Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Doing the London Thing

I woke up, looked at the clock, and realized it was 12:00. We got up quickly, and had a delicious lunch of organic salads and bread. After lunch, we hopped on the Tube, and went to the V and A museum. It is a great art museum. The photography exhibit, though not huge, was varied and interesting and had lots of examples of artists pushing the medium.

After the V & A we took the Tube to find Coby's family friend's art gallery so he could say goodbye. We walked around the very upscale section of London where the gallery is, being sure to stop in Harrods, the only single location super store in the world to make 1 billion pounds in one year. After this, we went to the British Museum. There is an overwhelming amount of stolen things in that one building. It was very nice, but hard to get over all the imperialism wrapped up in it. We were there for about two hours, when the museum kicked us out for closing time.

We walked from the museum to the theater to pick up our tickets, and went to a pub for fish and chips. We had a heated discussion over dinner, that resolved with more understanding than we had before--a successful argument. After dinner we walked back to the theater. We saw War Horse, a play about a boy whose horse gets sent into battle in World War I. It was a beautiful play, the stars of which were the horses--live sized puppets controlled by three people, with amazing amounts of expression. After the play, we just went home, I had a wicked headache, and I fell right into bed.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Return to Civilization

I woke up around 11:30, feeling well rested and grateful that yesterday was over. After a shower, Noon and I made breakfast. After eating, his mom drove us to the station, and we took a train into Victoria. There, I waited a bit for Coby. He found me, collected me, and took the tube to Notting Hill Gate, where the hostel is. I dropped my stuff off and we headed to Camdentown. We walked around for a long time, ate food from a stall, and looked at everything for sale. It is an eclectic place with lots of alternative shops and people. I was on serious sensory overload; at any one point I could see more people in Camdentown than people that live in Tornareccio.

We took the tube back and walked down Portobello street, lined with very quaint boutiques. After a short rest, we went to dinner at a pub slash Thai restaurant, with very good food. After dinner, we walked to the movie theater, and saw Inception. I am still trying to regain my balance. It was amazing.

Some Highlights and Lowlights


The view from the flat

Wednesday was the last day of work. Just before lunch, I finished all of the photography that I was expected to finish, 13 gigs and more than 1,500 photos later. Of course, I'm not nearly finished with the job, because every photo needs post processing, which will take about as long as the photography. Fortunately, Susan has told me that I can complete that in a private reading, so I'll have the whole semester to complete it.

Wednesday afternoon and Thursday were all about moving. We packed things up, made many trips from the school to Sam and Susan's flat, and did lots of cleaning. We went to Papillon, the only restaurant within a ten minute drive of Tornareccio, for dinner. We'd gotten pizza there twice during the season, but this time we got pasta and a meat course. The pasta I got was incredible. It was a ravioli in a cream sauce with truffles. Perfect. As it was Alex's last night, we went out to the futball field, for the final in the town's futball tournament. There is a small bar down there where we'd spent a lot of time during the season, and the local "DJ" was playing some music. Again, I failed to secure even one dance. After the music stopped, Alex and I walked back, and found Noon coming to find us. Alex went to bed, and Noon and I went to Bar Sport. Soon after we got in there, everyone else left, and we spent the next three hours talking to Fabrizio, the bartender, in a mixture of French and Italian.

Friday morning, Noon and I went to the honey factory at the edge of town. Tornareccio is known as the Citta de Miele, and produces twenty percent of Italy's honey. We tried several different types of honey, and then we got a tour of the factory. It is small but fascinating. She showed us how the cut off the wax, wash the wax and honey, and how they extract and separate the honey from the wax. We also got to look in the giant vats of honey; large enough to swim in. She then explained how they make the different kinds of honey from different plants. It is all spatial--to get orange flower honey, the hives are located in a massive orange plantation--and she showed us pictures of the different plants and plantations.

Friday afternoon, Noon and I babysat Ed's kids, Emma and Susannah. They are really, really cute kids. We played a lot in the apartment, made pasta for lunch, and played more. We read books, drew pictures, played with cars, among other things four- and six-year-old girls like to do. Though it was fun, and the girls are great, it was a long day. When Ed got back, we got gelato, printed boarding passes, and had a rest. We went out to dinner in Atessa. It was a delicious meal of seafood pasta followed by fried fish, but it lasted for several hours, and we were exhausted. We finally made it home, went to bar sport to say goodbye to people, and fell into bed.

Saturday was the day from hell. We hung around the apartment, packing and cleaning til 10:30, when Ed took us to Atessa. We then had until 2:45 to wait for the bus. It was rainy, and everything was closed for most of the time for siesta. We parked oursleves in a bar, ate some pizza, and played cards. After an hour or two, we left our bags in the bar and took a walk around the town. We got back, got on the bus, which took us for about fifteen minutes, and stopped on the alta strada. There, we got on another bus which took us to Rome, on a very convoluted and long route. We got to the Rome Tiburtina station at about 6:30. That place is a total dump. We took the subway to Termini station, grabbed some mediocre pizza, and hopped a train to Ciampino. There, I had to run to find a cash machine; we'd spent our bus money on pizza. I ran back just as the bus was about to leave, and we got to the airport. The airport was horrible, all the shops are on one side of passport control, with no seating. We spent some time out there, and then went through. Our flight didn't board til it was supposed to take off, with no announcement or anything. Ryan air is a horrible airline. They were very late, didn't explain or apologize, have uncomfortable chairs, and advertise things throughout the entire flight, despite the fact that it was after midnight. We got to Stansted airport, and took an hour long bus to Victoria. There, we ate a Kabob, and got on another bus, and then another. We didn't make it to Noon's house until 5 am. Nothing could have been better than falling into bed this morning.