Monday, July 11, 2005

Europe 2005 - Northern Italy

We crossed over from France into northern Italy.
Milan- L. was to sick to really enjoy anything and our phone ran out of minutes so I was not able to make reservations for seeing the last supper by Da Vinci. While she slept in I figured out the Italian subway (tickets seem optional but are bought from the newspaper stand.) even though I was first in line at the church where Da Vinci’s "Last Supper" is they were booked for the day. I stopped off at the cathedral which is the 3rd largest in Europe. It was HUGE. I can see very much how it would induce piety upon entering. There were statues everywhere and the columns just seemed to stretch up into the darkness.

Venice- we stayed at a hotel that was outside of Venice. They let us leave the car there while we took the bus to venice. We got junior tickets for the bus boats and public toilets. (The cut off the junior age was 29, I really think this is the last time I'll ever get a junior price.) we just took main boat down the grand canal and got off at the San Marco plaza. This was the first tourists lines we saw for our trip. We knew the lines would be there and were not planning to go into the church because of that. Instead we admired the glass in the shops of the square and then set out with the intention of getting lost. Since Venice is a bunch of islands you can't get far and the tour books said it was the best way to see the city. So we spent the next 3 hours turning the other way any time we saw tourists. When we stopped to rest we could not figure out where we were, as it turned out we had ended up walking most of the length of Venice and were almost back to the train station. We walked along the ocean side of the town back down to San Marco square and took the boat back up the grand canal to the bus stop. It was one of the most interesting things for me just to explore the city without looking for anything. While we were traveling down the grand canal we saw the police boats, armor plated bank boats, a limo gondola for a wedding couple taking them to the church, and taxi boats. It was easier to get around the city then I thought it would be (there were a lot of bridges) but I have no idea how they do construction because the paths are so narrow between the buildings.

Driving- yes there are crazy scooters and motorcycles but I have not felt them to be dangerous yet. Its a bit like the water flowing around the sand and since they are faster off the line they really don’t get in the way. The roads of Milan are 2 lanes wide with no lines, depending on the cars needs in the lanes it varies from 2 to 3 lanes. On the freeways it seems like the speed limits are posted in mph as compared to what people are driving. If I was to drive the speed limit ( which I think I have done very good so far up to this point) then I would get rear-ended. When there is traffic it seems like quite a few people feel that the emergency lane is a valid lane. We stick out for not being locals since we use our turn signals.

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