Lucerne Switzerland trip

on Friday, October 31, 2008

Tomorrow morning we're leaving for Lucerne Switzerland for the weekend and will return late Sunday evening.  So I obviously will be offline starting from this evening until bright and early Monday morning.  

I am really looking forward to going to Lucerne.  This will be my first trip there.  We are going to be going to a football/soccer match on Sunday afternoon but also playing tourists as well.  

On the way to Lucerne we have to go through the Gotthard Road Tunnel, which is the third longest tunnel in the world.  The tunnel is about 10.5 miles long (16.4 kilometers).  We had to go through the Gotthard this spring when we went to Basel Switzerland.  I can handle going through a relatively short tunnel, a mile/kilometer or less.  But when we're talking miles/kilometers of tunnel and if you're claustrophobic...... But in the end it will be worth it though, visiting Lucerne.  

Lucerne Switzerland first and foremost is considered a touristic town along the shores of Lake Lucerne.  There is the famous landmark, the Chapel Bridge, which is a wooden bridge originally built in the 14th century.  

Mt. Pilatus isn't very far away from Lucerne.  We were thinking of taking the Pilatus Railway, the world's steepest cogwheel railway from Alpanchstad to the top of Mt. Pilatus, till we seen the price tag.  Then again, considering in that area, like in many places, it has snowed recently so I highly doubt the cogwheel railway is in operation at the moment.  

Next week, hopefully Monday or Tuesday, I will start posting photos from our trip to Lucerne Switzerland.  

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News in Italy

on Thursday, October 30, 2008

If you would like to read the news in Italy in English, check out the website Life in Italy. The site is usually updated on a daily basis Monday through Friday and the news comes from the Italian news source ANSA. Thew newspaper Corriere della Sera also has a small section in English. Usually they will publish an article a day, again Monday through Friday.

I tend to check my stats on my blog on an almost daily basis, which include search terms used to arrive on my blog. Terms I see on a frequent basis are foreigners in Italy. I don't know what these people are searching for, whether it is what life is like here in Italy for a foreigner or how many foreigners are there in Italy. I just read an article today that there are nearly 4 million legal immigrants in Italy, or about 6.7% of the population. Undocumented immigrants, illegals, are about 500,000. The undocumented work in the underground economy, which includes domestic help.

Who are the largest groups of immigrants in Italy? Romanians with a population of about one million, followed by Albanians and Moroccans.

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New Blogger Template

on Wednesday, October 29, 2008

As you can obviously see, I've changed my template and is a work in progress. Please don't mind the dust. What do you think of my new "Image"?

***Update February 13th 2009. I am getting rather tired of the template I have now. It is rather depressing and I need to change it to of a more "Italian" theme and am clueless how to do it. Help!!!

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Bellinzona Switzerland, again

on Saturday, October 25, 2008

Yesterday went up to Bellinzona, Switzerland again.  It may seem that we are there quite frequently, which in fact is true.  My husband had to go to Bellinzona Switzerland for work and he invited me to tag along.  Yesterday was a beautiful sunny cool day so was a perfect day to get out of the house and also a change of scenery.  While my husband was working I went for lunch and was able to almost finish our Christmas shopping.  Have all but one person done.  Yeah!!!  

Here are some photos from Bellinzona Switzerland.  Look at the detail of the painting on these buildings!  I enjoying going up to Bellinzona Switzerland, it is a small town of about 17,000 people, it is a clean town.  People seem to be friendlier compared to here in Busto Arsizio Italy.  People actually make eye contact, return your hello.  

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on Monday, October 20, 2008

Gratitude - Appreciation or thankfulness - positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit one has received or will receive.

What are YOU grateful for today? List in the comments of this post of at least five things you are grateful for today.

10/22/08 Update - Are you up for a challenge?  I dare you to write down, either here or on a sheet a paper, every day for a week straight, things that you are grateful for.

Things that I am grateful for:

1. I am happy for the wonderful lunch date my husband and I had yesterday. It was a gorgeous day outside, perfect for getting out of the house and into the Italian countryside.
2. I am grateful now that I am at the half-way point in my Christmas shopping. Four people down, four to go. I am thankful I have started early and not postponing until the last moment.
3. I am grateful I am over my cold and feeling healthy.
4. I am happy and thankful for a beautiful day outside.
5. I am happy and grateful for having such a wonderful and caring husband.

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United States Presidential Election 2008

on Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Usually I try to avoid writing a "political" post, but after being asked countless times first if I am able to vote from abroad for the November election and second WHO am I going to vote for.  I usually try to keep the political conversation to a minimum.  Yes I am able to vote via absentee ballot and I am not going to disclose in this post who I am going to vote for.  Especially since my vote does not really count to begin with.  I am voting because it is my right as a citizen of the United States.  The winner is based on the votes of the ELECTORAL COLLEGE and not really BY THE PEOPLE.  Do I think this is correct, that I as an average American citizen, even if I live abroad, vote and for the electors, who in turn may or may not vote for the candidate in question, no.  

In the Electoral College, each state has a number of electors based on the number of Senators and Representatives in the United States Congress.  So basically the smaller the state, the less electoral votes.  South Dakota, for example, has only three electoral votes.  

I was doing some blog reading this morning and came across a wonderful post on one of the blogs I read.  "How Bush got elected twice (The Electoral College for Dummies)".  I highly suggest reading it.  

Yes I am a proud citizen of the United States of America, I admit that.  But I am not the flag-waving type nor do I have the United States flag tattooed on my forehead.  If you drive by my apartment, you will not see the United States flag hanging off my balcony.  My country of birth, the United States of America, is far from perfect, but what country is?

This then leads to another question that I have been asked several times in the last six and a half years that I have been living in Italy, is if I like living in Italy.  But it is the WAY the question is asked by the locals.  It is asked in such a way that the person asking is implying "Do you prefer living in Italy?" and expects the answer "Yes" and they are rather shocked when they do not get the answer they were expecting.  I always respond, "It is different.  There is now way to compare the two countries.  It would be like comparing apples and oranges.  But are fruits, but that is where the similarities end." There are positives and negatives about Italy and the United States.  One country is not superior to the other.  Get over it and accept that fact.  

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Influenza & Canadian Thanksgiving

on Monday, October 13, 2008

Influenza sucks. The hubby and I have been sick a week yesterday with what seems to be a nasty cold/influenza. I'm fairing better now compared to my husband, but still not 100%. Thus the reason for lack of a post.

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada. Happy Thanksgiving to all of my buddies in Canada. Don't eat too much turkey!

Here's another photo from Istanbul, Turkey. Unfortunately I didn't get a photo, but seen a delivery scooter for KFC!

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Istanbul Turkey

on Sunday, October 05, 2008

My husband and I just got back Friday night from spending three days/two nights in Istanbul Turkey.  It was a rather short trip yes but no regrets in going.  Just wish we had more time to spend there.  The main purpose of the trip was to watch AC Bellinzona (Swiss football/soccer team) play a Turkish team in their third round for the UEFA cup.  AC Bellinzona lost, 1-2 but both teams played well.  

We arrived in Istanbul Wednesday afternoon.  Talk about traffic from the airport to the hotel!  My husband made the comment a few times that the traffic in Istanbul is 20 times worse than in Naples Italy, yet there is never an accident.  It was amazing, taxi drivers driving like crazy, slamming on the brakes, yet no one ever touches the other.  Wednesday evening we ate at a wonderful restaurant overlooking the Bosporus Straight (aka Istanbul Straight) with a gorgeous view of the Faith Bridge.  The Faith Bridge is a bridge that connects the European and Asian sides of Istanbul.  After supper we went to a local "trendy" disco, Reina, still along the Bosporus Straight.  Needless to say we didn't get back to the hotel very early.  We were supposed to be up early Thursday morning for a guided tour of Istanbul, leaving at 9:30.  We asked the front desk for a wake-up call at 8:30, which came and went.  Finally, someone from our group came knocking on our door at ten.  We declined going on the tour, since we had only slept about 4 hours plus my husband's back was kind of bothering him.  We ended up having a nice relaxed lazy day, hanging around the area.  When the other people came back from the tour, they said they enjoyed it, but where destroyed due to seeing so many places in such a short amount of time.  

Seen on several occasions street vendors.  Seems to be pretty common.  Seen men selling things like bananas, pretzels, corn, bread or even a shoe shine.  I was pleasantly surprised how clean Istanbul is, considering its size.  Of course there are neighborhoods that are cleaner or dirtier than others, but first consider the size of the city but also how old the city is.  Istanbul was at one time Constantinople.  

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