Since my last post things have been looking up.
I am getting used to the vagrant life. Those of you who know me well may understand how pleased I was with myself today when I reached new heights in travel efficiency. I actually washed my clothes while in the shower. Not while I was wearing them. These little successes please me.
(I looked for the clip of Mick in the bath, washing his clothes, but this was as close as I could find, and also applicable to my experiences)
It also helps that this week we’ve seen some amazing sights in Italy. We traveled, probably, hundreds of miles and ended up in some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
When last I left you I was languishing in the small farming town of Roccafranca. This place reminds me of Enoch, Utah, with better architecture. But mostly it smells like a dairy. There is nothing to do and no one to see. After I blogged I headed back to our nice flat and spent the day watching movies and napping. My dear Raph cooked us up a soup and polenta feast (we are all very keen on home-cooked feasts when we have a kitchen) and I think I took a bath. The end.
We left Roccafrana last Sunday, which was also a Carnivale day. I’ve never lived in or even really visted a place that had Carnevale celebrations. We were excited and we were tipped off that the nearby town on Soncino had a real party planned. So we made our way there.
And a small but lively Carnivale party.
We scored some free donuts and hightailed it out of there when it started to rain.
We landed next in the tiny hamlet of Prada, outside of Lodi, which is outside of Milan.
We were royally put-up at an amazing B&B run by a nice teacher man named Francesco. The B&B is built in his great-grandparents farm where they raised their 11 children. So beautiful. If you ever need to stay outside of Lodi, outside of Milan I more than recommend it.
Francesco harbored us through two 8 hour days of trial by 7 year-olds. These kids were both cute, smart, and as wiggly as can be. We had fun, and I got to make this cool drawing that they colored in.
From there we drove onto another teeny town, Anfo. We stayed a B&B right on a lake surrounded by mountains and I got to take some really nice photos while out on a walk. It reminded me of Big Bear which was sad and happy.
After a couple of shows in a small town a little way down the mountain we were free for the afternoon. We had a long drive ahead of us and decided to find our lunch half at the happy halfway point, Verona. We only had a couple of hours there, but it was amazing. I can’t wait to go back with my mom this summer, if not before.
As we wandered in the city center, we saw a huge castle that is now an art museum, a roman coliseum that is now used for summer performances, and the ‘new gate’ of the city, which dates from 1540. All of this is built on a river that runs through the city. Why didn’t Shakespeare mention ANY of this? I don’t know. I’m sure he never went there, but he might at least have given me a hint about the geography. I sure he knew about some of it. Weird.
I did think about this a lot:
After our touristy afternoon it was on to Udine. We were getting close to the Austrian boarded by this time. We could tell from the signage of the trucks on the highway. Udine was even more like Enoch than Roccafranco, complete with boys who like fixing cars, hunting, and motorbikes. One of them told me his great ambition was to move to Miami, open a mechanic shop and get a tattoo from Miami Ink.
After four hours of doing scenes from Merchant of Venice at technical school with 16 year old boys, we were FREE for the weekend. We drove onto Padua. Another thing I’ve never known is that Padua is actually Padova in Italian, and Padova is about 40 minutes from Venice. Just FYI.
I was suddenly realizing how very Shakespeare this weekend was going to be.
Padova is beautiful. It’s home to one of the largest universities in Italy. It is a really cool mix of ancient and modern. There are buildings and walls that are hundreds of years old covered by graphic art. We also found some seriously awesome Chinese food, which was a good change from pizza and pastas.
We got in earlyish that night and I was able to get a record 10 hours of sleep! Woah! Next morning it was off to Venice.
Turns out most of my preconceptions about Venice are based on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. So I spent the day eying churches for big X’s in the floor. Sadly, no.
If ever a city demanded to be kissed in, it’s Venice. It’s the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to in my life. I could spend days and years here. 10 hours was only enough to know that I am in love. I bought a museum pass that is good for 6 months and 11 different museums. Hello new life goal. We only had time for the Palace of the Doges. Of all the palaces I’ve visited in Europe, which is really not too many, this was the most elaborate. It made me realize why when King Henry of England with his comparatively quaint Hampton Court outside London started making demands of the Holy Roman Empire there thought they could more or less laugh him off. Silly Harry.
Things I did in Venice yesterday:
Enjoyed a gondola ride with a handsome gondolier named Christian
Ate an overpriced pizza (6.5 on the Italian pizza scale)
Resisted buying Commedia Dell Arte Masks
Recited Shylocks ‘Hath Now a Jew’ speech
Took a lot of ‘party’ style pics (these are also known as one handed self-portraits)
Things I want to do in Venice:
Eat more ‘Cream of the Dogi’ flavored gelato
Buy some glass rosette earrings from the Morano glass factory
See the rest of the Islands
Stage a bloodless coupe
Conquer the city
Move into the palace
Hold my inaugural ball in the palace’s massive grand hall
Invent a new gelato flavor called ‘Cream of Miranda’ to celebrate my victory
Finally, make out with the man of my choice while in a gondola
Venice. Venice. Venice. My kind of town.