Seth's trip to Paris and Italy

In September 1997, I went to Paris, Torino, Venice, Verona, Sienna, Cinque Terre, and Milan. Who I went with is complicated. I arrived in Paris with Lilly; we were joined by Toni; Lilly went to Vienna, then Toni and I went to Torino and met up with Robert, who had already arrived by bicycle from Milan. In Torino we were joined by Pete, who had been at a conference in Germany. Toni went with Pete to Milan, Pete went back to the states, Toni met up with Lilly in Venice, who, after leaving Paris, had gone to Vienna and the Czech Republic. Robert and I met up with them in Venice. We all went to Verona, then Robert went his own way, while Lilly, Toni, and I continued on to Sienna, Cinque Terre, Milan, and then back to the states (Toni to Chicago, Lilly and I to California). If I were Tufte, I'd draw you a picture complete with daily temperatures and the decimation of our troops.

It all sounds terribly complicated, but it wasn't so hard to deal with due to our meticulous lack of planning. The less of a plan there is, the less there is to go wrong.


"The Garden of Plants". I kid you not.
Only 855 days until J! (January 2000)
The French keep zillions of human bones neatly stacked in catacombs beneath the city.
Notre Dame, half cleaned
A goofy fountain
A goofy inside-out building
Number one: The Larch

I don't understand the French

When I go to France, I expect wacky things like inside-out buildings and tunnels decorated by obsessive compulsive morticians, but there were other things in Paris that were just silly. That's what I love about traveling.
They have strange internet-a-la-cargo-cult signs.
Their trash cans are sealed, so you can't put bombs (or trash) in them.
You have to open subway doors manually.


It's really big.


Torino hosted the 1997 European Juggling Convention.
Luke was unicycling in the aisles on the train from Paris. Somehow I figured out that he was going to the same place I was. Luke, Toni, and I, and the pictured woman whose name I can't remember, clumsily found our way to the convention together.
There were around 2000 of us there, most of us camping on site.
Robert emerges from his tent, ready to start the day.
John, Sonja, Annika, and Robert seem to be having too much fun.
John and Robert did well in the two-legged-two-armed-three-ball race.
Getting into the public show was an ordeal. Masahiro is hiding in the crowd near the left side.
Everywhere, a multitude of jugglers. There were even people devil sticking besides me! How novel!
Toni, Pete, my empty place, Robert, two amazing handstanders, an unseen Connie, and Lars all enjoy dinner at our favorite restaurant.
Robert is a grape.
Dan and Zoey, our neighbors from the UK, blinded by my flash.
Masahiro Mizuno poses with his new devil stick.
Robert leads his trusty steed to the train station.


Um.. no.


Robert and I decided to ship some excess gear home. This turned out to be an exciting adventure that forced upon us wonderful insight into Italian culture.
Robert and I pose on a bridge.
After a long courtship, Robert attacks a pastry. I know how he feels.
The face of this palace to the left of the ladder is a scrim, showing what the building would look like if it weren't under construction, with a cut-away section showing what might be going on behind it.


This is a lovely classic view of a canal in Venice.
But I enjoyed this view more. Here we see someone doing road work, Venetian style. They've dammed the canal in two places and drained the space between.



In Verona, they let children decorate the dumpsters.
Robert, Toni, and Lilly in our hotel room. It had a great ceiling.


Sienna was a lovely little town whose hostel had strange doorknobs. They were the usual knob shape, but instead of turning them, there's a button on top to press.

Cinque Terre

I don't remember which of the five towns we were in.
Seth raises the level of the Mediterranean.
Caught talking to the mothership, Toni bursts into laughter to avert suspicion.


The Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnica is a wonderful place. I highly recommend it to anyone near Milan. There was no plaque with this device, but the bicycles on display nearby were mostly from 1880-1890. As it's just part of a bike, it may never have been ridden as a unicycle, but there's really no way to know.


Our box made it home badly beaten but in one piece. All that strapping tape was added in-transit by concerned postal workers.