Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Let’s go get some gellato!

Ok, I’m back. Saw another country. Experienced a new culture. Ate many interesting foods. Got bitten several times by a cat. Came home, and now dealing with a very heavy case of jet lag while trying not to fall asleep at the computer again (like I did when I tried to write this last night.)

For those of you unfamiliar with Italy, it’s that country in Europe shaped like a disembodied Tyrannosaurus limb where everybody speaks Italian and listens to English radio.

Italy2

It was home to many Vespas, pigeons, churches covered in century-old statues, and many interesting varieties of hot chocolate. I stayed with my long time friend, Valentina (the one who got me started on all those music videos) where I was mauled to death on a daily basis by her cat. Due to some complications, as well as a bloody transportation strike, I was only able to visit three major cities – Mestre, Venice, and Padova. And because some of you just want to see pictures, here you go:

Venice:
Because clearly you haven’t seen enough pictures of this place in movies and on TV. Got to see a nice religious festival here (complete with Goku and Spongebob balloons,) saw the library where Indiana Jones uncovered the Holy Grail catacombs (which is actually a church in real life – Hollywood LIED to us,) and took a nice stroll through the darkened alleys of night-life Venizia.

Mestre:
I spent most of my time here because this is where I stayed. When in Mestre, and probably everywhere else in Italy, remember that snack bars are your friends. I could spend all day snacking on those sandwiches.

Padova:
About 20 minutes by train from Mestre, we have the beautiful city of Padova, which is a lot like a dilapidated medieval version of Edmonton, only with more battlements and city walls. It also has the amazing St. Anthony’s chapel there which is probably one of the most amazing pieces of architecture I’ve seen throughout the entire trip.

All that other stuff:
From plane shots to my going-away birthday party to Italian curiosities (such as Harry Potter wearing a rat helmet,) here’s where I store all those extra pictures I took.

Some odds and ends about Italy:

  • Forget pasta and pizza – you’re there for the ice cream and the sandwiches.
  • Speaking of food, pumpkin-filled ravioli is AWESOME.
  • Pastry shops – also awesome.
  • Raw meat and oranges for lunch? Strange… yet… awesome.
  • “Mamma Mia” is actually more of a women and children’s phrase.
  • Contrary to what “Italian Phrases for Dummies” teaches us, Italians apparently DO NOT love to talk, or at least DO NOT want it implied that they love to talk.
  • “Italian Phrases for Dummies” is probably not the best book you should read before going there. You can apparently get lynched for using any of those phrases.
  • In Italy, Arnold Schwarzenegger voices Optimus Prime. How cool is that?
  • I just found out “Schwarzenegger” is included in the WordPress spell check.
  • Ironically, the word “WordPress” isn’t.
  • “Ciao,” “Arrivederci,” “Per Favor,” “Grazie,” and “Preggo” are the essential words, but you darn well better know how to ask for directions to a bathroom, get a table, or ask the waitress why your water tastes like disgusting watered-down wine.
  • Incidentally, the disgusting watered-down wine is carbonated mineral water. Restaurants reserve the right NOT to serve you free tap water.
  • Many Italian drivers will not slow down for a baby carriage. Cross the street quickly and carefully.
  • As a side-note, Italy is definitely more of a ladies’ country. Reasoning being, I could barely find any souvenirs to buy that weren’t ornamental glassware, leather boots, hats, or expensive jewelry. It a great place to shop for women, but if you’re a guy, you’re better off picking up souvenirs while connecting to flights in Amsterdam (where you can’t buy a t-shirt that doesn’t have pot all over it.)
  • You don’t know funny until you see an 18th-century Frenchman kick Darth Vader in the balls.
  • Jada is in charge of sombreros.

    -Chris Ushko

    December 05 2007 | Travel | 6 Comments »

  • Gone for Two Weeks

    Just thought I’d send off a farewell to my readers. All four of them. If anybody needs me, I’ll be in Italy.

    And none too soon, I might add. I’m getting out of here just as the snow’s beginning to fall. Happy Birthday to ME!

    -Chris Ushko

    November 18 2007 | Daily Life, Travel | 7 Comments »