Welcome to my Italy and India blog. Hope you enjoy reading about my experiences. Send me an Email and let me know what's going with you.

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November 7, 2009

Back home...

November 4, 2009

Went climbing in Portugruaro today. I have improved a little, but it is still pretty tough.

November 1, 2009

Woke up early today to go running at a race near Treviso. It was a nice place, but I wasn't prepared for the 7.5 mile run. There were 4 guys and 1 girl, so I couldn't let the girl show me up, so I struggled to the end. The run was nice, along the river, and through a bamboo forest. And to top it off, we won a nice clay pot afterwards for participating, so that was nice.

Ready to go: Dante, Denis, Francesca, and Angelo

Francecsa is a little camera shy...

And the prize:

October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween! Denis woke me up early to go get his car so he wouldn't get a ticket. He handles a hangover better than most...

We went to the street market in Pordenone and strolled around, bumped into my boss, and wasted time for a while. Went to Denis' parents house for a traditional Italian lunch, pasta, bread, meat, and salad. I could get used to that.

I finally went and checked in to the hotel, and took a nap for a few hrs. Then I went back to Pordenone for dinner at a quaint Italian restaurant in the main square of Pordenone. There were quite a few people out and about for Halloween, and it was a good time. After dinner, Denis' and some of his friends decided to go back to the beer festival, but I had had enough, and we were planning on going running tomorrow morning, so I figured I'd better get some rest...

October 30, 2009

Well, travel mini-marathon started last night at 11pm when I took a taxi from the hotel to the airport. After a little more than an hour in the taxi, I arrived at the airport. Checked in and went to the gate, where I sat and waited to board the 3:30am flight. Finally got on board, and luckily, I was able to fall asleep. Arrived in Frankfurt 9 hours later, and waited around another 3 hours. Then I boarded my final leg to Venice and arrived in Venice around 2:00. Per the routine, took a bus to the train station and took the train to Pordenone. My friend Denis picked me up and we went to pick up my car. Stopped by Zampolli for drinks, then on the beer festival. Had some good (and very healthy) food and then accompanied Denis as he drank a glass of beer from every booth.

Part of the beer festival was a country music concert and line dancing. It's pretty funny to see Italian cowboys all decked out in their boots and hats line dancing, then when the song is over give their partner a kiss on each cheek.

Some of Denis' friends showed up, so they had to drink some more. Denis was a little toasted by midnight, and ended up riding the mechanical bull and trying to line dance. The pictures don't do it justice. Maybe it is better you didn't witness it anyway.

By the time we left, I figured it was best Denis didn't drive, plus it was probably to late to check into my mom and pop hotel, so I just slept on Denis' couch... finally...

October 28, 2009

My time in India is getting short; I will be leaving tomorrow night. Tonight, I decided to take some of my colleagues here in India to dinner. They were very kind and we went to the Italian restaurant at Oterra. I am not sure if they fully enjoyed the food, but it was a good time with good company.

October 27, 2009

Tonight, one of the Terex guys took me for a night out in Bangalore. We went to a nice up-scale cocktail bar/restaurant called The 13th Floor.

I had a nice meal of herb crusted chicken, potatoes, and some pasta. It was a nice atmosphere, eating on the balcony overlooking the city.

Only two more days in Bangalore before I board my 3:30am flight back to Europe...

October 25, 2009

I made it to church again today at Bethel. The pastor spoke on the first few verses of Ephesians 1:

Ephesians 1

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus,[a] the faithful[b] in Christ Jesus:
2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Spiritual Blessings in Christ 3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he[c] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and willó 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

He focused on the fact that God chose us, each one of us, before we were born, to be holy and blameless in his sight. It is something that is hard to comprehend, but that gives us hope when face trials in our life.

After the service, I decided to go see Lal Bagh. It is a botanical garden in Bangalore, but is not quite as beautiful in real life as on Wikipedia. It was a nice place, but being in the middle of Bangalore, you cannot escape the constant sound of the 2 cycle auto-rickshaws and beeping horns that let you know you are not far from the hustle and bustle.

The main attraction is the glass house, but I was disappointed to find out that it is only filled with flowers once a year during the celebration of the independence of India.

Maybe more interesting is just driving around in Bangalore. I tried to take some pictures of some of the weird and interesting things you see while driving down the road, but usually I don't have the camera ready. Anyway, got a few good ones.

Looks like a good place to buy some drugs...

You would not believe how many cows you see everywhere in the city...

And the occasional horse.

You may wonder why they write this on the walls, but you cannot believe how many people you see urinating on the side of the road.

Again, the typical family vehicle. It is interesting to note that the law only requires the driver to wear a helmet. And most of the women ride on the back side saddle due to their traditional dress. I cannot imagine zipping around through traffic with my entire family hanging on for dear life while I was the only one wearing a helmet.

We went through a different part of town on the way back to the hotel, and I spotted a Hard Rock cafe. After two weeks of eating almost every meal at the hotel buffet, I decided to stop in and have some western food. It was a nice break, but I'm still ready to come home and have a nice tender steak or a fresh grilled tuna sandwich. Won't be long now, only in India until Thursday, then a week in Italy before I cross the pond once again.

October 24, 2009

I needed to get some things done at work before Monday morning, so I went in today for a few hours. Got everything done, and headed back to the hotel. Decided to do some cardio, so rode the exercise bike for 20 minutes, then took a swim in the pool. One thing about Bangalore is that the weather is mild throughout the year.

October 22, 2009

Today we got a visit from one of our Senior VPs at Terex. He visits the India R&D Center every quarter. After work, the Terex India team went out for dinner to Samarkand, an Afghani restaurant. The ambience was nice, but the tables were low with small chairs that weren't the most comfortable. Also, it took some convincing to get silverware, since Afghani people typically eat with their hands. It was a family style dinner, so we ordered a few different things and shared. The food was decent, but not my favorite.

October 18, 2009

I decided to find a church, and the options are pretty limited in Bangalore. I do not know for sure, but I would guess that there are not more than a dozen churches in this city of 15 million. Most of the population is Hindu, with Muslims making up a smaller percentage. Anyway, I found Bethel Baptist Church on the internet, and decided to give it a try. It was started back in 1978 by missionaries, and chartered 3 years later in 1982. They have grown over the years, and now have a very nice church in Bangalore.

I was most impressed by the diversity in the church. There were of course many Indians, including the Pastor, but there were a few Americans, quite a few Africans, and some Asians as well. I really enjoy seeing the different styles of worship services around the world. Surprisingly, the service here was very similar to a traditional Baptist church, though a bit lengthy. The service ran a little over an hour and a half.

After church, I headed back to the hotel for lunch. It was a lazy afternoon, with a relaxing swim in the pool and some tv...

October 17, 2009

Today I went to check out Bannerghatta National Park. Even though it is called a National Park, it is basically a zoo. I went on the "Safari" which entailed riding on an old school bus with metal gratings over the windows through the different animal exhibits.

During the bus ride, the teenage workers insisted on taking my camera and taking pictures for me. At first I said no thanks, but they wouldn't take no for an answer, so I let them take some pictures for me. When the tour was over, I realized why they wanted to take pictures for me. I gave them a tip of 50 rupees (about $1) as I was getting off the bus, but apparently this wasn't enough for them. They tried not to let me off the bus, but I brushed them aside and got off anyway.

I wandered around the rest of the zoo for an hour or so. It was not the most impressive I've seen, and I wondered how good the animals were cared for.

What are you looking at?

You gonna eat that?

Time for a shower

After we left the zoo, I thought maybe I would go watch a movie at the cinema. So, we went to the Forum Mall I grabbed lunch at the Subway, then walked around the mall a little. I found the movie theatre, but there were only about 3 English movies, and none of them looked interesting. Decided to just head back to the hotel.

I'll have to think of something else to see tomorrow...

October 16, 2009

The office was closed today for Diwali, so I did some work from the hotel. It is getting boring being stuck in a hotel with no car in the middle of India for weeks, especially when I don't even go to the office. At least I can hire a driver if I want to go somewhere. Trouble is, there's not alot to see around here without driving for hours.

I decided to walk back over to the Hotel Oterra to eat dinner in the Italian restaurant. There is an Italian chef, so it's the closest to real Italian in Bangalore, and one of the few western restaurants around. It was about 1/2 hour walk, so maybe I burned off the calories from the Tira Misu on the walk home.

October 15, 2009

Tomorrow kicks off the Diwali holiday for Hindus around the world. So, today at the office they got started a day early. Diwali is a festival of lights, and is celebrated with lights, fireworks, flowers, and other decorations. The best were the designs on the floor. They made beautiful artwork from all different colors of sand. It was neat to see the different designs.

Here are some of the pictures.

October 11, 2009

Today, my boss Riccardo and I travelled to Mysore, which is a historic city about 90 miles Southwest of Bangalore. It is the home of the famous Mysore Palace, designed by a British architect and completed in 1947. It was very beautiful, I only wish we could have seen it at night.

Mysore at night:

The 90 mile journey took about 4 hours to complete due to the condition of the roads in India. You cannot imagine how long it takes to get anywhere here.

Anyway, once we got there, we walked around the gardens and snapped some pictures. The palace has a museum inside, but after yesterday, my boss didn't feel like taking off his shoes again, so we just strolled around outside.

Here are some pictures:

When we got finished walking around, we stopped by the souvenir shop and then got ready for the journey back to Bangalore. But first, we stopped for lunch at an interesting restaurant at a nearby hotel. It had a antique car theme, with several old cars inside and a Royal Enfield motorcycle. (Got a picture for you Josh)

After lunch, we made the 4 hour journey home. Along the way, I snapped a picture of the typcial family vehicle for an Indian family.

Was a long day, but worth the trip to see some of India.

October 10, 2009

Today we went to see some ancient Hindu temples in the towns of Belur and Halebidu. It is about 115 miles east of Bangalore, and about a 5 hour drive.

The main attraction in Belur is the Chennakesava Temple. We were required to take off our shoes before entering this temple, which still serves as a house of worship for Hindus.

Here is the main entrance:

And the front of the temple:

After admiring the intricate carvings of the temple, we left and drove a few miles to the Hoysaleswara temple in Halebidu. It was similar in architecture to the first temple, but with more greenspace surrounding the temple.

On the long journey home, we passed some smaller villages, and I took a picture of a roadside market. Freshly harvested corn anyone?

October 7, 2009

Left for India this morning. Rode to Venice with my boss, Riccardo, then flew to Frankfurt, then on to Bangalore.

Here's the 747 we took for the 9 hour flight to Bangalore.

We stayed in Hotel Oterra for the first 2 nights in India. It was a nice 5 star hotel, but they need to invest in some round toilets...

October 5, 2009

Had dinner with Denis and Ramesh today at "Da Jenny." I enjoyed some prosciutto (cured ham) and mozarella for starters and some grilled fish, Ramesh had his first Italian pizza after being in Italy over 2 months.

October 4, 2009

Woke up this morning and set out for another long hike. Made it to the "campinile" or bell tower and saw a few climbers reach the top and ring the bell. The scenery was beautiful, but by the end of the day, my legs were like noodles.

Can you see the red building in this picture?

Ok, I'll zoom in a little

The bell tower is not as big as it looks.

Ok, Maybe it is...

Some climbers made it to the top and rang the bell.

October 3, 2009

Set off on a hiking adventure this morning with Denis, Luigi (Gigi for short), and Marco. Today we hiked about 8km and ascended about 3000 feet in elevation. It was a tough hike, and we arrived at the small cabin around 4pm. The fog rolled in shortly after we arrived, so we settled in for the night and I played some cards with Denis.

Ready to go (from left, Marco, Denis, myself, and Luigi:

About 1/3 way up the mountain, from here, the real hiking begins...

Finally, We arrive at our home for the night. A cozy building that sleeps 12. We're the only 4 here tonight though.

October 2, 2009

Had lunch at the only Indian restaurant within 100km today with Ramesh to get prepared for my time in India. It was not bad, but not my favorite meal.

Went to Dinner with Denis at Pizza da Laura, the best pizza in Pordenone. Denis ordered the "Laura" which includes an egg on top. I stuck with the "Americana" which is pepperoni.

September 29, 2009

Today after work, I went climbing with some co-workers at a nice outdoor climbing gym in San Vito. It was me, Eugenio, Denis, Angelo, and Ramesh. Eugenio was the pro, climbing the overhanging wall with ease...

Here's me at the top.

Denis, exerting all his strength:

Ramesh, not sure if he wants to climb any higher:

Angelo, "Kamikaze":

Eugenio, the pro:

September 28, 2009

Arrived in Venice around 9am this morning. After a 20 minute bus ride, 2 hour wait, then 1 hour train ride, I arrived at work in Fontanafredda around 1pm. Said hello to everyone, checked some emails, then headed to my hotel. It has been a long journey.

September 27, 2009

I flew out to Italy today. Flight out of Wilmington was a little delayed, but made it to Philadelphia with 20 minutes to spare. Bye Ashley :-(

My plane to Philly: