Sep 302004

On Saturday, one of the owners of Superfine, a terrific restaurant in DUMBO, turned 35. They had a large party that apparently ended mid-day on Sunday. It is amazing to me. 35 is not that far off for me, but I can’t really imagine owning a successful business in five years.

A 3 at SuperfineA 5 at Superfine

If you get a chance, stop by Superfine for lunch or dinner. The food is varied and tasty, the decor is constantly changing and interesting, and the wait staff is well trained and friendly. If you don’t like the food one day, go again another day–the menu changes every day.

 Posted by at 7:51 pm
Sep 302004

Milan was one of my favorite cities in Italy; Sienna was my favorite. A lot of people told me that I wouldn’t like Milan because it was all about industry and commerce. I listened a bit too much to them; I loved Milan. It reminded me a lot of New York City, but it was Italian. [Note to self: next time you travel somewhere, pay more attention to what Betsy tells me!]

The Duomo of Milan was pretty great. You could climb up steps and roam around the top of the cathedral. I enjoy climbing up steps and seeing far off locations. I think I like the fact that the heights scare me a little bit.

View of Milan from Duomo

View of Milan from Duomo

View of Milan from Duomo

I mentioned earlier that I think Italy had some great public art. A perfect example of this was a photo exhibit on the streets of Milan. Canon sponsored a photo exhibition of works by Yann Arthus-Bertrand called “Earth from Above.” The point of the exhibition was to provide discussion regarding the state of the world as it relates to people living in a sustainable manner. The exhibit was very beautiful. There were over 100 large prints mounted in small kiosks in the middle of a busy pedestrian thoroughfare.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand photo exhibit in Milan

There is a lot of information about Yann Arthus-Bertrand available on the web. He has several web sites set up; I think browsing his photos is a good way to get to know his work.

 Posted by at 7:36 pm
Sep 242004

I think I have been in New York City too long. I have started to say “axe” instead of “ask” and “eggactly” instead of “exactly.” For example, I will say something like, “When people axe me for directions, I tell them eggactly where to go.”

I probably use a lot more New York-ese without realizing it.

 Posted by at 11:16 am
Sep 232004

Siena was one of the highlights of my trip. I loved this city, and wish I had spent more time there. Siena does not allow vehicles into the city center. It is a city with many twisting, hilly roads. The city is made of 17 different neighborhoods. In the center of the city is the Piazza del Campo, where they run a horse race every year.

Looming above the Piazza is a giant tower. It is over 400 steps to the top of the tower, and there is no elevator. I climbed to the top of the tower. I’m no expert with distances, but I would estimate that the 400 steps took me two or three miles above the city. It was really high.

Quite honestly, the top of the tower was the high point of my trip both figuratively and literally. Once you get to the top of the tower, your heart is beating quickly, and you feel like you can see for hundreds of miles.

The tower in the Piazza del Campo

A view of the tower from a corner of the the plaza.

The tower in the Piazza del Campo

Looking up at the tower from a courtyard at the base.

The Duomo in Siena

View of the Duomo in Siena from the top of the tower.

The Duomo in Siena

Me at the top of the tower. As you can easily see by this photo, we are clearly several miles above the Earth’s surface.

The Piazza in Siena

The plaza from above.

The Tower in Siena

A long, long way down.

The Duomo in Siena

The Duomo in Sienna is very similar in style to the Duomo in Florence. The tower is not actually bent; that is just an artifact from the camera lens.

Street in Tartuca, Sienna

I mentioned that Sienna has 17 different neighborhoods or Contrade. People are very proud of their neighborhoods. I believe this is a street in the neighborhood of Tartuca. You can read more about the horse race in Sienna; this site has a pretty cool description of the horse race and the city in general. It’s mainly in Italian, but there are also English links.

[For the literal readers of this site: yes, I know that the tower is not actually two or three miles above the Earth’s surface. Cut me some slack.]

 Posted by at 1:08 pm
Sep 232004

Today I read an interesting post entitled If America were Iraq, What would it be Like? I wish more people would think about the level of carnage occurring in Iraq right now. The post reminded me of another post I read on a different blog a few months ago. It would be nice if people who favor violent intervention in other countries were fully aware of the consequences of war to a civilian population.

[First link courtesy of popular links on; second link courtesy of Raed in the Middle]

 Posted by at 11:56 am
Sep 202004

I enjoyed my time everywhere in Italy, but I don’t think Florence was my favorite city. The sites were great, but Florence had a lot of tourists and American students. It was nice to be able to easily speak English, but I really enjoy experiencing other cultures. It seemed that English speakers were everywhere in Florence.

The Arno is a major river that flows through Florence. There are many crossings over the river; one of the most famous is the Ponte Vecchio.

Ponte Vecchio

This location on the Arno has had a bridge over it for hundreds of years. The bridge is fairly build up, with many small shops on either side of the roadway.

The Catherdral in Florence, called the Duomo, is very pretty. The architecture is distinctive. The surface is fairly flat, but it is very colorful with its green and white walls.

Duomo in Florence

 Posted by at 8:52 pm
Sep 202004

When I was in Italy, I visited the Bioparco, Rome’s zoo. Why visit the zoo when there are so many great things to do in Rome? Well, I like zoos.

The Bioparco is located in the Villa Borghese, a large park area in Rome. In the Villa Borghese, it is in Piazzale del Giardino Zoologico. The park is pretty neat. I found one of the streets really interesting.

Viale Fiorello La Guardia; Sindaco de New York

Fiorello La Guardia was the mayor of New York City during the Depression.

Here are photos of some of the animals I saw in the Rome Zoo:


Oink oink!


This falcon was in the animal rehabilitation area. The photo was taken through a smal slot in a wooden fence.

cow or water buffalo

I forget if this is a cow or a water buffalo.



Don’t forget to brush your teeth.



Overall, I had a good experience at the zoo. It wasn’t in the best shape; some signs were missing identification cards. I don’t mean to say that they were missing English identification cards; they were just missing identification cards. The animal quarters were not as good as most zoos I have seen in the United States. However, I may just be projecting human standards to animals–if the animals are happy, I don’t need to be.

There were no T-shirts for sale in the zoo; Italians tend not to wear T-shirts at all. Otherwise, I would have bought a T-shirt for my brother.

 Posted by at 8:37 pm
Sep 162004


As I was walking back to my hotel from the National Monument, I looked down this street. Honestly, I’m not sure if it was modern or ancient or some combination of the two. This photo was taken without a flash; there is a lit building on one side of the alley. The statues are precisely positioned in the middle of the alley. I wish I had written down the name of the street.

 Posted by at 7:27 pm
Sep 162004

Roman Ruins

One of the more striking things about Rome was the extent of the Roman ruins. The ruins seem to start 20 feet below the modern street level and cover an entire part of the city. It is really amazing to consider that almost all of Europe was ruled from a single area; I wondered which buildings controlled different segments of the empire.


The coliseum had some very nice exhibits. This mosaic was mounted inside; the craftsmanship is amazing.


The Curia is where the Roman Senate used to meet.

Trevi Fountain

This is a photo of me at Trevi fountain. The photo was taken by Meri-Jo Borzilleri of The Colorado Springs Gazette. They say that if you throw a coin over your left shoulder with your right hand into Trevi fountain, then you will return to Rome. We’ll see if it works.

Bernini's la Fontana dei FiumiBernini's la Fontana dei Fiumi

These are figures from Bernini’s la Fontana dei Fiumi in Piazza Navona.

Spanish Steps

I enjoyed walking up the Spanish Steps. The shopping at the bottom of the Spanish Steps is really great. I bought a Swatch and almost bought some nice shirts.

Map Room in the Vatican Museum

The map room in the Vatican Museum was really cool. There were both historical and realistic maps of all parts of Italy painted on both sides of the room. The ceiling is an intricate fresco that goes the entire length of the room. As you can see, the museum was very crowded.

Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II

This is the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II. Basically, it is a national monument that also contains Italy’s tomb of the unknown soldier. I thought it was a cool looking building.

Wines at Cul de Sac

This is just a portion of Cul de Sac‘s wine collection of 1400 unique bottles. I really had a great time there.

 Posted by at 4:15 pm
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