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Friday Night Photo Explosion

Friday, October 13th, 2006

The Europe pixs keep coming…the batch I uploaded tonight are from visits to Hungary, Germany, Slovenia, The Czech Republic, The Netherlands, France and Belgium. But none of these recent shots were taken by me. My traveling companion and good pal CJ used her digital camera to capture these scenes. This one of the Danube and Chain Bridge in Budapest is my favorite.

Lots more here.

I’m trying really hard…

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

…to ignore the fact that I seem to have LOST my very precious stamp-filled PASSPORT!

During five months of European roaming, she never strayed, not even once. We were excellent traveling companions. But sometime soon after we returned home TOGETHER in July, she ducked off somewhere and has yet to return. Either she slipped behind a piece of furniture to chill for awhile, or she set out on an adventure all her own, without saying goodbye.

(Maybe she ran off with one of those fine looking border patrol guards in Sturovo, Gyekenyes or Koprivnica.)

The awful truth is that I think I accidentally THREW HER OUT.

I refuse to believe it and hope that she will resurface someday, somewhere in this house. But eventually I’ll have to admit that she, and all her colorful stamps, may be gone for good. Better that she ran off now, I know, as opposed to when we were traveling abroad.

But a big bummer nonetheless.

Let the Photos do the Talking

Tuesday, August 1st, 2006

Everytime I think about writing something here, I have trouble sorting out where to begin & what exactly to say. So instead, I’ll stay silent for now, and let the pictures do the talking.

I just uploaded as much as I could before reaching my Flickr limit — a hodgepodge from Portugal, Spain and the Czech Republic. (The one above is Prague at sunset sometime in April. Click on the photo to see more.) I think I may breakdown and treat myself to a Flickr Pro account, but not until next month.

For now, it’s back to the tasks at hand…getting settled, finding a job, and moving forward. Enjoy summer everyone and I’ll be back in September.

Photo Finish

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

Sorting through my photos will take several months. I should have everything organized by the time the ball drops on Times Square at the end of this year. I have loads of digital shots taken by family and friends, saved on assorted CDs and online photo sites. Thanks to all these snappy happy pals of mine, I have a nice collection of digital pixs from certain parts of my journey.

But for my own personal photos, I used an ordinary film camera, and the rolls have piled up. It will take awhile before I can see my own pictures from the trip — I can only develop a few at a time and have to watch my money. At last count there were about 16 rolls. I also used a few throw-away cameras, after my 3-year old Minolta decided to call it quits on a peaceful cliffside in Slovenia.

There are special photos of people and places that I want to share by uploading them to my Flickr account, but that will take time too, since I am not yet a coveted Pro account member. I’ve used up my allotted space for July with a random smattering of shots from the very beginning and very end of my trip. Here are two of my favorites:

In Glouchester, MA on Feb. 12, just three days before my departure for Lisbon.


With Mom and Dad this past Tuesday at Newark Airport after my return flight from Rome.

There are just a few from Portugal too…but more to come next month, I hope 🙂

Point of View

Friday, July 21st, 2006

The perspective, to say the least, changes only with the journey.

~ James Baldwin

Getting in the Civic with my parents and brother when they picked me up at the airport was a surreal moment. The car felt oddly familiar, yet foreign. It wasn’t exactly deja vu, but some sort of bizarre sensation, to be around this thing that I was formerly acquainted with.

For five months, almost everything I saw, touched or tasted was new. Now, suddenly, I am back among the familiar — the car, the house, my stuff. It’s strange and comfortable, all at the same time. I don’t feel this way with people, it is only with the material possessions and things I own that surround me now. Maybe it is the jetlag, but the littlest things I see can make me giggle, grin or stare in wonder — I forgot about those sneakers, and this book, and that extra deodorant I left behind during the frenzied pre-trip packing. And it is all here waiting for me.

Living out of a bag for five months has surely changed my perspective on stuff, and now that I am surrounded by my belongings again, I’m not quite sure what to do with most of them.


The flights home were fine, although the plane ride and all this air conditioning has gifted me with a tiny cold…I’m not used to all this processed air, especially after the last month of ultra hot hostels in Spain and Italy. I think my body has just let go for a bit too. It has breathed a huge sigh and told me to check back in a few weeks, while it recovers from the constant movement of the journey.

I’ve moved slow the past three days…sorting through mail and photos, searching for summer clothes in the attic and assembling toiletries in the bathroom. I ran some errands today, and almost said “Grazie” to the man who held the door for me at the bank.

It is wonderful to be around my family again, and to be able to easily chat with friends on the phone. The best part of my trip was all the amazing people I met…and the best part of being home is all the fantastic people I already know that I can see and talk to again.

Tonight mom and I will eat leftover Chinese and watch some travel shows (ha!) on TV. Tomorrow I’m treating my feet to a well deserved pedicure followed by a visit with two of my closest pals. I’ve still got three days of notes on Rome to write in my journal, plus lots of photos to develop and maps/scraps/brochures to organize. Oh yeah, and all that ‘find a job and place to live stuff’ to sort out too…all in good time.

From Rome to Home!

Monday, July 17th, 2006

Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalks again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.

– Jack Kerouac

My backback is only slightly battered, but my feet are in need of some major TLC. The end of this part of the journey is near, but I’ve worked my legs to the bitter end here, conquering Rome the best I can in the past three days. I’ve seen much more than I thought I would, and it has been wonderful — I can’t think of a better city in which to end this journey and said Ciao to Europe – for now 🙂

I just checked my flights online and status seems okay. Tomorrow will be a long day…Rome to London, then to New Jersey, USA! I won’t really have time to explore London at all, but that is already on the list for the next visit (along with Scotland, right mom?)

For now, I will savour my last hours in Italy, my home for the past 17 days (plus a few more weeks earlier in the trip). This second visit to Italy has been just as incredible as the first. I spent time with my Italian cousin Ivonne in Asti, then visited Lucca and Pisa before heading to Florence for a few days. After that, it was a week in Tuscany with my American cousins, aunts and uncles, and my brother and sister-in-law too…it was so wonderful to see them all. We visited Siena, San Giminano, Pienza and Montalcino. And we all watched Italy’s World Cup win while secluded at our Tuscan villa! I said goodbye to all the fam on Saturday, and have spent the past three days solo for one last time on the trip…exploring Rome alone and just taking it all in — the chaos, madness and craziness that makes this city absolutely awesome. I walked EVERYWHERE and melted as I did it, but it has been a fabulous finale to an amazing five month dream come true…but I still think I am dreaming. Am I???

I’m looking forward to speaking with and seeing so many of you — VERY soon!! Safe travels and happy summer, wherever you are! See you soon Mom and Dad (and Dan too! miss you all!)

Italia Beats Germania!!!

Wednesday, July 5th, 2006

Italia Beats Germania
Originally uploaded by lostinplace.

Here I am with two Italian fans after last night’s win. I watched the game with these guys and a bunch of other wonderful fans last night, then we all went driving through the streets of downtown singing, jumping, cheering and celebrating the victory. It was amazing to witness this and is so special to be a part of this run…to be in Italy while they go to the final is about as good as it gets as far as sports are concerned.

Photos are courtesy of my Mexican friend Will. Thanks to him and my Dutch friend Katja for a great time in Lucca. Two more photos here and here. A very different way to spend the 4th of July, but one I’ll remember forever. Happy 4th everyone…and Go Italy!!

The Italian Finale!

Friday, June 30th, 2006

I’m ready to come home, but still very eager to relax and enjoy my last 18 days in Italy. It’s really the perfect place for me to end my journey.

I’m leaving Nice this morning and will spend the afternoon in Genova, before heading to Asti to visit my cousin Ivonne, who I met for the first time earlier in this trip when I was in Venice. I’ll spend the weekend with her, then head to Viareggio and Lucca, where I will spend two nights couchsurfing, (although I learned today that Couchsurfing is no more, which is very sad news indeed.) Thankfully, I have the phone number of the person who agreed to host me, so I will call her today to firm things up. After this, I will head to Florence, one of my most favorite cities. I’ll be meeting up with family here as well — aunt, uncles, cousins, and my brother and sister-in-law — and we will all travel together to a villa for our own week under the Tuscan sun. Finally, I’ll spend a few days alone in Rome to wrap things up.

It’s incredible that the end is in sight. I’m in awe that I actually did this! I am so happy to have this special time with my family at the end, although I am also really looking forward to the touchdown at Newark Airport, where I will see my parents, who promised we can go to a real New Jersey diner for dinner!! I also look forward to many phone calls with friends and plans to meet up this summer.

I’m more sure than ever that travel will continue to be an integral part of my life, but this trip has also taught me that I do indeed cherish the concept and comforts of what it means to have a home…a place in this world to call my own…and I look forward to making one for myself in the weeks and months to come. So many people opened their homes to me on this journey, and I look forward to creating my own place with an open door as well. (Just don’t ask me yet exactly where that place will be, although I have some ideas brewing…)

Soooo, this is probably my last post until Rome or when I return to the states…so Happy July, Happy Fourth and many happy days…always!

Happy 35th Wedding Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

My card is coming air mail…a little late…but I want to give you a special congrats today on 35 incredible years of love and marriage…and then some 🙂 Parenting, patience, all that stuff you both do so well…Celebrate and enjoy, and I hope the sun shines on you both in NY today.

Love and hugs…and see you in 20 days!!! xoxoxoxo

Food Fiesta

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

I´ve mentioned before that this trip has done wonders to cure my picky eating habits — and it turns out that my week in Madrid was one of the most challenging (and enjoyable) phases of the gastronomic journey. Bravery and pure hunger teamed up to make sure I tried a bunch of new things this week, thanks to my Spanish amigas.

My Spanish pal Cristina is an excellent cook, she likes to experiment and can whip up yummy dishes in a matter of minutes. I am now calling her the Rachel Ray of Espana, and working on a proposal for a new show — Twenty Minute Meals from Madrid. Here is a sampling of what I was treated to this week (and YES fam & friends…I tried…and actually liked…just about all of this! And you will try some of this too, when I get around to cooking for you later this year…)

– Gazpacho (the perfect cool, filling food for hot summer weather)

– Revuelto de Morcilla (blood sausage with onion, served with scrambled eggs)

– Lacon (ham served with olive oil and spices)

– Conejo al Ajillo (rabbit fried with garlic)

– La Gula (baby eel – looks like thin spaghetti – served with fettuchini, garlic, olive oil and egg)

– Desserts with yummy names like Leche Merengada and Espuma de Melocoton, and I tried Horchata, a milk drink made from the tiger nut, found only in Valencia.

Another friend, Maddie (an Irish transplant living in Madrid now) took me to a Galician taberna called Maceira where I ate octopus, called pulpo, and also had mussels in a white cream garlic sauce. Great atmosphere and music too.

Cristina and I went out for tapas yesterday and I had delicious tortilla de espanola (Spanish omlette), calamari and croquettas with jamon, my treat to thank her for an incredible week of food, football, Formula One and sightseeing too. I tried to cook for her but she would not allow it, soooo…I´m already working on the menu for when she visits the States in a year or two…smores, pancakes, burgers on the grill…good old American cooking 🙂

Oh, and here are two new photos – finally! One of me eating another Cristina original and one of she and I at the Royal Palace in Madrid.