Northern Italy–Mondovi


Italy was not as English-savvy as I’d been led to believe…


There are many learning curves involved with traveling abroad and understanding each other is a biggie.

For instance, the first night in Mondovi, we were locked out of our 15th century diggs.  We’d rented a quaint, adorable apartment with a 2nd-story balcony overlooking Italy’s northern country-side, complete with school kids chattering in Italian, lending European flavor to our already exotic trip-along with the distant idyllically situated hills practically oozing with wine-laden grapes, ready for harvest and stomping .

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On my own in Milano, Italy!

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 (

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
•Black boots
•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
•Skinny jeans
•Flowing gauchos in fabulous prints

All that observation is thirsty work–‘guess I’ll have a cappuccino before my vino.


Morning in Firenze! (Florence)

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.

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Italy’s Milano

Why do Americans shorten the city’s name to Milan? If the name has been Milano all these centuries, who are we to change a name? Wouldn’t that be like calling “Ohio”, “Ohi”?

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).

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