Thursday, May 20, 2004

Europe

Back from a two-week trip to Europe, focusing on Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. I spoke Italian while we were in Italy, and it seemed to work out fine. My German, by contrast, was worthles--two years of German classes amount to nothing when traveling in the heart of Germany or Switzerland. I relied on one sentence--"Sprechen Sie English?" Since everyone invariably answered "a little," and since this answer was invariably a lie (everybody spoke much more than "a little" English), we got by fine. Overall, the trip went well, except that I hurt my leg toward the end of the trip so that I couldn't walk, but I did anyway, which caused more damage, I'm sure. We went to Frankfurt, Fussen, Venice, Naples, Pompei, Paestum, Rome, Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, the Cinque Terre, and, unintentionally, Parma (we missed a train and ended up stuck there). We ended the trip in the Swiss Alps. Summary of trip: well over eight hundred and seventy seven Roman statues of males with suspiciously missing genitals (I wonder where they all are. . . ); twice as many two dimensional paintings of Mary and Jesus (did every medieval painter HAVE to do the same painting?); Michelangelo's David (bigger than I thought); hail in Venice; bones of Catholic saints in gold-capped glass bottles, including fingers, tibia, femurs, humeruses (or humeri?), and other, small, unidentifiable bones at St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice; the prison where Peter was allegedly kept before his crucifixion; a "Beware of Dog" welcome-mat-like sidewalk mosaic in front of an excavated house (70 ad) in Pompei; a hilarious and unintelligible argument between a woman and an old man at a train station near Naples, which included the woman pushing the old man off the platform into the train tracks (no oncoming train, thank goodness), various classic Italian hand gestures, attempted mediation by onlookers, and a miniskirt that seemed to crawl higher and higher up the woman's legs the more angry she got. 

I still haven't got back into a good sleep schedule (I'm hopelessly exhausted at 7:00 pm and disappointingly awake at 6:00 am). Tonight I'll try to stay up till 10:00 pm no matter how hard it is. 

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