Sunday, April 13, 2008

Guess Who’s Back? Redhead’s Back!

Hey there party people, miss me? No? Well fuck you! Sorry about that – I’m still a little jet-lagged and that seems to be making me a tad punchy so…um, deal with it. Yeah, as you can probably already tell 2 weeks in Italy hasn’t change my uniquely sunny disposition, but hey, that’s not what you guys want, right? Right?

Anyway, I’m not going to promise anything here – when I finally pull myself together and start sleeping during normal hours I expect to be able to write something marginally coherent – but in the meantime here are some snippets from my trip to keep you entertained. Oh and yes, I realize I’m a little nutty right now. I’m just SO FUCKING TIRED. OK, here goes:

-I got freaking frisked in the Madrid airport! Good times.

-I never had to go through customs when entering Europe. Passport control – yes. Customs, not so much. Anyone else concerned?

-Linda called me about 2 days into my trip and couldn’t understand why I was already asleep when she called – it was only 10:30 at night after all. Um, actually it was 4:30 in the morning for me, but dumbass here (that would be me) forgot to tell her when I would be out of town. She was understandably apologetic when she realized she had just called me overseas.

-I immediately forgave Linda for the above transgression when she told me the reason she’d called was because she’d just gotten engaged. I mentioned her (now) fiancé here. I’m, um, going to be a bridesmaid. This shouldn’t be awkward at all!

Bologna and Some General Observations

-The food in Bologna is insane – never before have business dinners been this enjoyable.

-As a city, Bologna looks kind of like…New Jersey. Only every once in a while there’s something incredibly old and beautiful sitting there to remind you that it’s not quite the same thing.


-Coca Cola Light is NOT the same thing as Diet Coke.

-There’s something wrong with the water in Italy – when you’re in the shower you can’t even work up a lather when you’re shampooing. There’s hard water and then there’s…whatever the fuck they have there.

-Red Bull is available in Italy. Thank fucking God.

-There’s no such thing as Starbucks or even coffee-to-go in Italy. Hooray Red Bull!

-There’s a little bar off of the Via Indipendenza in Bologna called Swine Bar (no, I’m not kidding). It’s awesome.

-I LOVE Chianti. That is all.


-Florence is incredibly charming – by far my favorite place in Italy.

-My sister and I climbed to the top of the Duomo immediately after arriving. Some thoughts: 1) Those stairs are no joke – there were A LOT of them. 2) That should have been a clue that wherever those stairs were leading was going to be high up. 3) I’m a moron. 4) HOW did people fucking paint that ceiling when it’s SO HIGH UP?! 5) Are you noticing a theme here yet? 6) The view from the top of the Duomo (above the previously mentioned ceiling) is fucking stunning. 7) Or so I’ve been told – I had a bit of a panic attack at the top (shut up) and plastered myself to the wall while my sister took pictures and enjoyed the view.

-The people who wrote their names on the walls of the Duomo stairwell = colossal assholes.

-The David – possibly the most beautiful thing (with the exception of my nephews) that I’ve ever seen. You can see the muscles in his legs. You can see the veins in his forearms. You can even see the hollow right above his collarbone as it meets his shoulder! There are absolutely no words for that sculpture. I just…nevermind – I can’t do it justice by trying to describe it.

-More gelato – mmmmmmmmmm.

-To the guy who tried to pick me up on the steps outside the Uffizi – I don’t speak Italian and you don’t speak English. Can you see why I finally just shrugged my shoulders and walked away? Still, you were beautiful.

-Walking along the river in Florence on a beautiful spring day was one of those perfect life moments.

-More bottles of good Chianti.

-The shower in our hotel room just…it didn’t make any sense. I’m not going to go into it here, but where they put the shower head just…WHAT were they thinking? My sister and I took a picture of it because we had to show it to people when we got home.


-Sorry Bruce Paine, but I didn’t hate Venice. I also didn’t love it. It was…absolutely unique. There really is no other place like it, and I found it to be beautiful (all old buildings, narrow streets, water, and bridges). But my main thought was that it reminded me of the mall the day before Christmas – I can’t imagine what that city is like during the height of tourist season. There are SO MANY people stuffed together in these narrow winding alleyways (that’s really what most of the streets are), that I found walking around…frustrating.

-Oh, I also didn’t think it smelled there – although it is just early spring and I was told it had been cool and dry recently which probably helped.

-The pigeons are really only in San Marco Square – where yes, the sheer number of them is staggering – so again Paine, they didn’t really bother me.

-Water taxis are the way to go in Venice to get a quick little tour – don’t do the gondolas, they’re a massive ripoff.

-My sister, with her incredible sense of direction, got her ass absolutely KICKED by this city. What a fucking nightmare place to navigate. We spent way more time lost than I’m really comfortable admitting.

-The gelato in Venice sucks – those people need to get their act together. Good wine though.

And…I’m tired – let’s stop here for now. A quick wrapup – the trip was awesome but NOT relaxing. My sister and I had a fabulous time together – we’re talking quality bonding here; man, we laughed (and drank) A LOT. We both may be marginally insane, but I’d argue it’s in the best possible way. And I’m a little scared of going to work tomorrow and seeing all the emails that are waiting for me. Wish me luck!


MC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mcbias said...

Let's pretend I'm not still up and won't be pulling an all-nighter tonight...
1. Southern European women are my weakness, and I'm extremely envious you went to Italy.
2. It must be late, but "plastered myself to the wall" made me laugh.
3. Talking to hot people who don't understand your language is great. When you go out on your next date sometime, force yourselves to try to communicate for a few minutes without talking and with minimal touching.
4. I'll let someone else make the Madrid jokes.
5. I like numbering comments too much. Enjoy the e-mail reading!

Anonymous said...

Welcome home, Red. A trip like that shared with a sibling will bring a lifetime of memories and laughs. I haven't made it to Italy yet but I'll remember your travel guide recommendations, especially the chianti!


Bruce Paine said...

No coffee to go. I suppose I could have mentioned the Italian speed of life, but the little old country boy found it delightful. They don't like "coffee to go" as a rule.

I stand by my statement that Venice stinks. A kid who grew up in the fresh air of Indiana hay fields with honeysuckle and clover in the air found Venice and its bird poo overbearing. I accept that idea that a fast-paced, New Yorker was not as bothered.

I am supremely glad that you enjoyed the David. Americans don't always get to see fine statuary and it doesn't get better than that. I think his finger tips and nails are the unreal. That one man was capable of such a thing with nothing but hand tools and fistfuls of pumice. That is really something

CajunKate said...

First time commenter. Long time reader. Took me a few days to get to this, but I subscribe to your RSS feed and was JUST thinking, "when the hell is Redhead coming home from Italy already?" when, lo and behold, your trip post popped up! Yay! Glad you had a good time with your sis (awwww, so sweet!) but more glad to have you back. Not that I expect much what with you catching up on work and whatnot. Nonetheless, just know that one among your lurker nation missed you!