Friday, April 27, 2001

Rome is a fantastic city that is practically bursting at the seems with art, architecture, roman ruins and churches. Unfortunetly there is a whole city surrounding it. A city full of Italians. Italians who do nothing but talk on their cell phones. Who drive as if they just learned they had a terminal illness and safety didnt really matter any more. The city also seems to have only three kinds of shops. Eateries, tourist gift shops and clothing stores. (with an occasional laundrimat/internet cafe mixed in.)

We toured the Coluseum yesterday. Simply awesome. It stands as a vestige of a once truly great empire, although to see it today it seems only to want to fall over in peace. To expire gracefully as all the other ruins have, having seen the best and worst of their times. The forum is a jumbled mess of several centuries all laid out and rather confusing. Impressive nonetheless. But one of the most impressive sights is not frequented by the throngs of Japanese tourists or sweating Germans. It is across the street. Trajans market was a massive place of commerce with hundreds of stalls spanning a vast courtyards and a three story building. It was, in every sense of the word, a mall. This is where I would have been spending all of MY time as a citizen of the empire. The sight is also in very good shape.

Today its off to the Catacombs to see piles of dominican monks laid out in interresting geographical patterns for reasons that escape even catholicism. We have books a tour out to Pompeii tomorrow. I have never in my years of travelling been with a tour group. But it will save a LOT of hassles, fighting with the trains, getting a guide etc. We think we will try to get to the port city of Ostia on Sunday before hitting the Vatican on Monday.

Veni Veggi Victels

"We came, we had a salad, and a nice sandwich"

Thursday, April 26, 2001

Made it to Rome. So far, I have been unimpressed. After the serene tranquility and lack of and kind of traffic in Venice, Rome is like New York with an accent. The Spanish steps? What the hell is the big ass deal with those? The Trevei fountain however was very nice. Weve just finished touring the Colloseum, awesome. We are going to have to hold off on touring the Forum and run back to our hotel to meet the manager, the room safe is fòcked up and won't open, so we must get back to yell that that idiot. Hope we get it open.
It has our tickets and money. I told Rossana we should have transferred our money into small gold ingots and swallowed them. But she never listens.

We are going to get out of the city on Saturday and go to Pompeii. Should be nice.
Steven and Rossana
Pax Imperium!

Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Last day in Venice.

Yesterday we toured the Doges palace. Very swanky digs them. The armory had some of the finest examples of swords and polearms Ive seen in quite a while including polearms and maces with muskets built into them. There was also a fantastically crafted key that shot a poison dart into the hard of the bearer when inserted into a lock! I MUST get one of these.

After a wonderful dinner on the Grande Canal I spent approx four hours convincing my wife to take a gondola ride with me. She takes to water like cats do to full immersions baths. After sedating her and finding a nice French couple (who knew such a thing existed?) we finally took the ride and it was magical. We silently glided past the home of Marco Polo, Casanova and a house where Napoleon got indigestion after a heavy meal.

Today is a national holiday, not much open so we will be travelling to Roma to take part in the vast gladitorial games Circus Maximus!!

Victa Roma!

Tuesday, April 24, 2001

Day two of Venice. Yesterday was amazing. Travelled the enitre city. Visited the Palazzi Grasi and saw an amazing Etruscan exhibit (Etruscans ae the guys who predate Rome. The Romans eventually wiped them out for being decadent) Saw returned to St. Marks square to hear a five piece archestra play Queen and Michael Jackason tunes. Surreal. At least hey followed with some Vivaldi. Then the square began to flood. Slowly, mind you, but it was flooding. It seems the tide was coming it quite hight, so it was time to go home. Venice is as beautil at night as during the day, perhaps more. I thumbed through a book in a shop shat showed Venice 100 years ago and today. There is practically no difference at all. Some of this city has remained unchanged for 3 and 4 hundred years.

Today we visit the Doges Palace, maybe the island of the glass blowers Murno. And of

I will show them no mercy...

Monday, April 23, 2001

Venice! At long last the city of watery streets. It is stunning. There is no place you can look that wouldnt make a great picture. We spent the day shopping all over the city. Masks, glass, books, art it doesnt end. We also went to St. Marks Basilica (lots of gold and body parts of saints) and a huge Etruscan exhibit at a museum. Tommorow is the Doges palace and more. We sat in St Marks square today at the Cafe Florian drink very expensive coffee and listening to Vivaldi. At last I can say "Ah, to be in Venice in Springtime!" and actually mean it. I want to came back at Carnivale. It looks surreal and decadent. (In fact for quite a while it was TOO decadent, when Napolean came along he cancelled the TWO MONTH long event because it was debaucherous).

Well its off to a late dinner. Ciao!