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Ancona – Day 0

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Well here’s a break from the retrospective on my Genoa trip from two years ago to write about one that’s happening…right now! I’m heading off to Ancona in the Marche region of Italy for a couple of days. I’m flying from London Stansted airport tomorrow morning at 6:30am directly to Ancona Falconara airport. I was going to fly Alitalia as I usually do (or take the train!) but Ryanair has a direct flight to Ancona and it’s also much cheaper, so it doesn’t feel like you’re shelling out a huge amount just for a weekend.

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Paris to Rome – Day 3

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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 2.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

The thing about staying at this place is that there’s no ‘continental breakfast’ to greet you in the morning, like in most European hotels. It’s all down to me to prepare it myself, and of course, I hadn’t done any shopping the night before. The only food I had in the room was a large bottle of water and some biscuits I’d bought in Milan. After having a shower, I left the house hoping to find some café for my new espresso and brioche ritual. 🙂 The thing is, I wanted to find somewhere interesting, not just some dodgy little place on the marina with no character. While I was searching, I saw a sign for the ferry to Portofino. I decided to check it out and found that the boat was leaving in less than half an hour.

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Paris to Rome – Day 2

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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 1.

Friday, 14 June 2013

I tossed and turned all night. I think I slept a little bit, in snatches, but hardly enough to qualify as a good night’s rest. I couldn’t take all my clothes off either, what with others in the compartment. The train kept trembling and roaring through the night.

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Paris to Rome – Day 1

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This is a retrospective account in diary form of a trip I took in 2013, based on memory and my notes from the time.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Well it’s been a very long day. I arrived at St Pancras International this morning in good time, and went through the check-in and arrived in the departures lounge. I bought a coffee and croissant from Café Nero and settled down to wait for boarding to begin. Around this time, there was an announcement that due to strike action by French train drivers (groan…), there were delays and cancellations on all trains going to the south of France. You must be joking, right? Today of all days? Would it affect the overnight trains as well? What about the ones that went to Italy? Maybe the driver would be Italian and he wouldn’t be on strike?! Now I had no choice but to wait and see what would happen. Worst come to worst, I’d have to spend the night in Paris and try to get directly to Genoa the next day? Would I get a refund? Questions, questions.

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Running to Rimini – Part 2

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Continued from Running to Rimini – Part 1

Needless to say, it was too late.

I sat down to take stock. I was exhausted and annoyed, and now faced the prospect of an expensive re-booking and possibly having to spend the night in Rome. What a mess. At this point, I decided to see what I could salvage from the situation. Heading to the Alitalia ticket office, I explained I’d missed my flight and managed to rebook a new one to Rimini–for 8am the next morning. I actually felt quite pleased afterwards since I’d managed to do the whole thing entirely in Italian, without having to resort to English. A minor victory, doing the ‘firefighting’ in italiano!

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A pagare e morire…

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A pagare e morire c’è sempre tempo
Literally: For paying and dying, there is always time

 

This is the Italian version of Benjamin Franklin’s old maxim about the only guarantees in life being death and taxes. Instead of taxes, however, this proverb talks about ‘payments’ more generally. I also wonder if this can be (mis)interpreted to mean that you shouldn’t be in a rush to make the payments you owe (or to die, for that matter). I wonder what the Italian taxman might make of this…hmm…

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Tè al limone

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This drink never fails to remind me of summer days sitting in a café on the edge of a piazza, quenching my thirst while the heat beats my face. This drink is cold, or iced, lemon tea. Tè freddo (cold tea) as it is known, is a popular drink that is consumed widely throughout Italy. It is typically available in lemon and peach flavours, but there also some other varieties such as green tea. Yes, I probably should have titled this post “Iced tea” but the lemon variety is what I tend to associate with this drink–yes, I really ought to try the peach one next time!

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Being at green

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One of the most counterintuitive expressions I’ve come across is “essere al verde”, or “being at green”. If you aren’t familiar with it, any guesses as to what this could mean? What if I were to tell you that it has something to do with money? You might think it refers to the “greenback” or American dollar, or cash in general. You would certainly be forgiven (or not!) for thinking that it means you have lots of money (since you are ‘in’ the green). We also generally use the colour green to indicate a financial credit as opposed to red, which indicates debits. So if your bank balance is in credit, you would expect to see it in black or green, whereas if it was red (or indeed any other colour!), you might take a look to see what was up.

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Laura Pausini

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The first time I came across Laura Pausini was back in 2005, when I was looking for Italian music on the now-defunct MSN Music website. I had already found my old favourite Piu Bella Cosa by Eros Ramazzotti and was exploring to see what else I could dig up. I remember doing a random search for Italian music and seeing a link for a then-recently released album called “Resta in ascolto”. Who knows, maybe I was just struck by the attractive brunette on the cover. 🙂 I listened to the single of the same name and was immediately sold. The beautiful, lyrical singles on that album have just stuck in my memories and are the soundtrack of that period in my life, when I was entering the final year of university and looking forward to starting my professional career. There are a lot of memories that those songs conjure up.