Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Repatriation, for real...

This past week my assignment in Italy ended and I'm currently in the process repatriation to the US after living overseas in Italy and Japan since early 2008.  Repatriation is the process of returning to ones place of origin or citizenship, this is basically what I'm up too.  I'm not quite sure what to expect, hope not much has changed.
I can almost say that I'm coming to America with nothing but $20 in my pocket and something like  a dream but this not quite in the same spirit as a true immigrant story.  I have a plan, but under a certain amount of scrutiny it seems to lack specifics other than i hope the bus system in greater Seattle works.
  My move from Italy was a little less complex compared to my departure from Japan, this is mostly because I had a furnished apartment in Italy, a lot less stuff to get rid of.  This bag has a ceramic Pumi from Grottaglie in it, lets see if it survives the trip to the US.
My last afternoon in Grottaglie was very nice weather, I was able to enjoy the view of old town from the roof of my apartment for a few minutes.  A week later this city was covered in snow, something that did not happen last winter.
I'm moving to Seattle, but to my friends and family in the mid-west, I hope to visit soon.  

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Zaragoza, Spain

Zaragoza, is between Madrid and Barcelona very easy to visit from either city.
Of course the best way to get here is high-speed rail, this is the train departing from Barcelona Saints Station.
 This is Zaragoza main station.
 Spain was once ruled by the Moors of Northern Africa, this was one of their Islamic fortified palaces called the Aljaferia.
 Very beautiful inside, this was built in the 11th century.
 Today, it only cost 5 euro to break through this fortification.
 Not far from the palace is the Basilica–Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar and the piazza Nuestra Senora del Pilar.
 Mid-evil mass transit.
 The Piazza Nuestra Senora del Pilar had a christmas market, this morning was a low fog over the city and the top of the basilica.
 This the Catedral del Salvador or Cathedral of the Savior, they would not let me inside because of mass... I tried the explain, well, yeah, I'm here for mass.  But they did not believe my because I think I look to much like an American Tourist trying to sneak past the door person.
 Looking across the stone bridge over the Ebro river.
 A stone relief, I think Francisco Goya made this, but in this case they years on the relief makes no sense.  So maybe this is not a Goya.
 Goya is not from Zaragoza but he is from a town not far from here.  I think Zaragoza adopted him.
 Another view of the Puente de Piedra and the Basilica.
 Crazy wall art.
 I was walking down a quiet street when I started hearing lots of music.  Turns out the piazza San Pedro Nolasco was having a beer and music festival.  I like how they pained the side of this building too.
 The Zaragoza train station is amazing and large.  The platform is on the lower level.
 But the few coffee shops that are in this building are on the upper level.  You can only enter the lower level of one side of the building so you need to plan time to walk from the cafe to the platform so that you don't miss your train.
Oh-yeah, Zaragoza is known for Tapas, Tapas are everywhere.   For now Spain was the last country I visited in Europe before leaving Italy and I think it's my favorite European country outside Italy.  Hope to visit again soon.



Venezia is unique, most cities have similar features  but as soon as roads are replaced with water similarties go out the window.
When I took this photo I assumed Pinocchio was from Venice but I did a little research and it turns out he is from Firenze.  This window display is kind of misleading.
 No roads, all over are canals with foot bridges.
 And of course there are gondolas all over, but I think these was mostly a taxi service for tourist.  I don't think I saw a local taking a trip on one of these things, I joined the locals.
 The Piazza San Marco is an amazing space.  You walk down a small walk way and turn a corner to enter this area and when you do it really takes your breath away.
 Looking south-ish from Piazza San Marco.
Gondola parking, along the water front of the Piazza.
 A lamp in Piazza San Marco.
 This is the main water way that cuts through the center of the main island.  It's really busy in the morning, boats making deliveries all over.
 The water taxi is a more practical way to get around.
 Not far from Venezia Island is the Island of Monroe, this area is famous for glass making.
 Italian Pigeon.
 An old church in centro Venezia.
Looking east along the Rio di Sant'Alvise.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Bologna is a city in northern Italy.   Because of my plan to visit San Marino most of my time in Bologna was after sunset but I did make an effort to wake up early Sunday morning and had a few hours to see the city before returning to the South. Here is the two towers, the short one is The Leaning Tower of Bologna.
This clock was in the centro Piazza Maggiore.
 A statue of a horse wrestling with man.
 The sign say central station over to the right but for sure central station was in the opposite direction.  This really confused me.
 This was the rail area of Bologna, it was actually a confusing area.
 Qsteria La Matta, or crazy women, good place for dinner in Bologna.  This is not far from the central station.
 Sunday morning I found time to walk around centro Bologna.
 Lots of art everywhere.
 Very old fresco of Jesus.
 A small church in centro Bologna.
 The leaning tower of Bologna seems to be more fun than Pisa.
 Me infront of the tower, I did not bother to take a photo of me trying to prop up the tower.
 The two towers are in a small square, it's difficult to backup far enough to get a good photo of these things.
 The leaning is more aggressive compared to the Pisa tower.
 you can see the pin at the base of the tower, in the ground that keeps this tower from toppling over.
 One last view as walking away from the tower and towards Piazza Maggiore.
 Fountain of Neptune. This is more or less the original fountain.
 This is the Operation Safe Streets or Operazione Strade Sicure... keeping the streets safe but I can't tell how official they are.
 This is  Franklin D. Roosevelt Piazza.
 Kind of boring, just a car park,  but none the less,  Franklin D. Roosevelt Pizza.  Europe seem to really like old school American Presidents.
 When ever there is nice weather, people set up shop on the street.   Stop traffic and sell coffee.
 One last view of Bologna, time to rush to the airport.