For Our Friends in New Zealand

            Our thoughts go out to the people of New Zealand, especially those who were so kind to us during our visit.

Making friends in faraway places means you shed tears when they suffer.

From the Gallipoli exhibit Wellington Museum, New Zealand

               From the Gallipoli exhibit Wellington Museum, New Zealand


A travel tip from the last post.  The one before Sherlock’s Birthday.  If you are in Rome and get a chance to see the Coliseum at night, take it.  It is a stunning building and a night tour gives it that otherworldly feel that seems to exclude the modern life outside its walls.

            Bubba now travels to the city of Ferrara.

When I arrived in the city, I immediately found this place.  It looks like it may be up to my B+B standard so I thought I would take a look around.

Big House

It has a nice swimming pool.

Big Lap Pool

                        The front desk must be around here somewhere.

Not A Lobby

I pounded on the table until someone finally showed up.  I demanded a room for the night and used the phrase, “You don’t know who I am!” like I have heard other tourists use.  The nice man said he had just the room for me.

Room With A No View

I should avoid being THAT tourist and go back to being a good guest in the country I’m visiting.  Low key and friendly works best.

          We actually stayed at the Hotel de Prati a block or so from the castle.  They deserve special mention because while we were in Ferrara, we learned of a family tragedy back home.  The staff of the hotel was very sympathetic and helpful.  Besides, it is a great location with some interesting rooms. 

Turning down the room at the Castle, I decided to take a look around the town.  This seems to be a town where it pays to look up.  These boys sitting on the balcony look like they are up to no good.

Gansta Cherubs

This guy looks particularly cranky.  I probably would be a little out of sorts too if the other guys got to hang out on the balcony and I got stuffed up under the roof for a few centuries.

Roof Hood

Looking up again, I saw these two statues of brothers who ruled this area.

Bros in Stone

It may be just me, but I think I can spot a definite difference in style here.


One is the couch potato with his renaissance remote control and the other is the sportsman on his high horsepower… horse.


I’m told the horse from this town is called a Ferrara and as it evolved through the years it became a car with a similar name.  Could it be the Mustang?

I wandered over to this church.

Holy House

It looked friendly enough but looking up again, I saw a definite message about life choices.

Left or Right

You hang around with the wrong crowd and you end up…

Choice Maker

I asked for directions to a happy place and this nice guy offered to show me the way.

Crossing Guard

I’ll keep looking around, thank you.

Here is a friendlier looking fellow.  Just sitting around blowing bubbles.  My kind of guy.

Bubble Bear

He directed me to the phone and with coin in hand, I was ready to make a call.


The voice on the phone told me that for a good time, be at the corner Corso Ercole d’Este and Via Padiglioni, right next to the hotel, at sunset.

A Parade!!, with a fancy dressed band and flag throwers.  At first I thought this was the staff from the hotel, drying the sheets and an entertaining way.  This was the city’s notable citizens out for an evening stroll in their finest clothes.

Da Ladies

Then these guys showed up so I figured it may be time to end the night.

Time to bug out of town.  I’ll head north to Venice.









Lost World of Pompeii

I kind of like this Italy place.  I may have to look around to see if there are any homes I can either rent or buy.  This house looks okay from the outside.

Curb Appeal

It may be a fixer upper and looks like it was built a few years ago.  Kind of a mid century modern thing.  Mid second century that is.  I’ll have a look inside.

Inside the dome

Quite roomy, with space to entertain my friends.  Oh, Oh, I see a problem.  It needs a new roof.  There is a big hole in it that lets in too much light.

The Eye

I’ll keep looking.  It looks like they are building some new homes in this neighborhood.  They have just started construction on the columns of the clubhouse.

Urban Renewal

This looks like an up and coming neighborhood.

Old Hood

This might just be an apartment house under construction.  You can see they haven’t finished the top.  I think I could fit in here.


Dressed for battle

I’ll take a look inside.  This might work out.  Plenty of space for some nice digs.

Inside the Colosseum

I’ve heard if you are interested in a new home, you should visit the area at night to see if there are any problems.  So I snuck into the construction site at midnight.  If there are ghosts, they live here.  It is pretty spooky and I could swear I heard a lion roar.

Night Terrors

Maybe this isn’t the place for me.  Time to run, there is a shadow on the wall but I can’t see anyone casting it.  I hope it is the neighborhood watch.  I think I may have to leave town.

Shadow Warrior

Before I leave Rome, there is one more ritual I must attend to.  Not the Gelato thing, I already did that to excess.  This tradition says if you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain, you will return.  I shall return to Rome.  It is a city that holds centuries of sights and would take a lifetime to fully explore.  I’m chuckin’ my money into the fountain.

Bubba Trevi

Heading south, I came across a big mountain with smoke coming from the top.  A barbeque!  I haven’t had pork ribs in a long time.  I found a sign, pointing the way.


I think it belongs to a guy named Vesuvius.  There is a road that goes up pretty far.  The problem is that it narrows as you go up and there really isn’t a good turn around.  It can get a little crowded at the end of the road.


I can fix this.  I’ll do a little traffic direction and straighten it all out.


Maybe it is time to climb the mountain and look for the Weber Grill at the top.

The view from up here is great but the smoke had died down and I can’t smell any BBQ masterpieces.

View from the Top


All I could find was this hole in the ground with steam at the edges.

Big Hot Hole

I’m not too sure about this, that smoke coming from the side of the crater is making me nervous.  Maybe it is time to just back out and go to a safer place.

Steam Vents

I found this nice place down the road.  You can still see the mountain but it seems plenty far away.  What could happen here?  The name of the town is Pompeii.

View of Disaster Mtn

This nice man is a tour guide and said he would show me around.  He even gave me a radio and a headset to use.

Guide at Pompeii

I kind of like this place.  I might just settle down here.  It seems to have wide streets and sturdy buildings.

Streets of the City

A gated community.  Looks good.

Gates to the New House

A nice theater.

Cheap Seats

Maybe the park needs a little restoration.

City Center

I’m not sure what goes on in this store and maybe I’m too young to find out.

Ad Space

Some of the other residents don’t seem to be in great shape so I guess I’ll skip this place as a vacation home.

Body in the Box

I’m not ready for this kind of retirement community yet.  I’ll head north again.


My thought was to take a train to Rome.  That was the plan at least.  I took a look at the ticket machine and it said something about Firenze and Novella.  My handy on-line translator said that meant Florence’s book so off I went to go see a lady about a book.

Not a Library

I walked around a little, ate at the Mickey D’s de Firenze across from the train station and started to feel like I had been here before.  I rounded a corner and…HEY!  This ain’t Rome!  This is Florence!  I got off at the wrong station!  There are no books here, why did they call it a novella?


Bubba and Italian Popo

I might have said it a little too loud.  These nice Officers guided me back to the train station and helped me get out of town.

Disclaimer:  We don’t photoshop any Bubba pictures but maybe, just maybe, we did this time.

I made it to Rome and hailed a taxi.  He spoke Italian, I spoke English.  I told him I needed a room for the night.  He looked blank.  I said I needed a Hotel.  He took me on a wild ride and pulled up in front of a Hotel with a “No Vacancy” sign.  “No, I need a hotel with a vacancy.”  A wall of stare.  “Vacancy, Vacancy!!”  A smile broke out on his face and we took a wild ride in his taxi.  Drivers in Rome have a particular style.  The windows must be down so as to facilitate communication with other drivers and a minimum of one hand must always be in motion to assist in the communication.  Since one hand is on the wheel (maybe) and one hand is in the air, signaling is not possible although somehow horn honking is possible and mandatory.  I’ve got this Roman driving thing worked out.  Foot firmly on the gas, yell and wave to the other drivers and all right turns must start in the left lane.  Everything stays in motion (including the camera) and everyone ignores the Traffic Policeman performing ballet.


We arrived at our destination.  I think he may have misunderstood the English word, “vacant” for something else.


I started to ask these guys for directions but something about their pointy sticks kept me away.

Swiss Sirs

For a tiny country, this place is pretty big.  I either needed directions or a map.  Eventually I found a Bubba sized 3D overview of the place.Vatican Model

Now I can see the sights.

            Bubba is a fun guy but there are times when a “Bubba Selfie” may not be appropriate, even for him. He usually keeps his head down in places of worship, especially the Vatican.   He was able to see some great sights while preserving the solemn nature of the buildings.

Big Guy Tomb

Behind glass


That was all good but I really didn’t find the one thing I was looking for.  I need that one, enlightening experience that sends my soul to a new level.  I found these two guys who happened to be specialists in exactly what I needed.

Fathers in Training

They provided me with a path to that which I was seeking.

No lie.  These two were great and did give us an enthusiastic recommendation for the next destination.

I made this a place of pilgrimage sometimes twice a day during my time in Rome.

Ummmm Gelato

Don’t mess with my Gelato.

Lucca to Rome

     Since Bubba has a bad habit of falling into the sea and washing up elsewhere, we decided it might be best to head inland.  We stopped in the walled city of Lucca.  Inside the walls, the buildings date back centuries and space is at a premium. 

Strolling through Lucca felt like being transported to the time of my Renaissance ancestors.  People like Legoangelo and Legonardo Di Vinyl.  Churches and towers are scattered all over.

Lucca Square

Inside these buildings are some masterful frescoes showing off the art of the age.

St Groucho, St Chico and St Harpo

But, being the being that I am, I wanted to dig deeper into the history of this city.  So I went underground.


Down below you can see the roots of the buildings.  They didn’t take care of the floor so they just built on top of it.  This piece of floor looks like the place at home where I dropped a pot and cracked the tiles.  Only the tiles here are older, better, and just plain different.

Floor Mosaic

When I’m not going below, I like to go up.  The tower built above us gives a chance to get a good view.  Lots of steps, tiny legs, this may be a trip in itself.


This tower has been here for centuries so I guess it is safe enough to go up.  I’m sure it is structurally sound.

DIY Tower

That looks up to code to me.  Maybe da Vinci code or the code of throw-more-wood-at-it.

Everything seems to rest on this one beam with a giant nail sticking out of it.  It should be fine as long as … no one makes sudden moves…or kicks the beam…or breathes.

See Cure

Okay, get to the top…nice view… time to leave.

Tower View


In a city like this, garden space is at a premium.  You plant where you can.

High Garden

You really have to look up to find a park.  This tower looks like it needs a haircut.Curly Top

More stairs but these look a little safer.

Good Stairs


It looks fine until you get to the top.  No turning back now just tippy toe the last few steps.

Shaky End?

Once you do get to the top, it is a view from a forest you will not see elsewhere.

Tree Really Top

Lucca View

Tower View

Going down the stairs is faster than going up.  I get one last look of the forest on the tower from one of the narrow streets below.


I think I’ll hop back on the train and shoot south.

On Time Trains

Since I have been on the road for a long time and since I am something of a road dog, I think I will go to where all the roads lead.  Even the railroads.

Rick's Rome

Back in Italy

Bubba was put on a plane in Hawaii by his friends Bill and Shannon.  After a grueling flight he landed in Italy.

Hey!  I know this place!  I’m back in Milan.  I’ve been here before and had a great time.  I do remember missing out on one big item.  It was something that may explain the mishaps in my life since then.  I found out it is a vital act that one must perform when in Milan.  I took a train from the airport to the Milano Centrale Rail station and from there a short walk (for those with longer legs) to the Milan Metro and a short ride to my destination.

Super Store

Yes! The Vittorio Emanuele Shopping Joint.  Last time I was here I saw people performing a strange ritual that promised good luck.

Spider Crusher

You put your heel on the nether regions of the Bull of Torino and spin three times.  Good luck will follow.

The architect of this galleria, Giuseppe Mengoni, fell from scaffolding to his death just a few weeks before the completion of this massive work so to ward off that kind of bad luck, people have been spinning on this spot ever since.  OR, this is the symbol of the rival city of Turin, so a little crushing of the parts is a way to crush the rival.  Don’t know, don’t care, I’m not taking a chance this time.

I waited for this guy.

Dave's Heel

And this guy.

Spin Rick Spin

And this lady who looked like she would rather be shopping for purses.

Marina Turina

Then it was my turn…or my Turin…or something.

Bubba Little Heel

Now that the important part of the trip is out of the way, I think I’ll head down the coast.  The Mediterranean Coast of Italy is a tranquil place where one can recover from a severe form of jet lag.  This is the village of Santa Margherita Ligure just a bit south of Genoa.

Boats on Coasts CIMG4844

Any stop on the coast with a nice jug of an unknown fluid of grape origin is good for the soul.

Vino Del Mare

A stop at Monterosso del Mare is next on the list.  I’ll stop in the church and look for a sign that my good luck from Milan is still with me.

Signore Bones

            Not quite sure if this a good omen or not.

            You can take a nice walk along the shore and take in the great view.

Rock Drop

            I think I can probably find a better place to stand.

            Out into the sea to get a fish eye view of the Cinque Terre shows why this part of Italy is a visitor favorite.

5land CoastCinque TwoCinque Three

On land it is a slice of Italy you should not miss.  This is where the word “Pitcher-Esk” comes from.

Village Life


Naaaarow Street

            I’ve had bad experiences in water so I think I’ll move inland.