Sunday, June 21, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
The images and impressions that remain so vivid are some consolation. The fact that we got to go at all keeps me from complaining. Too much. And for those of you who know others like me who are off on splendid adventures while your summer plans revolve around the "simple precincts of home," I thought I'd post this poem by Billy Collins. The fact that the poem ends on the word "Bologna" only endears it to me more.
ciao! ~ sally
by Billy Collins
How agreeable it is not to be touring Italy this summer,
wandering her cities and ascending her torrid hill towns.
How much better to cruise these local, familiar streets,
fully grasping the meaning of every road sign and billboard
and all the sudden hand gestures of my compatriots.
There are no abbeys here, no crumbling frescoes or famous
domes and there is no need to memorize a succession
of kings or tour the dripping corners of a dungeon.
No need to stand around a sarcophagus, see Napoleon's
little bed on Elba, or view the bones of a saint under glass.
How much better to command the simple precinct of home
than be dwarfed by pillar, arch, and basilica.
Why hide my head in phrase books and wrinkled maps?
Why feed scenery into a hungry, one-eyed camera
eager to eat the world one monument at a time?
Instead of slouching in a cafe ignorant of the word for ice,
I will head down to the coffee shop and the waitress
known as Dot. I will slide into the flow of the morning
paper, all language barriers down,
rivers of idiom running freely, eggs over easy on the way.
And after breakfast, I will not have to find someone
willing to photograph me with my arm around the owner.
I will not puzzle over the bill or record in a journal
what I had to eat and how the sun came in the window.
It is enough to climb back into the car
as if it were the great car of English itself
and sounding my loud vernacular horn, speed off
down a road that will never lead to Rome, not even Bologna.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Okay, I’m here to begin a running account of our trip to
Day 1: Arrived in Milano 1am. Slept for 11 hours. If you know me, you know that’s probably the first time in my life. . .
Later that same day: 11 hours! HS! Got up, café and brioched, and trotted across the park, through the castle, to the Duomo to board a tram for Opera, a town outside Milano where our friends from Nevada City, Bill and Sue, are teaching in an English school for 2 more years. Baci e abraccio, then wine and aperitivo in the local bar, then off in Bill and Sue’s Vanagon to intercept James’ train from
Day 2: Café and brioche, and off to the Milano train station to meet James’ Italian friend Nicoló uno, not to be confused later with James’ Italian friend Nicoló due, and board the train to Varese in the lake country where Nicoló uno’s family lives. Baci! Abraccio! 2 hour train ride through remarkable and unremarkable countryside, greeted at the
Day 3: Paola and Maurizio, the wonderful parents of Nicoló uno, drive us all to Lago Maggiore where we board a boat to tour Isola Pescatori and Isola Bella, bella bella indeed. A day on the lake, fabulous lunch, home for a quick nap then off to the home of Nicoló due for candlelit dinner on the terrace. Bravo, Micaela e Fabio! They’ve been cooking all day. Che delizioso! Grazie. Grazie mille. I'm sorry the deck caught fire . . .
Day 4: Paola and Maurizio would like to take us to Lago Como, but we are expected in
Day 5: Café e brioche! (okay, and some granola and yogurt this time), and off into the beautiful countryside on the autostrada, to the Roman ruins of
Where are the photos for this portion? Frank informs me they are on his memory stick. fine. I’ll entertain you with useful Italian phrases:
Ha? . . . do you have? (formal)
Come sta? . . . How are you? Bene.
Come va? . . . Howzit going?
Che succeed? . . . What’s happening?
Vorrei . . . I’d like
Dóve? . . . where is?
No parla . . . I don’t speak
Mi chiamo . . . my name is.
That’s all for tonight kiddies. Quiz tomorrow. And off to Venezia. Woot!