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2019-PLEASE NOTE: Since Google has stopped Open ID comments, I've been receiving Anonymous comments that don't SEEM like spam. If you DO comment on a post, please don't be disappointed if I don't post it. When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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October 07, 2019

The end.

I am now in a hotel very close to the Milan Malpensa airport where I will be getting on a plane tomorrow morning and flying to Newark, NJ where I will be getting on a train and being picked up by Chris in DC's train station.  And will then drive to Huntington either Wednesday but probably not, but definitely no later than Thursday. 

Today (Monday) was just a visit to Mercato Centrale for some special aceto balsamica vinegar which I ended up not buying because I just didn't trust that it was really what I wanted.  Did buy a block of Parmesan cheese though.  I had packed a lot of my stuff on Sunday and finished up on time this morning.  Went and sat outside at a little cafe in the Duomo's piazza and as always was so glad I discovered this wonderful building all those years ago.

Then it was back to the hotel call for a cab to take me to the train station, get to my train without too much trouble, really, travel to Milan's train station, get to the Malpensa Express train completely and totally out of breath but was pleased to see quite a few young people (20's) coming in after I did and huffing and puffing just like I had done.

Finally got to Malpensa (why they call it express I can't figure out)  I would guess we made at least 10 stops at little places along the way.  And then the shuttle from the hotel where I'm staying picked me up and brought me here and I am now sitting in bed after a very nice dinner.

So that's the trip for 2019...much more fraught than I hope I'll ever have again, but the pleasant parts were pleasant.  I can hardly keep my eyes open so -

buona sera!

October 06, 2019

Saturday...a lost day?

No, I think I've finally figured it all out.  My days have really run together on this trip and I get confused on where I am in my journaling.  Like today is Sunday and I have to scratch my head fairly vigorously to figure out what I did on Saturday.  But some of it came back to me although nothing involving pictures.  Oops, I found a few - all trying to give an idea of how pretty the pink and green is with the white marble.  So here they are first:



Just magnificent I think.

I took those on my walk down to what I call the "hole in the wall" place to get a sandwich and glass of wine there.  It gets busier every year that I've been going but with just 2 people, they manage to work fast enough that the wait doesn't seem too terribly long.  You wait in the street (the line is not as long as the line waiting to get into the Duomo!) and finally get up to the hole in the wall.  It's an opening in the wall and one man stands over to one side making whatever sandwich has been ordered while the other man is taking an order from the next person and then taking the now made sandwich and putting in a special paper holder.  And then here's your drink and "next!"  And the thing is, they're not at all grouchy - they smile at you, answer a question if you have one and the sandwiches are the best I've had in Florence because they're made fresh with incredibly good bread and ingredients.  I always got ham and cheese and this time I branched out and got roast pork with a parsley sauce and came fairly close to finishing it and they are huge!  That and the nice glass of quite decent wine  came to 6 euros and held me til my 7:30 dinner date.  And see that's why when I make a trip I'm always pulled to Florence - the Duomo, Enzo e Piero, Perque, No? gelato, and "the hole in the wall".

But this time it's official...if I come to Italy again, I will do like I did when I went to Sicily (and I wouldn't mind going there again).  I'll stay in some other region, city, whatever and make an overnight stop in Florence to enjoy those 4 favorite things.  The crowds have just become unbelievable here and that takes some of the pleasure out of being here.  But I could stay further out in Tuscany somewhere and come up to Florence in the morning, stay the night and leave the next late afternoon and be quite happy with that.

And I feel like I must have done more than just eat - but I'm sure not remembering it.  I know I got Friday's post finished but that's as far as my brain is taking me tonight.  And now it's Sunday night and I have the majority of my stuff packed and will work up my nerve to ask at the front desk if someone can help me get it downstairs.  It was heavy coming here - it will be heavier leaving!

Buona sera!!

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