Bethnal Green and a new mural

Friday, 16 November, 2018

I seem to be having loads of Torino hints in front of me. That’s so odd.

Chocolate in the kosher shop, Clapton
Chocolate in the kosher shop, Clapton
Great range of Lavazza coffee in Sainsbury's, Dalston
Great range of Lavazza coffee in Sainsbury’s, Dalston
On Bethnal Green Road
On Bethnal Green Road
Shrine, so Italian, on April Street, Hackney
Shrine, so Italian, on April Street, Hackney

If I were superstitious…

I had bloodwork on Thursday morning. Once upon a time they told us the old doctor’s office would be renovated or built over with a new office but this never happened. The offices are in such a drab old building and the interior isn’t all that much different, but there’s a lot of new technology. Maybe one day they’ll rebuild it. Meanwhile, the phlebotomist is the nice one, and not the mean one, so that’s a very good thing!

Somerford Grove General Practice
Somerford Grove General Practice

Opposite the doctors is an imposing 30s style buildingOpposite the doctors is an imposing 30s style building[/caption>

My plan after that was to go to a pop up bakery, check out a new mural I’d seen on Instagram, and then meet Krish for lunch.
Continue reading “Bethnal Green and a new mural”

Padova – a short visit

Thursday, 11 October, 2018

We had decided that on our way back from Venice, we could go to Padova (Padua). It’s a fairly short commute from Venice and on the route back, anyway.

While doing a bit of research about whether we should choose Padova or Verona, I found out some pretty interesting facts about the city no one really knows all that much about (outside of Italy).

It’s a small city  with under a quarter of a million people. Padova claims to be the oldest city in northern Italy (1183) and still has a lot of its medieval walls. Its university was founded in 1222 and had as a lecturer, Galileo. While Verona is the setting for Romeo and Juliet, Padova boasts The Taming of the Shrew. (How much time did Shakespeare spend in this region, or was it just a place name that captured his attention? It’s not known but it’s likely he would never have left England.) Padova hosts the second (after Bologna) univeristy. Founded in 1222,  Galileo Galilei was a lecturer there and Copernicus studied medicine (the university was  one of the best-known centres of medical education in Europe).

When Padova was liberated from German occupation in 1945, Padova went from being one of the poorest places in Italy to becoming one of the richest and most active in modern Italy. It’s now considered part of the Venetian area, along with Treviso,

We took a train that was just like the Go train in Toronto – a fast and comfortable ride. Padova’s station, for such a small place, is really large with 11 platforms, none of which were quiet. It’s not clear to me why it’s so large but from here you can travel to Nice, Paris, Geneva, Lausanne, Bern, Basel, Zürich, Schaffhausen, Innsbruck, Munich and Vienna. Impressive!

I was a bit surprised that the city looked very modern and commercial as we left the station. I was expecting something more charming. The charming happened as we walked along, though. I confess that I was pretty tired in the few hours we were there. We had walked all around the university area in the morning before leaving Venice, and I was seriously out of energy, with my legs feeling a lot of pain. In fact, if I had been left to sit on a bench for the entire time, I’d not have minded. But I would have missed seeing what I did. I took photos but my heart wasn’t in it as much. I was ready for the couch and Netflix back in Torino.

Tired of disappointing Italian offerings, we spotted a Chinese restaurant on our way to the University. It was packed with Chinese people – likely students? What did we have to lose? We had an extraordinarily botched up conversation with the lackadaisical young server. Three different things were delivered by mistake, including a large beer instead of the green tea we’d asked for. This wasn’t going well!

The students were inhaling the food. Did we order the wrong thing?
The students were inhaling the food. Did we order the wrong thing?
Called shrimp with chili and peanut, this gluey dish also had sweet peppers (ugh) and no peanuts
Called shrimp with chili and peanut, this gluey dish also had sweet peppers (ugh) and no peanuts
The Bacchiglione River with one of its many bridges. The ancient blends with the new
The Bacchiglione River with one of its many bridges. The ancient blends with the new
Church by the river
Church by the river
More of the river in a more upscale area
More of the river in a more upscale area

The university was a lovely old complex of buildings. As we walked through the main one, I thought of John telling me to breathe in the molecules – in this case of Galileo and Copernicus!

From the university we wandered through some very old porticoed streets. I had no idea where we were headed, and was just glad to still be upright – one foot in front of the other at this point. 

In many ways, Padova was reminding me of Bologna without all the red! More of a city but still with so many porticoes and students everywhere.

From this quiet area we headed towards the Old Town – the one place I really wanted to see while I was here. But on the way we went past the Palazzo della Ragione (the medieval Palace of Justice) This was one of the things I’d wanted to see and dates from the 13th century. It’s extremely difficult to photograph because it’s really large. With more time and more energy I’d have tried for a panorama but instead

And right behind this elegant building was the Old Town and Jewish ghetto. At this point I lost the will to do much other than take photos and sit on a step wishing I had more time and new legs. There were places I’d wanted to see but maybe another time and maybe only online. I’d missed the largest piazza in Italy – the Prato della Valle, a 90,000 square meter elliptical square. It’s described ass a large space with a green island at the center , surrounded by a small canal bordered by two rings of statues, 78 in all! Ah well.

And the ghetto was gorgeous, a real contrast to the Venetian one.

And then it was time to head for the station. Another long (or so it seemed to me) journey, all the while thinking I could just board that ‘unique’ tram.

The station was still lively and we grabbed some food at the Despar inside the building. Nothing too elaborate this time – a ham, cheese and tomato foccacia sandwich, some water, and some chocolate. Done.

Appreciation for the guy who played the Play-me piano!
Appreciation for the guy who played the Play-me piano!

Much confusion on the train and which platform to use, since as we arrived at the displayed platform, all indications were that the train was travelling only to Milan. it turned out that this was a delayed train with ours following it quite quickly. Relief reigned and we settled in for the journey ‘home.’ And home was what Torino was feeling like.

Lastly, there was a lot of wall art in Padova so I’ll choose some at random, ending with  what seemed to be a dominant fish theme. I’d like to come back here and see everything properly. Whether that ever happens, who knows…

 

Venice – the streets and the people

Tuesday to Thursday, 9 to 11 October, 2018

Yes, Venice does have streets! On some of them you can’t tell that there’s a canal anywhere close. And it has squares. Once you get away from the canals peace settles and there are mostly locals, except for the occasional tour group. There are no cars and the roads may be cobbled or made of bricks. There are many narrow alleyways, some lined with homes and others just passageways to the next street or square. And sometimes there are trees, and parks. With no roads, you don’t see stop signs, traffic lights, or vehicles of any type. What you do see are people pulling or pushing large carts from place to place. It’s a whole other way of life and I wonder how it feels to have been born into such a place.

There are lots of old, old houses. There isn’t really anything new. There are also lots of renovation works, old cavernous and dirty spaces where people are working to bring yet another space up to scratch. As you walk along the canals, if you look up, you’ll see fantastically large rooms with very high ceilings and, if you’re lucky, art and tapestry hanging on the walls, and even magnificent chandeliers. (I tried to photograph one of these but it was dark and the image was blurred. Krish said it looked like there was a Chihuly.

Pictures speak louder than words…

My failed 'Chihuly'
My failed ‘Chihuly’



And always laundry
And always laundry
One of many streets that end at a canal
One of many streets that end at a canal
Notice they are called Calles - spanish influence
Notice they are sometimes called Calles – Spanish influence
Sometimes there are old signs in the pavement
Sometimes there are old signs in the pavement
Trees!
Trees!
Some even with pomegranates
Some even with pomegranates

A park, with ruins!
A park, with ruins!

Little squares
Little squares

Big squares - St Mark's - yes, large and with a very impressive cathedral!
Big squares – St Mark’s – yes, large and with a very impressive cathedral!

Alleyways, passage ways, and entrances
Alleyways, passage ways, and entrances
Come in!
Come in!

And some street art. I’m not fond of Italian street art but there were a few…

An Alice (Pasquini) from 2010
An Alice (Pasquini) from 2010
I love the little street level cartoons
I love the little street level cartoons
Roomz had a few
Roomz had a few
Whimsical
Whimsical
And academic
And academic

As we left Venice, there was a nice farewell. While wandering around the University area of San Polo, an older man was engrossed with playing his violin-type instrument. Finally, a truly romantic view of Venice.

My Venice Chapters

Venice – canals and bridges 
Venice – doors and windows 
Venice – Food and shopping 
Venice – the Ghetto 
Back to Romantic Venice? 

Rain and Andy Warhol

Monday, 1 October, 2018 – 12C

Four weeks today since we arrived. Ouch! We’ve done a lot yet not a lot. We’ve resolved to never come to a hot country before October. But it’s spurred me to start filling in ideas on my October calendar. This week – free admission days to museums, dinner with Liat’s family, and my cooking day – on Friday.

One of the mosquito bites, on the back of my wrist, is very itchy and swollen. I’ve put a bandaid on it so I’ll stop scratching. I am now scratching the bandaid…

And it rained. And rained. And rained some more. The wind got serious. The air was chilly. The temperature dropped more than ten degrees Celsius.  We hunkered down but hoped it would clear enough since Krish wanted to go to a photography exhibit of Pop Art. And 1st October was a free admission day.

We put together a lunch out of what we had. No way to venture down to the market. We didn’t want to start our day already soggy.

The gallery is near Piazza Carlina. From there you can see the Mole looming. I heard that the NH Hotel Carlina has some lovely original features and also a wonderful staircase. I just feel uncertain though. When I get inside, there are three people in the unconventional reception area. I lose my nerve and can’t take photos of the interior.

Views of the Mole from the deserted square
Views of the Mole from the deserted square
The hotel courtyard - not too shabby
The hotel courtyard – not too shabby
Interesting history for the hotel building
Interesting history for the hotel building

Again, I’m not much for museums and art galleries so have a system that gets me through quickly but allows me time to look at something that may catch my eye. I can admire a painting or an artifact if it speaks to me and this exhibit, on pop art, may have more to say than most.  I cherry-pick what I look at.

Entering the exhibit
Entering the exhibit

Continue reading “Rain and Andy Warhol”

Shroud of Turin and Gran Balon!

Sunday, 30 September, 2018 24C

But first, another culinary note. Yesterday we decided it was time to give our local enoteca (wine shop with cafe) a chance. We pass it all the time but have never gone in.  I ordered russian salad (skipping the two pasta choices) and milanese. Krish had penne with ragu and also the milanese. The pranzo (lunch) deal is 12 Euros each.

Pranzo menu
Pranzo menu
Monochromatic lunch - Russian salad, Milanese with Cauliflower Gratin
My monochromatic lunch – Russian salad, Milanese with Cauliflower Gratin

It’s OK. We may go again. Simple food, friendly service, a no-brainer since it’s across the road. However, again we’re struck with how ordinary and unmemorable the food is, especially when I throw two salads together later in the day for dinner. Would the Italians think my food too complicated, too much going on? It’s also worth mentioning that there were six or seven people sitting on a larger table across from us. They seemed to be ordering everything on the menu and sharing the huge platters. Despite the overflowoing banquet, they swallow it all in record time and leave, empty plates everywhere!

My dinner. Asparagus with Chicken, Two salads - Pesto Potato salad, Beet with goat cheese and arugula
My dinner. Asparagus with Chicken, Two salads – Pesto Potato salad, Beet with goat cheese and arugula

I’m not a huge fan of churches unless they are rustic and unique. I don’t typically enjoy opulence or artistic piety. But then the Cattedrale di San Giovanni Battista (Cathedral of St John the Baptist, aka Torino Duomo) was supposed to be open for 3 Euros. Last year the Duomo was covered in scaffolding but this year construction is finished. It’s a beautiful and intricate dome atop an otherwise plain looking rectangle of a church. The looming campanile (bell tower) dates from 1470 and the church was built during 1491–98 . It would be unremarkable if it didn’t contain the chapel of the Holy Shroud, which was added in 1668–94.

The Campanile on the left, the domes of the Duomo to the right
The Campanile on the left, the domes of the Duomo to the right
Steps to the cathedral
Steps to the cathedral
Looking towards the altar
Looking towards the altar
Lighting my usual candle to Mum and Dad (centre fourth row down)
Lighting my usual candle to Mum and Dad (centre fourth row down)
Looking up to the smaller dome
Looking up to the smaller dome

There’s nothing to make me linger in here – the usual memorial statues and plaques, pews, banks of candles, an organ… but the altar is quite stunning, overlooked by a very large window, where I could see people looking down to where we were, and that’s where I need to head. Walking around, though, I couldn’t find a way in so supposed it was a separate entry – it was.

But this big window intrigued me, looking down on us. I need to get behind there!
But this big window intrigued me, looking down on us. I need to get behind there!

Before wandering outside, I saw a small crowd of people and hoped I could get in behind the window there but, no, this was the spot for the shroud. It’s displayed only once every 25 years unless the Pope is in town so I wouldn’t get to see it, but there’s an area for it and there was lot of genuflecting and crossing and muttered prayer – and the most candles! – going on in front of that thing. I stayed for a little while to read the prayer, translated in several languages. And then I left.

The Chapel of the Holy Shroud
The Chapel of the Holy Shroud

It seems the entrance to the cathedral museum is around the side so I went in there too. On the way in there are some pretty solid ruins, and I was told there are more inside. In the foyer, a very short and elderly lady with a badly curved spine wanted to talk to me but she couldn’t speak English so I was directed to another behind the counter. There was nothing about a 3 Euro entry but apparently I can come here any time for 3.50 so I decided that I would wait. Today it’s packed.

Ruins inside the Cathedral museum
Ruins inside the Cathedral museum

Continue reading “Shroud of Turin and Gran Balon!”