Fall in Padova

I have never cared much for fall, as seasons go. The last of the warmth and sunshine from summer are slipping away, which means no more big, all-day outdoor adventures, no more relaxing outside without worrying about rain or cold, and the thought of a long winter ahead before it’s spring again. Summer is easy…

Crossing the Road

One of the things that I really miss about Austria is how civilized the drivers were at crosswalks.  They’d slow down, wait for you to cross, and then go on their way.  In Italy, it’s basically a game of "chicken": I have fantasies about taking a crack at one of the ones that refuses to…

Funny Products

This first one is “American Wheat” (complete with stars and stripes)… labelled “Manitoba”.  Weird, as I’m sure everyone knows, Manitoba is a province in Canada. This second one is one of a huge variety of clothing with completely nonsensical English labels and phrases on it.   Having driven through it, I really don’t think Fresno…

Mexican Food in Europe

Anyone who knows me well enough knows that one of my long standing complaints about life in Italy is the lack of decent Mexican food.  Oh, there are a few places here in Padova, and once in a while I get desperate enough to go back to one, but then I remember why I never…

The Retiree Party

Italy is a rapidly aging country, and sclerotic politics, that much is widely known.  Once again, however, I was to be surprised by an election billboard posted near our home: This is for the “Partito Pensionati” or, translated literally, the “retiree party”.  Their motto is “get off our lawn, you damn kids”.  Not really, I…

Tu Razzista

Immigration to Italy is a relatively recently phenomenon.  Until very recently, Italy was a country that sent people abroad, rather than accepting immigrants in search of better jobs and lives.  Unfortunately, however, like everyone else in Italy, the immigrants have figured out that the consequences for misbehaving are hardly ever very serious, and so the…

Random Notes from the “Big Move”

We recently moved back to Padova, Italy from Innsbruck, Austria.  Here are some various, random notes: Moving truck rental in Europe stinks compared to the US.  It’s something like 3 or 4 times as expensive if you want to rent a truck in one place and drop it off in another, and those two places…

No Kebabs in Lucca

Between Berlusconi and the opposition, there is plenty of silliness to go around in Italian politics, but I don’t like to write about that too much, as it just gets depressing and is covered better elsewhere.  What is occasionally interesting to report are the odd bits of local news that are, at times, particularly crazy…