Election 2013 – Italy

In the past few days I’ve been busy reading and preparing this table sheet with a comparison among the political programs promoted by the 6 largest parties in Italy. The election day is coming very soon and I in collaboration with a friend have felt the urge to fill the gap/lack of information with a simple and more intuitive summary. Let’s vote, Italy!

Una pratica tabella di comparazione con sintesi dei programmi elettorali di 6 coalizioni per le imminenti elezioni italiane, con l’invito a condividere e far circolare… andiamo a votare!!

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Leftovers ‘012: Copenhagen

In a pure spirit of cleaning up my hardware I leave you a leftover of my travels; this happened in July and was entered in a writing competition few time ago… see its marked jeering/drama self tone.

Enjoy.

There’s a place I didn’t want to be, better, to end up to.
It all happened this Summer I still can’t figure out a concrete explanation: there’s no reason, guilt or moral sentence to understand what happened, so I am just going to put some words down and you will find your own meaning, ok?
Well, I’ve been having a crappy year so far: fired, dumped, disappointed by many. Travelling is my way to breathe, so in July, moved by another very sad I’m-not-going-to-tell-here episode, I decided to find the best way to visit a city that in the past year played a significant role in my life: Copenhagen.
Like in many movies this city leads to a love story, wait, maybe kind of modern love story: girl meets guy in Berlin, girl adores guy, guy likes girl, guy decides to look for a job in Copenhagen moving with another girl he likes more.
I let you imagine which one of the girls I am. And I reckon it’s a love story only in my imagination. I guess it was the best I could get from my travelling existence: a big heavy heart to carry along with my bones in a big hit-and-run city like Berlin.
So Copenhagen. It took me months to actually put in real a trip that in my mind I had organized almost every night. A part of me wanted to see and understand his choice, the other dreamy one was hoping to bump into each other: and here is the image of me, walking in a light rain along the city center, looking at the buildings and people and meeting his eyes. Again, I reckon I do work a bit too much with my imagination and the irony was I wasn’t even sure he was there at the time. Chance to meet him: 13 to 17%, bad luck included.
In the end this dream was urging enough: I guess sometimes we just have to chase a night dream to see it minimised in the daylight.
With the best disposition I bought a guide, look at the walking tours, booked the cheapest bus ticket, the lamest hostel bed, then organized my two days, like the famous brewery, the Castle, Christiania: I did everything a human being can possibly do to organise a trip, reading the guide so many times I thought I wrote it. That day I left my flat 2 hours in advance, despite the fact that the website of public transports stated the journey was less than 35 min, one metro then one bus. Easy peasy. But you never know with transports, right? Exactly. The bus didn’t show up, neither the following three ones. Something was wrong and so I tried my luck with the metro again, ending in a big station with all the screens saying: all the trains are momentary cancelled due to a central marathon (oh yes, the worldwide famous marathon in Berlin, known by… nevermind). I started saying to myself “Please wait for me, bus”. I really had to catch that bus so I run out looking for a taxi, bike, divine intervention, aliens, teleport. I wasn’t picky at all.
Long story short: I ended up late in Bismarckstraße, Berlin, less than 2 km away from the bus station, with my bag full of hopes and the damn tourist guide. I cried a river in Bismarckstrasse, and I hated everything of it: emptiness, lack of people, inexistence of taxis, just lots of trees and parked cars. This is the place I didn’t want to be, while I was looking for a little redemption or a huge explanation. I had to let my romantic dream leave without me, 2 km away from it, on the pavement of a big West-Berlin street, where the lights of a car shop enlightened my copious tears. I guess it was the wrong trip, even if I really deserved it.
This silly thing called destiny. Or called Kafka. I guess I’ll never try to visit Cop. Just kidding, give me the chance and I’ll do it again, bar the drama queen moment on that street. The place I didn’t want to be could be the starting line. You never know.

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The only picture I took documenting my Kafkaesque evening. Pretty weepy ugly.

December, end of the journey.

The last month of the year was about going back to my roots.

It was an unexpected, lovely month, started with bad news, ended with good hopes. When I was there to write about a trip I programmed, I was blocked by snow. A December with snow sounds both magical than inspiring, and puts you on the right track for the holidays..

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Frankly, it has been a quite difficult year for me, as I experienced the hugest-for-humans amount of nos and disappointments, which put me poorly in a miserable state all the time; the snowflakes spinning and spinning over my thoughtful head could have been seen as another impossibility to move, to improve, to heal. Au contraire, I read it as a “take it slow, have a break” epiphany. That was the best choice, so to be able to enjoy the cold weather, take some quality time for photos, Christmas lights, markets and presents. Loads of presents for my family and friends (the secret is to wrap everything!).

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After several years I celebrated with my family, back from where I started with the dreams. I managed to clean up my old room, finding treasures from my teenage messy period.

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It was overall a feeling of tenderness, a sweet way to keep going and doing. Because. Because I’ve done a lot to get where I am now, because there are so many things to do and experience, so many words to find deep inside yourself.

Snow in Berlin, fog in North Italy. That cold Winter holidays time reminded me to find my own way to move, keeping my existence in action.

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Viktoriapark in the snow, Berlin

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Ponte degli Alpini in the fog, Bassano del Grappa

2013, I salute you with a smile, we’re going to do great things together. Onwards and upwards.

November: Padova

I waited a bit before writing this chapter, in part because i was expected to travel more, but also because I didn’t want to tell about November in a very personal, quite cheesy way.
Since a blog is personal, alright I’ll spill the beans you about my trip back to Padova.

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I spent four years at University in Padova, enjoying almost every minute of it. The city is home of one of the oldest University in Europe and the centre is a lovely mosaic of squares, beautiful buildings, street markets and porches.

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God only knows how much I missed walking through the porches. A porch is protection from rain and sun, selection of sight, meeting with strangers: there’s more contact on a porch than on a normal pavement, you can feel the humanity and the history that the columns have been holding.

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The reason I went back was a special wedding/celebration. Imagine that:
A friend of mine, after 5 years at University left to find better luck in New Zealand; there he met a Japanese gal, they fell in love and lived together. For a cruel matter of visa, they both had to go back to the home countries. They stayed together almost 2 years, seeing each others when possible, here and there. I remember talking with my friend before one of his trip to Tokyo: he was working an average of 14 hours per day in order to save enough money to live there for a month. He wasn’t complaining at all about that, actually couldn’t hide his joy to hug soon her dream girl.
Eventually they managed to get visas for Canada and moved for good. They got married in June without many among family and friends and so this November they organised to travel and celebrate their love with the Italian side; next year they’ll do the same in Japan.
Love always finds its way, when determination holds on.

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Now, I could I miss this occasion? My friend and his beautiful bride reminded me how simple true feelings are even in the difficulties. I’ve always been touched by choices made with the heart and I felt like I wanted to be part of that party, so to convince myself that happy endings are still possible.
Yes they are.

Goodbye Italia, goodbye memories.

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P.S. Still, no room for my camera in the hand-luggage, forced to take pics with my decent not-so-much-brilliant camera. Apologies for the quality, feel free to insult me for the lack of professionalism.

P.P.S. I’ve come to the age that I travel to see people getting married and have child. What’s my age again?

October: Cambridgeshire

To come home from a theatre after watching a pleasant romantic comedy and have the urge to put some thoughts down on paper, that may occur, but not so often.
Tonight it’s happening and so here I am, writing my October trip, mixing the feelings about it.
On one side, there is a sad story to tell; on the other one, there is love. The intense full-fitting one.
During the past month my life was put in an eternal soaking mode, like inside a huge washing machine. I kept turning and turning in vain, while watching the world from the viewing panel. That bloody machine was stuck in a cycle, when all I wanted was a rinsing and a bit of sun to dry up and feel the warm again on my skin.
I eventually had the chance to get out of it, but that meant to leave London, at least for a while. This is where the sad story ends, and the most compelling one begins.
I packed everything, hugged my friend, said goodbye and got on a train. Everything in the goofiest and less romantic idea you have in mind, since I was carrying something like 40 Kgs (or if you better prefer to think as a British 88.18342151675485 pounds – British is nothing but rational, right? Beg you pardon, you disagree? Would you enjoy someone to measure you with his (probably dirty) thumb, arm and foot? Yeah, neither do I).
From the big city to a village, passing by the countryside: sweet hills and brown ground, trees delimiting enclosures. From time to time, animals eating tons of green grass.
Destination? Cambridgeshire.

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There are many things I like in that specific village in the Cambridgeshire: I like the fact that there is somebody’s grandma not far away from where you are; I like the fact that at the center you find the intersection of the two main streets, both guiding you to the main cities at their end and one of four is always Cambridge, another one London; I like kids going home by foot and bikes, even if here they are absolutely less noisy than I remember I was (apologies, I was, erm, just “full of life” maybe? And easily appealed by screaming too).
Visually, the center is made by the church with cemetery, supermarket and shop. Then what? Nothing much, some other shops, hairdressers and few pubs.

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Then little cute houses, pretty gardens, cars parked outside, the school and in two minutes countryside.

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In few days there I became a great fan of walking from the school park to the railway: I met so many smiling people there, with dogs or without, that helped me to remind there are still people out there not afraid to say hi to a stranger. Faith in each others, one thing that you forget if you are a town girl in a big city.

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It is sometimes just a matter of places, other times of people. In this case it’s a fair combination between the two: I stayed in a house where I felt the sense of family that I’ve been quite missing lately: ball in the garden to play, a cuckoo clock at the entrance, family portraits, fresh bread, kettle ready, tv on. Details are little, reassuring part of living in a village, where houses are small temples of affection.

An old song says:

“But a room is not a house
and a house is not a home
When the two of us are far apart
and one of us has a broken heart”

(A house is not a home, B. Bacharach and Hal David)

Now, how can I write about a broken heart? There are no words. I simply can’t. What I can do is to write about that heart itself. It has witnessed love and hope, before experiencing the biggest sorrow.
You must be kinda lucky to find and mostly hold love as much as possible in your life. But I was lucky enough to spend time in a home that showed me love, the really full-fitting, long-term one, even if now rooms are pretty empty and hearts are really heavy to carry along. But I saw love and dedication and support in every detail of those four walls, maybe now in a bit more silent way.

I really hope silence won’t win this struggle.

Still, even in the middle of a silent broken heart transition, I did felt the love, and it was warm and bright, despite the dull British weather outside. Cheers.

P.S. Apologies, all the pictures this time were taken with my mobile, the low quality on screen disappoints.

September: Bristol

Why on Earth has nobody ever told me that Bristol is a lovely city?
Actually, more than lovely, the epitaph I created after this September trip was: “Bristol is a very beautiful and, despite being on English soil, happy city.”
Well, after some weeks in London, a bit discouraged by the events not turning into luck, I chose a ‘tropical’ destination for a cheap 1 day holiday to clean my mind and find new motivations.
Well, that road trip really made the difference!
The past few days before leaving had been a bit colder and grey than usual, I was about to put my grumpy mode on, complaining that Fall was coming soon and it was not fair Summer was always too short and bla bla bla. Never been so wrong.

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Early bus, cappuccino to go on a hand and mobile with reservation on the other one (yes, I try to do my best entrance every time I approach a ticket inspector or driver, I just can’t help it, imagine with a smartphone now, so modern and posh) I spend the trip listening to boosting-up music (I admit I put on loop Jay-Z’s Encore for a good half an hour, no clue why) taking some pictures of the countryside in the best harvesting time, fantasising about my childhood, where one of big challenge was to climb those huge good smelling bales with friends, and to do it in the quickest time possible.
The ride was really short, and I particularly enjoyed passing by Staines, I mean Staines, wow, huge metropolis where the great, greatest Ali G. was born and raised and shone and basically rulez my heart. If you don’t know who Ali G is, change page immediately. I mean it.
Well, a bit of introduction about the trip; I personally know a bit England, been in many places but never South-Westbound; back to August, London was proudly hosting the Olympics and the city was a fervent place to be, full of collateral interesting exhibitions and activities to take part. From one of this I got to know about a buzzing street art festival in Bristol, and took the gamble to go and watch out in person. So glad now!

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Basically, the festival was hosted in one of the central street of the city, very close to the pedestrian shopping area, Nelson St., where the not very flattering buildings along this street, that happen being the way to get to the harbour, turned mainly grey by the time, were re-living again thanks to the passion, phantasy and genius street artist from all around the world put to re-qualify the area. Mission accomplished!

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Nelson Street now glows of light and energy, everything matching with the surrounds and the place was full of youngsters and street art lovers, really please to have been there.
You might wonder, why do they do a street art festival in Bristol? Easy peasy. A guy called Banksy is from there. Never heard of him? Well, time to change blog again, sorry mate.
1 + 1  makes two, so I walked along the city to find his previous works, and I was kinda playing hiding and seeks with him, while enjoying the city center.

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I liked many things in Bristol: the area along the river is brand new and well renewed, quiet but also vibrant, with bar boats and the walking path; the bars and restaurants offer at an affordable price the possibility to enjoy a meal outside, much appreciated; I saw coloured houses, a delicate difference from all the brick-over-brick mental idea I’ve made of England; street art is everywhere and loved; it’s  student city, and you can feel it, and this give a plus to everything because it generally means more open-minded people. And more bikes. Or boats.

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It might have been because it was sunny all day long, but I give a huge 10 to this trip, that really helped me finding new convictions and strenght to go on pursuing my dreams to move to England on a more long-term basis.
It’s like when you feel down, and your head spins and spins and you struggle to find a new point of stability: I think on this occasion the best thing to do is to stop looking for it, have a break and breathe a different air, even if for just one day.
Bristol was my fresh air, after that I felt ready to go back and fight. The result in October…

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August: North London

August was the life-changing month of the year. Maybe? Errr..Maybe.
The reality sometimes is blurry, even when you put on focus with your best intent.

What an awful overrated way to start this blog. Apologies. I can do better, yes I can.

August was the month I changed the travelling I speak in this blog in a moving…terrific! It’s like travelling to the power of three. Mathematical!
Well I jumped and dove into an occasion: destination London! Real destination: North London, suburb of the suburb, pretty much ex-Middlesex now silly Greater London ( to be honest, what’s not Greater London?)…I moved there, on temporary basis to chase some dreams.

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N13 on my mind

Travelling with a baggage of expectations and hopes is both exciting and scary. It’s the moment of your life when you pack the necessary (that happens it’s never enough), you leave a place you love and hate at the same time and you start a new daily routine, cancelling every aspect can be slightly tourist in a new environment (like spending money easily).
Have you ever chased a dream? Is your dream to have an adventure or more to find a new normality to build again your soul on? For me, it’s more the second one: please call me outdated but I find more compelling to use every possible way to be happy, and stability, even for only some months is kinda happiness. I hate the fact you have to settle down in a place that is no more so inspiring for you to progress and improve. I like watching outside the window and see possibilities more than the actual weather. So travelling, in my opinion, is to look for new stability and chances. 

I moved from Germany to UK, and the change is funny and and at the same time a bit shocking: the high cost of life, the crazy way to drive on (my copyright) the wrong side of the road, kebab replaced by fried chicken and many others. I am very blessed to be really adaptable and loved aspects from both sides, but I must admit I love that here everybody is nice and educated, not for nature but convention. Let’s state the fact that customer service is really a customer-oriented service. D’oh! Germany please update yourself on that direction and put a smile upon your face, for all our sakes.

London is a city I know pretty well, so during this time I didn’t spend so much crazy tourist activity, reducing it to go some place I like, and mostly living the joy of suburb.
One is to walk along the neighbourhood and see one father teaching the son how to ride the bike. Or the famous London taxi parked outside “off-duty”.

What an adorable couple!

Or teenagers on a wall drinking and arguing about reality shows ( how many reality shows are there? Jeebus!), playing a bit of rapper gansta but looking absolutely cute and harmless.
One thing that really impresses me about UK is the clouds: they are changing so fast and look so light but at the same time strong and independent, blowing where they want. I put down in words what I’ve always thought from the first time I came to this land: clouds move to tears if you look deep at them.

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How many feelings can you count while watching this picture?

When I get bored of suburb I get the first train and go get spoilt in some museums. God save British free museums, indeed. Inspiration can start everywhere, here it’s even easier.

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British Museum

Parks also here are absolutely stunning and overcrowded by ducks, geese. You can always find nice people to have a chat with and during weekends it’s full of people and family.

It’s reassuring that wherever I go, there’s a park I will feel home and in peace.

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ImageBroomfield Park