THOUGHTS ON ITALY – LATE SUMMER 2017 – Part I

THOUGHTS ON ITALY – LATE SUMMER 2017

2Panhandling Works

There are just as many panhandling in Europe as the larger cities in the U.S. and from what I can see, it’s a numbers game. What do I mean? Like telemarketers, you may find success after 30, 70 or 100 attempts. It appears to me that if they continue to panhandle, they’ll be rewarded for your efforts. Not immediately but eventually it will pay off. That’s not my cup of tea but perhaps a certain human mentality may engage in this activity and it’s probably an activity that has been around for thousands of years. When it comes to success, if these panhandlers made nominal coin, many would probably give up this activity which would mean they’d be less of them around.

I don’t know what’s worse, the street merchants or the panhandlers. Those looking for cigs or money will leave you alone as you walk by them. Some of those street merchants in Rome and Venice will get right in your face trying to sell you an umbrella to be shielded from the sun or a rose for your lady friend.

Speedy Trains in Italy

Some of the trains in Italy are quite fine and got me thinking. If Italy can have high speed rail, what about the U.S.? What’s missing here?

One more thing to add, years ago, I read Italian trains did not run like clockwork like the Swiss or German trains. However, after riding the train about 6 times during our trip, they all left on time. An anomaly or has that improvement occurred over time?

Yogism

One Yogism: I’m surprised there are so many Italians on the island of Capri (with tons of tourists on Capri, some neighborhoods, streets and restaurants appear to be heavily populated by Italians).

Roman Colosseum vs Ryan Field

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                           Roman Colosseum

The Roman Colosseum was quite interesting and of course, crowded. Regardless, I knew what I was in for in such a world famous site. It had been over 3 decades since my last peak at the Colosseum although much of the area around this site was not all that familar. I was glad it aged well and didn’t see too many changes. In some ways, it reminds me of Ryan Field in Evanston, IL, where the Northwestern Wildcats plays their home football games. I had last visited Ryan Field about one year ago and during the visit, took some pics of the internal structure of this facility. After visiting the Colosseum again, I’m wondering which facility is older? I’m kidding of course, however, one of these stadiums need a makeover and that stadium is not located in Rome.

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                                   Ryan Field

Why Travel? (Satire)

Why do I travel? To take pictures to add to my photo database? To absorb different cultures & customs? To experiment with different cuisines? Maybe it’s to visit places that have been previously viewed only in art books or magazines? Or, to experience loads to have many stories to tell? I wonder if it’s to spend lots of money? No, I travel and confront many challenges, inconveniences, crowds  & miscommunications so I can once again appreciate the USA, my home, and especially my comfy bed.

Is Europe Like Disney World?

3As I’m standing in a long line waiting to see the largest church in the world and built during the Renaissance, St. Peter’s Basilica for the first time in about 35 years, I began to focus on the present and not the past on my latest European experience, in particular, Italy. One thought occurred to me, in some ways, parts of Europe are like Disney World for adults. For the most part, they’re both crowded, overpriced, and hot (especially in southern 1Europe). Line waiting is a given, you look around at others in line or wandering about with exhausted facial expressions and an absence of dimples. To slightly digress, when applying for my passport to visit Europe, one question that could have been asked is if I have the stamina to wait in many lines. Anyway, water in many part of Europe and in Disney World are not immediately omnipresent (not to mention restrooms) so often tourists purchase overpriced bottled water or other refreshments. Some parts of Europe and Disney World are not designed for sprinters as patience and flexibility is a must and the journey is more like a marathon. Part of the challenge in either location is maneuvering around people to get to where you want to go — especially if a little anxiety kicks in. It’s almost impossible to take pictures without including hordes of people nearby. Chances are, you’ll spend more money than originally budgeted. You often will ask yourself why you did this in the first place. That said, you may enjoy the experience more in retrospect unless you can somehow ignore the challenges and distractions and just try to enjoy the moment. And the crazy thing is, I think it’s worth it!

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.