Around the world in 18 days!

Checking in for my flights to Bangkok today, the agent asked if I have a return ticket… Uh no… I have a ticket to San Francsico though! This will be my first trip literally around the world. EBL-DXB-BKK-USM-BKK-ICN-SFO-DTW-BOS and then JFK-MXP, Last leg will probably be BLQ-IST-EBL or MXP-BEY-EBL. That’s still undecided, and it may end up being closer to a 20 day trip.

Thailand will make country #71, if you include transit airports and unofficial crossings. Otherwise, #64 for countries I’ve actually been in.

Of course I’ve been through DTW too many times to count, but Michigan will be state #42 for those where I’ve spent actual time outside of an airport.

Snoop Dogg in Lucca

We finally made it to one of the Lucca Summer Festival shows!

Snoop flies!

Poland: Krakow

A place I’ve been wanting to go since… forever, basically. Almost made it when I was living in Berlin, except that my passport was being held by the Russians for a new visa, and this I only remembered the morning my friend was picking me up to drive over.

It was well worth the wait.


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Mass in the salt mine.

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zombies in stained glass

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Poland: Wroclaw

The next day we met up with the cousins in this super cute town that’s going to be a Euro Cultural Capital next year.
Wroclaw is known for its gnomes, apparently.

Fire fighting gnomes.

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Another great thing about Eastern Europe is its shared love of Georgian food.


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And, of course, ICE CREAM, international food of happiness.

Lody rzemieslnicze

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Poland: Warsaw

I’ve transited through Poland many times in the 90s – in fact my passport at that time had more Polish stamps in it than any other country. But I’d never stopped long enough to see anything other than the Warsaw train station. So, when my cousin Anneli (check out her very clever travel blog!) mentioned she and her family were going to Poland, and specifically Krakow, I invited myself and Bella along 🙂

First stop though had to be Warsaw:

A tad different from the last time I was here in 1992… Half a lifetime ago!

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So much to see…

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Plum sorbet interstitial

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Quick May trip

Managed to fit in a couple days in May to visit my home… Figured I could use miles for this one, so flew Upper Class Virgin Atlantic to London, and then Alitalia to Rome and Pisa.


Yesterday I flew over Mont Blanc

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Arrived to find everything in order, a pleasant surprise for once after being gone for 7 months.

Today, breakfast in Borgo

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Took the obligatory walk up the hill

On this Memorial Day

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Made dinner…


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Drank wine…

Goes well with vitella alla Fiorentina e zucchini

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Also had dinner at Butterfly with Glenn & Sylvie, and drove up to Milan via Bagni di Lucca and Alessandria. First class on Air Dolomiti did not disappoint!

Mmm forgotten cookies on AirDolomiti

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Piazza Navona

An unplanned delay gave me an extra couple days in Rome and finally got to see this:

 Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi

Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi

Lucca Comics and Games 2014

The Saturday visit did not disappoint! Zombies were very popular, including themselves in a showdown between stormtroopers and the UBCS.

showdown collateral damage


camoflage on the wall


Halloween 2014

Finally made it back for Halloween after missing the last two years, and the weather was perfect for this fabulous Friday night. And our friend Mietta who runs the local hardware store is still going strong!

La Strega Mietta!

Catching up

The last three years only allowed for short little visits. Infrequent visits mean bills get missed (and the heater got left on after the xmas visit), and as a result the power was shut off in July 2013 (but reactivated, thankfully), and the phone/DSL was shut off around March 2014 (and Telecom Italia won’t reactivate it without paying them even more money, despite the fact that they continue to bill me for bizarre amounts even though the original missed bill was paid long ago and there has been zero activity on the line since they shut it off). Someday, when I’m there for more than a week, I’ll figure out how to set up service again.

So, while it’s a little less expensive to maintain now, it’s also less optimal for working. So, this summer, Carl and I took an Italian + Cooking class in Florence!