Random Notes

Saturday May 24,2014

We are traveling across the Tuscany region of Italy and into Venice. We have been in Italy 11 weeks and have come to understand why people from the USA and all over the world have decided to move here.

Our experience in many countries can become "OK, that's nice, next country".  The customs and habits, whether it be excessive smoking, or inconsiderate drivers of cars and cycles begin to irritate. The good parts of a country start to be outweighed by the unpleasant. In Italy it hasn't happened yet. The drivers are usually courteous, ( and as we walk and take public transportation this is important).  The smoking, although present and more than the USA, is still limited to streets and Parks and a little bit in bars and outside dining. The people are friendly, even engaging and I believe if I spoke Italian I could move here. When you include the Art, Food, Wine, Climate, Topography,

Wine (it is worth repeating), well it is all beautiful.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

6 Month Anniversary of Nomads, Pitfalls & Pleasures of the Road



On the Road.

We are so fortunate to be on this journey, the cultures, food, history and art we have been able to study and enjoy are priceless, but things sure have changed from 32 years ago when we honeymooned in Europe for 6 months.
32 years ago vs. today:
Thirty years ago we had joint medication... Now we have medication for our joints.
Then, we wrote 2 letters home and 4-5 Postcards.... Now, a Blog, FB, Whatsapp, Pictograms, and Skype.
Then, went looking for after hours clubs.... Now, Groupon Deals with 2 for 1 of everything.
Then, a Backpack, 2 pair of jeans, 3 t-shirts and 2 pair of shoes.... Now, a suitcase so big and heavy it would be cheaper to buy it a seat and put the Daughter in steerage.

As this adventure is a Marathon and not a Sprint, there are some adjustments you are always making to your life and travels. It always happens in a new city, you start out like it is a vacation and suddenly your caloric as well as your financial budget is blown up. Everything looks delicious and inviting.  New foods, new beverages, amusements and everything gets way out of whack.  For 5-6 weeks we just enjoy ourselves and then reality and the 2 pair of jeans you brought start to give you a squeeze.  It appears we may have found a solution.  Every 7th or 8th week we do an intensive diet -  1000 calorie fruit/veg/protein diet. A VERY healthy diet to work off the carb loading, gelato indulging, wine drinking, budget breaking escapade we have been on.  After a solid 10 days of this, we are ready for action once again.

Looks like I am ready for my 10 day diet 
(Wanda comment: ...or are you happy to see me?)

We Miss Our Bed!  After 15 years of sleeping on the Top of the Line, pillow-top king size mattress and not a bad nights sleep ever, these beds (although very nice for the most part) do not measure up. We have pushed two twins together, slept on a futon, had squeaky frames and such, so after our 4 poster in California, it is a big change. To be fair, we have been very fortunate and happy with our Hosts and our lodgings, the quality, cleanliness and hospitality have been one of the joys on this trip. Very willing to recommend them to our friends.

I miss my Serta!  
(Wanda comment - Where the Heck did this picture come from???)

Let me ask a question, does anyone else out there think they could live with their spouse or significant other 24/7?  Most people spend 3-5 hours a day with the one they love, how about morning, noon, and night?
I am glad Wanda loves me as it must be difficult. We have a good arrangement, I plan everything from the lodgings to travel, planes, car rental, bus, taxi, to the daily tour guide of wherever we are, and Wanda, tells me what I did wrong. We have our moments, I mean when you have two strong Taurus individuals who both spent most of their work life in management positions, there will be disagreements. Our love of food is our mediator, our recipe for success, a compromise usually starts with, "Let's Eat".  Alone time is important, I think Wanda has 15 people she plays Words with Friends with, and this is after we have 3 games of Scrabble going on. (You can only read so much about Etruscan Art or the Crusades).

Socrates Original Man Cave and alone time.

There are always small changes you don't think about when you have made this big change in your life. For instance, I use Costco priced Sensydine toothpaste at home, for some reason over here they want $6 for a tube vs $1.75 for Colgate. Some cities ( Rome and Vienna) have incredible drinking water that you can fill up your water bottle from the tap, others like Florence need a Britta or the expense of bottled water, and you can't buy a Britta system as it will not fit in your carry on luggage, (but the new expense of luggage and airline fees for us is an entire Post - talk about your unexpected smack). Other oddities are buying the smallest size of spices, mouthwash, shampoo, and all number of necessary items you need to last a month or just until you are ready to hop on the plane for your next stop.  After 20 years of buying 26 role toilet paper or paper towels, a 4 pack is foreign, a single paper towel role feels freakish, but it is our new life.  Liberating and exhilarating in so many ways, constricting and frustrating in ways you hadn't imagined.  Did I really need that pair of Bass shoes that I have worn a half dozen times that weigh 8 lbs?  From now on a great walking shoe (Clark) and a good sandal is all I need.  I brought too many shirts, but they were nearly new. I have carried some new summer shorts, swimsuits etc I had just purchased but still haven't worn. We packed for all seasons as we had the clothes.  At least now I can dump some of my winter clothes,  no more snow for at least 2 years. You can't even imagine what living with so few clothing choices does to you.  If you are female (over 40 Wanda?) and lived in the same home for 15 years you probably have 40+ pairs of shoes, 15 purses/handbags, 20+ sweaters! and countless coats, jackets etc. Wanda has been amazing having 5 pair of shoes, 3 sweaters and 2 coats.  I believe we are in for a wardrobe make-over in Spain.


This is not my post - I was told I need to add something.....  Rich asked me after 6 months of travelling is there anything I miss.....  Hmmm,  I'm with Richard 24/7 -  what is there to miss??  : )


For more observations I will post on our page called Random Notes from the Road. (ie, Europe's grocery stores the good and bad.)

6 Months and 24 more to come, will we make it?
Will Ireland be a Guinness fest?
Will Wanda push me into my ancestors Fjords in Norway?
Will I need to take a job in a vineyard in Bordeaux ?
Stay tuned, we are loving the adventure and look forward to more.


  1. Spanish Johnny drove in from the underworld last night
    With bruised arms and broken rhythm in a beat-up old Buick but dressed just like dynamite
    He tried sellin' his heart to the hard girls over on Easy Street
    But they sighed, "Johnny, it falls apart so easy and you know hearts these days are cheap"