Archive for the 'By Train' Category

On the Way Home

The train was crowded, twenty minutes inritardo (late), and near silent.  Everyone seemed to be simultaneously lost in thought. I was half standing half perching on my suitcase facing the profile of a tall man with a gray sweater and legs that stretched out into the aisle.  In his lap a little girl laid limp, her curls slightly matted to her fore head in a way that only happens in deep sleep.  His wife stirred and decided to grab her coat which was tucked between them.  He shifted this way and that to help her while the little girl just flopped a bit revealing the two slightly damp spots she’d left on his sweater.

He looked like the type of man that doesn’t speak much more than when necessary or when it really suits him.  His jeans were dark, fitted, but not too tight and even though the situation seemed comfortable beyond the point of worrying too much about your appearance his collar was starched and his shoes were a combination of dress and casual, black with a purposefully shaped toe.  He seemed very Italian but perhaps with close German cousins.

The little girls curls slipped delicately through his hands and wrapped behind her ear.  He brushed away some crumbs on her cheek, gave a habitual glance to his wife and other daughter, then continued to stare ahead.

Suddenly I was happy to be going home next week.  I stopped thinking of lists and felt my thumb brush over my fingertips.  I want to sit on my couch at home, tuck my feet under my thighs and glance at my family without thinking too much.  It’s those moments that are so comfortable and well worn that you are constantly too close and too far from recreating them.



Went to Lucca again, this time on a school trip with Orazio guiding Elaine, Jan, and I.  Even in some ugly weather Lucca is near the top of my list of Italian cities I love.  And I can’t be all wrong because Orazio was saying it’s one of the highest ranked places for quality of life in Italy.  I wonder how they judge that.

I tried not to repeat photos from last time; I focused a bit more on the details and people.  Enjoy:

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My Mom is arriving today and even though it’s pouring buckets I couldn’t be happier.  Hooray for Moms!


Back to SGV

My train left from Trieste that afternoon, we had another wonderful breakfast at the house and went into the city a bit early to walk around.  Here are some photos of Trieste:





dsc_0198EEE this Elisabeth in the park reminded me of you.


And finally even though they had to wait ten minutes, Aneja and Vlada waved goodbye to me and we promised to visit each other soon.  I hope so!

In Treno da Slovenia

Allora, il Mercoledi scorso sono andata in Slovenia per vistare Aneja e sua famiglia.  Sua Madre, Vlada, e suo fratello, Blaz hanno incontrato io nella stazione a Trieste.  Abbiamo visto la citta e prendo caffe primo andiamo a casa di loro.  Trieste e bella ma preferisco la compagna di Slovenia dove Aneja e sua famiglia abitanno.  Vlada ha fatto una cena buona per io e Blaz.  Sono stata contenta perche abbiamo parlato tutto in l’Italiano senza molte problemi.  Era buona per me perche di solito ho una persona a parlare con in l’Inglese ma, senza l’Inglese e’ meglio.  Quando Aneja e’ arrivata abbiamo chiacchierato e dopo siamo andate i letti a dormire.


Last Wednesday I went to Slovenia, I took the train to Trieste by way of a train change in Venice.  I was able to work on my computer during the train ride, and by work I mean listen to This American Life and take photobooth pictures of myself.  When I arrived in Trieste Aneja’s Mom Vlada and her brother Blaz picked me up from the station.  After dropping off my bag they showed me around the center of the city and treated me to a coffee. Later we headed to their house in Slovenia where Vlada made Blaz and I the first of many wonderful dinners.  Aneja arrived later after her class and we of course squeeled with delight at the sight of one another.  It was great to be reunited, she wanted to know all about il Sillabo and the new students and was quick to let me know my Italian was much better.  Thanks Aneja. We headed to bed to catch some Zzzs.

It felt good to get out of Italy and be in a warm house.


Aneja’s house at 6am the next day.

Slovenia for the weekend

I needed a break from SGV and thinking too much about myself so I went to Slovenia for the four days to visit Aneja and her family.  I know I’ve been ignoring the blog but it was necessary, when the tactile word calls you answer.  More next week!


On Saturday Barbara and I went to Rome for the day.  We decided to get an early start and took the 7:15 train, slept for most of the four hour trip and grabbed some espresso as quick as we could once we got off the train. At University in Boston we sometimes went on day trips to New York to run around and see the sights, going from Florence to Rome was similar for me.  Rome is such a giant city, there’s so much to see and try to see in just one day.  Fortunately Barbara and I had both been there once before so we both felt about the same about how to go about the trip; we decided to see a some of the main attractions (but not over do it on the tourist stuff) and to get lost in the less known areas and by all means stroll though the day rather than runnning from place to place.

Even so, it was a long day and even recalling it all makes me tired so it’ll just be photos and quick captions (anche in Italiano) for this post.

Il sabato scorso io e la mia amica Barbara siamo andate a Roma.  Abbiamo preso il treno alle 7 la mattina molto presto, ma siamo arrivate alle 11.  Va bene.

Primo, siamo andate al Colosseo, certo.

una machina classica di FIAT.

Allora la Piazza Venezia che e’ grandissima! Ho fatto molto foto, troppo.


Siamo andate alla Fontana di Trevi, e il Pantheon ma non ci e’ piaciuto molto perche’ tanti turisti sono la’.  Abbiamo preferito passegiare nelle strade e piazze piccole, senza molte persone.

musica buona nella piazza Spagna

musica buona nella piazza Spagna

Dopo pranzo abbiamo scoperto una vista bellissima sul castello si chiama Santa Angelo.

After lunch we discovered this castle (which I had never heard of) called Saint Angleo and it had a gorgeous view.

then the clouds came

then the clouds came

Vatican CityVatican City

Allora abbiamo fatto spese e scoperto un negozio di vetri.  E’ stato molto interessante e bello.

This shop was crazy, it looked like a tiny place but when you turned the corner it went down and on forever and every space was filled with glass.

Ancora ho fatto le foto, tutto e’ troppo bello! Barbara e io abbiamo continuato a piedi, abbiamo visto una festa nella piazza Francese, bella, una gruppo di persone diverse ballato insieme per una beneficenza. Felice!

Later we saw a group dancing in the square for charity in the French Piazza.  It made me so happy to see.

Finally after getting lost for a bit we found the Colleseum and stopped for a few fotos of the sunset then hopped back on the metro and took the train back.  We slept most of the way and slept well that evening.


The following Sunday we went to Arezzo for the market and the twice a year jousting ceremony.  If you’re interested in the history please check out the link below, also if you’re in Italy I highly recommend it.  Primo, the market:

the church next to the market

the church next to the market

Then the festivities began; first the men were announced and paraded through town with marching bands and then later the jousting began. There are four different groups/teams each represent a quarter of the town:

  • Porta Crucifera know as Culcitrone(green and red colors),
  • Porta del Foro know as Porta S.Lorentino(yellow and crimson colors),
  • Porta Sant’Andrea (white and green colors) and
  • Porta del Borgo, today called Porta Santo Spirito (yellow and blue colors).

We found out that San Giovanni Valdarno is of Porta del Foro and decided to buy some scarves to represent.

putting up the target for the jousters before the event began

putting up the target for the jousters before the event began

Anna, Aneja, Alex, Carol, and Gabby

After some lunch we were off to the square where we got a reasonably good spot (not in the craziness of the crowd but able to see the jousters run).  Everyone entered and the events commenced.

Flag throwing!

Flag throwing!

look how high those flags go!

look how high those flags go!

enter the jousters

enter the jousters

After the second joust they realized they would not win

Then we headed home on the train, speaking Italian most of the way.

Then we headed home on the train, speaking Italian most of the way.

Primo Gita a Firenze; First trip to Florence

On Saturday after a perfect breakfast and a brief glimpse of the market that over takes San Giovanni Valdarno every Saturday Aneja and I headed to Florence (Anna went early to go to the Uffizi).

It only takes about 40 minutes from downtown SGV to downtown Florence.  Once we got there we decided to head to the Duomo, by way of Promod where I bought a dress.
There was a huge line to the inside of the church so we decided to climb to the top of the dome instead, blissfully ignoring the signs about no elevators. I didn’t take any photos on the way up but here’s one from the way down to give you an idea.

a little terrifying to have to hold on to the ceiling because the stairs are so steep

a little terrifying to have to hold on to the ceiling because the stairs are so steep

There were so many narrow flights of stairs that by the time we got to the top we were red faced and sweaty and not really in the mood to be photographed.  However the view was gorgeous and it felt like a grand accomplishment that we had climbed that high.

After this we met up with Anna and together went over Ponte Vecchio and into Palazzo Pitti to see the Boboli Gardens.  It was a very hot day and we stopped a few times during the climb to rest in the shade and take photos.

The view was gorgeous but we were exhausted, it was so hot and humid.  We went through the museum then back down the hill, indulging in the little breezes that cooled us off.

After wards we walked around Florence window shopping and dragging our sore feet.  This is when I snapped this photo of different types of tights named for different American states.  Who knew Oregon would be the choice for seam up the back tights.

Eventually we decided we’d had enough and headed home to SGV.

Aneja and I decided we were ready for a nice dinner out and headed to Osteria d’Angelo, which was perfect.  I had verdura alla griglia as an antipasto and Aneja had a salad then we shared the plate of fromaggi and two delicious desserts.  I had the pear tart with chocolate sauce and Aneja had the cheese cake with fresh berries and then half way through we swapped which, we think, is the best way to do dessert.