One of my favourite places in Italy is Gubbio, a small city near Assisi and Perugia. (St. Francis tamed a wolf there and said wolf is buried in a church there. Seriously.) It has a rickety old funicular thingy that will take you right up to its very top, on the tippity-top of a mountain, but it is also fun to simply walk up (as far as you can) and back down the city. I did that one day in December with a Vietnamese friend/classmate and I shot this picture quite haphazardly. My friend had walked ahead of me as I tied my shoelace, and when I looked up I snapped the shot. My main goal was to get a picture of the architecture but it came out better like this. All of this is to say that this photo won honourable mention in Accenti Magazine’s 2015 photography awards (Accent is an arty magazine out of Montreal). I would have preferred winning but I think I’m kind of like one of those TV characters — on the Waltons or Eight is Enough — who never wins anything, always just comes second and yet learns valuable lessons along the way. Ahem.
I am very proud of self, because I managed to do a nearly five-week trip in France and Italy with only a carry-on bag! It is what Rick Steves recommends, and he is right. It isn’t easy, of course, but once you’ve done it you realize it is the only way to travel.
That said, were I to return to Italy to study for a semester (a possibility in future) I would not be able to manage that. A carry-on bag for three months? I don’t think so. One would end up buying too much and then have to buy a bigger bag with which to return home.
Still, it is terrific to not have to wait at the luggage carousel, and not have to fear losing one’s luggage. Better Half had his bag lost on the trip back, though he did — thank goodness — get it returned six days later. I’ve had my luggage lost twice: once coming back to Canada from Turkey, once coming back from Israel. Both times I got the luggage back, but it taught me to pack light.
I could listen to this Lucio Dalla song on a continuous loop. In fact, that is pretty much what I have been doing.
Or a wood pigeon. The bird in my previous post, that is (scroll down). I got two answers, one from someone who told me it was a wood pigeon, one who said it was a culver. I looked both up and they are the same bird, but “culver” kind of sounds better, though I have nothing against pigeons. I defend them all the time. (I took many pictures of pigeons in Italy and will post some of those photos later.) All I can say is, the birdie in question had a voice such as I have never heard come out of a street pigeon. But then, it was a French wood pigeon, so maybe that was a reflection of its attitude. At any rate, thanks very much to the two readers who sent in answers. I’m just amazed I have two readers. The internets are marvelous that way.
Don’t laugh if it’s a really dumb question, but what is this UFO? We saw him/her in Paris in late March, outside our little flat, flying about with a buddy. Very large, with a LOUD voice that it was using an awful lot. I’m sorry I couldn’t get a better picture, but it had lovely markings which you can sort of see here. So what birdie is this, dear readers? One of you must know.
In honour of MLB season starting up, and for my friend Gerry — who loves baseball — and in memory of my late brother, Alan — who used to regale me with tales of his Little League days — I give you a few seconds of Italian Little League batting practice. I stood next to this young man’s proud parents last Saturday morning in Perugia, and chatted with them. (The video is very short, because they seemed a bit perplexed that I was filming/taking pics. Can’t say I blame them.) It was a complete fluke that I discovered the league. I was just out for a walk in some green space on the periphery of the city. They are under-14s, and from what I could see, quite passionate. Mind you, Italians seem passionate all the time about everything.
I finally had a nice dream about my mother! Very pleased. Right after she died, I had a couple of truly awful dreams about her that involved death camps. They were so awful that I still remember them. Both my sister and sister-in-law have had really nice dreams about her, and up until last night I hadn’t. But last night I dreamed that she was young(er than she had been at death) and healthy — in her 50s or 60s, I guess. I was having a hard time with something in the dream (as I am right now in life), I broke something and felt very foolish and angry and she hugged me and told me everything would be alright. I had been afraid in the dream that she would yell at me for what I did. But she didn’t.
So I’m taking it as a sign that everything will be alright. Here’s hoping, dear readers.
I really want to link to this piece — about an American Jew now disillusioned with Obama — because for the life of me, I cannot suss out how any American Jew still supports him. But support him so many still do. So odd.
As for the young man who wrote the above-linked piece, all I can say is, “What took you so long?”
I took this picture on Palm Sunday in Paris, a short walk from our little (borrowed) apartment. We had gone for a walk that day and noticed people carrying greenery everywhere — very lovely, though clearly, someone discarded or dropped theirs on the rain-soaked cobblestone. When I was a kid, Palm Sunday was something that made me envy my Catholic classmates. To me, it seemed very meaningful, remembering the crowds waving branches at Jesus when he entered Jerusalem.
We were reminded, by the way, that Notre Dame is an operating church, as we saw crowds even larger than usual leaving it that day, and leaving it with (not sure what kind of) leaves in their hands. I imagine that today, as well, it is packed to the rafters with tourists of all faiths, now all able to say they attended Easter Mass in such a famous place (though between you and me, I prefer Italian churches. Far more beautiful, both outside and inside).
Happy Easter and/or Passover, dear readers.