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The Trip Begins

October 25, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments


I may not be blogging much in the next three weeks. Perhaps not at all. We may be too busy, too tired, or unwilling to pay 25 or 30 euros for the privilege of getting wifi in our hotel rooms. But I’ve paid for wifi tonight, the first night of our trip, and although it’s almost 11:00 in New York, it’s only 8:00 in Seattle, so I may as well say a few words. Not that there’s much of interest to say.

We flew JetBlue’s Seattle-JFK flight, got in around 4:45 this afternoon, fifteen minutes early, got our bags, took the AirTrain to Hertz, got our car, drove to our usual hotel, the one we have been staying in for almost exactly 22 years, going back to the fall of our year in Princeton, when Joel was just months old. Since JetBlue doesn’t serve meals, even if you want to pay for them, and since we didn’t bring food with us, we were hungry, so we went to Piccolo’s nearby in Mineola. It’s an Italian restaurant that my brother introduced us to a few years ago. And when I came here in July, with Joel coming down from Boston, we had dinner there with my brother, as we did last month when Gail and I came in on our way to Nantucket. This time my brother is away on business, but Gail and I went there anyway. We had one of their specials, chicken and prosciutto with a light mozzarella topping and a white wine sauce, accompanied by pasta in a tomato sauce. We were hungry, and it was good, as was the lettuce, tomato, onion, and chick pea salad we split to start.

Here at the hotel, I should be watching the 6th and possibly final game of the Yankees-Angels series, but I’ve had my fill of baseball. I know, I shouldn’t say it. I’ve had a long list of items in reserve for a lengthy post on baseball, but it just didn’t happen. The games are just too long, the announcing is tiresome, the time between half-innings is unbelievable, the time between pitches is only slightly more believable. Any number of times in this postseason, I’ve switched to some show during an ad break, then forgotten about the game for a few minutes, then gone back, thinking I may have missed a lot, and discovered that I missed either nothing or a single pitch.

And I can’t stand the on-going deification of Derek Jeter. Enough already. Last week there was a game in which he fielded a ground ball with runners on first and second and one out. They were running on the pitch, so he had no play but to first. But as he got the ball in his glove, he looked at the lead runner, just reaching third, to make sure the runner didn’t head home, then threw to first for the out. We had to hear how he’s always playing heads-up baseball, blah blah blah. Is there anyone who has ever played baseball or softball at any level who hasn’t had it drilled into him or her to do this? Don’t you always look at the lead runner before throwing to first? Really, Jeter may be great, may be Mr. November, Mr. Clutch, whatever you like, but it was routine.

And another thing. Now that we’re in New York, we have to experience post-season baseball east coast style, with start times way too late and ending times that are totally nuts. I’m boycotting. No baseball for me tonight. Other than checking the score a few times.

Back to the trip. We haven’t done anything like this in years, in terms of all the moving around we’ll be doing. I’ve come to prefer longer stays in fewer places. We both prefer it. But that’s not the plan this time. We have the one night tonight here on Long Island. Then one night on an airplane and one night in Paris before we get to settle down for three nights in Grenoble. Three will be the minimum for awhile: three also in Venice, four in Rome, three in Florence. But then we go back to short stays: a night on the train, two nights in Paris, two nights here on Long Island again, and one night in Chicago. Lots of packing and unpacking, or not bothering to pack and living out of our luggage. I don’t know which.

I’m not complaining. How could I? It’s going to be great. And we’ll get to compare the food in Italy with tonight’s meal as well as with our final dinner, which will be at another Italian restaurant (of sorts), Andiamo. It’s the in-house restaurant at the O’Hare Hilton. I’ve eaten there many times and I respect it. They do a good job. But our standards may have changed by then.

Perhaps I’ll have a few words to say about the food along the way. Check back.

Categories: Baseball, Restaurants, Travel
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