On to Madrid

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On to Madrid After spending a month in Florence I was ready for someplace new. I'd thought all along, that once I reached Italy I'd stay a while. You know, go south to Rome, visit Capri and Pompeii and eat pizza in Napoli. But something happened. I just knew I needed to go and spend some time serving in an LDS temple. The nearest Temple to Florence was up north in Switzerland. As I searched flights and train tickets, the cost was astronomical -- way beyond what it should have been -- so I looked further abroad. The next-nearest temple was Madrid, Spain. And I found a flight for about $80US. (About a quarter of what a flight to Switzerland would have cost, for some reason.) It felt like the right thing to do, so I booked it and headed out three days later, but not before contracting a brutal cold from a roommate. I staggered, once again, through airports and train stations and down sidewalks, sniffling and sucking on Ricola as I went, and eventually made it to the Madrid LDS temple on the outkirts of the city. Let me tell you about Madrid. It has a few AMAZING museums.{ The Prado & Thyssen} And it's got the world's second best public train system. (London taking the top spot.) I cannot tell you what a joy it was to ride the easy-to-use transport system after using some of the world's worst systems for months. Brilliant. And for all of you American LDS people, let me tell you about serving in the temple overseas. It is awesome. International temples (and even some temples in the US) have dormitories. The cost to stay in the dorms is minimal (in Madrid it was 9Euro per night) and you'll have a clean, beautiful place to stay while you serve. There are kitchens and laundry facilities and everything you need. So you can go to these international temples, stay a few days, serve in the mornings and spend your afternoon/evenings touring.  It.Is.Fantastic. So I arrived in Madrid. And I was sick. I stayed one week, served in the temple, got better and then I took a road trip around Spain. Because, you know, why not? … continue reading

One Year

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One Year I've been such a slacker about updating this blog lately. For that you have my apologies, and my promise that I'll *try* to do better. I've got a ton to tell you all about. Firstly, tomorrow is the ONE YEAR Anniversary of my departure from my home in Northern California. I flew to Orange County, where I spent a few days … continue reading

The Best of Everything Italian

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The Best of Everything Italian If you want a real, authentic Italian experience in Italy you're going to have to escape the hotels. Forget the furnished tourist apartments. Get away from the center of whatever city you're visiting. Find yourself a home stay if you can manage it. Make friends with the Mama. Kiss cheeks, sit and tell … continue reading

The Day Begins in Firenze

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The Day Begins in Firenze As I sit in on the steps of the piazza del Mercato nuovo e morning is just beginning here in Florence. The streets are still nearly empty at five minutes to ten, save one or two groups of travelers following a leader with an umbrella held high. I watch the bustle of merchants as they sweep the streets in … continue reading

Visiting Florence

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Visiting Florence Florence is an art lover's paradise. Birthplace of the Renaissance, Firenze today stands as tribute to the days of the Medicis and their trade and economical prowess, as well as their appreciation for the arts. If you're planning a visit to this fabled city allow yourself a bare minimum of three days to explore the … continue reading

An Errand in Florence

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An Errand in Florence While in Verona I began to make inquiries about finding a place to stay for a few nights in Florence. As I combed through Airbnb and TripAdvisor (per usual for me) I felt very strongly that my housing in Florence would be found via a different avenue, but I had no clue what that could be. I was a little bit … continue reading