While brushing my teeth in the morning, I noticed the water in the sink turned a bit orange/brown, before becoming clear again. Scary. I wondered if it was just a trick of the light, but then it happened again, this time for longer. Worrying, indeed. I turned off the tap and turned it back again, and the water clear once more. I decided to mention it to the landlady later on.
The hours until 8am passed reasonably quickly. I spent the first three hours or so in this French-style bar, until the security gates opened. Before I went in, I of course went through the routine of taking out all of the ‘liquids’ in my bag and putting them in a clear plastic bag to show at security. As I went through the x-ray scanner, the beep went (don’t we all dread that!), and I was asked to take off my shoes and undergo a body check. The security guy mumbled something while he was doing it, and then, a few seconds later, in a louder voice, asked me to “Just say no.” Then I realised he’d been talking to me earlier and asking me if I had any metal objects on me. Ah, the downside of staying awake too long!
Well here I am again at Stansted Airport ready to while away the wee hours before my early morning flight to Parma. I’m heading off for a five day trip in northern Italy, taking in Parma, La Spezia, Verona, and the valley region of Val Camonica near Brescia.
During a conversation with an Italian friend the other day, the subject of limoncello came up. By the by, it’s curious how often Italians will end up talking about food or drink–it’s like an Italian version of Godwin’s Law–if a conversation goes on for long enough, someone will mention their favourite pasta sauce. But I digress! I mentioned how I like to drink limoncello with a dash of tonic water and ice.
Is it just me, or does Italy seem to be full of police? Almost everywhere you go, especially in the bigger cities, you will see what looks like an panoply of police forces of varying name and uniform. Coming from the UK, where police presence tends to be far more discreet, it is curious to see that a seemingly peaceful country like Italy feels the need for so much uniformed presence on the streets.
I was talking to an Italian friend and explaining how I was conducting a job interview for some new graduates at our office. I used the word ‘intervista’ to describe this–which, as I was rapidly pointed out, is of course incorrect. Indeed, ‘intervista’ is a classic example of a false friend, i.e. a word that sounds like a word in your native language but has an entirely different meaning in the one you are learning. Although an intervista is indeed an interview of sorts, it is only used to describe a meeting between a journalist or presenter and a subject. For example, “Il giornalista ha avuto un’intervista col ministro.” (The journalist had an interview with the minister).
This is a retrospective account in diary form of a trip I took in 2013, based on memory and my notes from the time. Continued from Paris to Rome – Day 3.
Sunday, 16 June 2013
I stayed till late in the restaurant, almost not wanting to leave. It was quite small, but had great lighting and a small shelf of travel books opposite me. A group of people were sitting at a nearby table and chatting merrily–it looked like they knew the staff in the restaurant quite well. Ah, these locals. 🙂 Eventually, I left just after 10pm and strolled downhill amongst the narrow streets, and eventually reached the marina. There were lots of people out and about now, and it was really lively.