Izmir, here we come!
Old World Wine Country
Packing into Jim and Leslie’s car, the 5 of us set out for wine country, up-country style. North of Mondovi, the drive gets steep and the scenery is breath-taking as the vineyards create patchwork-patterns below.
Each vineyard has a villa, it seems, and a label to call its own. In one of the favored towns, we had ample samples of that fermented grape juice and marveled at the elegant taste of each one. Again, it was difficult to find food with vegetables–meat dominates the northern climes–but olive oil, bread and cheese suits me fine.
Taking a day to stop for pictures, laughing with old friends awhile exploring God’s green earth is just another one of my favorite things.
Chink, chink… (the sound of glasses toasting)…
My travel companions headed back to the U.S. this morning, so I decided hour heck out new territory. Having met so many people who get around in foreign countries alone, surely I could figure out the train system and have a solitary adventure…
Except for being sent to the wrong platform and waiting for a train that never showed up, it went pretty well. Milano is a 50 minute ride on the Malpensa Express to Central Station–a good way to see the countryside or take a quick nap at the end of the day (I did both).
Debarking, I was amazed at the size of Stazione Centrale, the 2nd largest railway station in the world (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milano_Centrale_railway_station)
Which way to explore? My SnaZZy instinct was right-on because within 6 or 7 blocks, I was in a high end shopping district, suitable for ‘people-watching’ and bringing home fresh fashion ideas.
Here’s what I observed:
•Many Italians have short legs and longer torsos, so tall shoes woke well.
• Black eye make up that makes me feel under made up!
•Red,of any, nail polish
•Pants with small cuffs
•”Suits” ride bikes and Vespas
•More People walk arm in arm–both sexes, all ages
•Lots of smoking
•Cell phones, of coursE
•Multi layers (3 are fashionable) with shorter ones on top
•High heels with short socks and high boots with higher socks
•Large bags of all sorts but lovely colors in leather
•People walk fast in Milano !
•Dogs on leashes
•Flowing gauchos in fabulous prints
All that observation is thirsty work–‘guess I’ll have a cappuccino before my vino.
I’m up early– my body’s internal clock is keeping Italian time now and it’s my turn to pay for parking, early–before the meter-readers check the cars, competing for scant parking places in a city that wears many faces.
This city is teeming with life, starting early but dwindling off earlier than some cities– earlier than New York, for instance.
It is a grand adventure, coming to Europe for the first time. Long awaited, I marvel that the trees, countryside and people look much the same–was I expecting Oz and orange poppies? Or people with Spock’s pointed ears, perhaps? I probably have “naive American” painted all over my face (it occurs to me that only 1 letter separates “naive” from “native”, after all).
Crime and grime?
I think not. Oh, there’s garbage along the street all right and unsavory smells every so often– yes, we lock the car doors as we drive through town but that’s nothing compared to the dazzling color of life teeming within.
Hot? You bet. But trade winds gentle the heat. It must be from the storm brewing, threatening to become a hurricane later this week… But today, I’m just happy to be living the life…
Nada hurricane to worry about after all… And so much to do on this lush island!
Imagine cruising the Carribean in a boat headed to a lagoon of magical sparkles flitting in the sea, seeming to reflect the glitter of stars above. Marine biologists call it chemoluminescence–plankton with pizazz (dinoflagellates)–emitting neon blue/green light, dependent on a very specific set of environmental conditions. Puerto Rico has the distinction of having 3 areas– the most in the world. cid:0006F390-E01F-4C26-A995-72C8CD734C36