Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday – Hills and Lakes

It turns out exhaustion really helps with adjusting to a new time zone. We were up early. We went to the market for food. There was a lot of unhealthy food. I thought Europeans were healthier than us. If it's up to grocery store aisle population, chips, cookies, and soda are very popular. We also bought toilet paper. The apartment had a bidet , but it holds no interest for us. Maybe useful as a flower pot?

We took the train to Castel Gandolfo, where there is a summer home for the Pope. We did a lot of uphill walking, but the lake on edge of town made it very beautiful. The GPS helped a lot with the winding roads. There was a working pay phone next to a beautiful church. We tried using three calling cards, so we ended up using a credit card at about 1 Euro/minute to call Dad. We also tried to send an e-mail from the payphone for 0.20 Euro to update the blog. It never posted. It took two tries. The instructions were in Italian, so the first time I entered the e-mail address as the body of the message and vice versa. The ATMs are very friendly with multiple languages, so the phones monolinguality was disappointing. We bought some post cards, but we couldn't quite figure out the post office.

Afterward, L made a great dinner - Italian of course. I traveled to the center of town and randomly found an electronics shop for the adapter that will let us plug American plugs into Europlugs. Again no language connection, but I brought an American plug and looked desperate. I thought I had brought an adapter, but it only works the GPS. On the way back, I got lost and the GPS couldn't get a signal. It turns out there are several busy streets when I thought there was one, and I lost track. I wandered down hill and found the train station near the house.

In the evening, we watched TV - American TV. Fortunately, there are multiple audio channels on the TV, so we can watch American shows in English. Today there was Star Trek and the Big Bang Theory. The same works with some Italian DVDs.

I spent a lot of time hunting wifi signals. On the roof I finally got an open signal. I then discovered if I put the laptop out of the window on its side, I can get the signal. Move it in too far or rotate it and the signal dies. But it's better than nothing.

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