between the lands

Jessica and Andrew’s travel journal

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Posted by Jessica in ITALY (October 31, 2006 at 8:10 pm)

CIMG5812 noel.jpg
We’ve been in Italy for 1 week, now and we have been stuffing ourselves silly!
CIMG5709 lunch on the rocks.jpgCIMG5838 horse store.jpg

We started in the Cinque Terre, and then moved on to Florence (Firenze) where our friend Christina had been lent a spacious and comfortable apartment by her friend Banditto. It was us, Christina, and Signor Paolo, the gracious occupant of the apartment.
CIMG5797 christina and j.jpgCIMG0254 j chris old man close.jpg

Since we did not have to rent a room, we felt somewhat free to eat the amazing food available in the restaurants of Florence. Pizza, lasagne, pasta bolognese, grilled chicken, steak florentine you name it! And of course, the wines are wonderful. One goal has been to eat gelatto every day, and for the most part, we have been successful. Florence is a beautiful city, with many gorgeous plazas, churches, sculptures, and even just really pretty details on the buildings.
CIMG0249 duoma front.jpg CIMG5748 j a christina and duomo.jpgCIMG5818 arches and horse.jpgCIMG0298 dante.jpgCIMG5768 j a and church.jpgCIMG5769 reflection in river.jpg

Then, we moved on to Turin (Torino). Here we have friends that Andrew knows from his J-School days in Bolivia. Manuela and Fabio have introduced us to the wonder that is aperitivo of Turin. It\’s like Spanish tapas: you go to the pub, buy some drinks or a bottle of wine, and help yourself to a generous spread of delightful italian snacks. You eat as much as you want, or until they run out. It is good to arrive early! ***APERITIVO PICS UNAVAILABLE–CENSORED ON ACCOUNT OF GLUTTONY***
CIMG0303 frying cheese.jpgCIMG0306 a and manuela eating.jpg

Then we went to the Big Eating Event: the combined conferences of the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre.
ANDREW SEZ: well have pics on the food festival later, but it basically it was like the UN of food. Farmers and food producers from 120 countries, meeting(and offering free samples) to discuss the obstacles to their growing and producing it themselves. one of the major issues facing some of the attendees is that they cant sell unpasteurized milk and cheese to the US and many european nations, even thought theyve been making it for thousands of years.

We checked out the museum of the history of cinema today, a really cool experience in a great old building(actualy a synagogue that was never finished)CIMG5857 flim museum and night.jpg
***the lights along the side are numbers–its the fibonacci sequence for all you math nerds

we spent some time this morning being interviewed on radio blackout, a long running community radio station where kilia and elettrico are volunteers. well get some pics up soon, but we just wanted to give a shout out before we head up to paris…see yall on the banks of the seine..

gimme 5!3

Posted by Andrew in ITALY, ICELAND (October 25, 2006 at 7:28 pm)

5 towns that is…Cinque Terre. On The north part of Italys west coast are 5 little towns that are somewhat frozen in time. All of the stereotypes of “the old country” as they say, are in full effect. the old women hanging out their wash to dry:
CIMG5245 lady hanging wash 2.jpg CIMG5233 woman hanging wash.jpg

Men picking olives in the fields and making fresh olive oil(and pesto–oh yeah!)
CIMG5430 guy working through door.jpg CIMG5407 j with olive tree.jpg

men and women sitting on benches and talking smack all day long:
CIMG5253 people on bench rio.jpg

The towns themselves are amazingly beautiful. there are no cars allowed in them, so you really have to take a train from one to the next, or hike along a centuries-old path which is mostly made of steps carved into the mountain, or stone paths made by hand.
CIMG5404 stone bridge.jpg CIMG5519 stone path.jpg[jn sez: until the railroad in the last century, these foot paths were the ONLY way in, out, or between the towns. all the crops were grown out in the countryside terraces and carried on the people’s backs into the the towns. HARDCORE!!!]

Each town is a few miles from the next along cliffs that overlook the ligurian sea.
CIMG5401 3 terras through trees.jpg CIMG5457 vernazza bay wide.jpg

We hiked from town to town through terraced fields where people have been growing food for a long time….
CIMG5425 terrace and sea.jpg CIMG5361 rio terraces.jpg CIMG5392 hut with no roof.jpg

We stayed in the town of Riomaggiore, one of the quieter ones, but it also had a beach.
CIMG5330 riomaggiore wide.jpg CIMG5248 view down street rio.jpg

The daily menu in Cinque Terre for us was basically tomato, mozzarella and foccacia(invented in this region), with pesto smeared all over it.

And to end, in a sense, one leg of our journey, we swam in the Mediterranian sea.
CIMG5372 j and a and rock.jpg

heres a video, featuring that famed body of water, which was still quite warm in late october. there are some pics in the movie too..

We are in florence now, along with 8 hundred million other tourists. We’ll be here for a couple of days, then headed to Turin, where well be checking out the International slow food festival, and a worldwide gathering of food producers who want to be able to control the production and distribution of that food. Salone Del gusto, and Terra Madre.(click for info)

Meanwhile, a couple of radio stories I produced in Iceland were on the air in your hometown last week.(well many of your hometowns). one about the US military base that recently closed there, and one about the giant dam/smelter project thats being built in the last wild land in Europe. You can listen to them by downloading the programs linked here, Ill put the individual stories up here on the site soon.

Aix-En-Provence, FRANCE baby!0

Posted by Jessica in FRANCE (October 19, 2006 at 6:19 pm)

we are now in the south of france, and it is SWEEEET!

we pretty much had to tear ourselves out of amsterdam, that place is so freakin COOL. but we had already paid for the euro-rail passes, so it’s not like we could just chill in the dam until it was time for our radio conference in jordan.

Aix-En-Provence was conquered by the romans back around 100 BC, so it’s pretty old. and it has LOTS of cool fountains and OLD buildings.
fountain at center of townold church behind old wallandrew before the old city wall

more old roman stuff, this time in a church dating back to the 6th century AD. there’s a fragment of mosaic flooring, some fresco fragments with a cool horned cow sporting a halo and wings (what’s THAT all about??), and then me & andrew sitting in front of it all.
mosaic fragmentfresco fragmentjessica & andrew in the old church
but the best part is, it’s france so there are amazing bakeries (chocolate croissants), patisseries (pear & peach pies), and of course numerous cafes with amazing coffee. plus, we get to practice our french. i (jessica) have to do most of the talking, but andrew understands pretty much everyhting that’s being said.

we had a hotel room with a kitchenette, so we could save money by cooking in rather than eating out. i have gotten pretty good at beef stew and ginger pork chops!
pork chops!beef stew!
one of the reasons the romans liked this spot so much (and its previous celto-ligurian residents as well liked it) was because there are lots of underground waters AND geothermal waters. the roman emporer sextus had a famous bath built there using the geothermal waters, and several of the town fountains, still running at dozens of plazas throughout the city, had warm water from underground as well. there is now a fancy-schmancy spa at the site of the former roman bath, and a tiny bit of the old roman vestiges are visible there.
roman baths 1roman baths 2

more fountains in Aix-En-Provence:
jessica with baguette at fountainbelching fountain detailanother fountain
this being “provence”, the south-eastern region of france, they have their own regional dialect called “provencau” (”pro-vahn-so” or thereabouts). we ate this pizza and got this box demonstrating the provencau “joy of life”. (the waiter told me it was italian. he was wrong. i guess he was french and not provencau!)
example of provencau language

here’s some pretty countryside from when we took a grueling (ok, i just about died from the hills; andrew was barely winded) 18 km bike ride out of town:
horses, jessica, french coutryside

one day there was a fun romanian gypsy band playing in the central square. they were very entertaining, and although i couldn’t give them any cigarettes, they were happy to accept my 2 euro donation
romanian roma (gypsy) musicans

ok, that was provence, next stop: Cinque Terre, ITALIA!!! (we leave for the train station at 5am, and i’ve been blogging instead of packing. sigh!)

amsterdam—believe the hype2

Posted by Andrew in HOLLAND (October 14, 2006 at 5:05 pm)

global chillage.jpg

amsterdam is…well lets just say we’ll be back here some day. TICAL!

to be blunt, its been one of the high-lights of the trip. from one 400-yr old building to the next, the joint is jumping. Im chronic-ly adjusting my sense of history, as this is my first time in europe, the depth of of what has happened on these streets makes us just that much more of a speck in the ointment.

not to get too philsophical, its a great bike city too–click here for some video evidence of the mass proliferation of bicycles in the city, set to music from New Orleans that jessica recorded, but we just figured out how to get it up online. there are some pics in the movie too..

We checked out anne franks old hiding spot, the history museum, the heineken brewery tour, which turned out to be more like a heineken commercial with beer at the end, and the museum of torture.

jessica has been eating lots of street herring (JESSICA SEZ: its SOOO gooood).
And just walking around at night over all the canals is pretty sweet. to sum it up, the city goes down smooth, not corny.
j and a in mirror serious.jpg

***updated along with the pics–on our last night in amsterdam, we went to a 25th anniversary party of an amazing squat, called the Tetterode.(click for info)

were headed to the south of france tomorrow…

reyk-ing shop4

Posted by Andrew in ICELAND (October 7, 2006 at 3:48 pm)

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yes of course its chilly in iceland–but according to the locals, global warming is taking care of that problem. So were getting to witness some of the beauty in sunshine and 50 degree weather.

more importantly, its is indeed expensive. witness below. 1 bowl of lamb soup that cost about $15. we had been surviving on fish jerky and our left-over bulk food from the road trip, having hunger pains, and it looked so good, so we split a bowl.

money soup.jpg

Meanwhile, heres a movie of a giant waterfall, and a geyer exploding–its located a few yards from the original “geysir” –the one which all geyers were named after:
gulfoss and

weve also been checking out the Reykjavik film festival, and soaking in some of the countrys 10 zillion thermal baths…tough life right? Im interviewing folks for a story about a controversial dam that was just built in the east part of the country–ill post some links when the story is done. Much love to my NYC people–it was great to see you and be home.

Were headed out for amsterdam on Monday…see you all there..