Friday, October 07, 2005

Crooked Town

15 euros to climg the bastard thing, would you believe it. Gorgeous view, but you sure don't get to stay up for long. I wonder how many pisani/pisane look at it the way I look at the Tower of London--neat for sucker tourists but hardly worth the full cost.

Only 13 days to go, from the looks of it, though the Siena-Rome leg is still a bit vague. Lots of campsites are closed now, plus it's been pretty miserable weather for the last 4 or 5 days, raining a bit every day. So I've stayed in hostels more than before. Just need to figure out where they are for the last couple hundred miles.

With any luck, I'll be back in London just in time for Hallowe'en parties. No idea what I might be, unless the Santa outfits are near the front of my storage locker. Though I'm a bit thin for Santa, so maybe I should follow Luciano's suggestion and walk back. Having lost a bit of weight, I could retrace my steps to find it.

Monday, October 03, 2005

More rest

Well, I'm still in Riomaggiore. I did try to leave yesterday. The weather was bad enough to cancel all the boats down to Portovenere so I took the drastic measure of catching a train to La Spezia. There, I discovered that all the shops with maps were closed (not entirely surprising on a Sunday), that the hostel was halfway back to Riomaggiore, on the top of the hill with bad bus service and no washing machine and likely no view of the sea. So I turned around and had my rest day here. Tomorrow I'll try to leave again, in spite of not having maps for the whole distance I want to cover, which shouldn't be a problem however as I'm just going to stick to the coast anyway.

If for some currently inconceivable reason I do bounce back here again though, I'm going to take that as a sign and look for work. Otherwise, I'll be in Pisa in a couple of days, and San Gimignano a few later.

Questions for you the readers:
What's with tickets on Italian public transport? Are they a Stupid Tax*? I mean, on the buses I've ridden in cities on rest days, I've seen no ticket inspectors and hardly anyone validates a ticket. On trains at least I get that there are conductors from time to time.

Doctors in the house, this one's for you. I was under the impression that the feet are at their smallest (volume-wise) in the morning after one has been horizontal for a while, swelling a bit during the course of the day as you spend time vertical (hence the better-ness of buying shoes in the afternoon). If I haven't just made this up, why are mine huge in the morning, shrinking steadily as I walk on them?

Also, what's this swelling on my arm? Oh, no, never mind. Just another mosquito bite.

*an explanation of 'stupid tax', from the originator of the term, taken from the 'Christina in London' blog (oh, just google it if you're curious):
When you're stupid (like me), you end up paying various stupid taxes. When most people think of stupid taxes, something like lottery tickets probably comes to mind. This can also loosely be interpreted as a tax on people who can't do math. Alternatively, an economist would argue that there is an extra utility created by the fun of playing, which is why people purchase them, but this isn't central to the arguement here.