(If you didn't read Part 1 , Part 2, or Part 3, these are the links for those posts.)
This kind of feels like you and I are in the Sisterhood of the Travelling Book club together. Pretty neat, huh? And speaking of the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants movie - the parts of it that were filmed in Greece, anyway - well... hang on for a few minutes. I'll come back to that.
So the last time I blogged, my publishers and I were in Pisa, Italy and I was holding up the Leaning Tower, remember? Well, there was one other interesting place that we discovered in Pisa. And you'll probably be surprised to see what it was.
That's right - a McDonalds restaurant! 'And Here's The Party!' says the sign.
The folks at this restaurant had a hilarious sense of humour, and we had quite a few chuckles while eating our nutritious fast-food lunch. (Oh come on, somebody had a salad there some day.)
Anyway, here are some of the signs we saw inside this McDonalds restaurant:
In case you can't quite make out this sign leading to the washrooms, here it is close up:
Hilarious, right? I wanted to cut that part of the door out and bring it home to share with my friends... but it wouldn't have fit in my travel bag and the airline would have charged me for extra baggage, so this photo will have to do.
While we were driving from Pisa to our next stop on our trip, we saw some really pretty fields. While Saskatchewan and Canada's other Prairie provinces often have bright yellow fields of canola in the late summer, here in Italy and other parts of Europe, we enjoyed this scene of bright yellow sunflowers.
My author Deana snapped a whole pile of photos of these fields. This is one of my favourites.
Did you know that in Europe, the semi trucks don't have solid side panels like our trucks do here in Canada? We found it strange to watch the canvas sides of the big trucks flapping with the wind. That can't be too aerodynamic, can it?
Here's Publisher Al driving us (himself, me and my author Deana, of course) to our next destination.
Psst... that's the Mediterranean Sea in the background.
OH MY GOSH! I am SOOOO excited that we can see it!!
But wait. Before we could get into our next accommodation that afternoon, we had to park our rental vehicle... at the top of the huge hill leading into that town that you saw in the above photo. So this was the home for our VW vehicle - in a tiny (by Canadian standards) parking stall with its own pull-down door in a parking garage. Let's just say we've had more fun parking in other places.
Then we began the walk downhill....
...and further downhill....
...and still further downhilll....
...for about 20 minutes - not including the rests to catch our breath ....
...to get to our room (up on the right-hand middle level of those buildings), at the seaside edge of the village of Riomaggiore. This is a working fishing village and is one of five towns close together in the Cinque Terre region of Italy which are popular with young tourists - "because young tourists still have good, strong legs that can handle the 45-degree hills," my publishers said. (Can you tell that my publishers are old and were a little cranky after going up and down this main-street hill that goes from one end of town to the other a couple times? Plus, it was only the day after they had climbed the 395,000 steps (or something like that) up to the top of the Duomo in Florence, too - so maybe they had a tiny reason to be a little tired and unhappy about more climbing.
Anyway, my publishers and I took it fairly easy in Riomaggiore for the rest of the day. We just relaxed and enjoyed the views.
Here are some photos of what we saw...
The view from our front walkway.
This village really reminded me of the rocky Greek village in the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants movie - except we didn't have a donkey to take us up the hills. Oh, wait. I hear my author calling out to me. "A donkey! That would have been perfect!" (As if she just thought of this herself.
Silly author. Where would they have parked the donkeys?)
These pretty flowers were blooming from a vine growing on the rock wall in front of our room.
In front and below our room, a bunch of Italian men noisily worked together to build this.... this... I don't even know what it was. A pier perhaps? Anyway, they had a little trouble deciding who would give the orders and who would follow them, and we thoroughly enjoyed watching this process. We also giggled a little when the group took a break to share some bubbly. Only in Europe.
This very secure (not) closure on the gas cupboard was a little unsettling for us. Our room was just behind this wall. Yeah, a little unsettling.
Now this photo... this is a different story. What? Were you actually looking at the big red boaty thing. Pshaw. The legs. Check out the legs under the red thing! Well worth watching as they rounded the corner and wandered up the stairs. Wooeeee! I LIKE ITALY!!! (And don't get me started on his teeny tiny swimsuit...)
This cracked me up. When you gotta go, the Mediterranean Sea is as good a place as any, I guess.
The sea offers many pretty sights... In daylight...
...And the early evening.
So goodnight for now ... from the northwest corner of Italy.
I'll see you soon for my next update. It's going to be awesome... just you wait!