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Caving In. Puglia Sea Adventure

More from Grotta Palazzese.  A memorable evening in the Puglia seaside town of Polignano a Mare.  If you plan on going, make sure to check their schedule as it varies with the time of year.

Time and Time Again

So I’ve now been flying over 10 hours and I have to say its really not been that bad thanks to my trusty iPad. I have spent many hours watching “The Good Wife”, a television series I hadn’t watched before. I don’t watch much television so these kinds of trips give me an opportunity to catch up. Last time I went to Europe I watched multiple episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. While waiting to board the plane at LAX, I met a young Italian woman from Venice, going home to visit her mother and grandmother. Interestingly she is attending Occidental College in Eagle Rock. This is the same college my grandmother attended. Time does stand still sometimes. Especially on airplanes.

 

All My Bags Are Packed. One Hour To Go.

Excited? Over the moon!!!

Italian Word of the Week from Gemelli Press: Arrangiarsi

Gemelli Press has a great new weekly series featuring a new Italian word every week. Here’s an excerpt from their first entry. Well done Gemelli!

ARRANGIARSI [ahr-rahn-JAHR-see]:  TO ARRANGE ONESELF

This is one of Italian’s famous reflexive verbs, so “si arrangia”means “she arranges herself” or “he arranges himself.”

OK, minds out of the gutter. That is *not* what it means.

“Arranging oneself” is more figurative, and it may not make a lot of sense to you. I empathize. That’s because arrangiarsi is so utterly Italian. Indeed, it has been called l’arte di arrangiarsi (the art of arranging onself).

So what’s a good translation?  To read the rest of the post, check out the Gemelli Press Blog.

I before E…. except after C

This is a rhyme all of us learned in school when studying grammar.  Not too hard to learn and it pretty much holds true.  Receive. Perceive. Believe. Yes. It works.  Enter, the Italian language.  So many  grammar rules with so many exceptions. It goes on and on. Makes me dizzy trying to understand the rule, then learn when the rule doesn’t apply.  Every Tuesday evening I have a private tutoring lesson with my Italian teacher, Elisabetta. It’s an enjoyable session where I learn not only about the language but also about the culture and the country. We talk, laugh and learn. It’s a great combination. And,  Elizabetta lets me do fun things like work on translating lyrics from songs I hear on Italian radio. To listen to Italian radio I use an iPhone app called TuneIn Radio. It lets you listen to radio streams from all over the world. I listen to KISS KISS Italia, broadcasting live from Naples, as I go to and from work. I find that it is much easier to listen to Italian songs rather than Italian news broadcasts. After all, singing is slower than the fast talking radio announcers on the news stations. Along the way I have been introduced to the songs of Javonotti, Ligabue and Fiorella Mannoia and finding I can actually sing along.  As I’m singing,  I often wonder how a radio station that advertizes that it is “cento per cento Italiana” (100% Italian) can call itself Kiss Kiss?  Shouldn’t it be Baci Baci?  Ah, I reason, it must be one of those complicated Italian language rules.

Mondays at the Marketplace

A couple of years ago I became interested in learning about my Italian ancestors.  With Bavetta being the family name, I set out to find them in Sicily.  This has proven to be more difficult than I thought.  So I built a webpage Bavettas.com and started building a family tree – thinking I could figure out how to get my distant relatives to help with the tree.  They had to be out there right?  Well I found about 300 Bavettas on Facebook and another handful on Twitter, but I have yet to find any new relatives or establish any new connections.  I have made some wonderful new Bavetta friends in Italy and Argentina but I don’t know if we are related or not.  During these travels on the internet I met Judy Witts Francini who sent me a message and offered to help translate.  Since then I’ve been following her cooking school blog, the Divina Cucina, and in between drooling over her recipes and food pictures, I have been  trying to figure out how to connect with her in Italy. Now that I’m going to Florence and Tuscany in May, I have arranged to take her Florence Marketplace tour which is now given by her associate Laura Gordon Giannozzi. Here’s a snapshot of the tour:

Discover gastronomic Florence with “Mondays at the Market”, a food lover’s walking tour of the Central Market with tastings and lunch. The four-hour experience, usually 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., includes a trattoria lunch and dining recommendations for Florence plus the Divina Cucina cloth shopping bag — which you’ll quickly fill! Learn the secrets of the Central Market. San Lorenzo is a second home to Florentine home cooks and chefs. Taste traditional Balsamic vinegars, 12 to 30 years old. You will learn how to use it in cooking. Taste extra virgin olive oils and learn how to create an Italian pantry. Don’t forget your camera as the market is one of the most colorful places in Florence. Built in 1865, it is one of the largest and oldest markets in Italy. After the tour, we will have a wonderful lunch at a local trattoria and learn where to go and what to do while in Florence.

So, I still haven’t figured out how to meet up with Judy (and I WILL do this some day). But… I am taking Italian lessons so someday maybe I can talk to my relatives ….once I find them.

So much to see, so little time……

So, last night I had dinner at my mom’s house and thought I would take that opportunity to ask her what I should see while I’m in Florence.  She used to teach art history so she knows a thing or two about it.  While I knew that Florence has a remarkable treasure trove of interesting art, I wasn’t prepared for the list of “must-do’s”  – just in the Uffizi alone you could spend days, weeks and even years!! Not to mention the Pitti Palace, the Duomo… and… and..  I’m breathless. I left last night with 3 large history of art books tucked under my arm.  I have some studying to do!

Finding the perfect walking shoes…..and other fairy tales.

In a perfect world there would be perfect walking shoes. Or so I keep thinking. A while back I noticed that the shoe stores had stopped carrying my shoe size. “Do you have this one in a five and a half?” I’d ask, dangling my latest find under their nose. I wasn’t prepared for the answer. “Oh, we don’t carry that size anymore.” It was like they had erased me, banished me to the corner, sent me to bed without dinner. Something just didn’t add up. But it was true, they had stopped carrying my size. And, this was true in retail stores and online. And the awful truth was that many manufacturers had stopped MAKING size five and half. So, now I am banished to shop in my pajamas in front of the computer. All I can say is this… thank god for Zappos.com! Now that my Italy trip is three months away, I’ve started shopping for my perfect walking shoes. That means I order 5 pairs or more at a time, have them shipped to the house, try them on and send them back. All, until I find the perfect substitute for the perfect shoe. I spent my last trip in Merrell Jungle Mocs. Heaven in a shoe. I’m buying these again. But I’d also like some walking sandals or summer shoes. So the search goes on.

The map tells the story……

Here’s a map and description of the wonderful tour Nada Vergili of Nada’s Italy has put together for us. If you click on the blue markers you can see a description of what we will be doing. I have a few days on my own before and after the tour – not sure of where I will land on those days….

Pre Trip Log: Testing the iPad

Those of you who know me aren’t surprised. Yes. I’m geeky about technology. Love it. So when I found an application for my iPad that would allow me to easily create WordPress.com posts AND insert photos from my camera I was excited! I’m testing this today to see how it works. Seems easy enough and not complicated. For my other techno geek friends, here’s the setup: one iPad (mine is first generation but I’d have to assume it will work with the iPad 2 also), one Eye-Fi wireless sd card for my cannon s95 camera, Eye-Fi iPad application, an iPad application called Blogsy, and a Flicker account. Essentially it works like this: stream pictures from your camera to Flicker via the iPad (alternatively you could upload straight to the iPad but that takes up space!). Then use the Blogsy application on the iPad to write the story and a neat little feature in Blogsy that ties you to your Flicker account….this allows you to easily pick a photo and insert it. Oh and you will need internet access through the iPad or wireless.  Hit publish and you are done. This post is my first test.

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