i’m in beautiful vicenza, italy all week for a conference. the great thing about my job and the traveling involved is the learning. i’ve been awakened to so much history, art, and culture that i probably slept through in high school classes. in vicenza, i’ve seen some of the most influential and gorgeous architecture around, by andrea palladio(b1508), he of the famous palladian window. it’s worthy of a travel page and if i get time, i’d like to make one of a walking tour around the city. jp had the chance to move and work here and i think he’s crazy for not taking it. verona and venice (i’ll be there this weekend) are less than an hour away, as well. vicenza is not only rich in architecture, it has the highest gdp in italy, practically no unemployment, and their goldsmiths produce some of europe’s finest jewellery. besides the great villas, pallazi, piazzas, and casas, my favorite thing may be the food. italian has always been my favorite and for two days in a row, i’ve dined on baccala alla vicentina, a delicious stewed stockfish (cod) over polenta (cornmeal). the bigoli (fat spaghetti) with duck sauce was excellent too. i’m staying at the hotel giardini, a modest little hotel across the piazza matteotti from palladio’s teatro olympico, which i hope to visit before weeks end. it seems everything starts closing when i get out of my meetings, so i hope to duck out early friday. by the way, on the negative side of things, it’s hot as hell here, a/c is rare (my hotel room’s unit blows like a cheap whore), and they can’t stop whining about their shock loss to s korea in the world cup (though that part is kind of enjoyable).