Me in the Monsoons

Me in the Monsoons

Me in the Monsoons

Some thoughts and reflections on travel, but more so on life through travel. Enjoy : )

Europe » Italy » Campania » Naples June 7th 2009

I've heard repeatedly, from foreigners as well as Italians we've met along the way, that once you arrive in Napoli, leave all your jewellery and belongings in the safe at your hotel; walk the streets, but not the small ones, and not at night. I always hear such advise with a cautious ear; people generally relay info of this kind with exaggeration and a midday-TV-drama spin. There's always dodgy corners in every major city. You just have to be street smart and not look too much like a tourist. Don't dawdle, leave your map in your bag if you feel uncomfortable, and don't talk to strangers. Of course, Napoli has an extra bit of criminality; the Camorra, or mafia, and their side arms that deal in petty crime such as robbing old ladies of their handbags. ... read more

Europe » Italy » Campania » Capri June 5th 2009

Everyone raves about the island of Capri, on the coast line near Naples, like its the most blessed place on earth. I thought, ok, must be cool. So we checked it out on a sunny morning via ferry from Amalfi. Scenically, yes, its lovely. But then again, its nothing more spectacular than the coastline of the mainland. The big difference is, of course, that its an island, and islands draw a number of people including: tourists looking for day trip places that will sound exotic on postcards they send home to relatives sitting behind office desks; rich people who need outlets to spend exhorbitant amounts of dirty money and a preferably small place where they can find like-funded brand wearers; and famous people who, well, I don't know any famous people. Capri is their place. Its ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Pascoso June 2nd 2009

I'm walking slowly, quietly, carefully, down the road in Pascoso; the rain is still drizzling as it has been doing on and off all day. Drizzle, rain, drizzle, rain. The cobblestones are glistening from the coat of water that has clothed them; it tickles my skin as I pat down the frizz in my hair. Eva opens the door to the big stone house on the corner; we all step inside. Its a Tuesday night, but every table is filled with Italian families apart from one - lucky we made a reservation this morning, I think. A lady greets us and mum mentions Fausto; ah, yes, she knows, and points us towards the vacant seats. There's five bambini, kids, scattered around the room; two bushy headed boys in front in their terrible twos; one baby on ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Lucca June 1st 2009

I'm sitting here under a big old tree on the grassy city walls of Lucca, lapping up the glorious afternoon sun and watching people italian-style. Everyone continuously tells me that the Italians prance around when they walk. I hadn't really seen it until today, but up here overlooking the town, I know what they were talking about. There's couples holding hands and lingering over a kiss; elegant - always elegant - elderly ladies walking their miniature dogs; fathers chasing two year olds from one side of the wall to the other, yelling Claudia, Ciara, ciao!, their words a melody. There's a group of old men sitting around a wooden table, playing chess in deep concentration. Everyone is watching on, heads bent over the moving pieces, each one made of marble from Carrara, I assume. They all ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Pascoso May 29th 2009

Trying to find "cheap" accomodation in Italy is like finding a needle in 600 haystacks - impossible. Like everything else here, things are double if not triple the price of the exact replica in Australia. You can then imagine that we didn't hesitate for very long when we stumbled across a well presented, two bedroom apartment in Tuscany, just out of Lucca, for something like €100 per night ($200). Cheap. On arriving in Lucca the other day from Venice, we followed the directions that Fausto, the owner, had given us to reach Casa Marta, our new home for the following days. When we started heading out of the city, I didn't think much of it. We knew it was about 30km, so no drama. It wouldn't take us long to drive into Lucca everyday to ... read more

Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice May 27th 2009

The light floods into the bedroom early here in Venice; through the double window high above my bed, across the roofs of the city, to wake me up (relatively) early. I sit up on the rollercoaster mattress, stretch my arms, and opps, I've hit them on the beam above; I'm in a loft, afterall. One that would pass no building standards anywhere in the world other than here in Italy, and maybe in Mongolia for reasons more related to average citizen height than any sort of logic. Deep breath - ahhh, the not so fresco, fresh, Venetian air; the room is the ultimate dust bowl, but not just any dust, I'm talking old dust, 1789 era dust, dust that has been sitting here for a very good while. Yuck, I'm glad I'm not asmatic or susceptible ... read more

Europe » Germany » Saxony » Dresden May 25th 2009

I don't like to end my Germany leg of this trip on a not-so-wonderful note, as the entire trip has been, well, like a triple scoop of homemade icecream in a Danish waffle cone. But, I cannot deny you the truth and so it must be done. I should tell you a bit about Dresden. First thing you should know is that it lays in the former DDR, or former East Germany. Second thing you should know is that it has about 500,000 residents - not big, not small. Third thing you are going to know whether you like it or not is my impression of it. Mum keeps saying, "It wouldn't be like this in Germany. This would be different in Germany" before we all gauk at each other and laugh stupidly. We are of ... read more

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin May 24th 2009

Have you ever fallen really hard and really far in love? Have you ever been dizzied by it, swayed by it, warmed by it as though you are under the gentlest yet warmest rays of sun? Have you ever been so in love that you'd nearly rather not go to sleep in case you might miss a moment of it? Well, I have. Just now. Again. My heart belongs to Berlin. I fell in love with her once before, a few years ago on a fleeting visit to her streets, but this time its even more serious. How do I know? Because she hasn't let me down. All the love I retained for her from my last trip has just been reenforced, made stronger. The streets are more alive than I remembered; the people are crazier ... read more

Europe » Germany » Berlin May 24th 2009

The first thing we noticed as we pulled into Berlin the other day were the posters and ads everywhere announcing that Germany is celebrating its 60th year of existence on 23rd May, yesterday. This might sound a bit odd given the land and its civilisation is age old, but the actual nation as it stands today was formed only 60 years ago in 1949, a few years after the end of WW2. Cool, we think. Wie passend! What a coincidence. The three german gals are home for a party. We decide then and there that we will skip the classical choir concert in the Berliner Dom and check out the festivities instead. Around 6pm, we catch the S Bahn, the tram, from Checkpoint Charlie, the former US operated border crossing from West Berlin into the Russian ... read more

Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin May 23rd 2009

We're on the platform, one of the many U Bahn platforms, undergrounds, of Berlin's nothing-but-awesome public transport web. We wait a few minutes for the U3 that will take us from Nollendorfplatz to the Potsdamerplatz, the first famous cultural stop on our inaugural day in this fascinating city. Here it comes, clad in canary yellow and fire engine red; people begin to congregate towards the edge of the platform as the U Bahn slows, then comes to a halt. The doors open by the press of a little green button in the centre. In we go. Its crammed, fairly full. We have obviously caught a busy line, as there's no seats. But we can all confortably stand by the door. Eva reads a little too loudly from the Berlin guide we bought a week ago at ... read more

Tot: 2.782s; Tpl: 0.031s; cc: 13; qc: 89; dbt: 0.0614s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb