with the daily challenges of living and raising families in such a old city in this modern world. Because of this, Venice is losing its population at a rate of almost 1000 per year. Some even fear its demise as a 'living' city in the near future, thinking it will eventually turn almost into a 'Disneyland' type of destination.

On a map Venice is shaped like a fish. It is divided into six districts: San Marco (most touristy), San Polo, Castello, Cannaregio, San Croce and Dorsoduro. It is said that over 20,000 visitors enter Venice every day. That said, 80% of the visitors tend to visit only 20% of the island. We found this amazing to believe since all the guidebooks suggest 'getting lost' in the alleys of Venice. See the neighborhoods. Get away from the crowds.

We woke up this morning around 7am so we would be out the door by 8am. We had to catch bus z221 to the Monza station. Its really not that unusual to see people on the bus with suitcases. We were travelling light: one small suitcase, one backpack and Katrina's camera bag.

We had originally planned to drive to Venice, but after almost everyone we knew told us to take the train, how could we resist. We were told by a couple of people that it was no big deal to buy the tickets at the station. Well, this may be the case some of the time, but not on a holiday weekend. The seats on the train were all sold out. We managed to buy train tickets after much discussion with the ticket agent. We could buy tickets and ride while 'standing'. We could stand in the train for 2 1/2+ hours to Venice. Now, this is not your ordinary commuter train where standing is no big deal for a short ride. This is a intercity train for long distances. It seemed a little odd to us, but we decided to go for it. In this case we were fortunate that we were not in the US, where tickets are usually only sold for seats. We also bought reserved seats for the trip home on Tuesday.

The 'commuter' train ride from Monza to Milan Central Station only took about 15 minutes.

We then caught the intercity train. Once on board we realized how it all worked. Many people buy tickets without seat assigments, and isn't any cheaper, but you get where you want to go.

Travelers don't stand in the aisles by seated passengers. They stand or sit on the floors in the corridors, entries, etc. We found a nice spot in a 'lounge' area, right by the windows. It really wasn't too bad of a trip. We were fresh and eager for our weekend vacation. Brandon made himself comfortable on the floor. Katrina sat on the suitcase and I stood. We watched the scenery and talked about what to do in Venice.

We arrived in Venice just after noon. The trains are connected from the mainland to Venice via a 2 mile causeway. Actually, cars and buses also travel the causeway to parking areas on the edge of Venice. Travelers exit the main station right out onto the Grand Canal. Its a very busy, crowded and happening place. We found the Vaporetto (water bus) ticket booth and bought 72 hour tickets. That way we could ride as often and wherever we wanted. We needed to catch Vaporetto #52 to get to our hotel. The closest stop was just to the right of the ticket booth. It took us a short way up the Canale della Giudecca (Grand Canal), then turned up the Canale di Carnereggio to head to the perimeter of the island where we followed the Canale delle Sacche and Canale delle Fondamenta Nuove (really just open water) to our stop at Ospendale. We exited and followed the directions given to us by our hotel.

Venice can be a difficult city to navigate. The narrows alleys and walkways twist and turn. There are few street signs and many that do exist are hard to find - they are usually posted on building walls at intersections. The best way to navigate is by major landmarks. Major landmarks, like St Mark's Square and the Rialto Bridge, have signs all over Venice pointing the way.

Our hotel, the Alloggi Barbaria was very easy to find. Its a small place, clean and basic, run by Giorgio, a lifetime resident of Venice.

We checked in and headed out in search of lunch. We found Antica Trattoria Bandieretta, in the Castello district. Brandon and I both had spaghetti pomodoro. Katrina had salmone crema porro. Very tasty!.

After lunch we wandered towards St. Mark's Square, the only square in Venice with the distinction of being called a piazza. This is one of the most famous and crowded areas of Venice. We wandered around the square the made our way to the Correr Museo. The displays inside the museo give an overview of Venetian history. Unfortunatley, as with most indoor places we visited, no cameras were allowed.

We stopped for some gelato, of course. Its our Italian indulgence. Its a good thing we walk almost everywhere in Italy.

Rick Steve's suggests that everyone do a self guided Grand Canal tour on the #1 Vaporetto. The canal is 2 miles long, 150ft wide, 15ft deep and VERY busy with boat traffic. We caught the Vaporetto at San Marco Square, one end of the Grand Canal, and rode it to the other end. The Rick Steve's guidebook even has descriptions of the buildings and sights along the way. The buildings along the canal are amazing. They range from excuisitely decorated mansions to run down deserted buildings. There are so many restrictions on remodeling buildings along the canal that some owners just abandon the oldest ones.

We rode the Vaporetto all the way to Piazzale Roma on the opposite end. Then we boarded Vaporetto #2 for the return trip to San Marco Square so that we could get the opposite views and more photography time for Katrina. I am just a regular person taking pictures of what I see. I try to make my photos interesting, but I'm not very skilled. Katrina is becoming a very skilled photographer and I enjoy seeing her photos, so taking extra time for her to take pictures is no problem.

Katrina busy working her magic.

The world famous Rialto Bridge.

The #2 boat makes less stops, so we made it back to San Marco a bit quicker. We wandered the streets looking in shops, taking pictures and checking out alleys. We finally stopped for dinner at a pizzaria, Bora Bora. Katrina and I each had pizza and Brandon had pasta pomodoro. The food was great as usual.

It was getting late and we were all tired. We wandered a bit more, but a lot of shops were now closed. We stopped for some chocolate dipped cookies, then headed back to the hotel.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday - Venerdi

Forecast for Friday: partly sunny, high 28c = 86 degrees.

Italian phrase: Faccio sempre la spesa al mercato - I always do my grocery shopping at the market.

Brandon participated in field day at school, held on the athletic fields of the high school a few blocks north in Vedano. They assign the kids to teams. Brandon was assigned to the 'blue' team.

I am longing for a plate of Qdoba nachos, and its only 8:30am. Somehow I doubt they would ship to very well to Italy.

I drove Katrina to work today. Its becoming a regular routine for me to keep the car on Fridays. It gives me a little more freedom to run some errands and explore a bit. I stopped at the Modelismo shop to look at a model ship I am thinking about building. Apparently I am not 100% decided yet because I walked out of the shop empty handed. I also stopped at IKEA to pickup a pitcher. IKEA is the only store we have been able to find one. Since they don't have any drink mixes or frozen juices in the supermarkets, I guess there isn't much of a market for pitchers. I wanted one for the Crystal Light a couple of friends have so generously given us. I also bought a plant for the house, a soap dispenser for the bathroom and a clothes hamper. Its impossible to walk out of IKEA with only the items you planned on buying.

Wooohooo. I just made our first pitcher of Wylers pink lemonade!

I've got Matt Nathanson playing in the background and the house is nice and cool.

Brandon was all smiles and wearing a medal when I picked him up at school today. His 'blue' team took first place during Field Day. The days events included: the penalty kick, the target shoot with a velcro ball, the over under race with a football, the sprint race, a bean bag toss, the standing jump and a few other events. Brandon sounds like he had a blast. When I picked Brandon up at school, the parent organization was selling cold snacks - granitas, ice cream sandwiches, croissants, fruit cups and other goodies. Brandon had a fragola granita and I had an ice cream sandwich.

I chatted with my sister in law Laurie for a few minutes this afternoon. It is still weird that its morning in the US and evening here in Italy. I can tell you your future for the next 9 hours....lol.

This evening Brandon and I drove over to Parco di Monza so that he could play until Katrina called to be picked up.

We had a truly fine Italian dish of hamburgers and fries for dinner, followed by a walk over to visit our favorite gelateria. We spent the evening packing for our weekend trip to Venice.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Grumpy Thursday

Thursdays forecast: partly sunny and beautiful, high of 29c - 88 degrees.

Italian phrase: Mangiare pesce fa molto bene alla salute - Eating seafood is very good for one's health (so say the Italians).

I woke up at 6:25am, an hour earlier than I need to.

Ever have one of those days when you wish you could just go back to bed and start all over again? I'm having one of those days. Not sure why? I think part of it may be from not sleeping well last night. I woke an hour and 45 minutes earlier than usual. I also woke up feeling grumpy. Its amazing how little things can make a grumpy person grumpier: Brandon not listening, something leaking out of the fridge, traffic, the wait for a haircut was too long, and the fact that I have had to sit through an Italian lesson when I didn't feel like it. Wow, I need to do something to change my mood.

This afternoon I relaxed on the couch and watched some TV. My brain is tired from Italian class and I feel irritated at nothing specific, but at most everything today.

Brandon had a difficult time focusing on his Italian lesson today. Maybe it was just me. I don't know. Rosella seemed a bit flustered by his inability to focus. I guess there must be something in the air that is affecting me and Brandon.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Car Sizes

Wednesdays forecast: decreasing clouds, high 30 = 90 degrees.

Italian phrase: I dolci siciliani sono buonissimi = Sicilian desserts are very good.
It was a warm night. After a cool evening with no AC, we had to turn it back on in the middle of the night. Then, at some point, Katrina and I were awakened by a shower of water above our bed. For some reason, yet to be determined, the AC dripped a bunch of water on the headboard, splashing us and our pillows.

Small car in Italy. Most are a little bit bigger than this Aixam.

This Jeep would be considered very large. I've only seen one...and its in our apartment driveway. I saw a full size Hummer the other day (missed taking a picture). The Hummer looks like it would take about 3 parking spaces at the local shopping centers. Imagine those US 'compact car' spaces at shopping malls, then make them a little smaller and you have the average parking space at an Italian mall.

This older Jaguar also sits in our driveway. It would be considered a little bit above average in size for Italy.

I was just flipping channels on the TV. Sports. Sports are big here in Italy and in Europe, but they vary a bit from the United States. Over a few weeks of watching and flipping channels, I have come to the following conclusions. Soccer - Calcio - is huge. There are so many soccer leagues and so many channels to watch soccer. Aside from soccer on the normal channels, there are 20 channels reserved exclusively for soccer. Some of the other sports that are popular: rugby, American baseball, Amercian hockey, volleyball, European basketball, tennis, car and motorcycle racing (including a little bit American Nascar), cycling, and golf. I've also seen roller derby, beach soccer, beach tennis and urban downhill mountain bike racing (down narrow allys, stairs, etc). With all these sports, one thing I am sure of. No matter what time of day I turn on the TV, there is always a soccer match going on.

I walked out the front gate this afternoon and spotted this van sitting on the street. I've seen many of these in the past few weeks. I'd say it gives new meaning to the words "mini van".

I picked up Brandon this afternoon and we walked into central Vedano for a haircut. New experiences abound in Italy. Apparently a haircut is also a social occasion. We learned that Brandon would be third in line. We had to wait for 45 min while the barber cut the hair of two other customers. 50% of that time was conversation time. It was fun to listen and try to figure out what was being said. Finally it was Brandon's turn. His haircut took about 30 min. The barber commented - in broken Inglese and with hand gestures, that the previous barber did not do a very good job of layering Brandon's hair. I'm sure that is fairly true since his last haircut was at Supercuts in Corvallis. We chatted in our broken language attempts. After awhile, a woman and her son came in. She spoke a tiny bit of Inglese, so we chatted a little more. She helped me speak in Italiano and I helped her speak Inglese. I think Brandon's haircut turned out pretty good - better than his past couple of haircuts. We'll see what Katrina thinks when she gets home... Oh, and for those who are wondering, a bambino haircut was e15...about $21!

On our walk back home we stopped at Parco di Matteotti for fly some paper airplanes that Brandon made at school today.

This evening we tried one of Rosella's (our Italian instructor) recipes for pasta: saute 1/4c olive oil, 2 diced tomatoes, 1 small onion and 2 chopped cloves of garlic. Meanwhile, boil pasta until al dente. Drain pasta and add tomato mixture, along with parmagianna and chopped walnuts. Very basic and tasty. We enjoyed it with some bread sticks and red wine...orancia rossa for Brandon.

I am bummed that Levi Leipheimer had a tough day yesterday and dropped to 6th place in the Giro. On the positive side, Lance Armstrong seems to be slowly working his way up the standings, sitting at 12th overall. As he wrote today, for a guy who drank beer for the last 4 years, crashed hard last month and broke his collarbone, and is the 4th oldest 'dog in the pack', he's pretty pleased with his efforts so far.
Only 3 stages left in the Giro. The final stage is in Rome on Saturday.


Hi all,

I have received several messages concerning the comment section of the blog. This has been a quirky segment of this blog. I did a test and have come to the following conclusion for a comment process:

1. Click on comment
2. Write your comment and sign your name (if you wish)
3. Click on Comment as - 'anonymous' as the log in.
4. Click 'post comment'
5. Thanks for your comments.

I hope this works for those who want to comment on the blog. You may also send me an email.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Italian Tuesday

Forecast for Vedano: spotty showers this afternoon, high 28c = 86 degrees.

Italian phrase: Non mi piace il pane bianco; preferisco quello integrale - I don't like white bread; I prefer whole wheat.

Katrina walked Brandon to school, as usual. I cleaned the house a bit. Katrina had her Italian lesson at 9am, so I took the car and went in search of a phone with a headset plug. Katrina would prefer a headset when she works from home, mostly on the phone with Corvallis. Its proving hard to find.

My Italian class began at 11:15. Katrina left for work. She is working alone this week since Mike is on vacation with Jen in Prague. My Italian lesson was challenging but went pretty well. I wish I was further along. I'm still finding it difficult to speak more than basic Italian. I really can't hold much of a conversation and its getting a little frustrating.

This afternoon I hung the laundry and mopped the floors and balcony. Everytime we walk out on the balcony our feet turn black.

I chatted with Julia a little bit on Facebook this afternoon. Its fun to keep in touch with so many people through FB, Skype and email. I enjoy hearing that so many of you are enjoying my blog. I like doing it, for myself and for all of you. I have a notebook page of many random topics about Italy that I will write about as time goes on. If you have a topic you would like to hear about, or a question you would like me answer, send a message and I'll see what I can come up with. I highly recommend that you follow any links I add to Katrina's blog. She doesn't have as much time, so she generally blogs about once a week. Her pictures are well worth it. I take random pics to add to my blog. Katrina is the photographer and she takes amazing shots of all that we see in Italy.

Brandon had his Italian lesson after school today. He's doing pretty well. Its amazing how much he picks up, even when it appears that he is not paying attention.

It cooled off quite a bit this evening. The skies are cloudy and we even heard a little bit of thunder in the distance. The AC is off again and the windows are open. We have a nice breeze flowing through the apartment. Actually, a few times we had too much air flow through the apartment and doors and/or windows were slamming shut.

We had piadina's for dinner - tortilla like bread with prociutto corto and provolone. They get heated in the toaster oven and are very tasty.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Not Memorial Day in Italy

Its Monday. Brandon is getting ready for school and Katrina will be going to work. Its Memorial Day in the United States, but just a regular day here in Italy. I thought it would feel weird or I would feel cheated out of our usual holiday celebrations, but I don't. While I miss the friends we would be hanging out with and I have thought about what the day really signifies, I am happy to be in Italy. One thought that just popped into my head. We are in Italy...part of Europe as a whole...where so many of our military men and women gave their lives for freedom.

Italian phrase: Katrina ama il formaggio fresco - Katrina loves fresh cheese.

Its going to be another hot day. We have been told that this is unusually hot weather for this time of year. The forecast is: mostly sunny and pleasant, high of 32c = 94 degrees.

I went grocery shopping to stock our empty cabinets and fridge. I still shop for a few items almost every day because so many things are fresh and do not keep very long - fruit, bread, veggies, etc.

We had a conference for Brandon at school this morning. It was student led, which means he presented his work and what he has been learning so far. He's doing pretty well overall. He has a few areas in which he is a little behind, but it is not his fault. They are all things that are taught differently or earlier here than in the US. He did a great job presenting his work and we are very proud of him.

I spent most of the afternoon doing laundry, dusting and planning our upcoming Venice trip. Wow, there is a lot to do and see in Venice. I'm glad we will be there for three days.

I made Orecchiette con asaragi e Mandorie for dinner. We also had breadsticks and red wine to compliment the meal.

This evening we watched a couple of episodes of Rick Steve's Europe on DVD. He has two episodes about Venice and the surrounding islands. We're trying to learn all we can before we head there on Saturday.

We finally turned the AC off around 9pm this evening. It's been running since yesterday morning. Its still fairly warm outside, so we'll see how warm the house gets.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunny Sunday in Vedano al Lambro

I woke up pretty early this morning...at 6am. Not sure why? I just woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. The forecast is a hot one: partly sunny and pleasant, high of 31c = 92 degrees!

I made a big mistake this morning. I made the assumption that I could grocery shop. No, no, no, no, no and no. That's a no for each supermarket I was unable to shop at because they were closed. Even the big supermarkets are only open on certain Sundays, but not every Sunday. Apparently they all choose the same Sunday's to be open and closed. Hmmmm. Where is the spirit of competition? If one store is closed on a particular Sunday, another one should be open. I caught my thoughts mid stream. Ideas that we should be able to buy all that we want whenever we want are truly American. I'm not in the United States. I guess we will get creative with what little food we have in the kitchen until I can shop on Monday.

It is hot. We ran the air conditioning for the first time today. For lunch we walked over to a bar near the gelateria! It was closed, so we had gelato for lunch. Now that's a healthy meal.

Brandon was invited to a birthday party today. It was for a classmate, Giovanna. She held her party at a local park. They had aa face painting lady who also led some games. Most of the party was playtime with friends. It sounds like he had a great time. Apparently it was very hot though.

The temp this afternoon is 34c, that's 98 degrees. No wonder we feel hot. We have two air conditioners. One in the living room and one in our bedroom. I had to turn off the AC in our room so that I could run a load of laundry. As I've mentioned before, we have power restrictions here in Italy. You can only run 1-2 major appliances at one time or you will pop the main breaker, which is all the way in the basement of the building. I wasn't sure if I could even run one AC unit and the washer, but I decided to gamble and turn off only one AC unit. So far its working.

We spent the evening watching TV and staying cool in the AC.

I spotted these two cars in Pavia yesterday - an old Fiat (Jack, Katrina really wants your car!) and a Porshe.

5 week gelato count: 33 gelatos
5 week wine count: 6 bottles