Page 2 of Dolemitesprint Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Austria » Styria » Leibnitz March 23rd 2010

I ignored all the warnings. My host Matej had promised to be unaccommodating and even said her house was full of poison, but I decided to visit her anyway. It turned out to be a great decision, and in the tiny village of Vinska Gora, Matej and her boyfriend Zdrocco ended up being some of the kindest people I’d met on my trip. Matej First she served me a vegetable soup, and we shared a glass of wine together. Then, along with her independent-minded and friendly dog Don, we set out amongst the freshly blooming sprouts of spring plants, and up the slopes of the South-easternmost Slovenian Alps. The view of Matej’s valley was absolutely stunning, even from our starting point. As we passed through wooded areas, and climbed up into the sky on this sunny ... read more
Slovenian meal
Roadside Bungalow

Europe » Slovenia » Upper Carniola » Ljubljana March 20th 2010

“It only takes cursory sample of your average Slovenian’s English to see how badly my Italian sucks,” says a note from my pad. “I could never have had this short conversation about beer in Italian.” Ljubljana Arriving in Ljubljana, it is clear this small town has something special. It has an air of safety and accommodation. I feel accepted and allowed to go about my plans without being harassed. There is a feeling that life is relatively secure, yet there isn’t an overwhelming police presence, as you often find in Italy. I may be the only tourist in the city, but there is a fair amount to see here. Ljubljana feels a bit like Reykjavik, in size and technology. It feels modern and new, much more like northern Europe than any Italian city. Perhaps the newness ... read more
Dragon bridge
Union Beer
Jenko family

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice March 16th 2010

Venice is the most expensive city in the world that I have seen, but it’s worth it. Whenever I’m locked somewhere and I feel like I’m forced to pay an exuberant amount for something/everything, I make the remark, “These bastards think they’re Disneyland.” In this case, Venice IS Disneyland. Venice is far betterthan Disneyland. Venice is a real freaking city, built in the last millennia, where all the buildings are fantastic, and the streets themselves are works of art. There is nothing that can possibly prepare the well-traveled voyager, who has seen hundreds of cities, for the miracle that is Venice. The idea of so much water in a city is simply unfathomable, to make a small pun. What struck me, as I rode the public water bus for two magnificent, sunset hours, was that the ... read more
Venitian Sunset 1
Venice at Night

Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Milan March 14th 2010

Milano was something of a disaster. I wasn’t hurt badly, but nothing I tried to do worked out. Armani aggravation My primary goal in Milano was to get pictures taken, wearing a new Armani suit. I contacted Armani headquarters the previous month, telling them I wanted to take pictures for a story I was pitching about the fashion awareness among Milanese. They told me that would be fine. They didn’t speak English, but they still told me it would be fine. When I arrived, no one at Armani was aware of my request, and the store manager Michelangelo said they needed to have confirmed clearance to have photos published of someone wearing their clothes (even though they were released several months ago). I ended up spending about two hours pacing about the store and picking out ... read more
Central square
At the Cathedral square

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Modena March 14th 2010

Socialism: a family affair All I saw of Bologna as I motored on through its highways were the booted prostitutes on the street corner, wearing hot pants in the snow. When I reached Modena, my host Claudio told me they were mostly Romanians and Nigerians, who had settled into that particular market niche in Northern Italy. As he told me this, we watched hundreds of young and old Modenese parade through the streets in support of a communist agenda in the upcoming national elections. Swarms of impartial SWAT officers stood aloofly, observing the protest. Two beaming young girls rushed to a portable microphone, and led the chanting that accompanied the march. They smiled with great satisfaction as they venomously unleashed their harsh words of criticism against the sitting government. My host family Claudio and Cornelia are ... read more
Commie Girls
My crew from Modena
Cathedral Shadow

Europe » San Marino » San Marino March 12th 2010

I’m exhausted. It’s a bad combination when you mix back-to-back eight-hour motorcycle rides and lots of snow. I’m staying with my friend Sara in San Marino and her visiting her Dutch amica Willers. They’re old friends, and I feel somewhere between accepted and a third wheel. When I arrived in San Marino, I was too jumbled and frozen to accurately describe my whereabouts to Sara over the phone. I flagged down a passing driver, who was able to interpret my location for Sara. Then the driver motioned for me to follow her, and led me about 3km back the way she had come, to a warm coffee bar where I would await further instructions. It took almost fifteen minutes for me to thaw out, and while I thawed, a tall, well-dressed friend of Sara’s came in ... read more
Tower of San Marino
At the Town Hall

Europe » Italy » Marche » Fermo March 10th 2010

“Do you understand what just happened?” the greasy con man asked. “You got played” I’d stopped at a fuel station10 km south of Pescara to take some headache medicine, and while I dug through my bag to find it, I saw three men who appeared to be playing a shell game along the side of the building. Having zero interest in gambling, I hardly made a note of it. Then, out of nowhere… “Did you drive that Vespa all the way from London?” I looked up to see a well-dressed Italian man in a fine outer coat speaking to me in English. “Yes actually, I did.” “That’s a really long way,” he said. “Yes, it is.” “Do you see what they’re doing over there?” he asked. I said I did, but wasn’t interested at all. He ... read more
Brennan and his Cousin Remo
Brennan in San Ginesio
Countryside in Winter

Europe » Italy » Apulia » Cerignola March 8th 2010

Armanda lives next to a cemetery that isn’t a cemetery. It’s a long-running field throughout the ancient city of Cerignola, pocked with stone stumps. When I called her for specific directions, she knew exactly the place I described - even though it wasn’t a cemetery; just the ruined foundation of a huge old building. I had no idea - as she helped me park my Vespa under her building and turned the secret keys to access her home on the private third floor - that Armanda was the most talented visual artist I had ever met. That changed the moment she opened the door to her gallery/home. I was floored; it was as cluttered as my grandma Bernie’s home, except it was wall-to-wall with amazing art. There must be hundreds of paintings in here. Her most ... read more
Jesus on the table
Brennan in Foggia

Europe » Italy » Campania » Naples March 7th 2010

Back in one of my favorite cities My boat was late. After a tame ferry ride, my boat arrived in Napoli about 2-1/2 hours behind schedule. I got just a little bit lost, but none of that matters. I am here with my lovely Neapolitan family again. I do love this place. Protests, tours and lunch Marisa took me to a protest of Israeli made-invested products outside a supermarket. We stood outside picketing and informing the customers of the evil done by their uninformed purchasing decisions. After a brief walk to the top of the city, a peak at the castle and a museum, we ate a delicious lunch, while Elena studied for her gravely important medical school exam, which had already been postponed at least twice - driving her crazy. Marisa took me down to ... read more
Above Napoli
Birthday Party 1
Marisa protests

Europe » Malta » Malta » La Valletta March 4th 2010

All I saw was a fleck of white, and then I heard it smash. Then a spot of green bounced in another direction. The heavy winds outside Valletta had blown a birdcage off a high residential balcony, and, as shattered as his cage, the small canary was struggling to breathe on the cement steps. The damn thing had almost hit me, missing by only about a meter. The shop on the ground floor of the building had closed for lunch, but I pounded on the door until someone answered. I explained the situation and we did what we could for the bird. Getting to Malta was the biggest travel disaster of my short life As I struggled to catch my flight to Malta, I constantly felt like a portly Dom DeLuise or Allen Funt was going ... read more
Streets of Valletta
Captain Morgan Cruises?

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