LAKE ORTA

Each day is an adventure.

Yesterday’s adventure was a trip to Lake Orta.

The lake lies a one hour drive north of Novara. Go a bit further and you end up in Switzerland. An hour and a half away is France.

The trip to Orta was uphill. It took me into the Little Alps. So called because the mountains are smaller than the Alps themselves. No snow capped peaks.

The mountains, roads, trees and views reminded me of upstate New York’s Adirondacks. The same. With one major difference. The buildings. All huge and made of stone and granite. None wood. No wooden camps. Medieval Italy again. The buildings were all constructed in the 1,000 AD to !,500 AD era.

I finally ran into the Italy I experienced last year. Everything that goes down has to come up. The Orta village sits on the water at the base of a hill. Parking is near the bottom, though not quite. The last 1,000 feet is up to you.

The down trip went well. It always does. Up was another story. Shades of last year. I had to stop and rest a few times. However, I must admit I seem in better physical shape. The steps were long and twisting. Elevating at a 45 degree angle. The whole walkway only four feet wide. The buildings hovered next to and on top of each other. Built at a time when there was no vehicular traffic. Also at a time when narrow passageways were a safety factor in case of attack. The enemy would have to come drown the narrow walkways while the residents were pouring boiling oil down on them from the windows above.

I sat a couple of hours in the square. Piazza, actually. In italian, piazzetta. I am learning.

There was a tiny island about 300 feet off shore in Lake Orta. St. Giulio Island. A beauty. Completely covered with granite/stone structures 1-5 stories high. A church steeple visible off to the side.

I sat in the piazza and mellowed out on the view and a couple of drinks. Peaceful, restful.

I had dinner in a little hole in the wall restaurant located off one of the walkways. An outstanding meal! Rigatonis cooked in a light oil and mixed with small finely chopped vegetables and goat cheese.

My day started badly. Verizon sucks!

I spent hours and money getting set up for this trip. I cannot use my computer, tablet or data port. The problem is the data port. I cannot even put someone else’s wi-fi into my computer. It will not take. Verizon supposedly had everything worked out. They obviously do not know what they are doing, their store people do not know, the people they put me in touch with did not know. I am screwed. I wanted to do a number of things from Europe. Including my blog talk radio show.

I went to a computer store yesterday. Big! Like a huge super market. It was for communication items. The store made available computer geeks to help. Free of charge. Three spent over an hour with me. They finally concluded that Verizon did not know what they were doing. But they did not know, either. I had to go we elsewhere.

I did not come to Europe to get frustrated and run around trying to get my equipment to work. I am using a friend’s computer that accommodates my needs, except for tablet internet reception and being able to do my blog talk radio show.

I have not given up yet on the blog radio show. It is scheduled as usual for 9 tonight. That will be 4 am Novara time. I have a geek friend of a friend coming over later in the day to see if he can help. If so, the show will go on. If nothing, I failed in getting the problem corrected. Sorry.

Some observations.

The Italian people are very nice. Quiet. Congenial. Not boisterous. Do not raise their voices. Passive is the best term to describe them. Contrasted with Italo-Americans. Of which, I am one. We are boisterous, aggressive, know it all and in your face. I have concluded that those Italians who immigrated to the United States a hundred years ago were similarly passive, etc. as the ones today. However, being strangers in a new country they developed aggressive and loud qualities in order to survive and succeed. The new nature never left us.

Proving the point that Italians are passive, they have to be the most conquered and occupied country in the history of man. Italy’s history is replete with successful invaders. Starting with the Romans of antiquity to Attila the Hun to the World War II Germans.

The passivity was perhaps ingrained before the Roman invasion or has developed over the centuries from being an occupied country so many times.

I have not seen one beard in the three days I have been in Italy. Beard’s apparently are a local thing. Key West has them. Novara does not. I must look luck a nut when I am out walking wearing a baseball cap and exhibiting my beard. As stated yesterday, I have not seen one baseball cap either

My friend Silvio Berlusconi is in trouble again. Yesterday he was sentenced to seven years in jail for having sex with a 17 year old girl and abusing his power in trying to help her in a separate matter. He was sentenced two years ago to four years in jail for tax evasion. He is not considered convicted under Italian law until his appeals are exhausted. The process takes several years. His popularity continues. He is considered to have an excellent chance to be elected Prime Minister again.

I have a habit of saying…..Only in America! Sometimes…..Only in Key West! Now…..Only in Italy!

I discussed Napoleon yesterday and his impact on this area of Italy. Since then I have discovered that Napoleon was not French. He was born Italian. Born in Corsica of a noble family. The story is he ended up in France because he believed in freedom and equality and wanted to help the French fight for those things.

Immigration is a major issue in Italy as in the United States. In England, also. I had the good fortune to talk with a Brit last night.

The story is the same. The immigrants arrive, stay illegally and become social welfare burdens. The Italians and English have forms of socialized medicine. Because so many immigrants are eligible, care for all is delayed. Between three weeks and three months. Then there is the increased taxation to take care of the immigrant population.

A world problem.

My blog talk radio show tonight at 9. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Will I be there? The question of the moment. Tune in and see. That is the best I can do. If I am on, it should be a terrific show based on my travels and what is happening world wide.

Enjoy your day!

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