Thursday, July 10, 2008

First post!

Well, if you came looking for big news, prepare to be disappointed:
I'm still in Austin.

I just knew that if I didn't get into this whole 'blog' habit early, it would probably fizzle and leave you all disappointed before long. So I thought I'd post, just for the sake of posting, just to get in the rhythm of writing when I can!

There are a few things I still haven't decided about this blog- like whether capital letters are worth the effort and how often to post. But I'm assuming these will work themselves out in time.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd post a few things I learned during my recent travels! I know they have little to do with Harvard, but since they've dominated my life for about three weeks now, just bear with me. For those of you who didn't know, my graduation gift from Mom was a two-week trip to the Mediterranean. Our itinerary was:

Florence, Italy (2 1/2 days)
Rome (1/2 day)
then a 7-night cruise aboard the Costa Concordia, with a day each in:
Genoa (via Savona), Italy
Barcelona, Spain
Palma de Mallorca
Carthage & Sidi Bou Said (via Tunis), Tunisia
Valletta, Malta
and Palermo, Sicily.
Then back to Rome (2 days.)

Here are the requisite pictures:

As you can probably see, the trip was beyond wonderful. We ate well, shopped well, saw all the most beautiful museums and architecture, got lovely tans, and set foot on a new (for me) continent, just to name a few things! But it was also a learning experience. For example:
  1. While Italy's museums run like clockwork, its airports are basically hell. Especially Rome, where it takes an hour to get from the International terminal to the poorly labeled, criminally understaffed Transfer Desk in the Domestic Terminal. Then it's another half hour just to get a boarding pass, which you aren't given before leaving the States. Disaster!
  2. The Musei Vaticani (where you go for the Sistene Chapel) is actually a two-and-a-half hour indoor hike.
  3. They aren't kidding about the turquoise waters in Sicily.
  4. The sun in the Mediterranean doesn't work like it does in the U.S. Ladies can't just move the ties on their bathing suits around every so often and expect to avoid a permanent white bow on their backs. It rapidly becomes obvious why the locals just untie theirs.
  5. In Barcelona's Catedral de Santa Eulalia is an elevator to the roof. It's easy to miss, but the view up there is probably the single best thing in walking distance of the port.
  6. The second best thing is a store called Happy Pills- neither a pharmacy nor anything illicit, as some of my cruise-mates suspected. Instead, it's the best candy store ever. Score!
  7. Palatine Hill in Rome is sprinkled with drinking fountains that produce miraculously, unbelievably ice cold water. The colosseum is amazing and everything, but this is where ancient Roman ingenuity truly blows the mind.
Okay, so for fear of boring you I'll stop- although I could probably go on forever. It's absurd how much happens to you when a ship is taking you to a different city every single day! Just don't expect my posts from Cambridge to be this long- it's been a ridiculously eventful two weeks, and I hope to be posting often enough that I've rarely got two weeks of new material anyway.

Well, Russell is calling- he's working Casino Knights tonight and the party (his second-to-last ever) is winding down. Time to go pick him up- hope you're well, friends and family. Count on hearing from me again soon.

1 comment:

ivy lea said...

Vern was asking about the big rock in that second-to-last picture: it's in Sicily (which I found surprisingly mountainous), just off the coast in Mondello Bay.