more random observations

More random observations… 

Here’s another day of reflections after now completing a
week of travels in Italy.  Based on
conversations with locals, tour guides, watching some TV and reading the
occasional paper. 

In no particular order and without confirmation…..

Real estate reality check.  While we certainly have our affordability issues in Calgary
these days, here’s a look at Rome through the eyes of one of our tour
guides.  A 1 bedroom apartment in
an ‘average’ neighborhood sells for about 350 thousand Euros.

(appx $ 500 thousand Canadian) An ‘average’ wage in Rome is
about 900 Euros a week. 

The result is more and more Italians live at home longer,
delay getting married and starting families.  Italy has one of the lowest ‘birth rates’ in the European Union. 

Italy would be bankrupt if it tried to ‘maintain and
renovate’ all of it’s precious ruins, art and history.  It would cost billions and billions of
Euro.  The ‘private sector’ has
offered to pick up the cost — much to the horror of traditionalists who

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believe it should all remain public. 
The result, it’s hit and miss as to what gets renovated/maintained and
what doesn’t.

Rome wants to build a third leg to its underground Metro
system.  Every time they dig they
discover new ruins—and the project is delayed or derailed.

Venice is sinking and they’ve launched a multi billion $Euro
project nicknamed ‘Moses’.

Three huge panel type structures will be built underwater at
the entrance to the 3 main canels. 
In case of flooding, the huge walls lift up, and effectively seal the
entrances.  Supporters say it’s the
only way to save the historical water bound city.  Critics say it’s a white elephant, will never work, and all
of the projects went to ‘cronies’ with ties to government.s

My children can survive 3 weeks in Europe eating little more
than ‘Pizza Margharita’s’.

Santa was at Harrods department store in Britain this week….
Opening the huge “Christmas section” and launching the countdown to December 25th.   As I write this it’s 11am on
August 10th.  Better
start shopping.