Monte Carlo, Italy, etc.

My camera with most the photos of Monte Carlo seems to have gone missing. This was probably my mistake – it is likely I left it in a hotel room or the rental car. But Monte Carlo is amazingly beautiful. We stopped there for a few hours and lost a lot of money. Also had an expensive and mediocre at best meal.

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Viewing MC from the motorway.

Approaching Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo harbor

We hit the road for Italy about 5pm. At one of the motorway fuel/food stops, we made an important purchase…

It's time to rock.

It's time to rock.

From Monte Carlo straight to the East coast of Italy took us 5.5 hours. We found a hotel in Lido de Jeselo around midnight. Walked around for about an hour, had a drink with the hotel night manager and hit the sack.

A couple of days at the beach in Italy – we rode a two seater bike/car thing around, had some great meals, clothes shopped, and were accosted by Bachelor party participants. We have video of all of this, unfortunately saved on Laura’s phone and for some reason she has not uploaded them to her computer yet. Maybe someday I will have these videos. Maybe.

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Driving the two seater bike/car thingy.

It seems to be a tradition that when someone reaches a milestone in their young life, it is the duty of friends to embarrass them as much as possible. When people graduate from college, friends will plaster posters with embarrassing statements and photos all over the town they live in. Since Italy is very social and people meet daily for drinks, meals, or just promenading around downtown in their finery, it is easy to spot the persons being celebrated. hence, every Saturday night, in every town, you will see groups of men trying to embarrass the hell out of a particular man who has decided to marry. They make them walk in ski boots, wear women’s underwear, bear GIANT crosses, balls and chains, blow up dolls, wear ridiculous safety gear, you name it. THEN they give them a job. Either giving away condoms, collecting trivial change in return for performing antics, wash car and motorcycle windows at the corner, assuming the role of a super soaker target, you get the idea. The bachelorettes do a similar sort of night, but more frequently will be selling shots of alcohol and giving away condoms and candies in the form of certain anatomy parts.

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Laura with the bachelor party.

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Party member with bullhorn.I believe that is a man in a dress behind him.

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More single men.

The above photos were with my iphone at night, sorry for the quality. But like I said, I lost my camera somewhere after Italy.

We spent a day in Venice (I did this for Laura as I don’t much like Venice. The sacrifices I make!)

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Boat garage.

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I love the history of Venice, but today today tourism has jaded it.

Laura tries a traditional spritz and tells me what she thinks of it. All while wearing my shirt.

Laura tries a traditional spritz and tells me what she thinks of it. All while wearing my shirt.

After collecting my things from my little town (amazingly, everything fit in the car), the one thing left on my list of things to do before leaving Italy for good was to visit the Aprilia factory. Pictures, coming right up.

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The Road Trip continues

After Ibiza, we rented a car we lovingly named Shitbird. We had to stay in BCN for a day as there were a couple of flats I wanted to view before we left, since I still needed a place to live. Because, you know, returning to BCN with a car full of stuff and nowhere to live didn’t seem like the best idea ever.

So we stayed an extra day with the car in our possession(actually a huge hindrance in Barcelona). I viewed a few places and unfortunately, they blew trees full of squirrels-overpriced, too many people, too dark or too small. So not only did we lose a day of travel, we had to pay for parking the car AND my wallet got stolen while we were in the Parc Citudella.

We named her shitbird for a reason.

And we shall call her Shitbird.

The thievery here in Barcelona is getting REALLY bad. I usually do not have much trouble, but as Laura was with me and clearly was a visitor (tall, blond, speaking English) and these are the people that the thieves target. So I got nabbed, being with tall blonde Guiri chick. The first time this happened to me I was with Susanna – an ever taller, blonder English speaker (though she did live here at the time). I should have known better, but it happened and I lost 80 Euros, 40 dollars and two bank cards. I canceled the cards right away, but it meant going on our trip and paying for everything with a US credit card – in dollars. And the dollar had just dropped again, to 1.45 to the Euro. OUCH.

Nonetheless, off we went to France. We stayed in Nice right near the beach for 3/4 days and had to move hotels every night. Our last one was pretty good…

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We hiked around and made it up to the ancient part of town where the old castle sits. There is a large man made waterfall up there too. That was fun on a windy day. Oh and add slippery flagstone as the walking surface to that mix too.

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Last but not least, the food was awful. Way too rich or oily or just plain blah. I expected as much, but I think Laura was pretty disappointed in the food. Though the coffee revved her jets but good.

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Next stop, Monte Carlo.

Road Trip

As most of you know by now, I’ve moved back to Barcelona. As I am writing this at 3:20am, it is fairly obvious I have had no trouble re-acclimating myself to the time norms around here.

It was somewhat of a complicated process to move from Italy to Spain since shipping and moving services are so expensive. I decided to rent a car instead and drive across Europe. Renting a car only one direction was ridiculously expensive so I opted to drive back as well. Fortunately, my dear friend Laura from High School decided to fly over and make the trek with me so we just made it a vacation.

Before Laura came over however, I spent three days in Roses on the Costa Brava of Spain. My friend Nico has a vacation flat there and invited some friends for the week he would be there. I was out there with my Italian friend Barbara who coincidentally knows Nico from when they both lived in London years ago. Random coincidences between the people I know occur constantly.

Roses is the vacation spot of the French. In August when all of Europe goes on holiday, the French go to the Spanish coast, the Italians go to the Spanish Balearic islands, the Germans go to the Northern Italian coast and the Spanish, well I haven’t figured that out yet. Unlike the rest of the Europeans, I haven’t found large conglomerations of the Spanish outside of Spain. But Roses was ALL French. I barely heard any Spanish spoken while I was there.

I basically swam in the sea, lay on the beach, made dinners with my friends and relaxed. Oh, I did trip on a step with slippery bricks downtown and rather than drop the bottle of wine in my arms I bloodied my knee and elbow and jarred my shoulder. But I saved the wine. Don’t tell me I don’t know my priorities. Here are some photos of the place.

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The Dali museum is the next town over. We went there too. It was way too crowded but interesting. What a loon he was. I like how he improvised on other artists work and styles to poke a bit of fun at them, doing works in pointillism, cubism, impressionism and even baroque style paintings.

On with the story. From Roses, I took a bus to BCN to meet Laura. She hadn’t received ANY of my text messages so I found her checked into a four star hotel in the middle of nowhere, rather than the decent and adequate (cheaper) hotel downtown in the middle of everything.  Long story short, we spent a few days in BCN while deciding how the trip would proceed and getting Laura acclimated to Europe and the many miles of walking that would be done. She didn’t exactly bring appropriate shoes. So she mostly wore mine, but we ended up trading entire wardrobes by the end of the trip anyway.

We decided to fly to Ibiza first instead of hit the road since there was time. While Laura was jet lagged for most of the time we soldiered on and forced ourselves to enjoy it. The photos document the difficulties we had to put up with.

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We just relaxed there, though we did do a lot of scooter riding from one side of the island to the other. Ibiza is known for its crazy parties and giant clubs but we just didn’t get into it. We swam a lot and rode around on the scooter, and when we tried to get into the party mode it felt like just that – trying. So when we left it was sober, unlike many others on the plane at 6am.

To be continued…