December 31st, 2006
A little too lazy to recount everything, but on Saturday the 23rd (after some rest following my improvviso trip to Spain with “the PorteÃ±o”…) I took off to spend Christmas in Lucca with my cousins there. They picked me up in Pisa and we went to the water where we ate delicious seafood and sipped white wine as they told me of their experience in meeting the child they are going to adopt. It was really nice to see them and I am looking forward to meeting their soon to be son.
Christmas Eve was basically spent eating too much, as was Christmas day… lots of little walks around Lucca, lots of chatting and picture-taking. A stop-over the day after Christmas at the Certosa di Calci (give it a google) and a beautiful meal in a small restaurant nearby that just felt very homey. I knew we were near a frantoio as I could smell that “olivy” smell in the air. There were cypresses and olive trees all over, just begging to be photographed…and a cat that look exactly like my Louise, only perhaps a bit slimmer… It was sunny and beautiful and didn’t feel like Christmas at all – it felt more like Easter!
On the 27th I headed up to Germany where my dear friend Samia married Georg the following day. As I rode the train from Hahn airport all the way up to Neuss (near Duesseldorf), I noticed right away the difference between Italian and German train culture. (I don’t mean to offend any Germans but sorry, this is my observation.)
I’m so used to being on Italian trains where people are, well, normal. There is talking, cell phones, etc… and I’m usually invisible. On the German train, everybody stared straight ahead, nobody talked, nobody smiled, a few people wanted to stare at me but tried not to – why? Because I was the only person on the train with my mp3 Player & headphones, bopping my head to the music, smiling, and saying things like “wow” at the view out of the train window (Germany is full of beautiful views). I do the same thing in Italy and nobody cares, but in Germany I felt a little out of place. But I didn’t care and kept on with my Tina-isms, because I am me, and not concerned about them.
The wedding on Wednesday was truly beautiful and romantic. Though it was a civil ceremony in the city hall, Samia and Georg made it very personal and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room by the time they were done. We ate lunch for hours in a nice hall, before continuing to the home of Georg’s wonderful, generous parents for more eating. It was a great day and everyone was happy – especially my newly married friends.
Thursday I spent the day in Duesseldorf with Carmen, who was my roommate in Italy until now – she’s back home in Germany these days. It was great to see her, and fun to speak Italian together. We laughed because we both speak English, but we are so used to just speaking Italian with each other, that English feels too weird. Italian is much more comfortable for both of us.
Duesseldorf is elegant and international. Full of restaurants from all over the world – we are so limited for choices in central Italy that I jumped at the chance to have lunch at a Thai restaurant – and it was affordable too! I had chicken & veggies cooked in a curry/peanut sauce, with white rice and a bottle of Sing Ha beer. It was just like being at home in Seattle. (OOOOOH I miss Thai Star!! And Racha!!)
Yesterday I flew from Cologne to Pisa, and then took the train home to Perugia. If you ever have a chance to fly through Cologne, do it. Cologne/Bonn Airport has to be the cutest airport I have ever seen. A modern design, lots of creativity with angles, lots of light and windows, and none of that ugly cheesey “airport” stuff. Very cute.
I nearly kissed the ground when I got back to Perugia – it’s so nice to be home after all of that exhausting travel (it really tired me out!), and tonight I will celebrate New Years with my roommates.
There are pictures added in the Le Foto Section.
Have a wonderful New Year everybody!