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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Today in Vedano al Lambro: a couple of thunderstorms, high 31c.

We had some really heavy rain with a little bit if thunder and lighting in the 8pm hour last night. Brandon still chose to sleep on the balcony. Its well protected, so that is not an issue.

I had a horrible night falling asleep. Then I woke up many times through the night. Katrina didn't fall asleep until late and woke up this morning feeling very achy and sick. She had me call Rosella to cancel her Italian lesson.

Brandon was in an unusual mood this morning. I got out of the shower and found him delinting the pillows on the couch and dusting the tables and shelves. He did a great job. If only he was interested in helping out (of his own free will) more often.

Brandon and I headed to Auchan to stock up on a few groceries. Katrina stayed in bed, but had plans to go into work later today.

Katrina got up for awhile when are arrived home from Auchan. She is now sleeping again. Brandon is starting his Italian lesson. We had him take the month of June off because he was a little overwhelmed. Both of our lessons went very well today.

After Italian lessons, Brandon and I went for a bike ride in Parco di Monza. It's amazing how the temperature drops several degrees when you enter the park. It was very hot and very humid this afternoon.

We decided to make some basic pasta with pomodoro sauce this evening. Brandon and I also decided to get some gelato for all of us. We decided it would help Katrina's throat feel better. If it didn't, then at least it would taste good!

We spent the evening on the couch watching TV, eating gelato and just relaxing. Katrina is feeling a tiny bit better, but she is still very stuffy and achy.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Visitiamo la Grotta Azzurra! - Let's go visit the Blue Grotto!

Today in Vedano al Lambro: a couple of thunderstorms, high 31c.

Went for a ride this morning. Same route, just one roundabout farther than last time. I'm getting one roundabout closer to Lake Como on each ride. Today I rode 35.8km. It was a good ride. I drafted a team of 5 riders for several kilometers before they pulled off for a break near their team car. I know they were riding slow and I was pushing hard, but it was fun to ride in a group. It was very hot and humid this morning.

Katrina left for work around 10:30. Brandon spent the morning playing while I did showered and did some house cleaning and started a load of laundry. We made sure to go grocery shopping before 1pm when the store closes for the lunch break. I also swept and mopped the apartment. It is so warm today. The AC is barely keeping us cool.

Brandon and I went down to Parco di Matteotti for a little while. IT deosn't feel quite as humid as it did earlier today. The forecast called for thunderstorms, but the skies have been clear all day so far.

We just had a family from the other wing of our building stop by to introduce themselves. They have a ten year old son and a 2 or 3 year old. The Mom (I am bad - I already forgot her name) is from Canada and is married to an Italian. Now Brandon has someone who speaks English to play with.

I made beef enchiladas, corn and salad for dinner tonight. We can't eat Italian every night...or can we?!?! The Mexican food in the grocery stores is an attempt at being Mexican, but not everything lives up to our expectations. The sauce for the enchiladas was very much like pomodoro sauce, but thicker. It didn't taste bad. It just wasn't Mexican. I guess we will have to eat at Mexicali a little more often to get fill our desires.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Week 10 Update

10 week gelate count: 66
10 week wine bottle count: 10 bottles

Castello di San Sebastiano da Po

Castello di San Sebastiano da Po from across the valley.

We slept in a bit this morning. I didn't get up until I felt Brandon tickling me at 8:30am.

Wow, where to begin? This day would change my whole perspective about the castle. As I mentioned yesterday, when we arrived I saw the castle as a place that needed some tender loving care. I had the impression we would be sleeping in luxury. What we found was an old castle that has maintained a lot of its original rustic charm. Its not a fancy place, but it is authentic and it is full of amazing history. I will try to capture some of its long colorful history in a short overview.

After getting ready for the day, we made our way down to the breakfast room in the basement of the castle.

Parts of the old kitchen that are still intact in what is now the breakfast room.

Breakfast was a mixture of caffe, tea, orange juice, hot chocolate, cereal and milk, some cookies and some bread. All very tasty.

After breakfast we explored the downstairs rooms of the castle and the inner courtyard.

Fountain located inside courtyard.

Billiard Room

Sitting Room

We made our way back up to the front of the castle. Brandon wanted to give us a tour of the gardens. They are a rather large area of the castle. There are roses and palm trees, a reflecting pool, fruit trees, a greenhouse, a large field within the main walls, some trails and a lookout hill in the middle. Brandon and I even found a hidden passage, but it had bars over the entrance. Katrina took hundreds of pictures. She told me she could have stayed all day just taking pictures of the place.

Lavender in the garden.

Looking into one section of the greenhouse.

Another section of the greenhouse.

The open field between the lower castle walls on the left and the upper castle walls on the right.

Another view of the upper wall from the field.

Bell and clock tower.

View of a villa across the valley, from the upper walled area.

View of the valley to the east, looking down on the Po River. Today was a hazy and humid day.

Another view from up high. This is the entrance to the cemetary from the castle.

When we made our way back to the main entry area, Luca was there. He wanted to show us some special places in the castle, but he had to meet with a couple who were arriving to plan their wedding. He asked his father, Guido, to show us around. This was going to be an interesting tour in many ways. First off, Guido didn't speak any English. We would be listening to his stories in Italian and trying to pick up what we could. It was Guido's passion for the castle that made me realize what a special place it was. Guido first led us into the cellars, as promised by Luca. This was the beginning of a history lesson that would last for a couple of hours.

The cellars are more like underground passages. No electricity. Guido gave Brandon a candle to light the way into the pitch black passages. At first he did not want to hold it, so Katrina took it. It quickly became clear that Brandon should lead the way holding the candle since he was the shortest. That way the candlelight was closer to the floor for us to see where we were stepping. My first thought - this was another example of something that would not happen in the United States. We could only see a foot or so in front of us.

As we made our way slowly through the tunnels we saw storage areas with giant wooden casks and the underground cistern and wells. The underground passages made their way down the hillside under the lower parts of castle. At the bottom Guido had us step down into another tunnel that ran parralel to the lane just above. The tunnel was only about 20 meters long, if that. It was bricked off on each end. Guido explained to us that this was part of the old Roman underground passages. That tunnel ran for several kilometers to another village. It ran all the way down the hillside and under the Po River. It was used as a secret passageway to get food and other small goods up into the castle.

Guido unlocked an old wooden door that led out onto the lane and gave us the option to go back up into the castle through the passageways or walk up the lane. Brandon chose the lane.

We met Guido back up in the main courtyard. Now he was going to take us down to the lower half of the castle. We went down a flight of stairs, past the breakfast, billiard and sitting rooms, to a doorway off of the inner courtyard. He tried to get Brandon to unlock the door for us, but he was not strong enough. Did I mention the keys? I don't think so. The keys for our room and all the doors in the castle are the old big heavy and long steel keys. This lock was tight and Brandon just could not get it open. Guido took a turn and we walked into a sitting room where more stories were to be shared. Guido told us how many of the items in the room were from the Palazzo Realto in Torino. The Italians moved a lot of important palace fixtures to the castle during WWII. They also moved a lot of many important sculptures and monuments to the castle grounds before the Americans bombed Torino.

Going back in time, Guido also told us some stories about Napolean. His troops apparently held the castle for some time. When they left they took many treasures from the castle back to Paris for display in the Louvre.

The next room was another sitting room with a small terrace and views of the valley. The room was designed in perfect alignment so that once a year at summer solstice the light would shine and reflect through the room in perfect alignment and that is how the time on the bell tower was set.

The room after that was a very long room used for meetings and banquets. The walls were covered in frescos from the time of Napolean. We spent a lot of time in this room as Guido told us historical stories. The artist who painted the frescoes was Beggatti, an artist of Napolean. We are not sure if that is the correct spelling? He was a map maker for Napolean. Guido even showed us an old map of the castle. The frescoes on the wall all relate to the power and might of Napoleon.

Guido tells his stories with great passion. Just look at the hand gestures.

Guido also told us how the castle was often used as a meeting place for Italian politicians of northern Italy to debate laws before they were officially voted on in Torino.

One story told of an French politician, Teran (not sure of spelling again) who hosted a banquet for friends and enemies from Paris. One of the servers came into the room with a large platter of trout and tripped, spilling it on the floor. All the guests looked at Teran to see how he would react. Would he get upset? Would he laugh? He just snapped his fingers and another tray of trout was presented. This banquet was so important that he made sure extra trout was available.

Guido had so much to say. I have barely touched on the stories and history he told us. Partly because I only understood less than half of what he was saying. Katrina understoom a bit more and helped fill me in. It didn't matter, the expressions on his face and the joy he had in sharing the stories was all worthwhile. His passion for Castello di San Sebastiano da Po changed my opinion of the place. It was not a run down castle. It was an authentic part of history. It was unchanged. It wasn't glamorous. It wasn't luxurious. It was real and historical. We wouldn't get a candlelight tour of the hidden passages at most castles. We wouldn't get to feel the walls crumble a bit as we worked our way through the dark. The smells, the dirt, the old walls, the crumbling stucco, the creaky floors. We were taking a trip back in history thanks to the generous caretakers and owners of Castello di San Sebastiano. What a beautiful place.

Brandon making friends with the castle cat.

After our tour with Guido we gathered our belongings and put them in the car. Katrina wanted to take a few more pictures in the greenhouse. Brandon and I met her there. We walked and played in the gardens while waiting for Katrina.

We finally checked out and left the castle around 1pm. Katrina was not interested in taking the autostrada home, so we turned down the local highway and drove. We were hungry for lunch. We found Dolcezze Cavagnolesi about 9km down the road. We had a great lunch of sandwiches, coke and some tasty treats for dessert.

At this point we were tired, so now we headed to the autostrada and drove home. I spent most of the evening working on this blog, Katrina read and Brandon played.

It was a great weekend visiting a new place thanks to Brandon's urging. This evening Brandon is sleeping in his pop up tent on the balcony again.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Il mare di Capri e' sempre azzurro - Capri's waters are always azure blue.

Today's forecast in Vedano: beautiful with some some, high 30c

Today we headed to Torino (Turin in English) in the Piedmont region of Italy, about an hour from the border of France. The area has approximately 1 million inhabitants.

Torino was the first capital of modern Italy and was host of the 2006 Winter Olympics. The city is in the foothills of the Alps, with the Po River running through it.

Torino is an important city of technology and industry. Fiat is based in Torino. Some call Torino the 'Detroit' of Italy because of its strong ties to the auto industry.

Wide boulevards, red, yellow and white buildings make the city center appear to be more French than Italian. Around the city a crown of castles, churches and villas on the hillsides offer sweeping views of Torino.

We left the house around 9am. Autostrada A4 took us from Milano straight to Torino. We arrived around 11am, making a few wrong turns in downtown Torino before finding parking at Piazza San Carlo. Piazza San Carlo was completed in the first half of the 1600's and is considered the 'living room of Torino'. We bought a map at a newstand and oriented ourselves to where we were and where we wanted to go.

Brandon in Piazza San Carlo. Behind him are the twin churches of Santa Cristina and San Carlo, as well as the monument in honor of Filiberto of Savoy.

On our way to our first destination, The Egyptian Museum, we stopped for lunch at a caffe/bar. I had a Quattro Formaggi Pizza. Katrina has a crepe. Brandon had his usual pasta con pomodoro.

The Egptian Museum was only a block away. The museum was founded in 1824 by Carlo Felice who purchased the collection in Egypt. The collection was later added to by archeological excavations by Eresto Schiaparelli. It has over 30,000 artifacts and is considered the second most important Egyptian museum in the world after the museum of Cairo.

Brandon reading through his guidebook. Fortunately photography was allowed, but no flash.

The museum houses collections that range from organic assortments to objects of art and everyday use to funerary objects...including mummies of humans, cats, alligators and bulls. I found the cats to be the creepiest. The statuary was the best and biggest area of the museum.

Katrina and I discussed how much time the Egyptians seemed to use to prepare for death. They spend decades building their tombs and buried themselves with their most important belongings, and pets. They also buried themselves with statues of bakers and with real bread, grapes and carob, so as not to go hungry in the afterlife.

Three of the many mummies in the museum. Notice that the head of the second one is unwrapped.

After we finished at the museum, we worked our way up one of the many pedestrian malls. We aren't really into the shopping, but looking in all the windows is fun. We stopped at Gromm, a chain of gelateria's that we had heard was very good. It was great!.

We found a marrionette museum along the pedestrian mall, but did not go in.

We continued to work our way towards Piazza Castello. Here we found the Palazzo Reale, the Palazzo Madama and the Church of San Lorenzo. The Church of San Lorenzo was built in 1666 in the Baroque style.

The Palazzo Reale took 14 years to build and was completed in 1660. This was the home of the Savoy family until 1865. It is considered to be one of the most opulent European palaces.

Brandon and Katrina is Piazza Castello with one of the many pedestrian malls in the background.

The Palazzo Madama is a unique building. The structure is one of the entrances to the Roman Castrum called Porta Decumana and became a fortress in the medieval period. It was turned into a caste in the 15th century and became home of the Savoy family in the 16th century. The front facade is Baroque and grand. The opposite facade is that of a Medieval castle.

Palazzo Madama - notice the Baroque facade and the medieval tower in the back.

Brandon standing on the glass floor inside the Palazzo Madama. It was built on top of the old Roman foundations.

Our next destination was Valentino Park. This proved to be quite a bit of a walk. It looked a lot shorter on the map. On top of that, it was hot and very humid. We must have walked for 30 - 40 min, stopping at a market to buy water and a snack. We also stopped at an incredible find, a model train store. It was great. The first model store I have been in that wasn't primarily diecast cars. I found a few things I liked, one of which will be added to the small pile headed to Blodgett OR.

We finally made it to the park. Valantino Park is considered the lungs of the city and is one of the largest urban parks in Europe (remember that Parco di Monza, across the street from our apartment, is the largest in all of Europe). It is located on the Po River. Here you can rent bikes, listen to concerts, visit Valentino Castle, the Medieval Hamlet or the Fountain of the Months. Our destination was the Medieval Hamlet.

Tower inside the hamlet.

The Medieval Hamlet (Borgo Medievale) is a historical reconstruction of a typical Piedmontese medieval hamlet. It was built in 1884 for the Universal Exhibition in Torino and its success kept it from being demolished at the end of the event. The hamlet is made up of workshops, kitchens, shops a chapel, prisons and a castle.

Outside wall of the hamlet.

Brandon on the main street of the hamlet.

Brandon looking into one of the wells inside the hamlet.

The Medieval Castle.

We thought about taking a tour of the castle, but it was a guided tour and we were just too tired to pay that much attention.

We slowly wandered out of the hamlet and found a bench to just rest and read through our guidebook. We decided we should visit the Fountain of the Months while we were in the park. It was built in 1898 by Carlo Ceppi. The fountain is supposed to depict a parable of 12 months, 4 seasons and the four rivers that flow through Torino...the Po, the Dora Riparia, The Stura and the Sangone. Unfortunately all it depicted for us was construction fencing and remodeling.

Katrina wanted to walk past the front of the Valentino Castle, so we walked through the upper side of the park and found a bar and playground. Katrina and I enjoyed some water and a coke while Brandon played on the swings.

Valentino Castle was built in a characteristic French style in the 14th century by Emmanuele Filiberto. The inside is decorated with stucco and fresco paintings. It is now part of a university.

Valentino Castle

We finally started our slowly walk back to our car parked under Piazza San Carlo. We made a point of staying on the shady side of the street this time. About halfway back we decided to stop at a bar for aperitivo and wine. Its a great way to have a nice snack. You stop in and order a drink and they serve you chips, popcorn, little sandwiches, and fruit. Brandon had a limone granita. Katrina and I each had a nice glass of vino rosso.

We made it back to our car in the parking garage below Piazza San Carlo, but not before stopping in a chocolate shop. One of Katrina's coworkers told us we had to try some chocolate that Torino is famous for. The store gave us a sample and we bought a small package.

Off to our Bed & Breakfast for the night. Our GPS didn't like the address we tried to enter, so we just entered the town of San Sebastiano and headed that way, about a 40 min drive from Torino. We arrived in town and had some trouble figuring out where Castello San Sabastiano was. We followed some signs that said 'Castello' on them. We were stopped by some people sitting on a corner directing people to a wedding. We asked them about the castle and they didn't know. This would end up being funny a little later. We made our way back towards town, then pulled over to call the castle for directions. Katrina had to talk since she speaks better Italian than I do. It turns out we were going the right way. The two people on the corner just worked for the catering business doing the wedding and apparently didn't know the name of the castle they were working at!! We managed to find our way up the foothill and to the back door of the castle.

Luca Carrone met us at the backdoor. He is part owner of the castle and seems to run most of the business. There was a big wedding reception going on. He showed us to our room and told us to come down when we were ready and he would show us around a bit. Castello di Sebastiano da Po is very old and very rustic. I do mean rustic in the literal sense and not in the sense that it was made to feel rustic. At first I was struck by how old, basic and worn the place was. By the time we left this would turn out to be part of the charm we loved about the place.

When Luca took us upstairs to our room, Brandon just about fainted when we were taken to room #6. That is the room he stayed in for his school residential trip a few weeks ago. We had joked about it, but I didn't think we would really get the same room. Brandon was so excited and so eager to share all he knew about the castle.

We got settled in our room then went downstairs to meet Luca. He was very kind and wanted to make sure everything was as we expected. He was also very gracious with Brandon by letting him lead the way to the breakfast room. Brandon was excited to show us the shortcut through the castle. Luca showed us around the main rooms, then told us of a place nearby where we could get some dinner. San Sebastiano is in the middle of the foothills, so the roads are narrow and the little hamlets are tucked all over. Luca decided it would be best if we followed him down into the valley to the restaurant.

We had a late dinner (9pm) at Trattoria La Pace. It was a very busy place in the middle of nowhere. I think only locals could even find this little hamlet, let alone the restaurant. The restaurant is family run and makes one or two dinner items per night. Of course, thats one or two items per course. We were not real hungry, so we just had a pasta dish and dessert. Brandon had homemade pasta with pesto sauce. Katrina and I had homemade meat ravioli's. Brandon had some cherry gelato for dessert. Katrina and I were each given a little sample plate with pieces of the three desserts offered. One was a baked peach dessert. The second was a chocolate cake and the third was a chocolate mousse. Our favorite was the peach dessert.

We made back up to the castle late. The wedding reception was still in full force. We were tired and ready for bed.....in a castle in Italy!! Sometimes that still amazes me...we are in Italy.

An 8 year old after a long day of sightseeing!

Friday, June 26, 2009


Questa sera c'e' l'insaugurazione di un nuovo locale notturno - This evening there's the opening of a new nightclub.

Forecast for Vedano: a couple of thunderstorms, 30c.

We had a very strong thunderstorm last night. Lighting flashing all over, heavy rain and very loud thunder. I'm surprised it did not wake Brandon up.

Its been an interesting week. I've heard that Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and now Michael Jackson have all passed away in the last 2-3 days. The most surprising was Michael Jackson.

Brandon is on his first day of summer vacation. Since Katrina is home in the mornings, I went for my second bike ride. I followed the same route as last time, but rode about 1.5km farther. My turnaround point was 16.5km from Como. The other significant factor of my turnaround point is that the big hills really start. I rode up the first one...the extra 1.5km today...and turned around before it dropped significantly on the other side. I felt good on the bike, but not as aggressive in traffic as last time. My butt is the sorest part of my body. Next ride will probably be on Monday since we are going away for the weekend.

This is a sculpture in Parco di Monza. The speck underneath it is Brandon on his bike.

After lunch Brandno and I decided to go for a bike ride. We rode over to the post office in Vedano, then the Gelateria Judy for granite, followed by a bike ride in Parco di Monza. We found some new roads we had not been on. Its such a big park, I'm sure we will be finding new areas for a very long time. We arrived home hot and sweaty. Its humid today, but thankfully not too hot. The AC was turned on as soon as we arrived home.

We spent the afternoon hanging out in the apartment, moving the rear rack from my road bike to my mtn bike, and watching ants. Yes, watching ants is a favorite pasttime for and 8 year old boy. The clouds began to roll in and we had a small thunderstorm and some lighting. Not even close to what we had last night.

Brandon decided he wanted to sleep on the balcony tonight. He has his pop up play tent setup and his sleeping bag inside. I just sprayed him with bug repellent, otherwise he will be eaten alive.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bergamo Pictures

Check out Katrina's blog for a link to her pictures of Bergamo.


Nella piazzetta di Capri si possono incontrare molti Vip - In the Capri piazzetta one can meet many celebrities.

Forecast for Vedano: a thunderstorm or two, high 28c.

I walked Brandon to school today because I needed to chat with Laurie in the office about school physicals.

I spent about 20min chatting with Alyssa this morning...or really late at night for her...catching up on Corvallis what she's up to. I love technology...even as basic as online chat.

Katrina had her Italian lesson this morning. I should have gone for a bike ride, but I didn't. I'm not feeling all that well. I have an earache, a sore throat and feel very lethargic. Maybe thats all an excuse? Maybe I would have felt better once I was out on the road? I don't know? I did that the car and visited a local bike shop for some water bottles. For some reason we didn't pack any waterbottles for our bikes.

Brandon's friend Vincent came home with us this afternoon. They played with Brandon's XTS Trains when we first got home. They moved on to sharing tips and working together on Poptropica. They played outside for awhile before calling me to take them to the park, followed by a trip to the gelateria.

I worked on some household chores and on my model ship. It's amazing how it takes me almost an hour to glue about 4 strips of wood to the hull. This is going to be a long project.

Katrina had a big lunch at work, so Brandon and I made some basic pasta and pomodoro for dinner.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Ci vediamo questa sera alle dieci in piazzetta - We'll meet tonight in the piazzetta (little square).

Today in Vedano al Lambro: a couple of afternoon showers, high 29c.

Brandon has a full day of school today and a 1/2 day tomorrow, then summer break begins.

Ugh. I left the house with enough time to drive over to a bike shop on the route to Katrina's office. Unfortunately, the normal route through Parco di Monza is closed due to some sort of market/festival. The traffic was impossible. I tried to drive into Monza to take a different route and made very little progress, leaving me not enought time to get to the bike shop and back home in time for Katrina to go to work. I guess I will live a few more days without.

I just made reservations for Castello di Sebastiano near Torino. This is the castle that Brandon's class stayed at for their residential trip. He has been excited to show it to us and Katrina has been wanting to visit Torino. We will head that way on Saturday, spend the night in the castle and head home on Sunday.

I spent some more time trying to find a hotel room in Heidelberg Germany, then decided to ride my bike over to the market/festival at Parco di Monza to see what was going on.

One of the more interesting booths at the market. They really like their smoked meat and sausage here. This booth had all sorts of unusual meats.

It turned out to mostly be a very large market. They must have had a 100 or more booths selling everything from cheese and meat, candy, clothing, olives and gadgets, to cheap toys and one man's junk. They also had some cows and a lot of horses on display. I'm not really sure what that was all about...auction maybe? There were people at the gates of the park protesting the inhumane treatment and butchering of cows and pigs. Therefore, also the presence of quite a few polizia.

I spent the afternoon doing my usual things around the house: load of laundry, sweeping, cleaning, etc.

I just completed the full itinerary and reservations for our July trip. We will fly to Amsterdam and spend 3 nights. Next, we take the train to Dusseldorf, where we switch trains to arrive at Bacharach in the Rhine River Valley for 3 nights. Then we take a couple of trains to Heidelberg Germany to stay for 2 nights, followed by an 8 hour train ride from Heidelberg to Milano to finish off the trip. Whew...thats a lot of planning. I hope all is in order. Now to plan what to do in these locations.

I made Stracotto con Cipolle (beef pot roast with onions)and mashed potatoes for dinner tonight...with a little red wine. Very nice.

Brandon and Katrina spent the evening painting. I was feeling a little grumpy, so I just stayed quiet and did my own thing so as not to make anyone else unhappy.

I worked on my ship for about an hour today. I'm making slow but steady progress. The sides are starting to appear, one strip of wood at a time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Last night we checked in on Brandon after he had fallen asleep. He was not in his bed, but buried in his comforter on the floor under his window.

Domani Jenny fara' una gita a Capri - Tomorrow Jenny will go on a trip to Capri.

Its another sunny morning in Vedano. Today's forecast: a couple of showers, high 24c.

Brandon has 2 1/2 days of school left. He's excited for summer. It will be fun to go on excursions with him this summer. He wants to ride bikes, go into Milan, and have friends over to play.

Katrina had her Italian lesson this morning. I decided, with much indecision and procrastination, to go for a road ride on my bike. I see more road cyclists of all ages in one day than I ever did in a whole year in Oregon. I really don't think I am exaggerating either. Via Brianza in front of our apartment seems to be part of a popular route, so I headed that way to check it out.

Wow, that was the most exciting, scenic and best ride I have been on in a very long time. My bike computer is still set for miles, so I decided to ride 10 miles one way. Since the route seems to be headed to the foothills, it was a slow uphill all the way to the 10 mile mark. I hit 10 miles right at a roundabout, so I used to turn around and head home. Wow, I was only 18km from Como! The ride home was fast and full of adrenaline. Road riding is very different here, which makes sense since driving is so different. Bikes don't stop for the few red lights that exist. They just ride up, usually on the drivers side and roll cautiously through the intersections, only stopping if they absolutely have to. If there is a long line of cars and the light turns green, they just cut into line and ride on through. Its a bit more aggressive and there doesn't seem to be all bike vs car issues like I've been reading about in Corvallis. I loved it!! Everyone knows there place and they just drive...or ride. I never felt unsafe the entire ride. Anyway, it was a great ride. I rode 32km roundtrip and I look forward to my next one tomorrow or Thursday.

One of the TV shows on around the time I am cooking is La Vita Seconda Jim. Think about it...

I decided I needed to take some time for myself this afternoon. I just need to not do housework for a few hours. I pulled down my model ship and worked on it for about an hour.

Tonight we had gnocchi with pesto sauce and parmessan risotto for dinner.