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March 10, 2011

Walking Our Way Through Italy

In Italy we walked until we were comatose!

Our first stop was Venice. What a city! No cars. Great art. And wonderful food. One of our favorite places was Piazza San Marco. Alison fed the pigeons, and was quickly surrounded. Looked like a friendly version of "The Birds". The Doges' Palace is remarkable because of the art and the architecture.

I was in my LOWA Tempests, and they were awesome. Standing or walking eight hours a day, sometimes putting on ten miles or more, my feet were never sore.

Positano, an old seaport city just below Rome on the Amalfi Coast was our next stop. The city is built on a mountain, which descends into the sea. Walking is either straight up or down. Our hotel was at sea level so we walked up. Positano was the perfect place for relaxation. Reading on the beach. Good food. Lots of sunshine.

On the second day we drove to Naples and Pompeii. It was enlightening. Ancient Pompeii was organized, progressive, and very liberal. John Birch would have hated this place.

More day trips to Capri and the Blue Grotto. In Capri we hiked to the top of the island to ancient Roman ruins, Villa Jovis where Tiberius ruled the Roman Empire during his last days. He'd throw people a cliff when displeased with them. Blue Grotto is very crowded and chaotic. Boats everywhere and boatmen who encourage tips from passengers while insulting the mothers of fellow boatsmen. As usual, it was worth it, and very Italian.

The last stop was Rome. We stayed near the Spanish Steps, close to everything. Saw the Vatican, ancient Rome, a Rodin exhibit, and countless other great museums. Good thing the art in the Sistine Chapel was consuming, otherwise I would have gotten claustrophobia. Michelangelo's masterpiece is worth it. In fact, we went twice to see it. We found Rome to be energetic, young, and chaotic. What can I say about the driving? Italians are maniacs behind the wheel. And those on scooters aren't any better. It's part of the charm.

We found the people of Italy to be friendly, and were most impressed with their optimistic attitude toward life. Whether a maid or an executive, they all greeted us with the same exuberant, "Buon Giorno!"

And I don't know how they feel so good in the morning because they don't eat dinner until 11 PM, and then party till 2.

Thanks, Lowa!
Paul K.



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