Monday, April 21, 2008

La Dolce Vita

The sweet life, does it really exist in Italy. For many who come to Italy seeking it, the myth is not the reality they find. Life for many Italians is not that easy. They work hard for littly pay, poor job security, and live in tiny apartments in crowded cities. Foreigners who come here hoping to find work and live the good life discover that for them it's even harder to survive. First of all it's not easy to stay in Italy legally. One might compare it to trying to immigrate to the US, almost as hard or even harder. In fact I recently met a woman on a plane trip to the US who had gotten easily a ten year tourist visa to the US something that is almost impossible to do in Italy. Once here work is hard to find, those young women who come usually because of some romantic interest often discover their only option is teaching English, in spite of good US educations even advanced degrees.

But, wait, there are some of us who are lucky. My wife being Italian has made it easy for me. We live in an area where the air is clean, scenery beautiful. Most who live here work hard but live pretty well. We just spent a nice weekend in the camper with another couple who came with us in their camper. Sitting in the sun at the sea, eating a nice lunch with the two families and the kids playing. I couldn't help but comment that this is the Life, the sweet life. Of course that life can be found wherever one wants to and has the will to find it.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


We just got back from our first adventure in the camper/motorhome, we took off in a rain storm not sure if we should go or not. First thing was the battery for the living area was dead, but luckily I was expecting it and I discoverd the problem before we left the yard. Quick trip to the local auto electrical repair shop near here and we were on our way. Weekend turned out great. Stopped the first night by a lake, parked with a good view, too close to the train tracks but who's complaining, rained off and on all night. Next morning had a little walk after breakfast, then discoverd that 2/3 or more of our water supply was gone, seems we were draing water the entire time we traveled as I forgot that when the battery is disconneted a little selonoid valve opens up and has to be closed manually. At first we couldn't believe how much water we had used in just one night. I filled it up whe we arrived at our final destination - Roverta. I was amazed to find out that driving something so big is not that hard and one can take it most places. In Italy they don't mind if you park in any car parking place and even stay the night. We visited a big WWI war museum in the morning and saw the biggest bell in the world in the afternoon. The bell is dedicated to peace and made from melted cannons. Camped in an open area Sat. night up on a mountain road with a nice view. Seemed to be a meeting place for teens with nothing to do so I was a little nervous sleeping there, all was fine. Today, we took a long hike to see some fossil footprints. Getting to the starting point was interesting as we drove the camper up this very narrow steep mountain road, good Fiat 2,8 l. truck didn't have a problem. Maybe the best part was lunch, one day a week the little restaurant at the end of the road opens. It's kind of a meeting place for ex Alpini, the Alpine Soldiers. Lunch was polenta and stewed beef with pees on the side, hardy mountain food, very good, table wine all you want, I didn't drink but a bit as I had to get the camper back down that narrow road - too bad, then home made struddle, coffee, and grappa all for 10 euro each, they even brought out an extra bit of polenta and stew as Julia and I must have looked like we were still hungry. In the after noon we visited a pretty famous museum of modern art back in town, designed by the architect Mario Botta. The trip back just two hours to Belluno.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Camper Notes

After searching the internet for weeks on end we finally stumbled upon the camper/motorhome of our dreams. Well campers are always a compromise, but we think this one will work for us. It almost fit within our budget. Why get one, well that's the big question. We found that even though we wanted to explore Italy and Europe we weren't doing it. Mainly because with two kids and various weekend commitments we were just not making the plans, reservations, etc. it takes to go away for a weekend. So in the end we stayed home. There is also the cost issue, though it's debatable as to which is cheaper. Now we hope to be able to take off at a moments notice. We will see. The last few days have been spent cleaning, and setting it up. It's pretty much like having a second home, needs all the fixings, plus I like tinkering with things so I've installed some extra 12 volt outlets for the dvd play, phone chargers, and computer, and put in a 240 volt inverter that we already had.

So I will hopefully be posting some tales and photos of fun adventures on the road in Italy and Europe.