Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Siamo tornati!!

Hello everybody, we're back! We've had three really wonderful weeks full of events and visits, from North Carolina, to Virginia, London, Turin, Milan, Vicenza, Padova, Fubine, Bra.. so, quite a lot of places! I uploaded all the nicest pictures on picasaweb, so you'll be able to see them at this address.
I'll summarize here some of the nicest moments and images of the trip. You can read this post if you want to know something about all these nice things we visited!
Everything started with my dear friend Crissy's wedding!
Crissy and David got married in Raleigh on Sept. 22nd. It was a beautiful day, and they are a wonderful couple. Here you can see them at the ceremony, celebrated with a Methodist ritual. The ceremony was very short, compared to Italian Catholic rituals. It was celebrated outside, as you can see in the picture.
After this, the party started! Being an American-Peruvian party, you can imagine how most of it was focused on dancing :) The party lasted till almost midnight, and I really enjoyed it. All the people were happy, and there was a nice mixture of the young and the 'old' generation crazily jumping around on the dancing floor! This was very interesting for me, because no one ever dances in Italian weddings. Too bad, it's actually a nice way to move around instead of being stuck at the dinner table all the evening.
Going to Raleigh was great also because we got to see some friends that we hadn't seen in a while. So many nice memories.. I particularly enjoyed staying at Luisa and Jorge's. It was a lot of fun for me and Luisa to get ready together for the wedding. See how cute they were?
Before leaving for Europe, we visited Lucas's parents for just a few days. It was a nicely relaxing interval in the busy trip we were having. Unfortunately I don't have almost any pictures of this part of the trip :(
Then, our next step was London! This has been a really great part of the trip. We met here my friend Eleanor, whom I hadn't seen in about 4 years, and we also met her boyfriend Steve and another old friend of mine, Simone. Eleanor and Steve hosted us - I liked every moment of the stay, and it was so nice to see that even though I hadn't seen Eleanor in years, our relationship was as fresh as always. I also found out that I really like London. It has so many different faces - I didn't realize this last time I was there.
Here you can see the Thames and the big wheel they recently built to see London from a special viewpoint. I could live in this city if it weren't so rainy, cloudy and expensive. :)
After London, we finally landed in Torino. Still, we didn't stay long there. Almost the day after we arrived, I had to go to Milano to renew my visa to be able to enter the US. I have to do this almost every time I go back to Italy, and it becomes more and more painful every time. There are a number of annoying things in this process, including calling a number that costs $2 per minute just to schedule an appointment with the consulate to be interviewed for the visa, going to Milan, wasting a morning in line, and recently having to pay another private company to have the passport delivered at home. This is a new introduction - earlier on, one could have it home the day after the interview, delivered with regular Italian mail. I was quite annoyed at this innovation: not only for the much increased cost, but also because I didn't want to have to wait at home one whole day for the FedEx-like people to come and have me sign the receipt for the passport. So I decided to just stay in Milan and withdraw the passport at the end of the day, and take the occasion to visit the city. Lucas joined me, so it actually turned out to be a nice day. This is just a shot of one of the most impressive things in Milano: the Cathedral.
The inside is as impressive, especially because of the contrast with the exterior part - one bright and full of statues, and the other dark, almost empty if it weren't for the gorgeous stain glasses that are there. I love it. This short visit made me aware of a number of other really nice things of Milan, which I never really considered. I'd recommend visiting around the Castello Sforzesco - there are some small roads with not much traffic, and lots of nice trattorie.
Another nice trip Lucas and I did was to Vicenza and Padova, to visit my sister. We met her in Vicenza, and we stayed there for about one afternoon (it takes ~4.5 hours by train to get there from Torino). Visiting Elena was really nice. I hadn't seen her in such a long time, and it was a pleasure to see her in that nice small town. Vicenza has some really pretty views, such as la Piazza dei Signori:
We didn't have time to visit all of it, but from what we saw it seemed like a pretty little town. The day after, we met Elena in Padova. Padova is an amazing place. Downtown is almost completely pedestrian, and there are some gorgeous squares, which are used as open-air markets during the day and for restaurants and cafes to put outside their tables at night. It's a pleasure to walk there, and all the details are taken care of:
One of the nicest things was visiting the 'Cappella degli Scrovegni'. It's a jewel, painted by Giotto. I studied it at school, and seeing it in real life was awesome. The 15 minutes that they give you to look at it are definitely not enough. Another artistic wonder we visited was the Battistero, painted by Giusto de' Menabuoi. We didn't have enough time to visit the great Church of Saint Antonio, who's a greatly loved Saint from Padova. Well, this means we have to go back. :)
We went back to Torino with Elena to participate to the baptism of my cousin's daughter, Giulia. You can see her here:
She's four month old! The ceremony was about one hour long, as usual in Italy, and at the end of it there was a first open reception, and then my aunt invited us for lunch at her place. The food was delicious, both at the reception (big chunks of parmigiano to eat with grissini, salame from Calabria, cheese from Sardinia, and lots of other things that are unknown here in the US), and at the lunch. I'll show here the wonderful display of sauces that my aunt prepared to eat with the meat that she cooked:
The meat is from cow - you boil different parts of it, until it becomes really soft, and then you eat it with olive oil and salt or (more traditionally) with these special sauces made with parseley and garlic, tomoatoes, or even fruits, as you can see in the picture. She also made some more delicious food, which we were all quite amazed of.
We had some more wonderful food at my grandparents' place, in Fubine, and at Alberto and Franca's place, in Bra. In both cases we had homemade pasta (lasagne and tagliarin), such a treat! And then roasts, and great desserts.. Too bad I didn't take pictures :(
Finally we stayed in Torino for a while. Here is when I started taking less pictures, unfortunately, since I know the place so well. We visited a lot of dear friends. Most of my friends recently had babies, so seeing all of them was a great joy. I also noticed some nice changes in Turin. For example, around the Duomo, they finished the recovery of some Roman ruines, and now it's wonderful to see them and go through them. Lucas and I went to visit the Antique Museum, which is there, and we were impressed by the beautiful collection that they have. They recently added some Roman mosaics, that they found close to the Duomo, such as these:
I also noticed that the city has become more international. Lots of foreigners everywhere - it was a pleasure to see that! I will end this post with a picture of my hometown taken from the park where Cinzia and I always go to:
Isn't it pretty?

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Welcome home--and what beautiful photos.