- Slovenia and short holidays
- [Thursday 24th - Sunday 28th April 2008]
Portorose is a nice little city along the Slovenian coast. We were not meant to go there until a couple of days before leaving. One night I think that me and Chiara were talking to Gianfranco about the coming bank holiday, and he told us that he planned a short trip with his brother Silvio and their cousin to Portorose.
The plan was a 5 star hotel, the free thermal treatments (Portorose is a famous spa), and three days of total laziness.
Me and Chiara were quite interested in this plan, as we didn't make one of our own! In the end we managed to find a place at a nearby hotel and we joined the group!
We left on the 24th early in the morning, after some time wasted on the motorway (there was some traffic and an accident) we arrived at Portorose in the early afternoon, in time to get the rooms and try for the first time the spa centre of the Bernardine Hotel where we had the room.
Hot and cold pools, jacuzzi and several other interesting baths have been thoughtfully tested by me and Chiara on the three days!
In the evening thanks to our Lonely planet guide, we had a great dinner at Staro Sidro (the Old Anchor) mostly fish and soups, but it was truly great.
The next day we went to Croatia, Ilaria, girlfriend of Federico (Gianfranco and Silvio's cousin), told us about Rovigno, a nice little city that apparently had a lot of Venetian influences. Well the city was indeed quite Venetian and nice, on the way back we stopped at Porec to take a look at a very old abbey (the rest of the city was nothing special), and in the evening we had a quite bad culinary experience at a place called Figuerola.
The staff was awful, the food even worse, the bill was the only high point of the evening and of course we were totally not happy about it... But that's life, we quickly went out and had a great slice of cake (you can check out the pictures to see) and everything was good again.
The evenings in Portorose are made interesting by a throng of Casinos that seem to bloom more than flowers in Spring.
It was a nice experience even though I know that I am not good at playing, I am too stingy and in the end I never really "let go" and get possessed by the demon of betting.
I did win some money, which is quite a novelty in the casino business I guess, but it was very little, compared to what other people seemed to play (and loose) with terrifying calm (I have seen a man loosing 1000 euros in 3 hands at blackjack and didn't even twitch)...
The last day me, Chiara and Gianfranco managed to almost double the starting capital, mostly by betting on the roulette on number 26 (black), following an inspiration that Chiara had (but that didn't repeat itself alas).
Back to the holiday the Hrastovlje church needs a special mention. We ventured in the countryside, armed with a good share of faith and a map, I have to say that the countryside in Slovenia is stunning.
The Hrastovlje church comes straight from the IVth century, it's quite beautiful, surrounded by medieval walls it looks like a castle.
Inside there was a rather interesting painting called the "Macabre Dance" where 14 skeletons take by hand different people to their grave where Death awaits them. Surely not the type of painting that you often see in churches and that made it all more interesting!
he lunch that we had afterwards was probably the best culinary experience that we had, we found the place by chance in Hrastovlje (well, it was the only restaurant). The food was really genuine and extremely abundant, we all loved it and we closed the meal with a special distilled liqueur (of which we ignore the name) made of juniper that you could probably use to clean a rusty engine from the sheer strength of it.
All in all a great holiday, it was a good chance to relax and clear the mind a little for the weeks that are to come. In the last two years I never took time off work, so in a way this little holiday was a great change for me!
- Elio e le Storie Tese
- [Tuesday 22nd April 2008]
Today Elio e le Storie Tese came to Florence for the ritual annual concert. Of course me Federico and Francesco had to go, even if this time it was not free as usual. We are huge fan of the band, sometimes we even start singing their songs out of a blue, all together.
Also Elisa came, it seems that after many years finally Elio is sinking through her as well, thanks to Francesco of course!
I guess that if we were women we would be groupies tagging along the band!
Elio is a great group, they are very talented, there are a lot of people who do not like the lyrics, but the musical aspects are great, they are really talented.
The concert this time was a bit strange as we were all seated, of course Elio had to take the occasion to tell the audience that it was done on purpose because they turned suddenly "elegant"!
Their songs are quite far from elegant, in most places, but that's part of their spirit, always daring, always satirical.
Nothing more to add, it was a great night, it really took all the bad thoughts and problems away from my mind, not to speak about the two hours of laughs that I spent together with my mates!
- [18th - 20th April 2008]
Milan is always the same, a beautiful centre of town and a crappy suburb full of crappy houses and generally speaking nasty looking people.
Ten years ago I was living in a similar place, when we were renting at Radstock Road, but I guess that there are times in one's life when you have to experience different walks of life.
This little intro is for the hotel that we had to go for, I am in Milan for work, we have this event together with another company. Basically we are displaying the goodies that we produce in a nice showroom in the centre of Milan. The place where fashion is at its utmost level, the place to be.
Shame that it all was decided 1 month ago and finding a decent accommodation is just impossible! Hence we went for a distant and crappy one...
The event has been quite disappointing; the kind of people that we wanted to see are not coming into the picture at all, but I guess that this was one of the pitfalls of this event.
The other pitfall, but here I am speaking personally, is that I have to stay here all the time, all the weekend gone in something that will hardly produce any results. It's incredibly boring!! And I have to be here 10am-10pm!!
Oh well tomorrow it's going to be the last day, so no big trouble I guess, there are positive sides to this trip, one of them being the fact that I managed to shed more light into the relationships that are in place at the company, allowing me to understand more "behind the scenes" attitudes and behaviours of a lot of people around me...
I won't go too far into details because there are people who work with me who (I have strong grounds to believe) read my blog, which would be perfectly fine if that wasn't done for the pleasure of being nosy to find informations and/or secrets about me.
I guess that I could easily find out who they are, I have all the details that I need, but frankly speaking I cannot be arsed. I do not think that there is anything to find about me here probably because I do not have many things to hide... Sorry!
The event is quite boring, but fortunately the people of the other company are very nice and it's great to chat with them. They brought this typical cheese from Udine (in the north of Italy) that it's great, and goes extremely well with the white wine from the same region that they are serving...
- John Hawkins
- [Thursday 10th April 2008]
It has been quite a long time since we didn't see each other, and I was really looking forward to see John in London. The last time was in Japan just before he left the country to go back to England.
So we met at Holborn station, because the night would unravel in that area. I asked John some time before to take me to those pubs that he always talks about in his blogs, nameli "the MITRE" and the "CITTIE of YORKE".
We had a nice Korean meal, drowned with the usual Shochyu JINRO (very heavy stuff) and a beer. We then moved to the CITTIE, a marvellous pub! I think that as a foreigner, that pub is just what pubs should be. The whole place looks extremely old, and it is quite different from the "usual" pubs that I used to go to when I lived in Reading.
Here we had a pint of Alpine Larger and I bought a bottle of TADDY PORTER. I was really happy to know that this beer was the real first "stout" ever made.
We then moved to the MITRE, other lovely pub where we had a another marvellous beer of which I forbot the name now, but it was great, very creamy and almost fruity.
The history of the pub was also quite interesting, John know it all!
It was not finished the night because we had to go to the Whisky Society. Though the place is really new, I was expecting something more "classic", again my imagination run freely and I was seeing leather sofas, armchairs, Persian carpets, a fireplace and a butler dressed like a penguin!
Well the Soc. is quite different, it's much more modern, but it was pleasant nonetheless.
Here we sampled three whiskeys, all of them were rather nice, cask strength, coming from the isle of Islay.
At the end we parted around midnight, needless to say that I am not used to drink SO MUCH and so many different things, so the rest of the night was quite "eventful" for me, but it was great to be with John, every time I meet him, I realize how much I miss having him around... Oh well, he's one of my best friends after all!
- Hong Kong and Taiwan
- [Somewhere in 2008]
A trip to Hong Kong and Taiwan, places that I had seen before but that this time I managed to see more in details, thanks to a free weekend there!
- [Somewhere in 2008]
A marvellous trip to Thailand, that got me a free day to check out Bangkok and its beauties. It's an old trip, I could not post the pictures at that time so I am doing it now, I hope you like them!
- [Wednesday 2nd April 2008]
And so it is, a new birthday for me, the start of the the 34th year of age... Well after a brief discussion with a colleague I found out that although I pride myself of being 33, in reality I am starting the 34th year of my existence.
I think that the last year was one of the hardest in my life, an year that closed itself with what looks to be yet another serious injury at my right knee (the one that was operated 2 and half years ago), and a bigger ordeal at work, but I will tell about it in a different post.
Very hard we were saying, and since in Italy we are polluted with Christianity I could not avoid comparing this 33rd year to the Stations of the Cross that some other person much more famous than me had to go through.
I will spare the reader with the details, now I just hope that my right knee is not as bad as I have been told (MRI coming up at the end of May), and that maybe I can have a little bit of luck coming my way so that I can settle properly in Florence once more and maybe move forward in life, making a family, buying a house and so on...
One of the positive things of being here for my birthday has been the fact that my Grandmother and mum invited me for a dinner party (with presents), my mother said that it must have been more than 10 years that we didn't have my birthday party, and surprisingly she is right, because I left Italy when I was 19 and since then I have always travelled around and even when I was in Florence I was not here in person (because on some business trip) to have a celebration...
On the contrary none of my friends seem to have remembered about it, on the day we met to play RPG and I announced my birthday and the guys made a little card with a sarcastic picture on it, but then I failed to bring myself to organize some dinner party or anything. Well I guess it's my fault :(
Anyways, happy birthday to me! :D
- Lox, Lorenzo... ME!!
- A little introduction about the author and the blog itself. Plus contacts and CVs... You never know!
- A Selection of the best pictures that I have taken all over the world during the years, all nicely indexed by year and geographical area. Jolly good!
- History of this Blog
- A collection of all the articles that I have wrote so far, divided by month/year.
I have had the bad idea of writing my e-mail address on the board before, so this time I'll try to prevent some spam to get to me by putting this little image.. Let's hope it does the trick!
A reminder to Myself
Left and right
Like day and night
That's what makes the world go round
In and out
Thin and stout
That's what makes the world go round
For every up there is a down
For every square there is a round
For every high there is a low
For every to there is a fro
To and fro
Stop and go
That's what makes the world go round
You must set your sights upon the heights
Don't be a mediocrity
Don't just wait and trust to fate
And say, that's how it's meant to be
It's up to you how far you go
If you don't try you'll never know
And so my lad as I've explained
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
You see my boy it's nature's way
Upon the weak the strong ones prey
The human life it's also true
The strong will try to conquer you
That is what you must expect
Unless you use your intellect
Brains and brawn, weak and strong
That's what makes the world go round