Italian Train Strikes Are Scheduled in Advance!

July 22, 2016
Rooster from Ravenna

A souvenir rooster mosaic from Ravenna

Train strikes in Italy are scheduled, but nobody told us. After about 10 days of tooling around by boat or by driving up and down the shoreline to the various villages that populate Lake Como (Lago di Como) we decided to venture out for a few days to a different location. Ravenna is where we chose to go. It’s still in the north, on the Adriatic side of Italy and we chose to go by train; Como to Milano, Milano to Bologna, Bologna to Ravenna.

B&B BasilicaWe got online and found a B&B .5 km from the train station in Ravenna (an easy walk after consolidating 3 days worth of clothing & toiletries into one bag), left our home base in Visgnola and away we went. We bought round trip (retiro) tickets, €25.00 each way ($28) per person and arrived as planned in about 5 hours. What we didn’t know is that there was a rail strike scheduled for the Friday of our return trip. Apparently strikes occur so frequently in Italy there’s a website dedicated to this activity! Italians schedule strikes in advance! Can you believe it? Their transportation strikes are scheduled, it’s just that nobody told us, including the chap in the stazione centrale where we bought out tickets.

Trian route to RavennaWe wouldn’t have known at all had it not been that we stopped by the train station to check on return times as our ticket was open. Keep in mind neither of us speak any Italian beyond arrivederchi and vino rosso, so it came as a bit of a shock when the nice lady finally got across to us that the trains would be on strike the day we’d planned to return. Thanks to a nice young man in line behind us and much pantomime, we learned we could likely get as far back as Bologna if we left at 6:28 AM (yee gads, we’re supposed to be on vacation here), but would only make it all the way if we upgraded our tickets from the slow train (more stops and longer between stops), to the much more pricy fast train.

So that’s the plan because we’ve already prepaid our hotel and parking at the stazione in Como where we left our car. This traveling is hard work. It’s a good thing you can stop almost anywhere, anytime for a cold beer, delicious coffee (and/or pastry), or a gelato!

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.

Side Trip To Historic Ravenna

July 18, 2016

There are a couple of reasons for venturing from our home base in Visgnola, Northern Italy very near Bellagio (a 15 minute walk downhill) on Lake Como (Lago di Como), one of Europe’s largest & deepest lakes and a summer home location for George Clooney.

Typical street in Bellagio

    This is a typical street in Bellagio

Bellagio is hundreds of years old with narrow cobbled streets, limited vehicle traffic, and playground to some of the rich & famous. It’s a favorite weekend or holiday retreat for Milanos (Milan is about an hour south), and the small shops are top quality, very exclusive and naturally pricy. Not where you’re likely to find souvenirs to take home, so I’ve decided to forego the non-existent tchotchke and just settle for gelato!

Byzantine churchBut back to our side trip to Ravenna. We’ve found that all the villages on Lake Como are pretty much all alike. We’ve taken boat trips to several and also driven up and down the lakeshore a number of times. It’s great to stop for a coffee, cold beer or lunch at any of the many caffès or restaurants situated on the lake, but after a few days we got the itch to see something more. What we saw in Ravenna were centuries-old churches in the Byzantine style famous for their gorgeous mosaics.Ravenna church22crucifix from RavennaRavenna Church

We love the trains in Europe and always enjoy shopping for snacks and goodies to bide our time as the countryside glides by. We also love the seaside towns and the great seafood that abounds along the coast- surprisingly very different from seafood available in Hawaii. Ravenna was suggested to us by a local travel agent as a historically important city on the Adriatic Sea.  And the mosaics that fill the church interiors are absolutely beautiful or did I already mention that?

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.

Why Does He ALWAYS Take The Side Of Islamists?

July 16, 2016

During the Green Revolution in Iran in 2009 Iranian freedom fighters sent the White House an urgent memo calling for help. Obama ignored it, passing on the chance to finally displace the  government established by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. Before 1979 enjoying their short skirts, tanktops, freedom, education, music, dance, Iranians had a future to look forward to. Now Sharia law is strictly enforced.

then in Iran

           Acceptable dress before 1979


               Sharia law dress after Khomeini                  









Obama took the wrong side again supporting the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi in Egypt when the people rose up against the newly elected leader as he became more authoritarian. He raised taxes massively and the price of staple foods. He announced that the presidency was above the law and not subject to judicial review. Things went from bad to worse and the people soon supported the military coup.

Egyptians against Morsi

The Egyptian people wrote this banner in English, exposing Obama for to the American news media.

We saw the same thing yesterday when Obama could have supported the dismantling of an Islamic state, instead he urged everyone to support the democratically elected government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But As Lt. Col Ralph Peters states this coup may be Turkey’s last best hope. “The military and the people staging this coup are against the Islamists, fundamentalists and extremists. They’re for democracy. They’re for a secular constitution.” Is that what we need more of in this world we’re in today?

Nope, not Obama. He’s always for some strange reason on the side of the thugs and terrorists. We just need to show more love and compassion.

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.

I Don’t Know What’s Better, The Coffee or The Gelato

July 15, 2016

Both are great and we indulged ourselves often, occasionally more than once a day! In fact if I ate too much at dinner and didn’t have enough room for gelato (hard to believe), I’d be quite upset with myself. These things take more planning than I am apparently capable of.

GelatoThe gelato comes in a kazillion different flavors and they go all out to make it look pretty and tempting. If you haven’t had real Italian gelato it’s hard to explain the texture, but its way different from American ice cream. I’d say it’s silky & smooth, but not necessarily creamier. I’m told there’s more milk and less cream and no eggs as in our ice cream. Does that mean it’s less fattening? Sounds good to me. You could get 1, 2 or 3 flavors in a cone or cup, pretty much just like here. My favorites in this order:  hazelnut (nocciola), cherry (amarena), and coffee (caffè). Man it’s good is all I can say.

Gelato -my fav flavor

              Hazelnut gelato is called nicciola

As for the coffee, not being a ‘hair on the chest’ kinda girl I steered clear of the espresso. It’s just too strong. Mostly I ordered Caffè Americano which is obviously the closest to American coffee but the interesting thing is they way they serve it.




It comes in a slightly smaller sized cup (bigger than espresso, but not like a mug) and it has only a little bit of very strong coffee at the bottom. With that they bring two small pitchers, one with hot water, the other with hot milk, and you make it to your own taste! They can be very fancy with the cream toppings on some of the coffees too, which is unique and kind of fun. At any rate, you can’t go wrong with gelato or caffé -or both!caffe faces

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.

Okay, It’s Time To Mix It Up

July 14, 2016

You’ve seen and hopefully enjoyed some travel blogs written in Italy which I’ve been posting over the last week or so. I’d planned to post all the Italian travel stuff before going back to politics, but there’s just too much going on not to jump in, so I’ll mixing it up, alternating Italy travel with my usual GOYBs postings.

Geo Clooney Como VillaBTW, about a year ago this time word on the street was that George Clooney who has a villa on Lake Como where we stayed for most of our time in Italy, was considering selling due to the paparazzi, but word today is that it may be an entirely different reason.Lake Comomigrant camp

How’s that? I managed to tie in current events with travel?!

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.

Reblog from American Thinker: America’s Black Abusive Boyfriend

July 11, 2016

This is re-blogged from American Thinker. I thought it was so right on I decided to interrupt my travel blogs from Italy as I wanted to post this before it was no longer topical. I apologize right up front to those (Aunt Evelyn) who are here only to read my travel stuff. Here it is (sorry it’s a little long).

Obama, the Aloof Rageaholic   at-logo

Once upon a time, I dated an angry man.  The list of sins that ignited his rage was random.  One that stands out is slamming his car door too hard. His rage would flare from tension to full Clockwork Orange violence in seconds. And I don’t mean snarky remarks. I mean throwing suitcases.

What never made sense about Angry Man’s rage was I could never trace the root of it.  He was swimming in cash, a sensational job, and the constitution of a bull.

I finally escaped Angry Man.

But, for the past eight years, I have watched white America and its dynamic with the angry black person. It was that old dangerous dance: the person who is addicted to anger and the victim who tap-dances and begs for the bully to be nice.

Unchecked rage often ends in homicide. On July 7, 2016, in Dallas, it did.

How did this happen?

Inexplicably, President Obama has become America’s black abusive boyfriend.  He seduced with an aloof charm, quick wit, and a Spockish calm.  But like all ragaholics, we did not know what was beneath that cultivated air of cool.  Obama had rage.

He has stoked the fires of black Americans’ rage, aided by acolyte Eric Holder, with the fervor of a man chased by a lynch mob pre Civil War.

From all accounts, both biased and neutral, the source of Obama’s black rage is as mystical as Kardashian modesty.  Obama has not had a path strewn with rose petals: he had a path strewn with platinum petals, emeralds and Hermes Birkins. Obama was a man with a work history that would not land him a position as an assistant state public defender in today’s economy. With that CV, he became the President of the largest budget and military in the world.  And the reason he won the job, largely, was due to being black.

What is making our black boyfriend so angry? We not only gave him a place at the table, we gave him the table, the Kohler kitchen and a Nate Berkus styled mansion.

Obama is clever, crafty and his delivery of a joke outstanding. His reasonable, didactic manner is reassuring.

But, his pathological compulsion to frame black Americans as quivering citizens facing a virtual holocaust from cops is obsessive, and false.

And it has now resulted in murder. But this was easy to predict, especially for anyone schooled in dealing with entitled, enraged bullies.

Obama, rarely angry, showed indignation when a giant black thug lunged at a petite shopkeeper, after he stole some blunt rolling papers, disobeyed police commands, and was then shot after reaching for the cop’s gun inside a patrol car.

Conversely, Obama was yucking it up on the golf course minutes after discussing American journalist James Foley, who had his head hacked off with a dull blade by ISIS sub humans.

Other black boyfriends were watching. And when detached Obama decided now he would show his black man cojones, it was the wink to other angry blacks to go forth and do harm.  Looting stores (stupidly, usually black business), white knock out games, and vitriol spewed out by racists like Michael Eric Dyson became not only okay, but also the only script allowed.

Do we whites hate blacks?  Do our angry black boyfriends have a genuine fear of the mousey white Americans, who apologize, grovel, and lose their job at the hands of other whites, if they slightly offend the sensibilities of these terrorized black Americans?

Let’s follow the money. This is the country that rewards single black (and other) mothers, who reproduce with many different partners and their offspring with the following non-exclusive list of wonderful free goodies:

Prenatal care, medical care, prescriptions, mental health care, food, free or reduced housing, daycare, cell phones, tuition, greatly reduced admissions criteria for entry in college based on race, textbooks books, tutoring and specific job placement assistance upon graduating, if they go to and finish college.

If blacks graduate, local, state and federal employers, as well as international corporations set aside jobs, well paying ones, just for blacks. Their competence, and abilities are a secondary consideration.  It’s Sweden in America for our angry blacks.

Is this the source of their outrage?

No. This cradle to grave largess is not acknowledged by enraged blacks or bootlicking white apologists. The party line for rage is their treatment by the police. They represent, with illiterate rhetoric, that police brutality against them has made this country more akin to the Congo than Canada.

More whites are killed by law enforcement than blacks are.  Angry blacks kill other angry blacks, more than all other races combined.  These facts have been cited over and over. No one, especially breathless pundits, minds these facts.

I have a big secret to tell all the angry blacks that demonize cops: Whites are afraid of cops. I am leery of cops.  This is why I do not make sudden moments around armed men who can legally shoot me, or tell them to fuck off, or act furtive in my pockets when detained.

Critically, if my boyfriend were bleeding from a gunshot wound, I would apply pressure to his wound and render aid, not calmly video his death so I could attain celebrity status.

Anger is addictive.  America is the abused spouse, nervously watching her black boyfriend pace, punch the wall, and be angry. Because being perpetually pissed off around weak people gets to be quite fun. Consequences never come, and others learn to let you have your way, or else. Untouchable entitlement is thrilling.

What will America, the bruised girlfriend, do with her angry black boyfriend? Will she get up and “restructure his function” or quiver in the corner, and lose the freedom that made her believe she had value in the world?

Tiffany Kendal Koogler is an attorney who previously worked for the Department of Defense.  She lives in North Carolina with her dogs.

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.

HINT: Rent the Smallest Car Available

July 9, 2016

There are so many reasons for this advise I don’t know where to begin. Too bad nobody told us before our trip to Italy. But honestly, this is not our first rodeo, so we should have known better. How about parking for one thing? These old, ancient towns have narrow roads with no shoulder. And then you’ve got buildings on both sides, or buildings on one side and a cliff, or a gorge, on the other side, or the lake in our case, in Bellagio on Lake Como.

Here’s our story so heed our advise. We left our tiny village of Visgnola (5 km. uphill from Bellagio) at about 9:30 this morning to hit the town market which only occurs every third Wednesday) to stock up on fresh fruit & veggies, oh yes and some pastries found there too (you can find most anything in some of these markets). From the market we decided to take a direction not travelled before up in the hills above the lake.

Lunch in the mountainsAfter some time we stopped for lunch at the summit in an area called Sermano, still in the district of Como at about 1200 meters (nearly 4,000 ft elevation). Apparently it’s high enough and clear of ambient light because the restaurant is right next door to an observatory. Anyway our saga with regard to narrow streets starts on the way home, downhill.

We’re travelling with a Garmon GPS with the downloaded European maps. The roads in this area are so winding the little car icon on the GPS can’t keep up with where our car really is. Many of the turns are hairpin curves and if you miss one (the navigator *me*, missed several) no telling where you you’ll end up. Well we ended up down an ever-narrowing canyon of tall buildings. The driver is raising his voice at his navigator (me), “This can’t be right. How close are we to that wall?” Me: “Too close, turn a little to the right, but not too much. Whoa, STOP! Back up you’re not gonna get through there”.Car sandwich

Car sandwich2Keep in mind backing up is no easier. It’s not straight or flat and as you can see there’s no margin of error. We’re still stuck. The side mirrors are pulled in. We can’t go forward or backwards. There’s nowhere to turn out or around, or maneuver whatsoever! I’m not sure if we were yelling at each other, but there’s a good chance voices were raised and people started to appear. They looked, they commented and probably a good thing we couldn’t understand what they were saying, but I imagine it went something along the lines of “Ah ya, stupido turisticos”.

Being friendly Italians however, they couldn’t let us struggle too long on our own we looked so desperate. A construction crew appeared out of nowhere. First one or two and eventually there were 6 of them. One offered to take the driver’s seat which Mickey gladly relinquished, crawling out the window. Well long story short, about 30 minutes later after much direction and from all sides and in a few different languages (Dutch, you speak Dutch? No. Inglese.) they got us out! I don’t know how they did it, but we didn’t escape unscathed. The driver’s side mirror cover popped off and there’s a few scratches that will have to go on the car rental return paperwork, but hey sh*t happens! I’m just glad to have escaped at all.

Car freedJust remember, the smallest you can get when it comes to what size car to rent in Europe. Bigger is NOT better!

Aloha, Mikie ~just a blogger (fightin’ like a girl)

~Psst, tired of politics? Check out Travel in the Categories drop down menu (right side panel) for my blogs posted from interesting locations during my travel adventures.


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