Wednesday, November 29, 2006
To ad lib on a well-known, crude verse,
Here I sit and meditate,
Should I rhyme or procrastinate?
Instead of doing things that need to be done—like composing a Sinterklaas-verse, compiling a mixtape or FSM (Blessed be His Noodly Appendages) knows what else—I am sitting here, idling around the internet with a connection that's gonna drive me crazy sooner or later. And if it keeps being this unreliable and crappy, it's gonna be a lot sooner than is actually good for me. If going crazy is good for me at all, that is.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Resume: Return Part II, The Long Version
On sunday morning I left Schiphol, and arrived at "Amerigo Vespucci" International Airport, Florence shortly past noon. Took the bus to the central train station, and walked to my hotel in less then ten minutes. Hotel was nice enough, and right in the middle of the historical center. After dropping of my luggage, I set out, walking around. And walking around, visiting churches and museums, and sitting down to have something to eat and eating loads of that wonderful Italian gellati, was pretty much all I did there. Before I left, I made a short list of things I wanted to see, and I saw all of them: Michelangelo's David in the Galleria Dell'Accedemia, the view over the city from Piazzale Michelangelo and the top of the Duomo, some churches, and the Uffizi. And I saw a lot more. The historical center is very compact, and very, very beautiful. Turn a corner, and be baffled by what you see. Stendhal was right, it's easy to be overwhelmed in Florence. It really is that good.
So it was with a little sadness that I had to depart on wednesday. It immediately came clear that the Italian train-system was not unlike the Dutch one: a 10 minute delay. The journey took me, once the fog cleared, through the hills of Tuscany and Lazio to the Eternal City.
Rome is one word amazing. It's a lot bigger than Florence, it got a lot more churches, which are a lot bigger too. In fact, some of those churches are so big, that I now have a new standard: churches that don't have a toilet on the roof are not big. I shit you not, on the way down from the top of the dome, I found out that St. Peter's Basilica has a toilet on the roof. It's silly how big that church is. Beautifully over-the-top as it may be, it's silly. Just as silly as having multiple churches in one street or square. Everywhere you look, there's another freaking church. Or some ruin where someone planted a cross on top of, or rebuild as a church. I mean, if even the Pantheon, Colosseum and Forum Romanum weren't safe from those popes… Speaking of which: with all those churches and popes, it's near impossible not to stumble across a dead pope. There were dead popes to left of me, dead popes to the right, and there I was, stuck in the middle with another dead pope. Madness. As you might know, Rome was build on seven hills, and they are a major pain in the butt. Or rather, they kill your feet and knees. At one point, my knees threatened to kill me if I didn't slow down. Which I did, like the good little boy that I am.
Although I think I still prefer Florence to Rome, I can highly recommend either city to anyone. And if standing in line is totally your thing, you shouldn't miss Rome in the high season. The lines for the entrance of the Vatican Museums was impressive but moved nicely along, but the line inside to get to the Sistine Chapel was idiotic. I can only imagine the horror. But since I was there during the off season, I didn't encounter any line to speak of.
In conclusion: Florence was fantastic, Rome was great and very picturesque at dusk. My feet were spent, but in the end, I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Short version: I'm back. Florence was great, and Rome was even bigger. My feet and especially my knees wanted to kill me in order to get some rest.
Long version with pretty pictures and clever remarks: later.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Taking care of business
- In We're All in This Together one novella and four stories by Owen King are collected. The novella was alright, the stories—although not bad—didn't do much for me.
- Owen King — We're All in This Together
- My next book is The Golden Compass, the first book in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.
- Apparently, some people do miss me sometimes. So, as I promised last week, I'm expected in Marktzicht in about an hour.
- Sunday, I'll be leaving for Florence. Next Saturday, I'll be returning from Rome. No internet for a week. W00t.
- Next year, I'll be seeing my favourite musical twice. Once in February, in Vienna, and once again in July. In Budapest. Double w00t.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
We'll never be as young as we are right now (part III)
Think of how we'd lay down together
We'd be listening to the radio so loud and so strong
Every golden nugget coming like a gift of the gods
Someone must have blessed us when he gave us those songs
Happy birthday, Jimmy.