Published: July 19th 2010July 19th 2010
Ciao a tutti!
I'm just going to get right into it...
Italian summers are full of parties. Of course there are discos (clubs) which can be really cool with multiple dance floors and outdoor locations. But each little town has a summer party with tables of food and drinks for the whole family and a band and dance floor. Some bigger towns have larger parties where you can walk around to different little parties with different food and music and people. And remember that this is all taking place outside, in classic Italian towns with cobblestones, fountains, churches, etc. The concept is just beautiful. And then there are festivals which are almost the same thing but they may have a theme and last for days, like Art in the Street in Verduno where street performers gathered in the park for the weekend, along with the typical food-drink-music combination. In Limone last night there was an event where you pay 15 euros and get a plate and a wine glass and can walk to 13 different places to get different foods and wines from the region. One night there was even a silent disco where everyone wore
wireless headphones and you could switch DJs, so if you took them off you could see everyone dancing and singing without music. And of course it was outside and they even had Planet Earth playing on one of the walls so you could little to birds as well. Every Friday night in Bra is "happy hour" when all the streets fill with people going from bar to bar for appetizers and drinks. Did I mention that in Italy you can sit outside at places that have happy hours and get cheese, bread, meat, and sometimes more for the price of a glass of wine. It's all so wonderful.
I went to Frankfurt, Germany to visit a good friend who is doing an internship there. It turns out that there are tons of international students doing internships there so I ended up meeting lots of new people and being surrounded by many different languages. I missed Italian immediately because, although most Germans speak English, I didn't like not being able to speak the local language. And because people where speaking something unfamiliar, I naturally and stupidly would try to speak Italian back just because it's the foreign language I
know. I did meet some people who spoke Italian and it always made me so happy! But mostly I was hearing French, German, Spanish, and English, and often from the same person. Mamma mia, che casino. Frankfurt is a very international city in general, with lots of banking and businesses. The architecture is interesting because there are old, classic German buildings mixed with sleek sky scrappers. It's a pretty, bike-friendly city full of parks which are full of rabbits from dusk until dawn. Bunnies! Even babies! But they are afraid of people so they would run away from me :( I mostly walked around exploring the city and parks during the day, but one day we went to the biggest pool I've ever seen in my life surrounded by grass and hundreds of people lounging around...and of course I brought my camera but I forgot the battery was charging...so you'll just have to imagine. This weekend was also a gay pride celebration so the whole week was one, big, colorful party :)
Going to Germany made even clearer the uniqueness of Italian culture and reminded me how much I love the language. I see Italy as a bit rough
on the rive Main
and chaotic, but at the same time extremely generous and full of beauty. Italian stereotypes are like every stereotype- you can find some people who fit them and others who don't, so I don't want to make generalizations about the people. But, in general, I love it here :)
I like to think that my lack of planning when I travel sends me in interesting and unexpected directions. While sometimes this might be an excuse to be lazy, or me trying to see the bright side of everything, this time it's true. I was supposed to go from Frankfurt to another farm in Trentino (NE Italy) and I just assumed it would be like a 2 hour train ride from the Treviso airport. I found out a few days ago that I would be traveling all day and probably not even make it after a bus, plane, bus, train, train, and then another bus ride. So long story kind of shortened: I decided to CouchSurf in Trento for at least 1 night to break up the travel. Buon'idea, Sara. I had 3 responses saying they could host me, even so last minute, and I decided to go to
Arco which is near the northern tip of Lake Garda. Alessio picked me up from the train station and drove me 30 minutes on his motorbike to their apartment, all the while being a tour guide and telling me about all the incredible outdoor sports and geography of the area. This is a climber's/hiker's/sailor's/wind-surfer's/base-jumper's/hanglider's paradise (and I'm sure I left out something). It's like Lake Como only full of German tourists. And because I apparently look German, everyone tries to speak German to me. Che palle!
Anyway, Alessio and his girlfriend are incredibly nice and we have so much in common because we love to travel, be outdoors, take pictures, etc. There's so much to learn from each other. I'm their first CouchSurfer and they are my first hosts. (CouchSurf.org- look it up and join!) Last night we went sailing on the lake until 2 am with 2 other friends. Unfortunately I can't put those pictures up yet because the camera I used is not cooperating. But it was beautiful, peaceful, magical, fun, etc. So many people here love to travel and we could all talk about the places we've been forever. This couple happens to be in love
Santiago and I at one of the cute German places
with New Zealand (like everyone who's been there) and are going to try to move there in November. Today they had to work but they gave me the keys, a bike, and a map, and I've just been exploring by bike and foot. They insisted that I stay another night so we can make pizza together, and how could I say no? So tomorrow I will head to a new farm in the mountains for yet another adventure.
There are more photos below