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.

Friday, September 4, 2009

End of the Week

Its Friday.  This week has gone by quickly.  Katrina woke Brandon and I up at 7:45.  I helped Brandon get ready for the day and got myself ready for a bike ride. 

I rode about 24km this morning.  Not a long ride, but a pretty good one.  It felt good to get on the bike after a few weeks of vacation and lazieness.  My ride was short because I had to be home in time to clean up and take Katrina to work.  We are going to Mike's for dinner tonight so she will just ride home with him.  Brandon and I will take the Metro into the city.  Jen is in town and is cooking us a Mexican fiesta.  

I dropped Katrina off at work and decided to head towards Stazione Centrale, a great looking hobby shop near Linate.  After getting on the highway I realized I didn't have my wallet.  I didn't really want to drive into the city without it, so I 'detoured' the GPS to home. 

After hanging out at home for awhile and eating some lunch, I ran over to Auchan to pickup a few grocery items we needed.  On the way back home I stopped at the Autodromo to see about Formula 1 tickets for next Saturday.  I had heard that the 3 day tickets sell out by mid August and that single day tickets go on sale September 1st.  I guess sales are slow for the first time this year.  There are still 3 day passes available, but they are expensive.  They start at e380 and go up.  I bought two single day tickets.  Katrina and Brandon want to go, and Brandon is free with general admission.  (Andy, you need to visit us next September so we can go to the races ALL weekend!!)  Now I need to find earplugs for each of us.  They say the Formula 1 cars are so loud we will be able to hear them clearly at our house.  Most races we can only hear the cars 'in the distance'. 
This past week we received 'neigborhood resident passes' in the mail from Vedano.   The annual Formula 1 races are the biggest event of the year.  People come from all over the world and especially all over Europe.  I read that on average they estimate 650 - 700,000 visitors for the races!!  The streets of Vedano basically shut down and only residents can enter with vehicles.  I'm sure I'll have more to write about it next week.
Another intersting tidbit.  I've mentioned before that Italy is very much a cash based culture.  Oh sure, there are credit cards, but most people seem to carry cash.  Many places only take cash.  The interesting thing we have noticed is that merchants seem very insistent on correct change, even when you can see a cash drawer full of bills and change.  Yesterday afternoon I walked over to Punto, our neighborhood supermarcato.  My total for groceries was e52.61.  I gave the cashier the smallest bills I had - a 50+10.  I didn't have any change on me.  He asked me twice if I had any change.  I said no, while looking at his freshly filled drawer of bills and coins.  He actually gave me the 10 back and told me I could owe him the 2.61 next time.  All so that he didn't have to make change.  I told Katrina this and she laughed.  We both think it would have been easier to just give me change and not have to write a note that I owe 2.61 and wait for me to pay it. 
I picked up Brandon at school and offered to volunteer once a week.  We'll see what they need done.  I figure I can file, copy or do whatever. 

Brandon and I are off. Its time to head to Milan to meet Katrina for dinner with Mike and Jen.  Brandon and I want to stop at the hobby shop beforehand. 
We had a great time in Milan.  Brandon and I drove over to Sesto FS and caught the Metro to the Duomo, then transfered to the yellow line and walked 4 blocks to Stazione Centrale (hobby shop).  They have the best selection of trains I have seen yet.  Not too many model kits though.  Got another item for the collection in Blodgett.  Our friend Jen will be delivering a bunch of Blodgett items in about 2 weeks. 
After the hobby shop we caught a street car over to the Duomo, then caught the red line Metro to Porta Venezia near Mikes apartment.  Jen made a fabulous Mexican dinner of burritos with all the fixings, pico di gallo, and some fresh tortillas from San Diego.  She also made a chocolate cake with strawberries for Mike's birthday.  We bought him a Wii-mote so he can come over and play Mario Kart with us. 
We are home and tired.  Tomorrow we are heading to Verona for the day.  "Romeo, Romeo......"

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