28 November 2011

Time away

Dear 'The Loyal' and other readers,

I want to start by saying sorry to all of 'The Loyal'. Why? Because I haven't posted in a while and I had my reasons for not doing so and I guess it wouldn't be fair to you if I didn't allow you to know why. It was simply, because I wasn't enjoying writing this type of blog. As far as writing is concerned, I love to write fiction (http://fictionalescapes.blogspot.com/) and I started a new blog. The blog is called Fictional Escapes. It's just a place where I can write flash fiction and the world can view what I've created. So I was off doing that for a while and greatly enjoying it.

I was going to completely stop this blog and do away with it, but I have decided to give it another shot. I'm not promising that I'll keep this blog up forever, but I will at least give you the story I promised you. So if you'll forgive my sudden absence and accept my hand as I humbly ask you to hop back into our eight passanger van with a dent in the rear bumber I promise to take you to Paris and back. 

Now that that has been said let us go to Florence. 

Bridges "Live away from life"

05 November 2011


Dear 'The Loyal' and other raders,

We were off to Rome. One eight passenger van (the nine paasenger van we had reserved got robbed and recieved a broken window the night day we were going to get it) packed with five adults, two children, and one infant was begining its journey. It was a pretty uneventful drive until becoming driven off course by my GPS which I've come to call Gipsy. Why call it Gipsy? There are three simple reasons one: GPS sounds a little lik gipsy; two: gipsies travel; three: they'll take you for a spin before you find the right way.

I've driven in Rome plenty of times now and it can still get a bit confusing, especially to an American who is used to roads that make sense. Let me paint a piture for you. I was underneath a red brick arch to what used to be part of the Roman aqueduct system when I realized I was in the left turn lane and should be going straight. I checked all mirrors and looked back in preperation for reversing so I can move into the lane next to mine. The traffic is scarce and my mirrors are free of any cars, bikes, mopeds, and/or pedestrians. I wish I had the time to stop before the womn behind me in the tiny red car which fit perfectly into every blind spot I had finished honking. She was stopped so close behind my van I didn't even see her while I was backing up. Thank God there were no injuries and I paid for the insurance on the rental. My first car accident was in Italy and I'm the one to blame; makes me feel horrible.

Eventually we get back on the road and get the correct address input into Gipsy. Several minutes later we arrived at Camping Village Fabulous (funny name, I know). Just west of the city of Rome, the campsite is in a perfect place to stay and save a few extra bucks, if you don't mind the small living arrangements which are all to common in Europe. Or maybe it just seemed small with my entire family inside of it. Just remember to bring your own towels if you're staying for less than a week to avoid using a bed sheet to dry off with. 

As many of you may know I really enjoy meeting new pople and so does my father, but my father is great at it. Our second night there my father met a Scottish man at the bar. He was on vacation with the wife, three kids, thier friends and mothers. Our third night there My sister and I went tho the bar with him and my father's new friend was there as well. After getting a little tipsy we headed back to his campsite and talked of all the things new friends shouldn't speak of: politics, religion, work, war, and yes even sex. The good news is we left on good terms and are now even friends on facebook, but hey isn't everybody a friend on facebook.

Unfortunately, because of bad weather my family did not get to see the inside of the Forum at all, but did get to see the inside of the Colosseum (Flavian Ampitheatre) the second time we traveled to Rome on the trip. It was still a fun filled trip to Rome with new experiences, even for me. For example it was the First timie I went to the Panthenon, which by the way is walking distance from the famed Colosseum and ruined Forum. Also I went to the Cappuchin Crypt (Cripta dei Cappuccini) for the first time, just down the road from the Hard Rock Cafe.

After a few days we left for Tuscany (stay tuned for my Firenze, Greve, Toscana post) and eventually returned to Rome to an open Colosseum, so my family got to see what they wanted: the inside of the Flavian Ampitheatre with an hilarious tour guide named Roberto who had my little brother sit in an ancient bidet. Yes an ancient bidet where Romans used to wash thier butts during the games.

That was the same night my sister had to get to the airport for her long flight back to Australia. We got to our van a little after 6 pm (1800) and I guess the van went shopping for boots, because when we got to it there was a nice yellow boot on one of the tires. I was parked near the Monumento Vittorio Emanuele II and apparently you're not allowed to be parked there without a permit after 1800 and well it was 1815 or so when we got there. Luckily the company was quick to remove the boot for only 40 euro. We were immediately off to the airport and we hit some traffic, but one is bound to in a city like Rome. Fortunately for my sister we made it an hour and a half before her flight which is less than ideal, but managable for an international flight.

We left Rome happy to havve seen Rome, but saddened to lose one of our travelers and ventured back to Naples where we got ready for our long drive to Paris two days later.

As always happy to share,

Please follow and become one of 'The Loyal'.    

04 November 2011


Dear 'The Loyal' and other readers,

I'm going to  start out by saying sorry for the long spacing between posts. It was my intention to post on the road, but I haven't had reliable internet access so I'm doing so now home from the road and back in Naples.

Ahh L'Isola di Capri. A lovely island only 75 minutes by ferry off the coast of Napoli known for being one of the worlds most expensive places to live. WARINING: do not bring a stroller- stick to your Baby Bjorn unless you prefer carrying a stroller up a mountain worth of stairs only to get to the top and realize you could've taken a bus. To be completely honest though I wasn't too impressed with the islands foods or shops. Don't get me wrong, it is a beautiful island. So much in fact that me and the wife are planning to go back (alone), probably next summer when the weather is a bit more predictable.

Stay tuned maybe you'll get more on Capri next year.

Bridges (Don't forget to live away from life friends)


13 October 2011

Day 1 (the arrival)

Dear 'The Loyal' and other guests,

I'm excited, I don't work again until 2 Nov. Between now and then I'll go to Capri for the first time, Florence and Pisa again, hopefully Milan for the first time, Rome for the millionth time, and Paris for the first time. So now I sit here at 7 AM (0700) just got off of work with a fresh cup of coffee by my side contemplating how I'm going to stay sane during this holiday. You see all this exciting stuff is about to happen including the arrival of my family.

As you know one of my sisters is already here. Like me she's an adult; we bicker some, but find me close siblings who don't. But at 210 PM (1410) today my father, mother, kid sister, and kid brother land after an exhausting 3 legs of flight from San Francisco, Ca. I have a two bedroom apartment that we'll share before we head up north; we barely survived each other with two floors (three if you include the basement) to keep us separated.

And against most advice I decided not to fly to Paris, and against the rest I also decided not to ride the train, but to rent a 9 passenger van for all of us to cram into. I wanted to do a road trip through France and Germany this summer, but I didn't get the chance therefor this trip will have to suffice. I love driving and site seeing and I personally think having a personal vehicle grants you more freedom to see what you want to see when you want see it than being bound by a rail or air schedule would.  So maybe I'm asking for trouble shoving my parents, siblings, wife and child into a van for the better part of two weeks, but at least I'll enjoy the drive.

I'm sure today will be amazing. I'm not sleeping until after I pick them up and I've been up since 4 PM (1600) yesterday. I guess thats my fault, but if I go to sleep now they'll be stuck at the airport, because well you try getting out of bed at 130 PM (1330) when you work a night schedule. Or actually just go ahead and set your alarm for 130 AM and try not to kill yourself or another undeserving human being after 12 hours of work.


I am really happy to see them; it's nearly been a year since I saw any of my family in person. My goal is less than 5 avoidable arguments, because I just want to have a good time with them. We never did trips like this growing up, so it will be a new experience for the whole family. Hopefully it will be an enjoyable holiday, I'm 92% positive it will be. 

I'm starting to rant now, so I'll let you go back to updating your Facebook profile, twitting (what I call tweeting), and watching pictures of cats and fail videos.

Stay tuned for the ride I hope you won't mind cramming into that van with us.

Thanks for reading and please follow my blog to become one of 'The Loyal'.

Out for now,
Bridges U. Stevenson Jr.


With Love From Prison

I found the below while I was stumbling. I thought I'd share it with 'The Loyal'
Hope you all enjoy it

12 October 2011

11 October 2011 Amalfi

Dear Followers,

Those of you who have kids know 1. how hard it is to travel with them and 2. how hard it is to send them to a sitters for the first time especially when they're just over 7 weeks old. Fortunately the sitter wasn't some 16 year old junior in high school, but a mom of two who is far more experienced at this game than my wife or me. So yes I left my kid with a good friend who has actually been asking to watch him so I could go to Amalfi with my wife and sister kid free.

Any of you who have ever driven in Italy and missed an exit know just how much of a pain in the arse it is to turn around so instead of getting off on the normal exit I just kept driving to Vietri. Which by the way if you like pottery, especially the broken kind you can find littered all over a beach do yourself a favor and go to Vietri, try not to do it during the summer months though because it's packed and frankly, you'll look like an idiot picking up pieces of pottery with naked 12 year olds and 70 year olds wearing barely a piece of cloth running around you. Being American (or any other race for that matter), it's hard to look like an idiot this far south in Italy.

Further down the twists and turns on the bus cluttered narrow roads of the Amalfi Coast is the famous town Amalfi. The hustle and bustle of the August tourist season has somewhat dwindled down and made walking through Amalfi possible and much more enjoyable. Once you go over the stairs or under the tunnel (the more popular route into the town) my favorite store in the town sits snug in a corner on your left. A frail old man with a slight hunchback waits outside for customers. 

You enter the store which is filled to the ceiling with the ever famous Amalfi paper, ink, and quills. The paper for you who are unaware is handmade and a bit intimidating. Typing has forced my penmanship deep into submission and I hesitate writing in such a beautiful book for fear of ruining its appeal. Someday I'll write in it and I'll fill it with adventures that my son will embark on with companions of undoubtedly good taste and humored manner. 

Enough of paper and feathered pens. Continuing into the town the first thing that takes your breath away is an awe inspiring cathedral and it's bell tower just passed a fountain in which two of the spouts come from the nipples of a woman. The steps leading to the entrance of the beautiful church are too many to count (that's not true, I was just too busy eyeing it and its bell tower). The arch at the center of the top of the stairs is skinnier than its other 7 or 8 companions, and is nearly twice as high as the others.  As you venture forth pass the top of the stairs a sign politely points you to the left where you can purchase tickets for three euro per adult.

After paying to enter the cathedral you're welcomed by its garden with bushes formed into a walkway through a cross with a circle at the center. After you've had your fun playing in the palm garden where you have a beautiful view above you of the bell tower you enter a museum type of room with a few holy nicknacks which you'll want pictures of, just hold your camera steady for you won't be allowed to use your flash. Once your wife drags you from getting your fill of that room you get to enter the crypt and then finally the church. The detail of the cathedral was, as most Italian churches completely jaw dropping yet still no where near that of il Vaticano. You'll see pictures I promise.

We shopped, drank coffee and ran out of time. After all we had only paid for two hours of parking which in Amalfi runs about ten euro. After hopping back into the rental we continued down the coast towards Positano. Pasitano is one of those towns you see in the post cards with houses built straight into the cliff side. We met a man on the way.

As I was watching the road and everything else going on around me as one must when driving that coastline I noticed a man. He seemed to need a ride, he had this I'm a lost tourist look on his face. It wasn't until after I passed him when I realized he really did need a ride. So I pulled the car over and rolled down the window. He needed a ride to a hotel that was in the direction I was headed. (It's always been on my list of things to do before I do, I've just always been unsure about letting a stranger into my car).

I'm happy I was lucky enough to meet him. His name I will not mention, but his website I will: (www.hotelpassion.info). He is a 23 year old traveler from Denmark who has been to over 100 countries, the youngest Dane to pull that off might I add. Oh and he's not done and won't be done traveling until the 4th of April 2012. He's compiling a list of his favorite hotels, restaurants, and experiences from around the world and writing a book about them. Last year alone he flew over 200 times and he's been traveling for 4 years now. Yet I was only the 25th time he'd ever hitch hiked. I thought it was funny how he said he felt comfortable hitching in Italy, but not while he was in California (which i can't blame him) and ended up getting picked up by a Californian.

I'm way behind him in that I'm also 23 and have only been to America, Italy, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and one of those impossible places to pronounce with a 'stan' at the end of it and had layovers in Germany, Ireland, and Portugal. Yet I've still been to one country he hasn't... Afghanistan. And I doubt he'll be going any time soon as that country is low on luxury hotels and high on explosions. I recommend checking out his site if you like to travel which I'm sure most of you do.

Fifteen or twenty minutes down the road we parted ways when we spotted his hotel. He was thankful and relieved to make it before dark. Good luck my new friend and the best of wishes on your travels.

And we continued following the setting sun towards Naples. Few sites are as breath taking as a sunset on the Amalfi Coast. It was 8 PM (2000) and dark by the time we got back into town to pick up my son from the sitter. She was reluctant to give him back, I'm not bragging or anything, as my kid is the cutest ever to be born. I was happy to see my son again and to know he was safe.

I hope you've reading this post as I've enjoyed writing it for you.

Thank you,
Bridges U. Stevenson Jr.        
boobs of water


The coffee was awesome and thanks for the free trears



"You shall not pass"

Now thats a hat



09 October 2011

My first blog: The First (an idea)

My first blog: The First (an idea): Dear Followers,  I guess I'm finally doing it. I'm finally starting a blog. I've contemplated doing this for some time and as some of you m...

The First (an idea)

Dear Followers,

I guess I'm finally doing it. I'm finally starting a blog. I've contemplated doing this for some time and as some of you may know I even made a poll on Facebook. After 24 hours of watching the comments of that Facebook note it seems the verdict was to start a blog. As some of you are probably wondering, I to am wondering exactly how long will I be able to keep doing this before I simply tire away from it like I have with so many other things in my life. Hopefully though, I can stick to it.

My wife seems to think starting this blog will get my creative juices flowing and make me wander back over to my other projects, God above knows I hope she's right (Jamion I miss you). Some friends back home wanted me to start this blog so they could (I guess) travel with me through Italy and Europe. Not travel with me in the sense of tagging along, but I believe written word should be more than just something one reads, but something one can feel, smell, taste, and completely wrap oneself snug tight in if you so wanted. 

Who knows maybe some blog posts wont even be about what I've done over the past couple of days. But those of you who know me, know I love to write. So maybe you'll even get the occasional look into what I'm writing.

I guess you should also know that this blog will be totally random. Hell, I have no idea what to blog about so I guess I'll just do what I love doing and write.

Hope you all enjoy.
Bridges U. Stevenson Jr.