Excerpts from Europe: “The 20-Minute Late-Train Mishap” in Italy

Train strikes can occur in Italy. One happened when I was there, but fortunately, it didn’t mess up my travel plans too much. I just decided to change my schedule to accommodate the strike. Another time, however, a mere 20-minute delay in one train caused me to miss my next train, and thus I literally had to spend the night in a tiny office of an Italian train station. Something that most tourists probably don’t get to do, and most likely, aren’t really allowed to do. Here are my journal entries as I stayed up one night in the tiny Continue Reading →

Excerpts from Europe: “Monday in Montepulciano, Italy”

Don’t you just love the sound of that word? Mon..teh…pul…chee…ahh…no… How it rolls off the tongue. It sounds so, well…Italian. A wonderful Tuscan Medieval and Renaissance Italian hill town, Montepulciano is set on top of a narrow ridge of volcanic rock, much like Civita di Bagnoregio. With steep, car-free, walkable and winding streets made to discover its art and architecture, the town is a major producer of some great Italian food. Pork, cheese, thick pasta, lentils, and honey. It is also world-famous for the region’s finest wines, the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a red wine made from the vineyards surrounding Continue Reading →

Excerpts from Europe: “Gelato in Italy!”

Wow. I’m surprised that I didn’t gain weight while traveling in Italy during my Europe trip back in 2004. Because I scanned my journal and found around 30 entries where I talked about all the delicious gelato I ate!! It must have been all the walking, biking and hiking that kept me in shape. Here are some of those tasty gelato journal entries. Let me tell you though, that each gelato was definitely worth every bite… May 25 – Ancona – I had my first authentic Italian gelato at the train station! The signs were all in Italian of course, Continue Reading →

Excerpts from Europe: “The Flowers of Civita di Bagnoregio”

I absolutely loved all of the scenic towns in Italy during my five-month European travels. But one struck me as not only scenic, but also cute. Yes, cute! A very small town. It can’t be more that two square miles in size, and it has a population of only about 15 year round. (Although during the busy summer months, it can increase to around 100.) At 1,440 feet above sea level, perched on a hilltop, the town sits on volcanic plateau overlooking a river valley. And while it is in danger of the edges eroding away, the several hundred year-old Continue Reading →

Excerpts from Europe: “Last Night’s Authentic Italian Pizza Dinner”

Background: The Ancient Greeks experienced “pizza” when they covered their flat bread with oils, herbs and cheese. And the Romans flavored their “pizza” with cheese, honey and bay leaves. But authentic pizza originated in Naples, Italy. The Neapolitan pizza, to be truly genuine, is to not only be made with fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh tomato, with hand-made dough, but is also to be cooked in a wood-fired oven. When I was staying with some friends in Camponocecchio, Italy, Kelly actually owned a real wood-fired oven. So for dinner one night, we made pizza… Thursday, May 27, 2004: Ok, so Continue Reading →