Tag Archives: Italy

Euro18: and home

I woke on Friday morning to the iPad NOAA warning about extreme temperatures at Rienosslsgasse 3 in Vienna.

Fortunately, I was home in Saint Louis with moderate weather, but more humidity.

At some point my iPad will figure out that I’m in the USA. I certainly know that I am! Witness:

  • Iced tea!! I went for three weeks without it.
  • Taco Bell. I went for 3.5 weeks without it.
  • Airport staffs who are not multilingual (except in Spanish). Such a change from Europe.
  • Air-conditioning everywhere.
  • Cellular service everywhere without having to think of turning the phone on and off.
  • A fridge and a freezer. (Small fridge only, with no freezer, in Vienna.)
  • Loudness. Americans just talk so damn loudly.
  • Diet Pepsi! I went for 3.5 weeks without it.

But as my friend Alice said on Facebook last evening, she has little compassion for the slight frustrations, given what I was able to see and do. And I expect no boo-hoos for the cultural differences and the weariness because of the seeing and doing.

And DO I did.

The research grant proposed outcomes are essentially complete. The draft report is 75% there, with some details and nuance to ponder and finesse. In other words, I accomplished the stated goals. The grant outcome was successful. Now we move to implementation.

Along the way, I was a tourist nearly every day — in fact, save for last Sunday, every single day of the sojourn in Europe.

What did I not do? Well, I skipped the Salzburg and Venice/Dolomites excursions because I just was not feeling well. Summer allergies are, I’m told, quite severe in Vienna this year. I did not make it to all the art museums I would have wished, and since concert season was over, I attended only two musical performances.

What DID I do?

Enough art to keep me happy for months. Less-frequented locales such as the Snow Globe Museum, the Freud Museum, the Schnapps Museum, the Imperial Crypt, and the old Jewish cemetery at Zentral Friedhof. Anglican Church services in Florence and Vienna. Florence. Choral concert by a British choir at the British Embassy Church. A cruise on the Danube. Cooking class. Visited Mahler’s grave. Walked in the steps of Mozart and Beethoven and Schubert and Haydn and so many others. Melk Abbey. Heurigerabend. Organ recital at the Jesuit Church. Churches and parks and the Naschmarkt and gelato and beer and bubbly and schnitzel and . . . well, the whole five-senses experience indeed.

And I kept up with the daily office work. My email inbox is only marginally more crowded now than it was when I left, and no decisions have been punted to next week.

Now home for a few days, and with days off this weekend with few obligations, I can rest and recharge before the onslaught of the run-up to August 20 when contracts begin.

And I can love on Auggie, who apparently did indeed miss me.

Of all the pleasures of travel, returning home is the greatest joy.

Euro18: scenes from cooking class

A group of 23 gathered Monday for a tour through the Florence Central Market, and then around the corner to the cooking class location.

Martina and Mario taught us how to make, in order:

  • Bolognese sauce
  • tomato sauce for heavier pasta
  • tiramisu
  • homemade pasta, which we turned into tagliatelle and ricotta ravioli

We all took turns with the tiramisu making.  And we combined our pastas in one big pot for cooking.

And the results were glorious.

Euro18: A room with a view

The Hilton Metropole executive lounge was filled last evening mostly with Americans, and this morning at breakfast was completely overrun with Americans.

I can’t shake the sense that I’m in some strange and weird contemporary remake of the Merchant-Ivory film A Room With a View.

Most of the Americans are here for dragon boat races on the Arno. They are a team from Jupiter, Florida. And they are all breast cancer survivors who travel the world racing dragon boats in celebration of their win over cancer.

No fund-raising. Just celebration.

I’d be in this remake of A Room With a View any day!

Euro18: under the weather

I woke up on Saturday feeling worse than I did on Friday, and after a tremendously restless night. My body can’t decide if I am having an allergy attack, or if something infectious has taken hold. I’m treating for allergies, but this is ugly right now.

Somewhere around 4 a.m., I realized that I was feeling marginally better, and had quit tossing and turning, and I slept until 5.30, when I awoke thinking it was 6.30 a.m.!

So I FaceTimed with a friend in NYC, and only after getting on the phone did I realize that I had another hour to go.

In any event, Saturday has been a day for grabbing what sleep I could. I was in business class on the way to Florence today, on Austrian Airlines, but that didn’t allow for any more or less sleep.

And Florence was rainy when I arrived, and I felt like crap, so I took a nap.

Sunday will be my day to venture out into the city and do my art tour that starts at 10 a.m. Evensong at the local Anglican Church is at 6 p.m.

But the one stop that I have to make: Michelangelo’s David. I’m beyond excitement to finally see it.

At 8 p.m. on Saturday, with the sky having cleared and with moderate temperatures, the Duomo and Campanile and Baptistery look like this:

P.S. — this is the first Hilton hotel in which I’ve stayed, anywhere in the world, that does not have an iron and ironing board in the room! I have to go to some central laundry room to iron my linen shirts. Unhappy, am I.

AND SUNDAY MORNING. An update now: less restless night, and a healthy breakfast. I’m going to go face the Florentian world.

Coffee and pineapple and scrambled eggs and yummy croissants help fortify me for the shuttle, tram, and walking I’m about to do!