Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sunday, March 16 In which Mass Transportation Figures Greatly

Derelict building.

We had to be at the school at 3:30 am. Unfortunately we were flying out of Phoenix instead of Tucson and thus had a two hour school bus ride to get to Sky Harbor two hours before our flight. I really wish they would hurry up on the "Beam me up, Scotty" technology...

School buses are very uncomfortable. There is no leg room at all. Add 17 kids and 12 adults and their suitcases and carry-ons, and boy are we having some fun now.

We flew to Atlanta, then had a layover of a couple hours before flying to Milan. you know the drill. Nothing interesting in flying. Not to Italy, anyway.

And because we were on a group tour, with a bunch of Canadians who arrived after us, the first day of Italy involved driving from Milan to Venice. Milano to Venezia.

Road signs.

It was interesting, because in addition to being the center of fashion, Milan is also industrial. So we saw an interesting mix of very modern factories and offices and very old factories and buildings, with a few of those horrible glass and metal uglies from the 60's and 70's.

Modern industrial. Milan.

Old industrial. Milan.

At least we were on a tour bus. Not a great tour bus, no toilet, and not a lot of leg room. But still, we were in Italy. And it was fun to watch the traffic. Italians are insane behind the wheel. Lanes are a suggestion. If three cars fit across two lanes, then three cars drive down those three lanes. Not the best introduction to Italy. We would have preferred a more interesting day, but that's what you get with the tours. Next time, I am not going on tour.


As we went along, vineyards appeared. At first it was just small ones, tucked into any spare corners around the industrial spaces. But industry gradually gave way to agriculture, and big vineyards.


I don't know if you can really tell from this next photo, but they have farmyards that are buildings on all four sides. The home, the barn, the sheds, the chicken coops, are all around a square courtyard.

We saw many buildings that had collapsing roofs and falling down walls. It was rather surprising how many derelict or semi-derelict buildings there were. The photo at the top of this post shows a good example of this.

Eventually we made it to the Venice airport, the tour guide collected the Canadians, and we went off to the hotel. On the mainland, not on the islands of Venice. A pretty damn crappy hotel, actually. Again, I really prefer not to travel by tour...

Zach and my friend Vickie and I walked down to the beach. We were in an area that is on the Mediterranean, a big tourist area in the summer. It was really danged cold on the beach.

Zach on the beach.
I love the ocean. I love being on the edge of a big sea. The water was green, that amazing sea green color. You can see it in the photo below.

Brrr. But awesome.

Eventually we were fed some horrible food (it really was a crap hotel.), had a brief meeting about how stuff would work on the tour, and wandered off to bed. Because the next morning was a 6 am wake-up call...

Tomorrow. Venezia. Wow.


  1. How sad you had to stay in a crappy hotel with bad food and all!
    That's not a good impression of Italy or Europe you got there?
    Looking forward to the Venice pictures!

  2. The hotel and the food were not great, but it was a minor detail, really. They were not why we were in Italy. The art and architecture more than made up for a bad hotel...

    I love Italy and Europe. Bad hotels and mediocre food and all.

  3. time I go to the coast I will take heaps of Sea-shots just for you..
    I really like that last pic.. I am doing a block on sculptural ceramics at the mo and that pic has given me an idea...

    thanks julie..

    cheers kim xxx

  4. OK, I know you were trying to convey the overall mood of grumpiness and uncomfortableness which was felt during the bus rides and bad hotels, but this is the stuff I love.

    Old architecture going south, the ugly replacements, the revered ancient stuff. It really does give you a sense of civilization in the different stages, whether for good or bad. Urban renewal at a snail's pace.

    Great Stuff!!!

  5. Is there such thing as "bad" when you're in Italy? Love the pictures. Keep them coming -- since I am afterall living vicariously through your trip!


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