I cannot believe I have been in Novara only three days. It seems like a lifetime. Especially in view of my experiences.
Earthquakes still in the news big time here. Much destruction to Northern Italy.
I reported being in two earthquakes yesterday. Turns out it was three. Maybe five. Three hours after publication, I felt another one. I was sitting at the computer at that time also. I did not consider it of any consequence. After all, I had been involved in two already that day. Last night while watching television, it was reported that Novara had suffered two more quakes around eight in the evening. I never felt them.
Many dead. Much damage. Sad. The people of Novara spoke of the earthquakes much yesterday. It was like being in Key West following a hurricane.
Speaking of hurricanes, I was thinking yesterday whether an earthquake or hurricane was worse. One is short and the other prolonged. Both cause significant loss of life and damage. They ended up equal in my mind. Better that both not occur, however.
Earthquakes are not common to this region. So I have been told. The word on the news is that whatever problem there is in the San Francisco area exists now in northern Italy. A shelf or whatever and it is moving. Italian news describes it as a mountain rising to the surface. The scientists have predicted at least 70 more earthquakes over time as a result. We shall see.
Lisa got Skype yesterday. We skyped for the first time in the morning Lisa time. The grandkids had already left for school. Corey joined in. It was exciting to see them both. I hope I get to speak with Robert and Ally soon on Skype.
Around 5, I decided to take a walk. I rambled up and down the streets of the historic centre of Novara. It was a high knowing that most buildings were a thousand years old. The first floor the best quality shops. Top floors great apartments. By the way, people live in apartments here. Homes are considered too expensive. I do not understand. Most of the apartments go for $1 million dollars plus.
My walk led me to discover the Piazzetta Delle Erbe. Piazzetta means little piazza. I am learning.
In English the Piazzetta is the Little Square of Herbs. Back when, probably a thousand years ago, growers and merchants came from all over Europe and Asia to buy and sell herbs at this market.
Close by, I made another discovery. The Broletto. I do not know what the term means. It was the place where the first market in all of Italy was established in medieval times. Everything and anything sold. It helped the Novara area at the time to gain financial independence
The best was yet to come. The Partigiani. It is at the Piazza Dei Martiri. Partigiani means partisans. The Piazza translates to the Plaza of Martyrs.
I learned the story of this special place while sitting at an outside cafe having a drink and watching the world go by. Two gentleman at the next table engaged me in conversation. They spoke English. Americans are revered here. I am being treated with kindness and respect because I am an American. It was not unusual for them to engage me in conversation. They started the conversation with…..American?
Novara was occupied by the Nazis during World War II. Some of the locals were not pleased.They became partisans. Guerrilla types working as the underground. Five were captured. They were placed against a brick wall and shot by the Nazis. In full view of the citizens of Novara.
After the war a small monument was placed near where they were killed. A tree was also planted. It still stands today. The tree. By itself against a large red brick wall.
It dawned on me that the medieval thousand year buildings I have been speaking about were in good shape. I asked were they not destroyed during World War II? Bombs, artillery and tank fire. No, I was told.There was never any fighting or bombing or what have you in and to Novara. The Nazis walked out and the Americans walked in. The people of Novara were very lucky. Other communities in the area, such as Milan, sustained significant damage.
My walk took me past many fine stores. I was particularly impressed with the shops featuring apparel for women. The most beautiful clothes I have ever seen! Absolutely magnificent! Bright, shiny and smart for summer wearing. The thought struck me it would have been nice to have a woman to take into the stores and buy a new wardrobe for.
Remember the 124 steps I spoke of yesterday. There are not 124. I counted them again yesterday. At a time when I was not suffering from jet lag and a bad stomach. There are 68. Still a lot of steps for this old man!
The fefects of jet lag are still with me. I went to bed at nine last night. Did not sleep one minute. Finally got up at 5:30 in the morning to start this blog. I will pay for the no sleep later in the day.
Never got to Milan yesterday to view the Last Supper. The trains were out of commission because of the earthquake.
I cannot let this experience pass. At the dinner party three nights ago, one of the meats was a dark one. Deep purple. Sliced thin. Everly one was going crazy over it. They loved it! A bit of lemon and they ate away!
I had a few pieces. Did not particularly like it. Other guests were surprised I did not.
Yesterday similar meat was served to me for lunch. I again was not crazy about it. I asked what is this? It was horse meat! Horse meat is legal in Italy. There are specialty butcher shops that sell horse meat. And lest I forget, donkey also. That was it. No more of for me! I explained that horse meat was not legal in the United States for human consumption. My fellow diners were shocked.
The big deal today is for me to go to the bank. I have no euros. Only American money. The exchange process should be interesting. Is cash or a credit card required? Can both be used?
Stephanie Kaple is one of the loves of my life. She lives in Key West. She is known as the Island Shoe Girl. She only wears expensive shoes with high high heels. Looks good in them!
Stephanie now plays bocce. She joined the same bocce league I play in. She wears heels while playing. Not wise from my perspective. But that is Stephanie!
She writes a blog as I do. A recent one was interesting and funny. Take a look at it if you have the time. A short read. www.islandshoegirl.com.
That is all for today folks! Sorry for the length but there is much to share regarding my trip. Tomorrow I leave for Athens to start the Greece phase of this trip. Athens, Santorini, Mykinos and some deserted island. Five weeks will be spent in Greece. Then back to Italy for a while. Portofino and Morocco under consideration for the scheduled end of my trip. If I return. I am enjoying everything so much I might stay.
Enjoy your day!