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Monday, December 22, 2003

at last we are all home. home sweet home. we have to cut short our travel cuz there is a travel advisory from the U.S. government for American citizen. the travel advisory was from Yellow to Orange level. my wife was so nervous about it so we left Paris at Charles De Gaulle back to chicago.

MILAN(MALPENSA)--- it wa a very short stay. only one nite n almost two days. it was worh it. my two boys went ahead and was able to see Venice and Lake Cuomo. we stayed in a small pensione and it was a family own pensione by Signor and Signora Rocco and Rossa Burdi. they are very nice couple and we were treated like member of their family. the food is just great but i cannot get used to eating lunch at 1pm and dinner at 9pm. my wife was the only one who enjoyed milan cuz of the fashion houses and perfumerie around the places near our pensione.

then i rented a car-- a Fiat--american standard cuz i wont fit and all of us wil not fit inside a small car like the alfa romeo which looks like an ice shaver from the pinas. the trouble with an american sized car is it is so hard to maneuver in the small streets of Italy.

then here comes the greatest challenge. we have to enter the Toll and i thought the pinoy are the most careless driivers in the world---- the Italian inside the tollways are the worst. we were here last year and i looks like every year the drivers are getting more aggressive everytime we come here. all drivers are tail gaiting each other and they are driving more than 100kph up the very limit of the car itself. i will never and could not drive that fast. i dont want to end up in a ditch. it is good the weather is just fine. we had rain and mist in the morning, nothing to worry about on the road.

then before we we entered Florence (Firenze) we have to pass by Modeno first, to visit the family and friends of brother in law on my wife side. Modeno is the greatest when it comes to their RED WINE VINEGAR. this looks like a sleepy town but when you enter the town proper, the stores are selling all their famous MODENO RED WINE VINEGAR. we bought some small bottles for our family back home.

FLORENCE(FIRENZE)--- we stayed at Signor Francesco Bianchi's Hotel Balcony. Jesus Christ, this place has no elevator. the government does not allow anybody to knock down old buildings and alter the structure. so no elevator can be placed and built in side this place. it is a small--family owned hotel and you have to drag your bags from the ground floor to the 2nd floor. mind you the distance of the 1st to the 2nd floor is like three story. because this is an old building. you can still see the original beams of the house and the cabinets are so huge that i can sleep inside. they serve free breakfast in the morning until 10am.

we explored the area, just like last year. the hotel were we stayed is just a stones throw away from the famous DUOMO DE FIRENZE--- a 200 year old cathedral made of green and olive color looking marble that is so huge and beautiful. when you walk inside--you will be dwarf by the huge cathedral ceilings of the DUOMO. rigth infront of the Duomo is the beautiful baptistry. the door is made of Gold and tells a story. there is always a Carabinieri to watch the Baptistry. at night the metal guard will come out to cover the whole entry to the Baptistry. i wanted to scrape the gold from the door, but there is always a Carabinieri on duty. it is considered the Jewel of Firenze. right behind the Duomo is the flea market. it reminds me of Baclaran Church in Pinas. all the finest Florentine leather is on sale on this flea market. from wallet to purses--from jacket to gloves--from shoes to laces and other novelties and souvenir items. majority of the vendors are Lebanese. one of the vendor was so enthusiastic in knowing about chicago, when he found out we came from chicago. he wants to see Michael Jordans house the where the Bulls are playing basketball. too bad--he cannot come to America.

the weather is still nice, the food is great. we went to a deli to shop for some sliced meats and italian bread, and was overwhelmed when we walked into this deli place. the aroma and smell of the ham that is hanging on the ceiling and the cheese and olives in big vats and the sausages that is hanging from the ceiling to the floor. we ordered some prosciuto ham, and cheeses and of course some italian pastries. it is cheaper to buy your meat from a deli instead of buying the sandwiches from a convito or a trattoria.

we spent two wonderful days in Florence and we headed again towards Rome the Eternal city. we have to drive to the most beautiful mountain towns and villages that i have ever seen in europe. the only modern things along the way is the great windmills that generates electricity, perched up on top of the mountains. we passed by the Umbrian Hills and the country side and made a detour to SULMONA a small town almost on the same road going to NAPOLI.i love this place--the towers and the ancient citadels and most of all the old houses that is doting along the hills and inside the midsection of the hills. it was a lovely site. then we passed by the town of ORVIETO. we explored the old DUOMO of SANTA MARIA DE ORVIETO. the guide sez during the month of October the wedding rign of the Virgin Mary is displayed at the High Altar to be seen by pilgrims. the frecoes of this church is unreal. the huge cathderal ceiling and the brass relief door is so impressive.

then we passed by PADUA and SIENNA. we visited the famous shrine of San Antonio de Padua and the Cathedral of St. Catherine.we are in a hurry to get to Rome before night fall. the weather is so good and i was amazed it is not so cold.

ROME--- the Eternal City. we have to stay at the Holiday Inn at via Antica which is only one bus ride to CITTA DEL VATICANO and along the area of Seminario Filipino along via Antica and via Aurelia. we have to rest first and have an early start the next morning.it is now 18December. the buffet breakfast at the htl is so great. i love the bountiful array of meat and all italian delicacies and american food also. but the one we all love is the fresh squeezed BLOOD ORANGE, which is only found in Italy. the pulp is so read. we were told that in Sienna during the time and celebration of the Palio--they use this type of oranges to celebrate and throw at each other during summer time.
we took the fist bus to the Eternal City----CITTA DEL VATICANO and got off at via DELLA CONCILLAZIONE, which is the great avenue facing the Vatican and the place where all the embassies are located. it was 59degrees and the sun is shining. plenty of pilgrims entering the great St PETERS BASILICA.there is so much to see in Rome--if you don't have any plans and program--you will be overwhelmed. there's also lots of kababayan who are domestic helpers and store helpers. they all speak fluent Italian. i have to sit infrnt if the adoration chapel for a long time. i love the tapestry, plus the nuns who are the sole keeper of the adoration chapel is my Aunts congregation. she is also a nun belonging to the DISCIPLES OF THE DIVINE MASTER. the pieta is inside a glass enclosure to protect it from any vandal who many years back hammered the face and broke the nose of the Virgin. the PIETA is an antique that cannot be appraised. the entire CITTA DEL VATICANO is now considered by the United Nations to be the worlds site of National Antiquity and cannot be bombed or destroyed in case of another world war.

NO GYPSIES at all in any of the streets. every street corner there is a Carabinieri and a holding area incase there is a pickpocketer or any vandals .we went to see the Bridge of Angels across the Tiber river towards the Castel de San Angelo-- still owned by the Vatican. the Swiss Gurad are still wearing the famous design uniform of Michael Angelo but they have a black cape on top of it.young Swiss Catholic ranging from ages 19 to 24 years of age that will serve the Pope and the Vatican and after their service could go bak to Switzerland. they have to speak Italian and French and German and of course Swiss.all the girls are all so mesmerized by these young and good looking guard. we went to SANTA MARIA DEL POPOLO and ended our first day at the spanish steps and went back to the hotel for our first day rest on our arrival to Rome. next day we start early again after breakfast and headed out to the train station to get the train towards PIAZZA BARBERINI because from there we want to circle along via del TRITONE and then to the SANTA MARIA DELLA VITTORIA and then to VIA DEL QUIRINALE and finally to the famous FONTANA DE TREVI--- three coins in the fountain. we have been here before so my wife went to the small store that sells lots of souvenirs and purses and of course shoes. we left the boys eating chestnut being roasted by some Gypsies. from there we went to PIAZZA DELLA ROTUNDA at the PANTHEON and had lunch at a small TRATTORIA. then we headed home to the hotel. we have to explore again tomorrow early so that we could cover up plenty of places because tomorrow is the last day in Rome then we will go to Paris. on the way home to the hotel we got lost and was helped by two Pinay sister who are domestic helpers. they are very nice to us. then they asked me if i am already hungry for pinoy food--without any second thought--- i immediately said YES. they took us home where they are staying at the house of their employer. their employer is an AVOCATTO (Lawyer ) who is always in the Phils. during xmas time and spend xmas in the Phils. staying in one of the hotels in Makati. Finally-- we are eating rice and fish and veggies cooked Pinoy style. the two sisters told us how they got to Italy and ended up to this good Avocatto as their employer. after dinner and social, i invited them to come to chicago and stay in our house--they said when their papers have already been finished they will visit us.

I am ending the first part. i am very sleepy. it is now 5am 22 December--- i have to see my doctor at 1245pm to check TEMPORO MANDIVULAR JAW(ATHRITIS OF THE JAWBONE)
posted by infraternam meam @ 5:13 AM  
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Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
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