You will never believe from where I am writing this blog. McDonalds in Chamonix, France! The only good part of it is that I am in France. The McDonalds sucks. Large, crowded, no air conditioning. It has to be a 120 degrees in here. Many Europeans do not use deodorant. The fact is very obvious at the moment.

I am not complaining. Just sharing.

I went to Vodaphone in Novara. I should have known better. They are Verizon’s informal partner in Europe. I said sell me something that I can use in Italy that will act as my wi fi. No problem, I was told. Twenty euros later I had this little thing to plug in my computer. No wi fi number needed. Just type away!


My luck was consistent. It did not work. It will not work.

I stayed in a hillside Swiss chalet last night with no wi fi connection. I am in Chamonix this morning. I figured Chamonix would have all sorts of cafes and places with wi fi. Good luck! Everyone directed me to McDonalds. Wi fi! It works! However, the conditions under which I am writing leave something to be desired.

I am supposed to take a train or cable car to the top and over Mont Blanc into Switzerland later in the afternoon. There is a stop for lunch near the top. I will need the glacier to cool down.

Enough of the pain in the ass stuff. Now for the good stuff.

I drove to Courmayeur from Novara yesterday. A 3 1/2 hour drive. A different one. The speed limit was 130 kilometers. That translates to 135 miles per hour. I drove it! Sometimes as high as 150 miles per hour.

No special thrill involved. It is the same as driving 60-70 mph in the States. The difference I suspect would be if an accident occurred.

Would you believe that at 135 mph, everyone was passing me.

The drive was pleasant view wise. Early on, I entered into the Alps. The mountain chain starts small. The whole of each mountain was green with foliage and trees. Then a bit of brown started to appear high up. Dirt. The mountain had grown beyond the tree line. Then gray rock on top of the brown. Even higher. Then glaring white. Glaciers! Real high up!

I was also driving gradually up hill the whole way.

Castles galore. On both sides of the highway. One every mile or so. Each constructed on top of a steep rocky hill. Apparently to make it difficult for an enemy to attack the castle.

Keep in mind how close the castles were to each other. One mile. A half days horse ride From one to the other. Not difficult to engage in warfare at that distance. They frequently did back then.

The evening was outstanding!

Last year, I stayed on the outskirts of Courmayeur. I did not go into the center of town. Last night, I did. What beauty! What a wonderful place!

Picture streets for pedestrians only. No vehicular traffic. Each building styled like a Swiss chalet. Very smart boutiques, cafes and restaurants along the way.
All a pleasure to behold.

The people were different. Courmayeur is a high end place. People in summer attire. Not the summer attire I wear in Key West or saw in Athens or the Greek isles. Very few shorts here. Men and women in long slacks. The women in tight legged pants. The place reeked of money, money, and more money.

I was able to determine that most of those I saw were residents of Milan. They have second homes in Courmayeur to escape the summer heat and to ski in the winter.

Keep in mind that the Alps are all around. Mont Blanc with its glacier appeared close enough to touch.

What a setting!

I did two outdoor cafes. At each, the drinks were served with a bit of food. Free. Lazy susans were used. Ten inches in diameter. Loaded with goodies! Slices of pastrami, salami and ham. Different filled tiny puffs. Different kinds of finger sandwiches. Butter generally used on the them. Pizza. Tiny olive sandwiches. Little pieces of bread covered with goat cheese topped with apricot marmalade.

All free!

I had two gins at the first place. Ate 2 of the lazy susans all alone. At the second place, I finished again the whole thing. Completed my informal dining with a piece of cake. I had to pay for the desert.

I had gone to Courmayeur intending to have dinner. No way! I was stuffed! So was my pocketbook. The three gins, the piece of cake, and all the food goodies cost me a mere 18 euros.

I even learned bocce is popular.

Everything I saw is an inducement to return.

I met a woman. Everyone has a dog. The dogs were well trained and well groomed. At the table next to me at the first place were 6 people and 3 dogs. The dogs sat or laid by their masters and did not move. Except once. One of the three dogs was a large black curly haired one. He or she scooted over and under my table. Started sniffing my feet, then my legs, and was probably going for my crotch. The dog’s mistress pulled her dog back and apologized.

I suspect the dog was so trained.

We started talking.

What a lovely woman! Mid 50s to early 60s. Beautiful face. Short cropped hair. A well kept body. She was wearing tan riding trousers and a tight white shirt. The fit was perfect.

Her name Justine. A divorcee. Resides in Milan. She has an apartment in Coumayeur. We chatted quite a while. Enjoyed the moment and each other’s company. At the end, we exchanged e mails and telephone numbers.

Justine told me Courmayeur is considered the flower of Europe. She further told me that Christmas and New Years are especially exciting. On Christmas eve, skiers come down Mont Blanc holding candles. A sight to behold I was told.

So much for yesterday. Enough for today. The humidity is so heavy in this place that I am beginning to smell like my European compatriots.

Enjoy your day!


Italy is basically without air conditioning. It is claimed there is some. However, you can’t prove it by me. I have yet to experience any.

Which means…..Hot and uncomfortable in Novara.

A person sleeps with the windows wide open. Need air! Sheets a bit sticky. Dying for air! Air conditioning!

The open windows invite mosquitos. Every night. My blood must be sweet in my old age. I am the recipient of several bites a night.

There are two reasons for the lack of air conditioning.

One is that Italy does not have nor ever has had sufficient electric power. The other is that most of the buildings are so old and with such thick stone walls that it is impossible to air condition them.

A lack of air conditioning is why Italians eat their big meal at lunch. It is too hot to stay in their apartments, let alone cook a big meal in the evening. Italians rush outside. Sit around till about 11 at outdoor cafes. Have a sandwich or pick on something light. At 11 things are cooler, though not cool cool. They return to home and bed. Pray to be able to fall asleep quickly so they will not continue to feel the discomfort of the fading heat.

Automobiles are involved with the air conditioning problem, also.

Most automobiles have air conditioning. However, it is little if ever used by Italian drivers. The reason is the cost of gasoline. Around $13 a gallon. The same reason why all cars are stick shift and small. To conserve on gasoline and save a dollar or two at the gas pump.

Italians drive with open windows. The outside hot humid air blasting in. They think they are cool.

When I am in a taxi or limousine, I wait a few minutes and then ask for air. The drivers always turn it on. About 20 per cent of what is required. The windows are shut. The air conditioning grossly insufficient. I start to swelter and sweat. I ask for more air. I generally have to repeat it several times to get the air to the point where I am comfortable.

Yesterday, I walked a couple of hours. Downtown Novara is an interesting place. Most buildings constructed in medieval times. Like 1,500-2,000 years ago.

I ventured into the side streets. Deserted. Narrow roadways. Just enough room for one small car to travel.

I got lost. No big deal. Saw a lot of old buildings. Some in good shape. Some in terrible disrepair.

I came across a small retail store on one of the side streets. In the window were Church vestments. The type Catholic priests wear when saying Mass. I went in. Fortunately, the proprietor spoke English. Yes, he only sold vestments for priests. He was actuTlly a mail order business. the vestments were made in Novara and shipped world wide.

I found the whole experience exciting. I was an altar boy for years. I used to get the vestments out for the priests, return them to the closet after Mass, and assist the priests in dressing before Mass. Brought back memories from 65 or more years ago.

It was a Church day. I passed what appeared to be a small Church. Decided to stop in. Catholic Churches are generally beautiful inside. A Mass was just starting. I am a fallen away Catholic . I have not been to Mass in I don’t know how many years. I stayed. For the whole Mass! Talk about memories from days gone by!

I went to a birthday party last night. In an Italian restaurant that served only Italian food. I was the only American. Every one else was Italian or from some other country.

My hosts were Italian and Moroccan.

The meal started with a large dish of assorted fishes. When it was placed before me, I thought I was supposed to take some and pass the plate on. No, each person had their own large plate.

I dug in. I could not finish. Left about a quarter of the plate. My Moroccan hostess was seated next to me. She looked at the dish and looked at me. You do not like, she asked. No, I am full. Are you sure? Yes.

Turns out it is considered an insult in Italy not to finish every morsel of food on your plate. It means you do not consider the food good. An insult to your host.

I thought the fish dish was it. We were done eating. No, the fish dish was an appetizer. Now the main course. Each person ordered off the menu. I order what the host ordered. Spaghetti in oil with clams. Spaghetti vongole.

A huge platter was placed before me. No American restaurant serves that much pasta in one dish. I dug in. I did not wish to insult my hostess further.

The dish was too much for me. I was splitting and uncomfortable. I gave up half way through. My hostess said nothing. I believe she was convinced I was full.

Interestingly, every one else cleaned their plates.

It was announced last night Silvio Berlusconi’s appeal failed. He is scheduled for jail. Because of his age, he is 76, he will probably get house arrest or community service for one year.

Berlusconi is an extremely popular man in Italy. Especially in the north where I am. He is also the political power in Italy. The news reports are clear that if Berlusconi is not treated properly, his party will probably withdraw their support for the present President and Prime Minister. Italy’s government would immediately collapse.

Even the appellate court that ruled against Berlusconi was/is aware of his importance and how he must be treated with kid gloves. Berlusconi presently sits in Italy’s national legislature. Under Italian law, if convicted of a crime, a person can no longer hold office. The court in its decision asked that that portion of the law be relooked at so Berlusconi could continue to sit.

Berlusconi is also presently on appeal for having had sex with a 17 year old. He was convicted and sentenced to a jail term. Last night after hearing of the appellate court’s ruling against him, it was reported Berlusconi said in effect…..Screw them, I am going out and pick up some young girls tonight! The reaction of the Italian people was to be expected. They loved his comment! Typical Berlusconi!

I leave for Courmayeur later today. The Alps. I will be staying in a Swiss chalet half way up Mont Blanc. Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps.

It will be cool. I have been told to bring long pants and a jacket. What a difference three hours traveling will make.

Enjoy your day!

DAY 38

Good bye Courmier and Chamonix!

Hello Camogli!

I had a three hour drive to get to Camogli yesterday. It took four. Construction. Two of three lanes closed. For 20 miles.

I have been vacationing too long. It seems I have acquired patience. It did not bother me. Plus, I had the Alps on each side of me. Great viewing at all times.

Castles accompanied me the whole way. Even as I got close to Camogli. Whereas I said yesterday they were about a mile apart, they seemed even closer during the drive. The castles are exciting to see. All different. Except for location. Each on top of a steep hill. Churches also, of course.

After viewing so many castles and being aware of the fighting that went on between them over the years, I do not know how Garibaldi got the various kings to join in and create one nation in 1861. An accomplishment!

Clotheslines were with me also the whole trip. Even now in Camogli. Greece and Italy are loaded with them. It seems to be the only way to dry clothes in those countries. Clotheslines between windows and on balconies and terraces. Sometimes merely a rope between two windows.

I have been of the impression that there are no dryers because of the electrical problem. I have been asking the natives. They tell me no. It is because they prefer their clothes to be sun dried. I do not buy it. But…

Even million euro/dollar apartments hang their wet clothes out.

I suspect that if someone could invest a dryer that needed little or no electricity, Italians would run to buy them.

An interesting experience occurred on one of the thruways I was driving. Italian gas stops have restaurants and stores just as in the U.S. Not Mac Donald types. Better wholesome food. And anything else you can consider buying.

I had an ice cream. I was waiting in line to pay for it. A middle aged woman in a black dress was in front of me. She had made a 51 euro buy. A big buy for such a store. She told the girl behind the counter she had just became aware she had to feed the whole family in the evening.

The woman paid the 51 euros with three 20s. The girl checked out the bills. They use a machine to do it in Italy. No crossing with a marker.

The girl said the bills were no good. The woman got upset. I just got them from the bank, she said. She pulled out a large bunch of 20s. Tried to pay two more times. None of the bills good. Finally the woman paid with genuine Italian money.

Outside were two tough devious looking men watching the whole proceeding. She went out to them and the whole three got in a car and drove away.

The girl behind the counter spoke English. That is the reason I am able to relate this story. She explained it all to me afterwards.

Parking sucks in Camogli. The condominium I am using is located on the water. There is no parking on the water. Nor for a couple of blocks behind the rows of waterfront buildings. I had to park far far away. Then drag and roll my suitcase up and down little hills. Additionally Camogli is all steps. Reminded me of Rome. I had to carry the bag up the steps.

I find it amazing. Each time I am confronted by steps, they go up. Never down.

I am getting stronger. Six weeks ago I would have died. After all the hilly walking I have done this trip, my body is getting accustomed to it.

Every place I have visited has had a different flavor. As does Camogli. It is the Italy as I thought it would be. Old medieval buildings, steps, people chattering incessantly and loudly.

The buildings are medieval. Each more than a thousand years old. Along the waterfront, which by the way is the Mediterranean, they are six stories high. The first floor consists of stores and restaurants. Second through sixth floors apartments. No elevators in any of the buildings. Steep narrow staircases in each.

In the U.S. the higher the floor, generally the more expensive. Not in Camogli. Because of the lack of elevators, the higher up you go, the cheaper the apartment.

Of course, no air conditioning in any of these buildings. Open windows and fans instead.

Camogli is on the western side of Italy. Significantly above Rome. Immediately next to Portofino. There is a mountain on the sea shore separating Camogli and Portofino. It is called Mount Portofino.

Last night I ate in Camogli rather than run over to Portofino. I was tired from the drive. From what I am told, Camogli and Portofino are the same. Perhaps Portofino later today.

I had dinner at a sea side cafe around 11. Too late, I know. However, I was hungry.

I selected the cafe because there were white tablecloths and what turned out to be real silver and china glasses.

I was not disappointed. I had one terrific meal! The entre was lamb encased in ground pecan nuts . It was served on top of a bevy of cooked fruits and vegetables mixed. The key was the taste. There was an oil which appeared to keep the pecans attached to the lamb. Whatever, it was delicious. One of the finest meals I have ever enjoyed.

Greece was cheap dollarwise. Italy is expensive. Like 3-4 times.

I was tired after dinner. A bit bloated. It was after midnight. The area was still bustling. I went immediately to bed.

Enjoy your day!

DAYS 36 and 37

I am back!

It is a question mark each day whether I will return. I failed to bring my computer with me. I am at the whim of internet stores and friendly people. One thing I know for a fact. Everyone in Italy is using old and sick machines. Each day is a task and a surprise.

I have been sleeping in Courmier the last three nights. Driving back and forth to Chamonix each day. The Alps are always before me. From the moment I rise to the time I go to bed. They are there on the drive to Chamonix and back. The mountains dominate the scene.

I would be remiss if I failed to make some additional comments regarding Mont Blanc. Remember it is 11 peaks on top of an already big mountain.

Mont Blanc defies description. I guess that is why I am back trying to tell you more about it. Words do not adequately tell you what the eyes see.

The mountain is high and tall. It stands defiantly. Speaks quietly. Says…..Don’t screw with me!

Impossible to see all 11 peaks at one time. Clouds up high. Block the view.

Trees cover the lower range of Mont Blanc. Pine. All the way up to a certain level. Then nothing but bare rock. Someone told me pines will not grow above 2,000 feet. The bare land is formidable. Then comes the peaks. Not just the very top. The top for a considerable distance downward.

When I arrived, some of the peaks had valleys of glaciers. Ice. One day later all the peaks were covered with snow. A significant dusting. Impressive.

Many waterfalls. They are streams running down the sides of the mountain. All over. Some a foot wide. Others up to 20 feet. Beautiful. They run in and out of the woods. You see it, then you do not. All of a sudden the stream reappears again.

The thinner streams were not running yesterday. They were frozen. Yesterday at this time (11 am) the temperature was 29 degrees F. At the same time 24 hours later it is 50 degrees F.

The waterfalls are attributable to two factors. The first is the melting glaciers. The other is that the mountain top is loaded with natural springs and wells. Below ground. They seep their way upward and add to the glacier spill off.

Yesterday morning, I had a unique experience. When I opened the door to the balcony starring at Mont Blanc, I saw a number of clouds. Some were below my eye level. Others at my eye level. Others above my eye level. All set against the green pines of Mont Blanc. A wow!

Last night when driving back to Courmier, I had another experience. Though one I have had before. Fog. Big time. There were occasions I could not see at all. Bad.

Moving on from Mont Blanc, let me share two food experiences I had yesterday.

The first was in Chamonix at lunch time. I went into a big restaurant at the main corners of Chamonix. Where all the world walks by. It was too cold to eat outside, however.

The menu was in total French. No English sub titles as I had become accustomed to elsewhere on this trip. I saw what appeared to be the word sausages. I have been eating many sausages this trip. All different. All good.

I ordered sausage. Pointed to it on the menu to the waitress. My mistake was not asking her to spell out exactly what I was ordering. Assuming she spoke English. I do not know. I found whereas many Greeks and Italians have at least a smarthering of English, the French seem to be above a second language.

I was served two boiled hot dogs and french fries. Not big fat hot dogs. Not long ones. Two regular sized.

I looked at them for a few minutes. And then decided, oh well! My mistake. Eat them.

I called the waitress over. Asked for ketchup and mustard. The least I could do was dress the meal up. She looked at me in shock. I knew what was coming…..We do not serve ketchup and mustard! We are French!

I quietly ate my boiled hot dogs and fries.

Dinner last night got screwed up, also. I was at what might best be described as a good neighborhood restaurant. It had been so described to me. I was told to be sure to eat polenta. It is the favored dish in this Alpian village.

There were only six entres on the menu. Each served with polenta. The only thing I recognized was chicken catecetore. I asked what polenta was. No screwing around this meal. Lunch was bad enough.

The waiter provided a polenta description. It was crushed corn. All mashed together with what I could not understand. He told me it was everyone’s favorite. Had me look at the other tables. Each had this heaping large dish of yellow stuff on their table. He further told me Christopher Columbus introduced polenta into this country. There was no corn in Europe prior to Columbus. He brought it to the old world from the new world.

I did not like the polenta. I was told to bury it in the tomato sauce. That is the way it is supposed to be eaten. I did. Better, but still not my dish.

The polenta alone cost me 12 euros. About $16 American money. Not worth it.

I am absolutely impressed with Italian roads and bridges. All appear in tip top shape. The Italians have also recently constructed a speed train from Milan to I know not where. A new road was built near the railway tracks. The road had to have 72 bridges. So the trains could pass underneath.

Italian roads and bridges are well maintained. There is a reason for it. At some point a law was passed that whoever built or constructed a road, received a contract to maintain the road for 30 years. The money for maintenance comes from tolls. The contractor charges the tolls. The contractor keeps the money and makes repairs as need.

A good deal for the contractor! Positive cash flow!

The Italians using the roads are not very happy about the 30 year thing however. The tolls are expensive. My two hour drive from Novara to Courmier had cost me 25 euros one way. The Italians are an adept society. Their way around the burdensome toll is to drive back roads. They know all the bye ways.

I think the Italian way of building and maintaining roads and bridges is worthy of investigation. Gets the job done! The job we are not and have not been doing for years. Our roadways and bridges are a disgrace. Forget maintenance. A pot hole per family. The cost is not a tax to be imposed. It is paid daily by the users of the roads and bridges.

It is probably a screw job either way. However, worth exploring.

A few words about Chamonix. Lovely! gorgeous! Exciting! People all over. Summer and winter. Great pedestrian walk ways. Terrific high scale stores. No tee shirt vendors. Very European. I sat several times having a coffee at an outdoor cafe and watched the world go by. It was the world. The whole world. Every nationality walking the streets.

I got to Chamonix through a tunnel. A nine mile tunnel. The Italians and French built it. Runs right under one of the Alp mountains. Cool!

Somewhere in the back of my mind comes a recollection of Mary Shelley and this area. I did not have the time to research it. Forgive me if I am wrong.

Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein’s Wife. A best seller at the time. She lived here in the Coumier area. Courmier was to have provided the background for the book.

Recall that her story took place in a castle. Castles all over the place here. Recall also the fog. Fog frequent here. Recall further the fog I drove through last night. The fog was thick enough not only for Frankenstein, but also Dracula and Wolfman.

Later today, I am driving to the Portofino area. The Italian Riviera. A three hour drive.

I will be staying in Camogli, a town immediately next door to Portofino.

The trip should be interesting. It is summer time and the area should be flourishing.

Enough for today. I am going to be thrown out this internet store. It closes from noon to 3 each day. In Chamonix, all the stores closed from 1 to 3. Siesta time.

Enjoy your day!

DAYS 35 and 36

Between northern Italy and mid eastern France, computer/internet connections have been a disaster. I think it is because I am high up in the Alps. Whatever.

I could not blog yesterday. Today is a double header. Every word worth reading!

If I had been able to do the blog yesterday, my opening comment would have been…..The last 48 hours have been amazing! Absolutely amazing! Hard to believe!

Here it is…..48 hours ago I was in Athens, Greece. Yesterday Novara, Italy. Today Chamonix, France.

How about this…..Athens a boiling 90 degrees. Novara’s humidity a killer. It snowed last night in Chamonix and is presently 29 degrees Fahrenheit.

The trip caught up with me in Novara. The humidity unbearable. Italians have electrical power problems. Ergo, little air conditioning. I slept in Novara that one night with no air.

Fortunately, only one night in Novara. Then to Courmier. Courmier is the area in northern Italy immediately before France. I am staying a couple of nights in a condo there.

The drive from Novara to Courmier took 2 hours. The speed limit was 85. I was the only one doing it. They were passing me at 125 miles per hour. Each time a car went by, I did not see it for long, but heard it loud and clear. A long swishing sound.

I stopped at a super market before going to the condominium. Needed breakfast goodies. The parking lot was an eye opener. The parking spaces were all half the size of those in the U.S. The cars small also. No big cars here. I was driving a Fiat. Stick shift.

Italians pay $12 a gallon for gas. They learned q long time to conserve. We have not when it comes to cars. I doubt the American public ever will. The desire is for big and more big.

Courmier looks like a Swiss movie. Makes sense. Switzerland is only one hour away. Old stone homes. Hundreds if not a thousand or more years old. Stone with wood trimming. The stone is gray, the wood brown.

There is a lot of renovating going on. Huge cranes all over the hill sides.

Courmier is in the Alps. So is Chamonix, France from where I am writing this blog. The Alps are big. No question about it. I had never seen anything so big anywhere. Majestic.

Mont Blanc is huge. As far as the eye can see in any direction. Higher than anything I have ever seen.

Mont Blanc is not one peak jetting upwards. It is a series of peaks. Eleven peaks sitting on top of an already high broad miles long mountain. The whole thing is called Mont Blanc. One of the peaks is specifically named Mont Blanc. The biggest of the big. Four thousand eight hundred ten m. I do not know what the m means. Suffice it to say, there ain’t anything bigger!

Mont Blanc is beautiful. Breathtaking.

The condo I am enjoying was two bedrooms. The building all stone. Two private balconies.

My intent was to drive to Chamonix the first evening and have dinner in France. Only a half hour away. I was too tired. It was bed for me.

Courmier is a valley. About two thirds the way up Mont Blanc. I was glad I had jeans. It is cold that far up.

Many power lines run along and on the mountains. Italy has a power shortage. France does not. France has nuclear reactors producing electric power. The Italians buy much of their electricity from France. At a premium price. The Italians voted at one time to ban nuclear reactors in Italy. A costly decision dollar wise. Whether health wise is another question. I make the observation because France and Italy are so close. Any French nuclear disaster would pour down on the Italians.

The drive from Novara to Courmier was interesting for a number of reasons. One had to do with castles. So many. Each built high on a hill. A small one. Apparently making it next to impossible for an enemy to scale the walls.

The castles were about a mile apart. I recalled that way back when there were many Italian kingdoms. Each with its own king. They warred constantly. It was easy. They were each a mile distant from each other. One hour’s walking time. Less on a horse.

Churches everywhere. Apparently each castle had its own church. The church was an integral part of each kingdom.

That is the end of Day 35. I had intended to go on to the next day. Day 36. A rendition of my first day in France. However, I am too tired. I apologize. The trip is starting to get to me. I will pick it up here tomorrow. You will love the glacier and snow stories, the dramatic drop in temperature, and the high quality of Italian roads and bridges. And more.

Enjoy your day! I am mine. I know this is the trip of a lifetime and one I will never do again.

DAY 34

I am back in Italy!

Flew to Milan and then was driven the one hour to Novara.

Humid here in Novara. Very. I can understand why Italians run off to the mountains and sea shore in the summer months. They have no air conditioning!

No air for two reasons. The cost of electricity is one. The other is that most of the buildings are so old it would either be too expensive or too difficult to air condition.

Which means I slept with my bedroom window wide open last night. I also had the benefit of two fans. Hopefully I will be on Mount Blanc this evening where humidity will not be a problem. I have been told the fireplace may have to be used. It is that cool in the evening. Makes sense. Mount Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps and Europe.

Flew Aegean Air again. A treat! Lovely young attendants, stewardesses, hostesses helping. A great meal. Only a two hour flight. Not much more to tell, except for my chat with two of the working ladies.

They are not called attendants or stewardesses. They are hostesses. The hostesses are all young.

I explained how it all works in the U.S. They could not believe men did their work and what they were called and who performed the work was an issue of gender discrimination.

As to age discrimination, they had never heard of such a thing. They were confident that no way would a mature woman be permitted to do their job.

A different country. Different thoughts and concepts. Interesting.

One thing did not change. Clotheslines and drying clothes. They were evident everywhere on my car ride to Novara. Just as in Greece.

I chatted with some friends last night in Novara. The issue? The euro. What else!

They find this present marriage of sorts between Germany and France strange. The two nations have been fighting for years. They were referring to wars. France generally got kicked good by the Germans. They were unable to understand how the French could now be a junior partner with Germany.

The Italians are really mad at the Greeks. with a fervor that did not exist three weeks ago when I left Italy. They feel the Greeks have spent Italian euro money and did it in a wasteful fashion. I find this amusing since Italy is third from the bottom in this euro crisis. It is just a question of time before Germany starts defecating on them.

I was early to bed. A tired day traveling.

Today hopefully Mount Blanc.

Enjoy your day!