Friday, August 18, 2023

Miscellaneous shit from the past few weeks volume four-ish?

The last time I wrote something like this, it was 34 days until our trip to Europe. Today Europe's been and gone and it's not coming over here from Instagram. I did a feed post every day with 10 pics and some text reactions that will help me remember each day, and if we are personal friends on Facebook you saw that there as well. There's also a corresponding reel of the day that I put into a highlight or that you can just access via my Reels page if you're interested. Our itinerary was Zurich, Munich with a day trip to Innsbruck in Austria, Venice, Florence, Naples with a day trip to Capri, and Rome. People said it was too much and could not be done and it was a lot but we did it and we did it well together for there being six of us of varying ages, thresholds, and personalities. I know that type of trip is not for everyone but I loved it and am so glad we did it. 
Carol of course turned 60 while we were gone, and we were celebrating that and my brother's 40th still. It was nice to be away together.

Admirable sticker and fuck the fascists graffiti throughout.

I will think about eating that folded pizza on a hot night in the street in Naples for the rest of my life. It was amazing. All the food here tastes fake and old now. It Italy specifically they do not allow the chemicals we do in America, largely eat what is local and in season there, and it tastes fresh as fuck. It's also more filling and I ate less throughout the day every day despite doing so much more walking. Even their packaged food was less greasy and gross. 
I didn't find the crowds as bad as people said they were, and we truly lucked out weather-wise. It was hot but not like it's been. Thanks to this solar umbrella also good for rain, Megababe body dust top to toe powder (I do not fuck with the roll on thigh rescue, the powder is far superior), and these Duluth boxer brief underwear for women  - they double as shorts under dresses to eliminate thigh rub, are cool and don't stink no matter how hot it is or how much you walk, and was also quick dry for sink washes. I've always worn shorts under dresses since I started working in Center City in 2008 and these are just superior. I like the regular underwear also for travel. I did this on Instagram already but might as well come clean here - I am sorry for all the times I ripped on Birkenstocks and how ugly they are. I walked over 224,000 steps in Europe, all day every day in these birks except for two days. Those two non-birk days were the days I felt the walking in my body. The rest of the time no pain in my feet, knees, hips, back from walking all day long on unforgiving surfaces. This is my third serious pair (non EVA) and I'm never stopping. I've got the Bostons on order for the winter. 
A lot of you had trip-related questions I might have meant to answer upon returning and lost the threads to so if you did and I didn't answer, feel free to ask again. In general: yes for this trip I booked it all myself/no travel agent etc., yes book early, yes you an do it in a small suitcase and a backpack, do not book attraction tickets through third parties like Viator (i.e. booked direct with Vatican and direct with Colosseum to avoid markup), map everything out on google maps to see what is doable in a day, make sure the must sees are taken care of first, and do not spend a lot of money on your accommodations because when you do a trip like this one you are never in them except to sleep or do a quick load of laundry. For Europe I usually start with then book direct if possible. If not, through there is fine. I also used VRBO for the apartment in Florence. 
I didn't buy a ton but love and will use what I did buy - a small piece of artwork in Venice that got me a hug from the shopkeeper and is already hanging on my wall at the shore, two frocks for my Mrs. Roper era-collection in Venice, some bookmarks from Librairie Acqua Alta in Venice, a few food items and a leather bag I haggled for at the market in Florence, some soap from Florence and Rome (everywhere I go), a magnet from Capri, a Christmas gift, and some handmade jewelry from a shop near the pantheon in Rome. 
The floors, the doors, the windows, the walking, the ease and accessibility of public transportation, the mid day slow down/pause. I miss them and wish everyone would travel and experience them to see what is possible so we would collectively push for the transportation options and pause here for a healthier life, more connection and community, and better work-life balance. 

Bruce's birthday was two days after we got back and it felt like a sad one this year. There were still birthday cheeseburgers of course, but only two dogs at the dog birthday party felt wrong. Mae's absence seems more pronounced upon our return. The vet called me in Zurich to let me know her ashes were in and I picked them up on Monday. 
The Bruce Springsteen concert my brother and I were taking my Dad to on Wednesday was postponed along with tonight's show due to illness, so I'm anxious to get that new date! Since that was cancelled I came back to the shore Wednesday night with Bruce and Ben to the apartment being the cleanest it's been all year. This shit doesn't run here without a backup and one of my forever friends and her crew held it down here for the two turnover weekends. Thank you thank you thank you Melissa and framily!
And thank you thank you thank you to Vincent for holding it down in Philly with Bruce, Ben, and Billy. It takes a village to travel and we appreciate ours so much. It removes a lot of the worry associated with being away from home.

Pre-trip, I was thrilled to see my BFF Kim while she was down visiting her parents, the same day I got my hair done by Kristi. I was also in the city that week for work, and that meant a solid appointment with my acupuncturist and I did my massage with Sarah at Blossom before I left too. 

I also managed to eke out my July books read list but did not do a post on it, and probably won't circle back to do so at this point. If you want to discuss any of these, let me know. I read four books and started a fifth while we were gone, that I'm still muddling through. Jetlag is not for night readers. 

This week I had Ben at the vet (nothing wrong, just having a bit of a depressive time due to Mae dying followed by us being gone), did all the trip laundry, returned some shit, returned my overdue library books, and am getting regular life shit going again. I'm thankful I was gone at a downtime at work. While I was away, my 15th anniversary with my company hit. The last time I went anywhere without my computer was over 15 years ago. The freedom from the act of sitting in front of a computer for two weeks was amazing mentally and physically. I posted trip updates daily mostly to have for myself because I knew I wouldn't come back and do a blog trip wrap up - but was also largely off of social media and that was also amazing. Happy birthday if you had one, cheers to the good, peace for the bad. 

Loving seeing all the kids move into the dorms around this time. Hugs to the parents going through it!

Happy Friday and happy weekend!

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