places i have been

Riccione, Italy - 7/17-7/21

updated 8/5/03

Fred on the train from Rome to Riccione - "Are we having fun yet?"

What we don't have (and don't miss): a drip coffee maker; air conditioning; microwave
What we do have: Packages of milk that keep for up to 3 months without refrigeration; Signora Ugolini's (Leo's mom) frittata; Tortuffo


Tortuffo! (thank you Azzurra!)

Feet's Sculpture - In Progress

The Princess' Golden Ball

Fred's Sculpture - Fini

From bed to porch - do not pass go, do not comb hair

"I have always wanted to carry a pizza on a bike down a street in Italy!" - Fred

The case of the missing journal entries has been solved... when I copied over the pref. files from my desktop computer MacJournal continued to save to a nonexistant folder - a smallish detail the stupid application failed to bring to my attention.


Hopefully it is fixed now and so I must attempt to reconstruct our first four days here in Italy.

The drive from Glen Lake to Chicago took about 7 hours, including a stop in Saugatuck to drop off Calla, pick up a few supplies and ship a package home. We also stopped at Barnes and Noble in Holland to pick up the lonely planet guide to Turkey and the latest Harry Potter book. It looks heavy, but what you gonna do?

Our flight to Paris was right on time - the airline sent someone to shephard us through our short connection time to Rome but failed to show our luggage the same TLC. We debated staying in Rome long enough for it to catch up with us but decided to press ahead to Riccione when assured the bags would be sent straight to us early the next morning by courier. Yeah, right. and the French still love us Americans after that little Iraq tiff you betcha...

The Weather

Hot as home but far less humidity. Rome was misery and when did they start charging .60 euro to use the WC? Three hours in Termini was about 2:45 too much.

The Accommodations

As promised, the Riccione apartment is quite spacious and comfy. It is within walking distance of the sculpture garden which is very nice. Antonio and his girlfriend Daniella are letting us use their bikes so we are able to get around quite easily. Found an internet cafe a couple days back that lets us hook up our laptops.

Meals are typical for the area and family style - dads and moms show up frequently to shovel and cook and do whatever they can to support the venture - much like my own parents have done on my projects. It makes me miss them..

The building is surrounded by similar apartment buildings clustered close together. There is no hum of AC units and heat dictates leaving windows open pretty much all the time so one cannot help but become intimately involved with the goings on. One day I was forced to listen to a very distraught woman on the phone - screaming first, then bursting into heart-wrenching sobs. I could not understand a word of what she was saying but she was communicating nonetheless.

The Sculpture Garden

Is coming along nicely. Leo and Antonio have been working on it for over a month and have accomplished a lot for just two guys with a vision... (and a lot of support from the family ;-)
The colored sand thing is a bit weird and I am only just now getting the hang of using it - two days into the carve.

Getting acclimated was difficult - the heat, the missing luggage, the jet lag and the digestive adjustments took their toll. But digging into a sandpile (even if we did have to start off with borrowed tools) always seems to help put things to right again. We are very fortunate to be working under shade and once the breeze picks up I think my pile is the coolest and most comfortable place to spend the day.

Update 8/5/03 - I have finally got around to posting some more pictures of the sculpture garden -- click here!

The Routine

We seem to wake up right at 6 every morning. Espresso and cornflakes on the balcony while the neighborhood comes alive. The landlord waters his garden; the lady next door walks her poodle. All conversation comes to a halt when a train goes by - which is fairly regularly -- we are half a block from the tracks.

About 8;30 we go to the park where we work until 12:30. The morning pace is fast to make best use of the coolest time of the day. 12:30 is dinner time - usually consisting of a pasta dish, salad, eggplant and tomatoes cooked with cheese and seasonings and sometimes dessert. Washed down with watered down wine. Which combined with the heat encourage one to head to the bedroom and stretch out. The half hour midday nap is something I have fallen right into (literally).

We wander back to the pile around 3 pm and work at a somewhat more leisurely pace until 7 or so, when Antonio fetches a round of beer from the nearest cabana bar. We head back to the casa 8ish where there may or may not be supper waiting. Then we pack up the macs and head off to the internet cafe.

This town comes alive at night when it is cool enough to wander the streets comfortably. Everything stays open late. One night we treated ourselves to dinner at a restaurant - pizza of course.

The Itinerary

Is still undetermined. Turkey beckons but adds more transportation costs.
We will probably leave here tomorrow for Cinque Terre and still plan to arrive in Florence on the 25th.

The Luggage

Arrived late the evening of the 19th - something like 50 hours after our arrival in Rome. We were told that this is pretty typical for Air France and will go out of our way to avoid flying with them again.

Sleep shirt courtesy of Air France. Note it is _not imprinted with anything like "I flew Air France and instead of my luggage all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

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