2/9 Up and showered. Skipped hotel breakfast..had an apple thingy at Gare Perpignan. Had to return an extra train ticket..was sold two. Noticeable police presence at train station. Now on a speedy train to Barcelona. 3 uniformed police on the train..never saw that before. Fruit trees are blooming ..pink and white..saw some in France also.
2/9-2/13 Barcelona..Nice hotel..upgraded room..found Starbucks..saw Segrada Familia and the beautiful open air market..ate too much seafood..got sick..day in bed..used the bidet..taxi to Barcelona Airport Hotel..nice. Met a lady from Germany..Margrit..nice. Have to get up early to catch the plane to Naples..Napoli. Was up at 7..all that rest.
2/14 Listening to my first Italian conversation in the Barcelona airport..a little taste of what's to come I guess. Like watching an episode of the Sopranos. Getting to airport was easy enough..10 min shuttle ride. Vueling was simple enough..once I figured it out..a baggage check window for each destination..many windows. Got here early though..still have 45 mins till boarding. Had a thunderstorm last night but sunny today. BAH was surprisingly nice..clean and spacious with a bar and a good breakfast. Stomach is feeling 85%..seem to have my energy back. Food still isn't that appealing yet..that will save me money! Well..off to Napoli..grazi.
In Napoli..raining..hotel in a grimy neighborhood . To walk in the rain and dark for pizza at 7 or tough it out with potato chips and peanuts?
2/15..took the tour of Pompeii. Had a nice guide and a nice small group..English couple and Kelly..So Cal girl. Pompeii was very impressive..really took me back in time. Found a newish pizza place afterwards. Pizza was great..thanked the owner who told me i looked like George a looney..obviously blind. Be glad to leave Naples..not a good feel to it.
2/16 Short train to Rome. Think it was love at first site. Beautiful buildings..wide Boulevards..so much different than Naples. Walked..ate a pizza al fresco..walked..then had spaghetti ala Vongole and wine. Hotel was 4 star despite two twin beds.
2/17-2/20.. Got to know Rome. Saw the sights..Palatine hill was a great walk and an amazing place. The Forum..Trevi Fountain..the Capital. Was just an inspiring place to be. Best restaurant by Trevi Fountain. Best pesto ever with squid. Found a good beer place to sit in the afternoons a short walk from the Hotel. Weather was mostly sunny but cool and sometimes windy. Saw the President of Itay pull in with his motorcade to what was the former residence of the Popes. And the Vatican. Was amazing to stand there looking up at Michaelangelos Moment of Creation. The guards were stern and kept the crowd quiet and no pictures please. English was widely understood..much more so than France. Ah..the Colosseum..the brutality aside..a great work of engineering and creativity.
2/21 on the train to Milan for a night. Last trip on my pass. Some smell just reminded me of the fragrance in the kitchen in Framingham on Sunday with a roast beef in the oven..the string beans..the Yorkshire pudding. Or maybe it was lamb with mint sauce..and probably mashed potatoes. Strange and wonderful memories. Tired of watching my suitcase..wish we would start to roll. Rolling. No sun today..a sky of light and dark grey..starting to turn flat grey it seems. Damn..some long ass tunnels on this route..out for a second then back in..on and on..strange..think we have gone subterranean. But in the breaks I see the sun is out. Even the Bologna train platform is the underground. Arrived to a beautiful afternoon in Milan. Sunny and 61 with a seductive light breeze. Walked..found a really nice restaurant and had Osso Bucco with saffron rice..chocolate ice cream for dessert. And of course a half bottle of chianti and a beer. Explored the train station a bit afterwards. Quite a formidable structure.
2/21..Wow..eventful day. Was on a train to Zurich..but it broke down. Had to switch trains and picked up two travel Angels..an English speaking Swiss lady and her boyfriend who were also on their way to Zurich. Never would have made the next switch without them..in Bellinzona. Quick change to another train..now on to Zurich. Conversation in 3 languages with Brigid and a local old Swiss man on second train..interesting. Her bf Gaitano..Italian.Not much snow in Switzerland this year..but the higher peaks are frosted. We ended up on a local Swiss train that made plenty of local stops making for a long trip. Got into Zurich about 4. Had some trouble finding the hotel but turned out to be in a good location..next to a Starbucks and restaurants though I ended up in Newsbar. Had 3 beers and 2 empanadas..wasn't hungry after the bratwurst in the train station. Liked what I saw of Zurich..wish I had spent another night here.
Up early..bout. 6:45. Had a coffee and blueberry muffin at Starbucks. Then the short walk to the station. Grey sky..few drops of rain. Hustle and bustle of everyone going to work and school. First class on the 9:09 to Munchen. Humming along through the Swiss countryside..sky clearing a bit. Off and on light rain..sky grey now. Bout 1/12 hrs to Munchen on this comfortable Swiss train. Now of course in Germany. Not exactly speeding along..moderately paced train? Now stopping in Memmingen.Beautiful open farmlands on the way into Munchen. Train has sped up..the final leg.
Arrived in Munich..got a nice room with a view at the Eden Wolff. Walked to HB..rather chilly with very light rain. Potato Soup and schnitzel. Met Stephan and friends..3 young girls from Australia and Canada. Had our pictures taken by several tourists. Finally met a couple from England. Drank 4 liters and didn't sleep that well..Mmmm. Oh yeah..closed down HB about midnight..cool. Good evening. Or maybe it was 5.
2/24 Sunny day in Munich..got a late start but managed a long walk..found Feldherrnhalle..Starbucks for a coffee..back to the hotel for R and R. Then out to dinner at Augustina..venison patties. It was a sunny day after snow in the morning that is. Ate lunch at Nordsee.
2/25 Woke up to a snowstorm. Waited till almost one to go out. Ate lunch..Weisswurst. Went to the Munich Stadtmuseum. Decided to eat early at the HB and ended up with Stephan and friends again but managed to get out of there after beer and shots about 10:30. Took the S-Bahn in the morning..it snowed until about 2:00.