A Canadian friend of mine is traveling to Italy for the first time. I helped a little with organising this adventure, but here’s 16 last-minute advices before she goes… Thanks to my Italian friends for helping me with this post!
Did you say Easter Parade?
Easter is the holiest moment of the year for Catholics. Nobody wants to admit that Christmas is probably more fun, definitely more commercial and undoubtedly more popular. But Easter is the holiest thing. Personally, I am more prone to celebrating a birth rather than a death, even if it implies resurrection. But that is just my humble and very secular opinion. Here in Canada we got a long weekend, and everybody enjoyed a small taste of Spring. So on Good Friday the parents of a classmate of my son found themselves in the middle of the procession representing the Passion Play. …
Maple Syrup and I
Ask anybody in the world to name something about Canada. The majority of them will say “maple syrup”. Even if they don’t have the faintest idea what it tastes like. In Italy it is not that easy to find maple syrup: we usually know it from movies and comics. Topolino (the Italian version of Micky Mouse) is a big lover of pancakes with maple syrup, and I bet I’m not the only one who thought about it the first time I tasted it. My “maple syrup baptism” was when I was 19 during my first trip to Canada. I was traveling with my best friend, we were in Toronto hosted by a friend of a friend of a friend. One morning this lovely Canadian lady made use french toasts with maple syrup. Now, I have to confess I’m not really a big fan of sweets and sugary things. Probably, these french toasts were really really heavy, but the whole thing gave me a terrible stomach ache. So, let’s say the first experience was not that great.
In Italy I used to live in Bologna. From Bologna you are:
- 35 minutes from Florence (by high-speed train)
- 1 hour from Milan (by high-speed train)
- 1 hour 15 minutes from Rome (by high-speed train)
- 1 hour 25 minutes from Venice (by high-speed train)
- 3 hours 35 minutes from Naples (by high-speed train)
not to mention:
- 1 hour from Munich (by direct flight)
- 1 hour 35 minutes from Paris (by direct flight)
- 1 hour 40 minutes from Brussels (by direct flight)
- 2 hours from Prague (by direct flight)
- 2 hours 5 minutes from London (by direct flight)
- 2 hours 15 minutes from Madrid (by direct flight)
- 2 hours 25 minutes from Athens (by direct flight)
and why not changing continent?
- 1 hour 45 minutes from Tunis (by direct flight)
- 2 hours 40 minutes from Istanbul (by direct flight)
- 3 hours from Marrakech (by direct flight)
just to name a few…
Once upon a time there was a girl who used to be quite good at driving wagons. She had been driving wagons since she was the legal age to drive wagons in her Realm. She passed her wagon driving test with no problem at all. She even got a licence to drive horses and passed it at the first attempt. The Realm she used to live in was very famous for its traffic, the complexity of its roads (which all lead to the same capital of that realm) and the belligerence of its drivers. In that Realm if your wagon was too small or too low you would risk to be hit by some magic spell from the monster behind you.
I have been loving Top Ten lists since my husband bought me Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. It was our first date and I’ve been loving him since then (my husband, but also Nick Hornby, but in a different way). In this gloomy March day while waiting for a snow storm I'm having fun thinking about things I miss and things I don’t miss about Italy. Not necessarily in order of importance. Not necessarily a serious post.
This week we just became Permanent Residents. Here's how... [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_yQk0-WN9k]
Something I never liked about the Italian school system was memorizing poems. We hated it. We hated it so much we were looking for every possible shortcut to ease this torture. Some of the shortcuts were so efficient I can still declaim by heart Dante's XXVI Sonnet from Vita Nova. And then there were the smart kids, those who thought they were better than the rest of us because they knew how to cheat (unfortunately, Italy is full of people like this). Those little geniuses (furbetti in Italian) were the ones who used to choose Giuseppe Ungaretti's Mattina as their poem. Here's the complete text below:
And in English (my translation):
I Illuminate Myself With Immensity
My husband and I visited Lampedusa in June 2010. At the time we still had no kids so we were able to have a proper relaxing vacation. Just the two of us, wandering about the beaches, reading Andrea Camilleri’s books, eating delicious food. We always loved small islands, they’re the perfect solution for a stress free vacation. In fact, the island is a defined space: the sea sets the boundaries for your imagination. The restless traveller - as we are - knows he/she has a limited amount of land to explore, so he/she will be moderately tormented by the curiosity of knowing more and going a little farther every time. Lampedusa had always aroused our geographical curiosity for its being a sort of Finis Terrae. The ancient Romans used this expression to define “the end of the earth”. As you can see from the map, Lampedusa is the southernmost land of Europe. As restless travellers, of course we managed to reach the southernmost part of Lampedusa, which looks like this: …
My grandfather went to Argentina in the 1940s, he was 17 years old and he lived there for 8 years. When he left, he didn’t know if he would ever come back, if he would see his family again, if he would be able to reach them in case something happened. The trip from his small village in Italy to Buenos Aires took about 2 months. Emigrating at that time was like going on another planet. …