- Ruralia 2008
- [Sunday 25th May 2008]
Woke up with a terrible headache and back pain... I was meant to go to practice underwater rugby but had to let it go... Went back to bed for a couple of hours sleep, and things got a bit better...
Around midday, I remembered that Gianfranco mentioned a couple of days ago that there was going to be a big fair in a place called Villa Dermidoff, near Florence.
The Villa is in reality one of the most beautiful parks that we have in the hills of Florence, and the fair was a sort of animal/organic food/all things natural event.
Of course the attraction are the animals and the products that can be acquired in these fairs, but for us there was also the show that Gianfranco was going to hold together with Silvio.
They are both expert mycologists, and with their association they were going to show all the various species that they found recently. They really know a lot of mushrooms and plants, it was great to listen to their explanations!
We then moved to the snake den, Chiara hates them but I quite like snakes. I got a Pyton to climb over my arm and shoulder, it was really cool I think... Chiara managed to touch a couple of snakes, so I guess that maybe her fear might have decreased a little, though she would want to try the "snake collar" with the snake put at the back of the neck dangling down like a sort of necklace.
We then moved around the park, met Marco and Veruska and their baby Nicholas, and after some chit-chatting we parted and started seeing the animals and buying different products.
We bought a lot of cheese (Chiara can only eat goat cheese, all the other diary products are a bit of a no-no), a "real" piece of butter, some wood owen baked bread, a couple of excellent salami-type meat made with "cinta senese" a very good quality of pork.
The animals on display seemed a bit sad (well I'd be sad if I had to stay in a cage for 3 days!!) but it was interesting to see them and hear all the explanations from the farmers.
A very good day all in all, started bad but recovered in the end, after all we spent a lot of time outside in the country which is good of course!
- Knights of Malta
- [Tuesday 20th - Thursday 22nd May 2008]
Finally I am starting to pick up a little pace at work, nothing major, but some appointments are showing up. One of them was in Malta, and here is a brief account of what I have done there for half a day that I had free before taking the flight back to Italy.
The island is quite beautiful, it reminded me a lot of Greece, but everyone speaks either Italian or English perfectly (on the top of the local language that is very similar to Arab, in terms of sound at least). The country is a huge mix of Italian, British, Greek and North African cultures, thus it's extremely interesting. It seems that they took only the best part of all these cultures and this is quite good of course. I am sure that there are many more problems but on the surface, but I couldn't really see them.
The weather was glorious and on the half day free that I had I managed to go to La Valletta so see the main attraction which is St.John's Cathedral.
Truly a masterpiece of baroque art, the cathedral was home to the knights of the order of Malta. The knights were very important and powerful in the middle ages, all of the good things built in Malta apparently belong to them.
I guess that the pictures will give some good impressions. I still think that there is a lot more to see, but only half a day was all I was given this time!
- Salt Theatre
- [Friday 16th May 2008]
Let's skip the crappy day at work and any comments about it, today it was the day when we decided to go to a place called "Teatro del Sale" (Salt Theatre). Me, Chiara, Federico and Gianfranco was part of the venue, unfortunately Francesco and Elisa did not come... It was our first time (apart from Federico that already went there), I think that I ought to give some information about the format adopted by this place.
Fist of all the Theatre is infact a RESTAURANT, a sort of common house, private club type thing, where you get there early, around 7,30 PM, and food is served until 9,30.
The food is not actually "served", as when you enter the teatre hall there are a lot of tables, some sofas, some little stalls... It's really a common house, where you pick the food from a table on a side, and you bring the dirty dishes to a special window where a nice chap collects them for washing.
It's a buffet style thing, but here is the nice part. The cook is a very famous guy called Picchi, an extremely talented cook very well known in Italy. There is a very big window where you can actually see the cooks doing their job, and when a certain dish is ready, Mr.Picchi (he's a big man, looks like Santa Claus, with bug beard and long white hair), shouts in a typical Florentine dialect the food that is going to be served.
The meal was HUGE, I think that we had more tha 10 courses, and it was absolutely fabulous.
Then at 9.30 the "theatre" part comes into play and there is either a play or a concert or some sort of show. We got the Cuban Music night, it was really nice, they even played my favourite cuban song "Hasta Siempre" (Rodriguez)!
Certainly a place where I see myself going back again, it was really top stuff.
Back home had time to have a row with Chiara about changing/buying furniture in our present home.
The place is small and we really want to change and buy our house, but at the moment things are not easy because my contract is not a stable one but is a shitty 6 months deal that leaves us no real certainties about the future... I'll stop it there, it's better not to continue... Fortunately things came back to normal this morning between the two of us!
- [Tuesday 13th May 2008]
After a quite hard day at work, where a lot of rather sad things happened, Chiara called me at work to ask me if I wanted to go to IKEA to "take a look around" (read: buy an heap load of useless stuff).
I didn't want to go to IKEA, especially because the knee is not fit to walk around a lot yet... So for once, after Chiara arrived at home after work in her usual 1 hour delay, I did not get angry at her for being so hideously late...
Instead we decided that it was too late to go (pheeewwww...) and instead we decided to have a dinner out.
It was quite sad to come to the realization that the area where we live in is totally devoid of decent restaurants, so in the end we decided to take the car and go to a "Swiss Fondue" place.
The restaurant was quite nice, very well kept. Unfortunately because Chiara cannot eat a lot of cheese we decided to go for a Burgignon, where basically you have a lot of sauces and you dip row meat in a pot of boiling oil.
The food was ok I guess, although I think that we should have gone for a real fondue, to have the full blast "fist in your liver" experience...
Of course we had to close the dinner with a mandatory chocolate fondue with fresh fruits, which was quite nice...
All in all a different Tuesday!
- [Friday 9th May 2008]
INAIL stands for "Istituto Nazionale per l'assicurazione contro gli infortuni sul lavoro", which means "National Insurance Institute against Work-related Injuries".
Today I had to go there because of the new knee problem that I have, as I got injured while working and therefore it was a work-related issue.
Entering INAIL building in Florence, but I guess everywhere around Italy, it's like entering into a dream.
The buildings are really old, they reek of old, they look old, the paintings are old, the flooring is old, the colour of doors and paint is old. It's like going back to the 70's.
In Pizzaland these places are commonly referred to as "Palaces of Sleep", i.e. sleep is the king in the halls and corridors of these offices. I will not venture into one of the greatest problems that afflict Italy (public servants), but my brief experience of today simply strengthened my beliefs.
I arrived at 9.00, at the entrance I could find an automatic dispenser of paper numbers, needed to queue properly to be registered for the visit.
After a short wait I got in, explaining to the nurse that I was there because I wanted to shorten the period of illness that I was given at the hospital.
She looked at me as if I told her that I wanted to rip her heart off with a spoon... I think it took a good five minutes to explain that I wanted to go back to work even with crutches!
After she recovered from the shock she told me that I was not in the system and I had to go on the second floor to be added to the database (WHY!?!?!?)....
On the second floor I arrived through the staff lift, which opened onto a corridor that could be easily defined as my representation of hell.
Green linoleum flooring, a lot of rooms full of "stuff", desks, computers, most of them empty (i.e. with no workers inside), there must have been 20 rooms with to people working, and maybe 1 or 2 with some staff.
A dim light coming through the dirty windows, an environment that is so "behind" that it looks as if you had a Quantum Leap to the 60's!
I was greeted by a blind dwarf (yes a BLIND DWARF), well actually not much of a dwarf, but a man that could not see very well, and was quite short. A typical dweller of these halls, and he told me that I had to wait for the "lady that shouts"...
The system to be added to the database is somewhat crazy... Basically I had to wait half an hour for a woman to open a door and shout in the corridor if there was someone that "needs to be put in"... as if it was a secret word! Some people there waiting with me lined up and after another half an hour we were in the mighty database of INAIL (apparently the computer system crashed and therefore they were a bit slow, in truth it was 10 which means coffee break for public servants in Pizzaland).
I thought that I was living in a dream, or better a nightmare!
So it was time to go back down, where I had to wait for another hour and then I was visited by the doctor who basically did not tell me nothing more that I did not know already... One thing was quite disappointing, since INAIL has go no funds from the government, even if they are an insurance institution, I could not get the MRI that I need for free... Wow a great insurance that is!
Before leaving the final act of a day that needs to be remembered... The medic told me that it was ok to go back to work on Monday (despite me having sick days until Wednesday), and when he signed the papers told the nurse "he's a good one!" all jolly and chirpy. Apparently 99% f the people there begs for more days faking strange symptoms, so I was a bit of a novelty to them (although they tried to talk me out of going to work earlier).
So I ask myself... WHY THE HELL DO I PAY TAXES TO KEEP THESE PEOPLE WHO DO NOTHING EVERY DAY and when I need the support they refuse it?!?
Oh well, I'd better not get started...
- Homebound Again
- [Wendsday 7th May 2008]
I took the liberty of adapting the title of one of the most beautiful songs of Dire Straits, Southbound Again, for this post.
Yesterday around 11,45 AM my right knee decided that it was time to stop working (again) and blatantly failed on me while I was walking in the corridors at the office.
It twisted, and left me there holding it with flashes of memories that went to three years ago when I fist seriously hurt myself during a football match.
I went to the Hospital straight away, but as usual they couldn't tell me anything. It seems that only MRI is going to shed some light on what is not working inside there...
So here I am at Home, writing, thinking, trying to work from my desk with the company mobile phone...
Needless to say that it all sounds terribly familiar, almost two months ago I had suffered a blow at the knee but after a while it recovered well, and I was walking fine once more.
The whole thing happened at work, which is not so good because the hospital had to start a "Injury at the Workplace" file, which requires a lot more of bureaucracy than normal injuries.
The whole thing happens at a very bad timing, I was just about to fix a lot of appointments to go and see some clients around Europe and Asia and of course this is not going to happen at the moment because travelling with heavy bags and crutches is certainly not the best thing to do... I just hope that I will be back on my feet soon so that I can go...
As for the knee I need to get all the exams done and then with some answers from the MRI I will see what needs to be done.
I really do not want to get surgery again, but it feels as if the decision is out of my hands at the moment...
On the other side I am not going to give up of course, this Saturday I am going to see a match of Underwater Rugby, which I feel it's going to be my future sport once the knee is back on track. I cannot live without sport it's something that I really need!!
Now, Goddess or God of Karma, it's time to start looking somewhere else for bad luck, I have had ENOUGH I think. Please?
- Bus Ride
- [Saturday 3rd May 2008]
Spring has finally arrived to Italy, the weather is now great and a glorious sun is blessing the land.
I think that this turn of event coincided with me deciding to go for an haircut, and at the same time me and Chiara started thinking about changing the scooter that Chiara owns and that is clearly in need of some retirement.
I am even going to have the driving test for drivig motorbikes, it costed me an hell of a lot, and I still do not have a bike to practice, but I feel confident that when I'll take the test (probably somewhere in July), I will be able to pass it... I hope...
Today I went to the center of Florence to have my haircut, and since it's impossible to go there with the car, I went on the bus.
It has been a very long time since I have used this typical Florentine public service, and I must say that it hasn't changed a lot, apart from some minor refurbishments that the buses have had in the years.
I used to go to school by bus, it is now more than 15 years ago, and I remember that me and my friend Matteo would meet in the morning to ride line N.3 together with other scores of pupils going to the same high school.
I have many good memories of the bus, most of them were gossips, fights, abuses to cars that used to DARE overtaking the bus, free rides, and of course the mandatory review of all the notes before a test.
I kind of miss it.
Then when I was 16 I got a moped and life changed, Matteo changed school and everything turned a lot more "private" rather than "public" in terms of trasportation. In a way it's a school to what life will be later, stuffed inside a tin can with wheels going to work.
Today I am going with Chiara to our favourite lunch place (called Bordino in the center of Florence) and then later technically I should go to buy an I-pod stereo type thing... I set my eyes on the Zeppelin (B&W) but it's very expensive... Let's see what I'll come up with!
- Lox, Lorenzo... ME!!
- A little introduction about the author and the blog itself. Plus contacts and CVs... You never know!
- A Selection of the best pictures that I have taken all over the world during the years, all nicely indexed by year and geographical area. Jolly good!
- History of this Blog
- A collection of all the articles that I have wrote so far, divided by month/year.
I have had the bad idea of writing my e-mail address on the board before, so this time I'll try to prevent some spam to get to me by putting this little image.. Let's hope it does the trick!
A reminder to Myself
Left and right
Like day and night
That's what makes the world go round
In and out
Thin and stout
That's what makes the world go round
For every up there is a down
For every square there is a round
For every high there is a low
For every to there is a fro
To and fro
Stop and go
That's what makes the world go round
You must set your sights upon the heights
Don't be a mediocrity
Don't just wait and trust to fate
And say, that's how it's meant to be
It's up to you how far you go
If you don't try you'll never know
And so my lad as I've explained
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
You see my boy it's nature's way
Upon the weak the strong ones prey
The human life it's also true
The strong will try to conquer you
That is what you must expect
Unless you use your intellect
Brains and brawn, weak and strong
That's what makes the world go round