Dark November Days – digging out from the doldrums?

Friday 30 November, 2018

Doldrums for the weather and for my blog. Hopefully, the photos will tell the story of what’s been happening during this mostly dreary month. With any luck my ennui won’t show!

Taken early in November. The bark is going and the leaves getting sparse
Taken early in November from my window. The bark is going and the leaves getting sparse
Street art in the back streets of Dalston - ethereal, magical
Street art in the back streets of Dalston – ethereal, magical
A catfish noodle salad box at Bánh Mì Hội-An, Hackney Central
A catfish noodle salad box at Bánh Mì Hội-An, Hackney Central – Passable, cheap, not really a salad!

Behind the counter at Bánh Mì Hội-An, Hackney Central
Behind the counter at Bánh Mì Hội-An, Hackney Central

Continue reading “Dark November Days – digging out from the doldrums?”

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”

Rediscovering London – reflections 2018

Sunday, 11 November, 2018

This morning it’s raining. It’s been raining since yesterday mid-afternoon. It’s not the relentlessly heavy Turin rain but it’s a lot for London, along with the sometimes fierce wind. By 3:30pm it looks like twilight and the mornings are dark enough that I light candles rather than turn on the lamps. It must be November!

London feels nothing like Turin. The light, the architecture, the feel of the streets, the earthy smell here. It feels more mellow in Hackney.

It's 3:30pm and the light is fading. I'm concerned for how much bark this tree has lost
It’s 3:30pm and the light is fading. I’m concerned for how much bark this tree has lost
During the day the light is soft and the air smells of Autumn
During the day the light is soft and the air smells of Autumn

On Wednesday we wanted to go out but it was another rainy day. So it was Thursday when I decided to take a trip to Kings Cross to check out some venues for a Christmas get together for some colleagues. Continue reading “Rediscovering London – reflections 2018”

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?