Sunday, December 7, 2008
It's been a few days since I got these but I can't stop thinking about them. It's also interesting to note that last night an Italian friend asked me if I was surprised that people actually voted for Obama. The fear around the World being that racist Americans might say one thing to the poll takers and do another in the privacy of the voting both. Well I guess the suprise and the good thing is that a majority didn't.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
When traveling in the camper we always seem to be a bit lost even with
the gps navigator so I made this little "table" so that I can use the
lap top and have a much bigger map to look at. I have a small gps
receiver that plugs into my laptop. Originally it's main purpose was
for flying. It works with a pda and a special program for flying, but
it also works just fine with Microsoft Auto Route.
This also serves as a work station, for email and even potentially real work. The kids have also found it usefull for playing games etc. out of the way of cooking and such.
As an architect I just can’t resist writing about this. This last Monday night we stayed at Il Serchio a camper site in Lucca Italy. At first glance the concept of the place seems great and it looks new and clean. It’s dedicated to campers, has electrical and water hookups at each site, free wifi internet, showers, laundry and dumping station. The price is very reasonable at 18 euro per night and it’s pretty close to the old town center. We rode our bikes into town the first afternoon then the next morning took a nice bike ride along the river bank just up a little hill from the camp.
But it’s one of the best examples of poor design I’ve seen in a while. It’s probably one of those cases where the owner’s didn’t think the services of a good designer was worth the cost of hiring one. The parking spaces for the campers are too short being more the size for a car so the camper sticks out into the road/drive area, it’s a big wide gravel drive with tiny short green spaces for the campers. They put the baths at the farthest corner rather than centrally located, the internet connection is intermittent, goes off and on, and can really only be accessed if one parks closet to the entry. The showers seem like they were designed by someone who never took a shower in a camp of any kind. They are directly across from the toilets, there is no dressing area or place to put ones clothes, turn on the shower and water sprays out into the hall area as the heads are fixed and there is no door just a curtain half of which were torn. The water stays on for something like 30 seconds then has to be started again. It was dark when my son and I went to take a shower and the lights also on timers went off 3 times causing me to have to go into the sink area naked, wet and cold to turn them back on, of course this area was also exposed to the outside through large uncovered windows. Finally, they have a nice dump area for grey and black water. But it’s right in front of the entry to the men’s bath area. In fact the black dump tank (that’s the stuff from the toilet) is right on the walk to the bath so one has to walk across the area where people dump their toilets on the way to take a shower.
As I said above the concept is great, a simple campsite dedicated to the needs of campers/motor homes, with just the things they need and nothing more at a good price in a good location. It’s just too bad it couldn’t have been designed properly.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I just hope that the damage done by the Bush years is not so overwhelming that it can not be overcome.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Now it seems we have hope that a man intelligent and thoughtfull enough for the job may get elected. That man is of course Obama. If it goes the other way, then we can only hope that McCain lives long enough to finish his term, he probably won't be as bad as Bush, but I don't see him making any changes in the wrong directions we have gone these last eight years. But if for some reason Palin has to take over, well sorry if this insults a group of women who work hard, but that would be like having the local grocery clerk with an exaggerated ego take over the most important political job in the World.
I doubt Obama has a magic solution to our economic problems, but I'm guessing at this point that there will be such a dramatic shift in the opinon of the US by the rest of the World that things will turn around quickly. It's kind about consumer confidence on steroids. I am hopeful that the US can regain it's position in the World as a fare and just nation, not one that invades other countries causing death, dislocation, and distruction just because it wants to. And I am hopeful that the American people will break away from the control over them that has been excercised by those who use fear as their favorite tool.
There is something about the simplicity and wholesomeness of the kids here at the church at least. It's hard to explain but I see it. These kids don't seem to have that since of alienation one sees so much in the US.
It's not to say that there aren't problems here. Belluno has a problem with young kids using alcohol and drugs. My goal with my kids will be to keep a close watch over them not giving them too much freedom but at the same time not restricting their growth, it's not easy. But I have experience, my three older daughters tuned out very well.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
It's a pretty good summary of the failures.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
We made a tour this weekend to check out possible places to park during the ski season. It was a bit disappointing. Seems so many places have signs saying no campers. I'm not sure if they can ban them or not as in Italy a camper is considered just like a car as far as parking goes. And you are not camping unless you have stuff outside the perimeter of your car/camper. So I have to do some research. The camp grounds are few and pretty expensive. And we don't need them for a two night stay. We are totally self contained for at least that long. Why would I want to pay around 40 euro just have a place to park. I think the problem is that people in campers don't spend much in the local areas. So hotel owners restaurants, and locals just don't like them.
Anyway it's a beautiful time of year here. Lots of Fall colors and today was full of sunshine. I will post some pictures.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Then you decide to leave your nice home in the subburbs of the US with it's wide yard, 3 car garage, big stores, lots of parking, great restaurants from all over the world and move to Italy. Where you find the reality of a country half run by the mafia and the other half by old and only self serving politicians. You see that the reason poeople hang their clothes on the balconies or out the window is that their apartments are tiny and they can't afford the energy for a clothes dryer like the one you left back home. On the streets and in the shops you find people just trying to survive in the rat race of a city overcrowded and polluted. You find people rude and crowding in lines, clerks in stores barely surving on an income that forces them to live with their parents are unhappy and unfriendly. You moved to the big cities because that's where you find more people like yourself and that's where you were most impressed by the famous tourist attractions. But living their you suffer from the reality of a city overcrowded and full of those Italians you thought were so friendly in the tourist places but turn out to be just normal people trying to survive. Cars are parked on sidewalks due to the lack of parking and the inability to create it in cities built back when people only walked or rode horses. You find people suffering from lack of work and low wages pitted against a high cost of living. You say I made the decision to move here so I'm going to adapt and make it work but after months or even years of trying you just have to admit that you can't do it.
Well that is the reality of Italy for many, maybe even most expats but not all. It really depends on your situation, where you live and what income and family you have. I'm happy to be living in a realitively small town in a nice home. I don't have any major complaints. Most people here stay in line and the other day as is typical I stood in a line with just three items with people ahead of me having tons of stuff to buy, they asked me if I wanted to move ahead.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
that is what the English call it. Here are some of the spots we
camped at during our trip though Italy, Switzerland, France and back
through Germany. Sometimes it mostly a big parking lot others along
side a river. In Germany we couldn't find a spot we spent the night
in the parking lot of a church. One night in Italy we asked the owner
of a small bar if we could stay the night in his parking lot, he said
why not. The kids get out there scotters and have fun wherevere they