I'm in Vienna (Wien), Austria today and tomorrow. The buildings here are gorgeous. Tomorrow night, we're leaving for Munich (München), then it'll be off to Paris for a day, London for 2 (Crimsun says I ought to look for Canonical Towers while there), and then Brussels for about a half a day before I fly home. I can't wait for the Belgian chocolate.
The last week was spent flying from Philadelphia to Milan then straight from there to Palermo. On the flight from Milan to Palermo, they lost my brother's and sister's luggage. She was freaking out about not having her stuff. I didn't check my luggage for that reason. In Sicilia, we took the train to Sant'Agata di Militello. We spent one night there then went looking for relatives. The guy who ran the B&B where we stayed told us that my dad's second cousin was a doctor, so we walked to the hospital (which was a long walk, like 2 miles, but the town's so small it lacks Taxis!), and he wasn't there. The other doctor tried calling him, but he wasn't home, so he called his son who sent him over to pick us up. He took us over another cousin's house because her boyfriend could translate between English and Italian for us. They wanted to know why my grandfather didn't teach my dad Italian. We could only spend a few hours with them before it was time to catch the next train back to Palermo, get a Taxi to hurry back to the airport to retrieve the now-found luggage, and get to the dock for an overnight ferry up to Naples (Napoli). We didn't spend any time in Naples, because we needed to catch a train from there to Rome pretty quickly, but walking from the dock to the train station was pretty bad. A stray dog was following us and peeing on everything, there was poo just sitting on the sidewalk, and the just about everything smelled like a dumpster…or a port-o-potty…or both.
My dad said Vatican City was disgusting. He was referring to the gold. There's a lot of it. Check this out.
That's from St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica San Pietro). In the background, there are golden candlesticks, and they have the audacity to put a box for offerings in foreground. "Look at all of our wonderful gold! Now give us money!" Ugh. I told my dad I'd give him a shirt that says "I went to Rome, and all I saw was the Church of Greed" for Christmas.
Oh, and Italy has terrible drivers. Palermo and Rome were insane. I don't think the roads even had lanes, and the Taxi drivers completely ignored the "One Way" and "Do Not Enter" signs.