We had a great day today, and I plan to post lots of pics...maybe after I get my second wind tonight. For now, here is Nathan's Facebook post (for those of you who are not on FB or are not FB friends with him):
Diario Italiano (11th Sept - Noi Arriviamo)
by Nathaniel Straub on Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 9:51pm
Well, three months later, here I am with entry number two. I am really sorry, but the commitment was never really there - if you read the inaugural post. the fact that I have returned - or arrived as it were - is testimony already to this incredible place. So let's begin.
That I write this note on 11 Sept is part coincidence and part [i don't know what]. The fact remains that as much as I love and am going to love living here, I cherish my home country, America, her people, and her way. So this paragraph is a nod to my home, friends, and family. We love you and will always keep you close - no matter how far we have traveled.
We have arrived! Arriviamo!!! After "much ado," there is a great deal more than "about nothing." For starters, we have sold everything except the two cars (boat, home, ... the big stuff). We are in Naples, living in a temporary apartment on the Navy base. We get the skinny on living conditions next week. More about that as things develop. Let's just hope that they do... develop.
I spent my 36th birthday on the road and in the air and arrived on the continent on Wednesday (9/8). Jet lag and endless briefings/presentations threatened to ruin any excitement, BUT NAY! We would not be deterred. We spent the day today - our first free day - on the town. We really did get lost on the grid of endless alleys and by-ways, but it was not an accident. You see, Stephanie and I subscribe to a travel philosophy that requires one to fully abandon any plan or agenda - to lose one's self in a place. We stepped off of the bus (we don't yet have a car = good thing?) and into the heart of bella Napoli. We wandered - sometimes past a spot familiar to me from the last visit but by accident - with the intent of discovery. Discover we did. We had a guidebook, and with its help, we learned a little and enjoyed a lot. Alleys, pizza, caffe, gelato. It was all there aplenty. At one point we looked up and realized that we needed to get back to the bus before it turned into a pumpkin.
The key advantage we gain with this lack of planning an a city so vast is that we can get off of the same bus on a different day, walk in almost the same direction, and see a different place - experience a different world - than we did this time. Naples is bombastic, vibrant, joyful, and thrilling. We just love it. We are excited to be here, and I am just as excited to share it with you.
Maybe this is a further commitment to this series. To say we have arrived stretches far beyond Stephanie and me. Welcome to your tour of Naples, Italy, and Europe.