Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Italy pics (image heavy)

Ooh, I have forgotten to post any photos from Italy or Paris. Italy first, starting in Milan. Here is the Duomo, that we so loved. Isn't it pretty? It looks like a piece of starched lace, it has such a lightness about it. Sadly the interior is quite gloomy and one can't take did those get there?
This is the Victor Emmanuel Galleria (with the McDs inside). It had the usual beautiful floors. Don despairs of me taking photos of ceilings and floors, but I am a slave to beauty.
We were in Milan for Fashion week. There were lots of Beautiful Young Things sloping about. Purple is very big at the moment, and even the men's shops were full of purple pants and shirts (and of course the usual Italian obsession with red pants, or mustard pants for men...shudder). You would have loved it, Stomper. We found supermarkets and ate al fresco and had a lovely dinner in a little restaurant. The clothing stores were many and varied, and they even had a big girls shop, but sadly we didn't have time, or room in the case. I survived.
Then off by train to Stresa. We skirted the mountains we had flown over the previous day and arrived at our little hotel, with a second floor walk-up room. It was really nice. This is the view from my pillow. It was Italy folks. Lago Maggiore was quite, quite lovely. There was a small chain of islands, the Borromeo islands near the shore at Stresa and we went over to them by water taxi on our last day. Just looking at them was really nice, especially in the dusk light. This is the restaurant cafe where I accessed the internet during my stay, and we had dinner there on the first night. It was delicious.

On my rambles around the town(s) I saw gorgeous stone walls and buildings. I saw really sweet lizards (Note, no lizards were licked to back this statement). I even found a junkyard that I itched to fossick in, but restrained myself, more from lack of sufficient Italian to explain myself as a junk obsessed Aussie whose Dad had a great shed, and how it makes me nostalgic for him ..... oh, and the suitcase thing. Sigh.
I had to amuse myself while hubby was away at his conference somehow! I took a cable car up a mountain. I saw enormous tadpoles in an alpine pond. I saw cows and goats in a forest from the air. I rested in a lakeside pirate cove with pretty stones.
The conference dinner was held in a lovely ballroom. See? I am in the pic somewhere. We came home to the news of Michael Jackson's death. Funny heh? The associations that we will always make with that night. I met some interesting people, ate from silver plates and had great food. The floorshow was an interesting piece of cabaret - a shadow maker who depicted famous people - so simple, so ... weird ... but very effective. Almost every photo from that night has a silver line across people's faces from flash bounceback off the silver plates. One of the unexpected drawbacks of wealth (cough) and privilege.

The next day we went to the islands. They were gorgeous. Of course. Interesting little winding streets, old, old buildings. One island, Isola Pescatori, had a cat sanctuary for homeless cats. We found this motheaten old moggy who looks like an older, sleeker version of our cat at home, Phoenix. Puss was nobly ignoring the taunts of these cheeky swallows. When you used the public loos the contributions went to support the cats.

The largest island, Isola Bella, had long been a playground for the rich and powerful. The Duke of Borromeo (or was he a bishop.... anyway), he had a palace on this island which was open to the public along with the very famous terraced gardens. The palace contained one level that was all 'underground' and stone covered, a grotto, for use in the summer. It still contained amazing pieces of sculpture. Napoleon slept in this bed. There was an enormous tapestry gallery. The amount of money to build this place must have been staggering. Mussolini has dined in the restaurants, along with many famous actors and even a Pope. The views from the gardens looked back towards the mainland and the village of Stresa. It was really pretty gorgeous, if a bit OTT Italian style. We were impressed, but cool about it.
Are you getting sick of photos yet? Sorry. It is very hard to whittle it all down. There were interesting things in many place: gardens, tree stumps, views, angles, attention-seeking ducks, inebriated husbands....I'll spare you that one, but I do have lots of photos of him hooting like a monkey.
Next time, Paris!


Debby said...

No. Not getting sick of the pictures at all. More please!


'She who gets her vacation thrills vicariously'.

Frogdancer said...

I'm like Debby...

Natalie said...

These are great and good narrative too.

Lesley said...

WV is "alliti", which is almost Alitalia!

Stomper Girl said...

I'm like Debby too. And you're quite right, I would have loved all that purple.

victoria said...

Attention seeking ducks! Okay, I'm jealous..