Monday, May 30, 2016

Long Weekend

Spent some good times with even better friends off the coast of Naples this weekend. Here's a teaser but I promise even more pictures (and maybe even some words!) eventually.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Thousand Miles

That's right, for the mathematically inclined I'm talking TWICE 500 miles!

...though in this case I'm talking about the Italian version.  

The Mille Miglia was once a race and is now more of a thousand mile parade featuring around 450 classic cars and plenty of lovely Italian scenery. (And crowds, always crowds.)

The course came right through Rome last night so I headed down to Via Veneto to catch the cars in action.  As you may remember, I have a special nostalgia for very old cars - and while most of these were fancier racing cars, there was plenty of variety and lots of unexpected detail to hold even an amateur's interest.

My pictures below are as terrible as could be expected with low lighting and my phone's wimpy camera - my own fault for forgetting to bring something a bit better suited to the occasion- but you can find better pictures elsewhere online and if you find yourself along the course today by all means get out there and check out the spectacle!

Seriously, I apologize for the shamefully low quality of these photos. I guess this is the time when a vivid imagination really comes in handy...

I can picture Mr. Incredible behind the wheel of this one, can't you?

There was so much obvious wealth associated with some of these teams that it was particularly sad to see the juxtaposition of this homeless couple whose usual spot was invaded for the night by enthusiasts who spend more on these cars than the couple will likely see all year. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016


A couple weekends back I visited what has been described as the most beautiful beach in Lazio (the region where Rome is located).  I'll let my faithful reader be the judge, but keep in mind I was much too focused on beaching to worry about getting the best possible photo. So just... extrapolate.

It's certainly worth a second look - I only spent about three hours there and about half of that eating lunch at a sadly not seaside restaurant so I speak from admittedly limited experience.  

I can't really say that for me the beach justified the trouble involved in reaching it, but if you're spending the night (or driving yourself) then I'm sure it would be a lovely mini-holiday.

And just for those who are curious - the trip involves a train ride from Termini to Fondi-Sperlonga - that part is easy enough - followed by a bus ride. That's the tricky part. It's supposed to be timed to the train arrivals but in fact comes about once every couple hours and if you miss it taxis can be expensive or hard to find. It took me a little under three hours to reach the beach and around 30 euro.  The return is the same story. So six hours of transportation - a bit much for a beach day.  By comparison Ostia is about an hour and 1.50 euro away. Both have their strengths so I'm glad I have such a long summer ahead of me to make some (very scientific ;) comparisons.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

List person

A fellow blogger (not naming any names ;) and I are hoping to blog a bit more often and explore some newer, fresher ways of writing.  I know what you're thinking - it's about time!

Said friend suggested we take a page from the bullet journaling method.  I'm actually interested in tweaking this journaling method and using it to keep my work notebooks a bit neater.  I can't use all the ideas in the blog but I have been inspired to make a bullet blog post of my own.  Or maybe a whole series: My Life in Lists. Coming from a long line of list people this sounds like something I can manage.

So, list number 1, because I am constantly amazed by the huge disconnect between people who travel a lot (say, diplomats) and people who travel occasionally (i.e. friends and family back home) when it comes to trip prep skills.  As an example, back in my college days whenever I came home for the holidays certain family members would begin asking me if I had packed for my trip back to school yet - the day after my arrival! While I don't recommend saving the packing to the hour before your trip - in case something is missing, needs washed, whatever - it certainly shouldn't need to be a multi week endeavor! Having a list helps too - so in that moment when you are standing at the door asking "Are you sure we didn't forget anything?" there will be some way to reassure yourself that you didn't.

Almost Any Trip Packing List

In your purse/briefcase/backpack
  • Tablet (at least one book should be on there and two for big readers)
  • Phone (duh)
  • Cords for the above and plug adaptors (for destination and all transit countries)
  • Money! Both cards and cash, you never know
  • ID - passport and or driver's license, work ID for work trips
  • Pen x 2 and notebook
  • Evidence of all your travel arrangements - hotel and flight confirmation numbers, itineraries, etc
  • Snack
  • Simple toiletries (comb, chapstick, lotion, hair ties and make up) 
  • Overnight toiletries if you happen to be traveling for several hours or more (toothbrush, travel sized toothpaste, and deodorant) - for quick flights keep these in the big bag
  • Scarf - seriously not optional - my big scarf goes everywhere with me, even in summer amd it is always useful
In your shoulder bag/roller bag/etc
  • Even more toiletries! (razor, perfume/cologne, Q-tips if, like me, you are addicted to them)
  • Shoes - It really depends on the trip but I hate to bring more than 1-2 pairs in addition to whatever I wear on the plane. Work trips are the hardest, particularly if you plan to go running or need boots or casual shoes for the downtime, but doing your best to bring outfits within the same color family can help you trim this a bit.
  • Outfits for x days - again this depends so much on the weather, trip purpose, etc that I can't give a clear rule*, but generally I pack one pair of underwear and socks for every day, shirts for each day plus one extra (accidents happen!), one sweater, and a max of two pairs of pants, no matter the trip length.  For more than a week you would be well served to just have some shirts laundered halfway through, rather than hauling around a huge bag to accomodate too many clothes. There are also tons of good guides on capsule wardrobes you can check out for ideas.

*Just for reference on a recent overnight trip to Assisi I packed two shirts, underclothes, cardigan and pajamas. Then I just mixed those up with the jeans, shoes, and jacket that I wore on the train.

Depending on the trip
  • Swimming suit
  • Camera - if your phone takes crap pictures or you are a photography enthusiast
  • Business cards
  • Coat, gloves and boots

Sunday, May 1, 2016


A few months ago I finally made it out to Cinecitta - the Italian equivalent to Hollywood - for a screening of The Hateful Eight (70mm, which in case that means nothing to you =huge). I noticed the museum and studio tour option but didn't have time to squeeze them in so I recently went back to check things out.  First things first, Cinecitta is easy to find - just take Metro line B to the Cinecitta stop and it'll be right at the entrance to the Metro, you really can't miss it.  The ticket is 10 euros for the museums, and 10 more to add in the studio tour. I recommend the tour, as the museum was ok but fairly small.  Mostly it seems to be a celebration of the past, rather than a peak into Italy's filmmaking present, but it's still a pretty impressive past!
I love this playground.

See if you can pick up on the pattern...