Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Toronto, Canada

I've been away the last 2 weeks visiting my parents in Toronto. I'll be back tomorrow, can't wait to sleep in my bed again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hungry?

A Caprese sandwich on Swedish seeded bread and a huge slice of Princess cake in a cafe in Stockholm. Was I hungry? No, just greedy, greedy for experiences! I'd give anything right now for a piece of princess cake.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Domus Aurea

'The twelve caesars' by Suetonius writes an excellent account of Emperor Nero. He is a fascinating study. I'm even more convinced now , now that I've seen part of his golden house, 'Domus Aurea'. Only part has been excavated. We enter by one of the galleys built by Trajan. After the death of Nero, Trajan obliterated any trace of Nero. He filled the whole complex with dirt and built a Roman bath over it. The walls are 39 feet high. Imagine the amount of dirt that needed to be cleared away. I read the work started hundreds of years ago. There are still a lot of Trajan's contribution that are still filled up. There is no intention to clear that because the Trajan part is bare and uninteresting. There are still traces of mosaics and frescoes left in the Nero part and one can imagine the original splendor. Suetonius wrote definitively that it was Nero who lit the first flames that burned down Rome.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Castellucio de Norcia, Italy

This was where I was going except I was too early in June. If you go today this is what you are going to see. So I'm planning my trip for next July and am very excited.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

the best laid plan 2

I took a taxi from Norcia to Castellucio only to find I was too early for the flower season. The drive from Norcia to Castellucio was stupendous. It was like driving into Shangrila, with gorgeous wild flowers flanking both sides of the road. I made the driver stop a few times for me to take some pictures and this made up for the disappointment. I'm going back next year and I'll be sure it will be at the height of the flowering season.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The best laid plan

I wanted so much to see the wild flowers in the Sibillini mountains. The place to see it is Castellucio, near Norcia, a little village high in the mountains overlooking a huge meadow like plain. The plan was to go to Rome on Tuesday, be in Norcia on Wednesday and take the once a week bus, on Thursday only, to Castellucio and spend a few hours there. I boarded the train in Rome for Spoleto which is the place to take the bus to Norcia. At Spoleto, I asked this guy, 'dove l'autobus per Norcia?' where is the bus for Norcia. He pointed to the left to a parked bus under a tree. Biglietti? Tickets? He pointed to the tabacchi shop. I bought 2 tickets because I knew I would need the second one for the return trip. It was a Wednesday and I stayed overnight in Norcia, a small little mountain village known for truffles and wild boar. The next morning I waited patiently for the 6.25am bus for Castellucio but it never came. I learned later that it was a bank holiday, 'dei di republic'. The day of the republic. I was still determined to go to Castellucio........

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Palimpsest?

The meaning? Something that is reused. In the ancient days, parchment and vellum are expensive and are often reused with the traces of the original still remaining. Here on one of the walls of this church is a wall where at least 6 layers of frescoes can be identified. Santa Maria Antiqua was built in the 5th century and holds frescoes cycles of at least 3 centuries, 6th, 7th and 8th until it was destroyed by an earthquake in 847. It underwent a 36 year restoration from 1980 to 2016 and was reopened in March 2016. I had the privilege of seeing it in June this year.