Archive for September, 2008

Italy, Land of Contradictions

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

“Train travel!” cried Todd. “It’s the way to go! Sit back, watch the scenery, and they bring you espresso!” I had to agree it was pretty relaxing, and I couldn’t say which was hotter: the coffee, or the guy who served it! Leave it to Italian men to make pushing a little silver cart look sexy.

Our train trip from Konstanz to Ferrara, Italy took us through Switzerland; and since I’m speaking of contradictions, I couldn’t help but notice one about the Swiss. Known (well, at least in Germany!) for their conservatism and distrust of outsiders, the Swiss have declined to join the European Union. And yet, Switzerland has four national languages (German, Italian, French and Romansh) in what you would guess would be the most diverse country of Europe. What’s up with that?

Anyway, we were thrilled to be headed to Frank and Arianna’s wedding in Arianna’s hometown of Ferrara. “I can’t wait to drive one of those cars! Vrraaa-eee, vrraaa-ahhh!” squealed Todd, mimicking the movements of a race car driver shifting gears. “It’s Ferrara, not Ferrari!” I corrected him. At first he was pretty disappointed, but once he learned that we’d be in a region famous for pork products, fine cheeses, and rich foods, he was psyched up to start eating! (more…)

Plane Travel is Hell

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

If the speed of car travel left his (large) head spinning, you can imagine how befuddled Todd was by the concept of plane travel. “Let me get this straight,” he mused. “We can leave one day, and be in Europe the next day?” I assured him it was so. “No canals?” he asked, still suspicious.

“It’s easy,” I reassured him. “We just show up with our stuff, and they give us a blanket and a pillow, and free drinks. Sometimes they’ll even give us food. And we just watch a movie and then we’re there!”

“You had me at ‘free drinks’!” cried Toro enthusiastically. We were all set for a three week trip to Europe: a week visiting our friends Frank and Arianna in Vienna, followed by a week with the Schumanns in Germany, and wrapping up with Frank and Ari’s wedding in her hometown of Ferrara, Italy. (more…)