Do You Enjoy Travel Stories?
This website chronicles our trip around the world in 2006. It has lots of photos, videos and stories. We invite you to come in, relax and enjoy the scenery.
~Lee and Sachi LeFever
I've known Robin through the Web for a few years now, but this is the first time we've met in person. When Rome came up on the itinerary, I looked forward to seeing Robin and he has been an amazing host. Last night we had a great dinner in the neighborhood where he grew up (near the Vatican). As an added bonus, we got aquainted with what he called "Tobasco Place", where he and his friends used to dance alone at 3am to Earth Wind and Fire on top of columns around Castle St. Angelo back in the day. From the picture above, you can tell Robin is full of personality and spice - I could totally see him busting a move out there. Today we get on motorbikes with his brother to "see places no tourist sees". Sounds like the Rome we'd love to see.
Check out one of Robin's sites at .
Sorry to rush into this, but Venice is fairly self-explanatory...not off the beaten track by any means, but one of my favorite places. This was my third visit and Sachi's first, so I tried to play guide as best I could. here are the photos...
Yup, that's UPS - and DHL has boats too...
Most people agree that Venice, Italy is sinking, but it's only about a few millimeters a year. The real problem is that the water is rising more and more each year. We were surprised to arrive and find that a great deal of the city was inaccessible due to floodwaters.
This short video is not our smoothest effort, but does show you what was happening...
This article has more info.
We've seem these little "Smart" cars all over Europe - especially in Germany and Italy. They cost about USD 6-8,000 and we've been curious about their gas milage. Seems pretty smart to me.
The first few hours of driving from Milan were hell. We thought we'd flex our independent wings and dismiss the interstate and sieze the rural roads, where we would surely be winding through tiny Italian villages within minutes.
Four hours later and barely outside of Milan, we realized our predicament. We had not found rural Italy, but industrial zone after industrial zone (or perhaps the same one as we were lost for a while). We did see a farm along the way. Oh, and it was raining the whole time, did I mention that? The lesson is that sometimes interstates are better- and they even have wi-fi at some rest stops!
However all was not lost. The inside of the rental car was quite nice. The rental car place was out of the economy car we reserved (Insert Seinfeld reference here). So, darn it, they had to give us an Alfa Romeo instead. That added some sun to a day of rain.
Once we escaped the industrial zone, we did a drive that was one of the best of the whole trip. Between Milan and Verona, Lago di Garda (a lake) stretches north into the Alps. To finish the day, we drove around the lake and even through the fog and rain it made up for the suffering of the morning.
We're taking lots of pics, etc. but the hotels so far have not had reasonable Internet access. The hotel from last night wanted (USD 1.20/minute). Shyaah, as if.
Milan was never high on the list of destinations - not because its not worthy, but because Italy offers so many other places. We're going due to geography - its a great place to rent a car and drive around Italy and Switzerland. So, that's what we're doing over the next 10 days or so.
Judging from the people boarding the plane, Milan should be interesting in a way that exposes our complete lack of euro-fashion sense. The city is one of the world's fashion capitals. I already feel like I'm not nearly cool enough for Milan - and we're still in Prague.
We recently received a nice email from Nath at Blue Fronier Media. Nath asks...
Firstly, how much has running this blog taken over the 'mission' that you guys have embarked upon?
What a can of worms you have opened. We love talking about this stuff... Let's see...about the mission...
TwinF is a huge part of our experience - I am personally thinking about it all the time - usually in terms of what would make great content and where the next Web connection is going to come from (man, I sound like a junky). As for mission though - TwinF was part of the mission from the beginning. We saw it as an opportunity to travel and experiment at the same time. We had a hypothesis that a new type of travel is possible now because the Internet makes it so easy to collect information and meet new people. In testing this hypothesis, I get to learn new things for my work with Common Craft. So, we're very motivated to keep things rolling. I'd also say that our hypothesis has proven to be true - blogs and the Internet have enabled us to learn about places and meet people we never would have known otherwise. TwinF has helped us make our travel world much smaller and more localized. We call it the "Long Tail of Travel", if you're familiar with that idea.
Has it enriched the trip...something to keep you interacting with your world and -- in the case of a travel diary like yours perhaps -- ensuring that you keep engaging critically with what's going on around you; chasing the next post, as it were).
It's a double-edged sword. It is amazing to know that people are watching and are ready to help, but it's also intimidating sometimes. I honestly worry about looking like a rookie or saying something insensitive. Aside from that, the notion of sharing something on the web has pushed us into places and situations that we may not have pursued otherwise. The perfect example is eating weird things in Asia - that would not have been so fun without video and TwinF as a means to share it. Also, it has made us really think about how a place makes us feel because we want to be as authentic as possible. I have no regrets - I would say blogging has enriched more than detracted by a long shot.
Also, Member Travel Experiences along with comments and emails has enriched the trip immeasurably. We found some of our favorite spots by asking for advice from our readers.
Has it become a pain at times when you'd just rather blow TwinF off and be another hedonistic, aimless vagabonding vagrant?
I have a little voice in the back of my head that is constantly keeping track of the length of time between posts and sometimes it is a bit too loud. However, that voice is not specific to TwinF, I've heard it since my first blog and I'm used to it.
It is the administrivia that gets old... Finding a connection, uploading pictures, trying to use the mobile phone, dealing with comment spam, etc. If wifi was ubiquitous and the technology worked consistently, we would have no complaints.
Blowing off TwinF has never even been a possibility and I think we would both count it as a failure if we did. TwinF is a project that are both committed to seeing through to the end and I think we're lucky that we have such fun doing it.
It's Friday and at home that means a special treat : a latte. Today we held up this tradition in Prague and got some fancy coffee at a place with good coffee, terrible techno and wifi. In walking to our seats we walked by 2 young women with Apple computers. Little did we know, but these girls would reveal more to us about themselves than we ever wanted to know.
They were American, college age and filling in a profile for a community web site for college students called Facebook. What was special about this situation was that they conversed about every part of their own profile, loud enough for everyone to hear (an American trait it seems).
So there we were, listening to these two girls debate the section of the profile that required them to describe themselves in adjectives - a unique window into the psyche of these two.
This produced such deep quotes as "I'm using 'welcoming' because that's how I am when people come over" and "I'm 'musical' because I listen to Coldplay A LOT". Apparently the word "workaholic" was a no-no and the ensuing discussion it caused ended in one explaining to the other "You just don't understand - I'm not mad at you." In the end this was the list that was defined by one of the girls to describe them to other Facebooks members:
musical, adaptable, idealistic, random, fun loving, disorganized, welcoming, rambunctious.
We would add these two words to their profile: "Loud" and "Entertaining in Public".
We learned a valuable lesson on the day we shot this video. Europe is not Asia and apparently whole cities can sell out of hotel rooms - especially on football match days.
Also, in the video I mention the "stupid" check in procedures of Norwegian Airlines. This is what I mean...
All international travelers are lined up in front of 7 check-in counters. As flights get close to leaving, the attendants yell out "Anyone going to Berlin! berlin anyone??" When they do, anarchy nearly breaks out as all the people going to Berlin are allowed to the front, replacing people in line. This was repeated 3 times as our departure time got closer and closer. The system punished people who arrived early (us) and rewarded the late ones. We were so frustrated. I don't know why they don't segregate the travelers by flight. Ugh.
If you are reading this post, then we have our phone set up for posting to TwinF in real time. I just took the photo above minutes ago. Any time you see a low resolution photo and "uploaded by LeeLeFever_TwinF" it means it was posted via our mobile phone - the Palm Treo 650.
So we're leaving Berlin. I had heard so much about Berlin, I think my hopes were too high. I expected a hip, alternative and very energetic city and we did see some of that, but I wasn't that impressed. What was really impressive is the modern architecture - the Sony Center, the Hauptbahnhof Train Station (the biggest in the world) and the Reichstag Building are all modern masterpieces in my book.
Alas, we are now off to Prague and a heavy dose of old Europe...