Monday, June 25, 2007

Hvar, Hvar, Hvar

Lovely Hvar, with your lovely pebbly beaches and your wonderfully clear water and your lack of roving elderly tourist groups. Hvala!

But it's also time for us to leave Croatia and move onto Istanbul. I can't wait.

An update on books read:

Finished in Dubrovnik: Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

I liked it, and I should probably read it again once I've read his other books. That's the trouble with starting with the last novel that he wrote.

Started in Dubrovnik and finished in Dubrovnik: Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut

I probably shouldn't have chased Vonnegut with Vonnegut, but Elliott wasn't done with Blade Runner yet, and I didn't feel like reading Pamuk. I didn't like this one very much. There was just no point, which was perhaps the point. But I had no connection with any of the characters, and active loathing for Rumfoord, and the ending just left me with a sense of "That was it?"

Started in Dubrovnik and finished on the sweltering bus to Split: Blade Runner by Philip K. Dick

Fun book. Now I really want to see the movie.

Dinnertime. Muesli and vodka. Yum.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

PS: A Tally of Books Read

Bought, started, and finished in Rome: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Utterly delightful and addictive. I read it in about two days over 5 or 6 hours. Will probably get the next book(s) in the series as soon as I see them in an English bookstore.

Re-started on the train to Lecce, finished in Lecce: The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis

I always forget how much of an utter bastard Amis can be, or rather, his characters. In this case, though, the hyper-intellectual, self-loathing, pater-hating Charles Highway is a fairly transparent alter ego. No wonder Kingsley was pissed at him for writing this. Still, exquisitely odious prose (like a posher version of Irvine Welsh). Adolescence really is a disgusting period of life.

Bought today, started, but will probably put down for the time being: The Black Book by Orhan Pamuk

Currently reading: Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

My first Vonnegut, and he's much more accessible than I thought he'd be. Also, more sincere and much funnier.

End of Italy, Beginning of Croatia

We finally escaped from Italy. I say "escaped" because we departed from Porto di Bari (not, I'd like to note, Porta di Bari, which is a door, ahem), and Bari, while situated on the coast, is a pretty soulless place. The concrete, 90 degree angled streets were especially jarring after all the charm of Lecce. A comparison: In a little over a day, we had three great meals in Lecce, including yummy cocktails at perhaps the only modern Brazilian bar in Lecce. In our seven hour layover in Bari, we had some greasy pizza and saw some teenage boys fondle themselves in their bathing suits.

Anyway, now we are in Croatia. In the walled town of Dubrovnik, which is every bit as beautiful as advertised. Though infinitely hotter than I ever thought possible. To stave off heatstroke, we went to a hole in the wall bar/concrete beach this afternoon, where we took a couple of dips in the Adriatic, drank some beer, and read a little. Pure heaven. Just wait 'til you see the pictures.

We just finished having a delicious seafood meal, and will go later to the Troubadour, a jazz club apparently founded by a member of an ex-Eurovision band. How awesome is that?

Ciao for now.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Lecce - where the entire town goes on siesta

We're in the small town of Lecce right now, where it was deserted only a few hours ago. All the shops were abandoned for naps in some underground sanctuary. Or something. It's a nice counterpoint to Rome, or culinarily, a digestiv after Rome's five-course meal. Here are some highlights from the past five (!) days:

At the Palatine.

Dinner the first night at Cul-de-Sac, an extraordinary wine bar with around 1,400 bottles of wine.

EUR is for lovers.

Asian nuns at the Vatican.

Renzo Piano's Parco della Mùsica outside the city center.

The plan now is to find a place that serves alcohol and maybe some food. All the bars (including an Irish pub called James Joyce) are closed at the moment. My suspicion is that all the people who work in the shops then work in the bars, so the hours can't overlap. Anyhow, wish us luck. We only have until tomorrow noon here, then it's back on the train to Bari, and then an overnight ferry to Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian coast.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

In Roma

I'm already worn out, and we've only been here for a day and a half. However, in that time, we've managed to cover a good 1/3 of the city. No wonder my feet hurt so much. I love it here so far, except for 2 things: the humidity and the tourist hawkers. Pictures to follow once I've found an Internet place where I can upload them.

For now, ciao, darlings.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Las Vegas = Sahara

At least it does tonight. The wolf is at the door, and it's bringing all the accumulated sand and dirt in the world with it.

I've been somewhat productive while I've been at home these last couple of days. Granted, nothing related to say, trip-planning, but there has been knitting. Lots of knitting. Here is a small glimpse of what I accomplished in four days.

It's the Ene Scarf from Scarf Style, and hopefully, it will keep my head warm in Boston.