Saturday, November 17, 2007

Addio Vicenza

I have just one hour left on my internet card so this will have to be short and sweet.

We have been ambushed by time and suddenly it's time to pack up and leave. The trip we waited a year for is almost over. Memorable? Very. Will we do it again? Not until the government gets a handle on currency values. Just too expensive. Here's a good example. Yesterday we took to bus up to Marositca (more later). We passed a gas station on the way and noted that low-test unleaded gas is 1.30€ per litre. That translates to $1.90 per litre. There are 3.75 litres in a gallon. So how would you like to pay $7.30 a gallon for your gas? Let's have no more crying over gas prices in the US. No wonder Europeans drive tiny cars. I think we've seen a half-dozen SUVs during this entire trip, and they're all Mercedes.

The trip to Marostica was wonderful. It is a walled city 45-minutes from here by bus. You can see the old walls that climb up the hill and encircle the town beneath. In the center of the main piazza is an area paved to resemble a huge chess board. In the summer there are chess matches with people dressed in chessmen costumes (the queen, too) who move around the board as directed by whoever is playing. Big festivals surround these games, played at night under lights. It was very, very cold, although the sun was out. After hiking up the hill for a piece to see a lovely little church, we went back down into the center of town, had a delicious hot chocolate to stave off the cold and any hunger. We strolled around more, looking at the architecture, old buildings, remarkable stone walls of the fortress that are being restored. We got back on the bus and came home, thoroughly satisfied. Oddest sight on this trip: an airplane parked in the front yard of a house on the outskirts of Vicenza. The ultimate in garden statuary.

Today is pack up and get ready for tommorrow morning's train at 9:45. Before then, however, we have tonight's concert of Baroque music. We noticed that the city fathers - actually, city workers - are beginning to put up lights throughout the city for Christmas. When we were here in '04 we got to see the finished product. I don't know if the lights will be on tonight after the concert, but if they are, it will be a lovely sight to remember.

I stopped in at the shirtmaker this morning to tell him "Arrivderci" and that "questo anno, no camecia. Io ho due, si? Il euro e il dollar no son bene. But maybe anno prossimo." He was impressed! I was exhausted by the effort.

Good news from home concerns Alex. She has been hired as a development officer by CSU Long Beach. Congratulations Alex! We'll celebrate when we get home. And that will be in about 48+ hours. Hard to believe.

Next message will be from the Pension Ferretti in Florence where we will stay tomorrow night. We stayed there once before; it's handy to the train station and to our chosen Sunday night restaurant, includes breakfast and has free internet. I'll report on the train ride, and anything else I can think of.


At 7:14 PM, Blogger mary ann said...

I'm sad too that you are leaving Italy. Thank you for the delightful posts and insights ~ congrats to Alex, now that's an impressive job!


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