AZinItaly

A couple of Phoenicians living temporarily in Roma

Archive for the month “February, 2013”

Ahhh, Italia!

Today’s posting contains random tidbits…

San Vitale Church

I’ve walked by this chiesa dozens of times and FINALLY went inside. It sits below street level on Via Nazionale. It was originally built in 400. The portico is the oldest remaining part, from the 5th century. The interior walls are painted to look like they contain pillars and framed art. It’s been renovated 4 times, most recently in the 1960s. Simply amazing.

Carnavale

Carnival – Carnavale…It’s very popular here. In places like Venice, there are big costume balls where people dress up like they are still living in the 17th century, in France. Here in Rome it was days on end of confetti covering the sidewalks; kids dressed in costumes like it’s Halloween; police bands; men in military uniforms riding horses in Piazza Popolo; people on stilts; lots of drum corps and flag waiving and a seemingly never ending Renaissance festival. We got one good party out of it on Fat Tuesday with Internations. Whew! I’m glad it’s finally over.

Corner Street Vendor

There’s a corner that I pass everyday on the way to the gym, the butcher, the green grocer and the supermarket. Each day of the week, a different vendor sets up shop on the corner and sells their wares. Women’s clothing, tabletop items, underware, lingerie. LINGERIE? on the street corner? How do you try it on?

Italian and Vatican Politics

And God said...

And God said…

Ok, first Il Papa. He resigned. You all know this by now. Supposedly for health reasons and because he’s old, but we also know there were a number of scandals during his Papacy. There’s a lot of both truth and rumors out there and now a Conclave to elect the new Pope. I just can’t figure out why he did it in the middle of the Holy season. He couldn’t have waited until after Easter?

on a store window

on a store window

Italian national elections are next weekend, the 24th and 25th. Monti, the current prime minister was forced to call for elections after only one year in office because Silvio Berlusconi’s party withdrew support. Berlusconi is actually running AGAIN, and is projected to win. He’s a convicted criminal who has also been involved in innumerable sex scandals while previously in office. I’m sorry, but there is something seriously wrong with this country and it’s people if they reelect him.

Living la dolce vita is one thing. But really?? Somedays I just don’t get it.

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London. Redone.

IMG_3584Michael had some business meetings in London at the end of January and I got to tag along. We were fortunate to be able to stay at the lovely Belgraves Hotel again, in what’s now become “our” room, number 1003, with the big windows that capture sweet views of the London Eye.

This was our third trip to London in 6 weeks, so I’m becoming familiar with things, like traveling through Terminal 5 at Heathrow. It’s new and modern with great shopping opportunities, but a silly system whereby they don’t post your gate until 30 minutes before departure, so you’re often rushing to make the plane. I’ve become a regular at the bar at The Botanist in Sloan Square. My latest hairdresser, Saffron, at Gina Conway Aveda Salon, knows my hair now. She was as tickled as I by the prospect that she could say, “Yes, I have a client who flies in from Rome to see me!”. It would be an expensive haircut, without the business trip, but a very tempting thought with the availability of cheap flights on RyanAir. Wouldn’t that just be so continental of me?

One of the things I love about London, besides the fact that they speak English regularly, there’s a variety of foods, the Tube goes everywhere, cabs are readily available…is the familiarity of the shopping. Anthropology, French Connection, and The Gap, where I stocked up on some needed basics. I happened by a Chinese herb store and it was so easy to buy new herbs. I got homesick and overwhelmed at Whole Foods, YES! Whole Foods. Mama Mia! The Bragg’s Amino Acids seemed like a long lost friend. I wandered around inside, careful not to stay so long that I would get kicked out for loitering. They have drugstores in London, where products are actually displayed so that you can touch them and read them without someone glaring at you. They sell ibuprofen and hydrogen peroxide. And it’s most often gray. No place is perfect.

Aside from a haircut, shopping, eating lots of Japanese food and a mini facial at the Origins counter at Harrods, I also visited the Tate Modern, which I’ll tell you about it a minute but first…Origins is an organic/natural line of cosmetics and body products, that interestingly is not housed in the makeup area at Harrods, but in the “Apothecary” section. Anyway, they carry a line of products developed by Dr. Andrew Weil…who, OH! OH! OH! I saw in the airport on the way to London from Rome and I got to speak with him for a moment. I felt like a groupie, but was so excited to recognize and see him in person. I used his relaxation tapes years ago and he’s famous for many things, but I first heard of him when he started the Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Arizona. His work was the basis of some of the programs I developed working at the Cancer Center in Sedona.

So the Tate Modern. I took photos of some cool art which you can see below. But I have to say I wasn’t thrilled, and I usually am when I visit a modern art museum. I’m not sure exactly what it was, likely a combination of things, but it was one of those experiences where I’m glad I went, but wouldn’t rush to return.

The Tate Modern is one of 4 Tate museums, or galleries as they are called, in England. All museums in England are free to the public, except for special exhibits, which carry a fee. The Tate Modern was conceived in 1992 and opened in 2000 in the former Bankside Power Station on the Thames. It was intended when the gallery was designed to retain the original character of the building, so the turbine hall became the entrance and display area, and the boiler house the galleries.  It is currently undergoing development to add more gallery space and improved visitor services. Over 40 million people have visited the Tate Modern since it opened, so it may just be me that wasn’t thrilled. Obviously lots of people are.

It was freezing cold and grey during our stay in London, except of course for the day we departed, when the sun came out. I’m still fighting the cold I caught while there, and trying not to get the flu which seems to be winding it’s way down the cobblestone streets and alleyways of Rome.

The good news is, it’s February already. Carnevale, Valentine’s Day, our 5 year wedding anniversary. Soon it will be March and warmer temperatures will find their way here, and before you know it, we’ll have been living in Rome for a year.

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