I finally slept. Last night Italian time. Nine to nine. Twelve straight hours. The sleep of the dead. I needed it!
I did an easy Sunday yesterday in Novara. That was all my body could handle.
I walked in the morning. For an hour. I am staying in an apartment in the old part of Novara. It is referred to as its downtown, also. The buildings are all medieval. Built between 1,000 AD and 1,500 AD. The fronts have been redone. Probably in the last 50 years. The interiors remain the same.
I am staying a few days with friends in the same apartment I was in last year at this time. The third/top floor of a medieval building.
The interior stairway impresses me. Wide, huge and attractive in its simplicity.
The apartment is 7,000 to 8,000 square feet. Many rooms. Ceilings 20 feet high. Marble floors. Baroque ceilings. From my bed, I look up at deer/stags, dogs, and flowers. All ancient. Circa 1,500 AD.
Electricity continues to be a problem. Italy is being devastated because of the euro. Everything cut back. Including power. I walk in the dark. I am required to keep lights out, only power the room I am in. Tough finding the bathroom in the middle of the night under these conditions!
However, when in Rome, do as the Romans do!
There is no vehicular traffic permitted on the roadways in this neighborhood. The wide streets appear ancient. Stones in concrete. Reminded me of the Appian Way. Old bricks in the middle.
The ground floor of all the buildings have high class stores. Even the one I am in. Top of the line. Women’s clothes especially Beautiful.
Day and night, the streets are full of people. Walking, talking, sitting at outdoor cafes, etc.
This year there is also entertainment.
Two nights ago when I came in, there was a crowd one block away. Noise and music could be heard. I investigated. A prize fight was going on. There sitting in the middle of the road was a ring set about four feet high. Two young fighters going at it. I enjoy boxing. Did a little in the past. I watched a while. I could not ascertain if the boxers were professional or amateur. My guess would be professional. They were too good to be otherwise.
Last night, I took a walk before bed time. On one street there was an area cordoned off. Inside, fencers. Young. Ten to thirteen I would estimate. Dressed all in white. The whole thing professional. The rapiers jabbing away, the feet equally fast.
I turned the corner and there was another ring type set up. Men and women dressed in dark blue from their necks to ankles to wrists. I suspect it was some sort of yoga demonstration. I never found out. It started pouring and I left.
My walk yesterday morning involved Church goers. There are three Catholic Churches in a three block radius. I visited all three while Mass was going on. I am Catholic and a former altar boy. The Latin Mass as I knew it is long gone. However, I have learned in my travels that an Italian Mass sounds just like a Latin one. So, I enjoy and was comforted.
I rested in the afternoon. The jet lag had the best of me.
Around 5, friends I met last year visited me. Antonio and his wife Miriam. Together with their children Sara and Elia. Antonio is a highway construction expert. Works for one of the major highway construction companies in Europe. Travels all over. Miriam is a chef. And a very good one! She cooked birthday dinner for me last year. A treat!
Sara is 13, Elia 8. Elia and I have bonded. We are buddies.
Antonia and Miriam are a modern world couple. He is Italian, she Moroccan.
Antonio had just returned from a one week vacation with the children in Elba. Miriam remained home. She had to work. Antonio had a lengthy video of the Elba trip. Fascinating!o
Elba is beautiful. The water clear. The greenery green. You will recall that Napoleon’s first exile was to Elba. I saw pictures of his home on the island, his bedroom, the household furnishings. Exile could not have been so bad!
I learned also that Elba is an hour boat ride from Tuscany.
Napoleon is a part of history and conversation in northern Italy. This year, last and apparently for all time. Some admire and respect Napoleon’s accomplishments. Others view him as a murderer, almost in the same vein as Hitler.
Napoleon conquered Italy and made himself King. Back in 1805. The Italy of 1805 was not the same as the Italy iof today. It was small and situated in the north central portion of present day Italy. It basically encompassed the regions surrounding Milan and Pavia.
Some speak of the good Napoleon did.
Everyone speaks of the bridges he built. They stand even today. There are many waterways in the area. He covered them all, thereby providing easy passage.
History tells us Italy was discombobulated as a nation till 1860 when Garibaldi united the provinces. Napoleon tried. He succeeded however only in the small area that was Italy during his time.
The area needed manufacturing. The French were famous for their cheeses. Napoleon arranged for factories to open to make cheeses. It was during this time and in one of these factories that the Italian famous gorgonzola cheese was invented/created.
Illness was particularly rampant. Especially diseases accessible/acquired from dead bodies. Churches were in the center of towns. Cemeteries immediately surrounded the churches. Apparently, the bodies were not healthfully buried. Napoleon ordered all cemeteries henceforth to be outside the confines of towns.
As to those who refer to him as a murderer, it is not attributable to killings which might have taken place in northern Italy. They refer to Napoleon’s conquests throughout Europe.
I thought I had everything set up to do my blog talk radio show from Europe. We tested it from Washington. Everything worked smoothly. Spent several hours afterwards with Verizon to be sure we had it. Spent additional monies and made more changes. Verizon has failed me this year as it did last. I spent two hours this morning with three computer geeks at the largest communication store I have ever seen. It is all too much for me. Tomorrow night’s show is questionable. I will know better in the morning if it can go forward and advise.
That is the end of yesterday in Novara.
Enjoy your day!