nineveh_uk (nineveh_uk) wrote,

Home from the holidays, Italian edition

One day I will go on a holiday and come back less tired than when I went away*. It is a long time since I have just gone for a day at the beach, which is silly as I enjoy a day at the beach. On the other hand, filling every waking minute does mean that though not a lot of reading gets done, I am thoroughly mentally refreshed by concentrating on doing things outside the daily grind, which is excellent. Likewise excellent is that I now possess grappa, a sort of pistachio version of Nutella, and a silk scarf. The broken/sprained little toe is less excellent. Fortunately after the first bout of sudden agony, a sticky bandage and exchanging sandals for lace-ups reduced it to a nuisance rather than a major inconvenience, and it improved during the week so I am now fairly sure that it is only the tendons. Also less excellent was the Italian air traffic controllers’ strike, something that really makes one appreciate the value of flying with BA who seemed pretty good about making rearranging things their problem.

Anyway, it was good fun. I saw lots of interesting things including impressive art** and beautiful scenery, 8 dead bodies***, and numerous churches, enjoyed some better weather, ate some excellent food**** and ice cream (top marks to the bergamot and marron glaces flavours), drank cocktails, took a plane, train, bus, underground, but not alas tram. It was a bit cloudy for much of the time (except with good timing when I was on the duomo roof) so I am not at all tanned and did not swim, but I hope I have managed to synthesise a bit of vitamin D to see me through until May.


Milan cathedral, in supreme wedding cake style.

On the roof

Milan cathedral spires, with the Galleria Vittoria Emmanuelle (the temple of consumerism), and the Alps.

Here is an evil duck on the cathedral.

Here is Lake Como in the sunshine.

In a thunderstorm

Villa Balbianello on Lake Como. A gorgeous building and gorgeous setting. They do weddings there, some of which involve people dressing up as Star Wars characters. I would like to know more about the life of the last owner (who bequeathed it to FAI, the Italian National Trust), who was a department store tycoon and traveller/explorer who died aged 60 and never got to retire there.

Here am I on a lake ferry.

*Except I won’t, resembling Saint Augustine in this “but not yet” attitude if nothing else.

**We remembered about booking for the Last Supper too late for the ordinary tickets so had to do a guided tour, but it turned out to be very good tour that was well worth the extra. And it is a very impressive painting.

***Mostly clothed, with bits of hand, foot, and skull (with hair) sticking out. I find bodies as relics supremely weird. I find myself wondering who washes the vestments and re-clothes the bodies? Somebody must. However incorruptible the flesh of saints, natural fabrics fade, and that cloth doesn’t date to the 1930s, let alone the 1530s. It is not the flesh and bones themselves that I am squeamish about – I have seen dead bodies in other contexts, fortunately for me none of them people that I have known - and it isn’t really squeamishness, but a complete “I don’t get it” on the symbolic side.

The video art installation of 18 minutes of Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth mostly blacked out, on the other hand, I thought was fascinating.

****Milan in particular was astonishingly easy to find good and well-priced food in.
Tags: holidays, real life
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