As a fellow Substacker and Amelia resident (qualche volte) I love what you wrote! Buon Ano!!

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I've never had trouble vacaying, though I've got the work ethic of a squashed sea cucumber ("I'll move if and when I feel like it, thank you very much!") In the army I saved up my leave so I could spend a full month touring around Western Europe, with no particular plan about where to go or what to do. Of the week I spent in Paris, upwards of 4 days were in the Louvre. (This was decades pre-pyramid; Mona Lisa was the most underwhelming experience of my life.) I discovered a niche of Egyptian artifacts in the basement. There was no one there but me and the guard. I was hours staring at this statue of a leaping oryx that was staring straight back at me.

My classic is taking two-weeks to attend a two-day conference. Did this on my visit to Ireland in 2005. I was able to take an inexpensive room in the (unoccupied for the season) dorm of old St. Patrick's (now part of the Northern Ireland University system) in Maynooth, and just caught the bus into Dublin. And just wandered. Drifted. I did visit Trinity College library. (Yeah, *THAT* one: https://i.redd.it/jp39t3bq1h2z.jpg )

Did bits a pieces of the "Joyce Walk," but couldn't motivate myself to get very far, because I'd just sit down in some old pub and soak it in. One place I stopped in was pretty new -- Edwardian, so only about 100 years old. Flat panel TV's everywhere, with a variety of absolutely unrecognizable games being played. I was like, "Holy fuck! It's an Irish sports bar!" Had to ask the bartender about one game. "Oh yeah, Gaelic football! Very rough, very fast!" (Only you have to say it with a really thick Irish brogue.) I did figure out that if you run up behind another player and cold-cock them at the base of the skull with your elbow, that *IS* a penalty. Funny thing was, the player who was face-planted didn't even care. He just got up, kicked (and scored!) his penalty shot, without so much as an angry frown. Turned out it was the difference of the game, that one point. Lesson learned: don't play angry.

(Funny sidebar #1 on that trip: it was Spring semester, and I was ready to defend my diss, but couldn't orchestrate a time when all the committee people would be available. It was mid-late April, and I was leaving for Ireland to present a paper at this conferenced on May 6th. So my dissertation advisor/chair (after I brought the problem to his attention) sent out an email to everyone that my defense WILL BE ON THE 5th, regardless of whether they attended or not. Funny thing, they were all there. This was really important to me, because I wanted to introduce myself as "Doctor Herstein" at the conference.)

(Funny sidebar #2: Because of the people who heard my presentation at that conference, my dissertation (with minor revisions) was published as a book a year later, an unheard of turn around in the humanities.)

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