A Travellerspoint blog

A day in Cremona

because distance always makes things clearer...

sunny 29 °C

There is nothing better than getting up in the morning, brushing your teeth, getting dressed and heading to an Italian train station.
Everyone is going somewhere, so many different directions. One look at the destination board and you realize there are so many places you can go. Napoli, Roma, Torino, Trieste, Venezia. Padova. Genoa. Anywhere!

And that is a metaphor for life, so you better start thinking about that change you're dying to make.
Pack your stuff and just goooooo. What could happen? Worst case, you go home.

So I'm on the Trenord, not exactly luxury travel, but as the train passed through the lush, green Lombardian countryside, I didn't care. My thoughts went as fast and were let completely loose. I forgot how good it felt to travel alone into the unknown and just the kilometers straighten out my mind. So much better than any therapy you will ever pay for. As long as you keep your eyes are open.

53 minutes later, I headed outside from the old -school station and was welcomed by a big city square that was drenched in the perfume of bushes, trees and flowers. It was fantastic. Coffee scanner eyes immediately spotted a cafe - lo and behold, an old Italian pasticcieria with absolutely delicious sweets, brioches and breads. I ordered a capucho and brioche at the bar and observed the local Cremonese sit back and enjoy a quiet, peaceful Sunday. How other countries could only dream of such peace and tranquility. One of the biggest things overlooked and under-rated by Italians today if you ask me.

I walked towards the duomo, because in Italy, you always ask "per favore, permesso, sto cercando il Duomo..."
Less than 15 minutes later, I found myself wandering small narrow roads, home to many terracotta coated homes that easily go back to the 18th century, surely even earlier. It was very charming and the stillness of it all was just what I needed. Everything in its place, where it belongs.

After walking down Via Manzoni (a patriot and very well known philosopher in Italy), I arrived at the main square with the majestic cathedral and the Bapetsry of Cremona with fantastic gothic art. Really a splendid site. There was a literature & music festival - readings from new books and cover songs by Italian artists - one of the books were about the childhood of an Italian journalist now living in Milan but grew up in Sicily in the 70's and 80's and tells about life among the mafia - the accompanying music was by a grudgy guy with an incredible voice singing The Beatle's "Come Together" - it was a fantastic performance accompanied by just a guitar, totally unplugged.
He's actually my friend's new boyfriend - what a way to get back on the horse with a great rocker...

Lunch was a no-brainer - not too many options for an urban dweller but how can you go wrong on a Sunday in Cremona? For a town that's crowned the violin-making capital of the country, every gelato, every panini is a slice of music!

And then, I chose to get lost. Literally.
I just wandered the alleys, looked inside the windows, admired the architecture, drifted into the churches empty of any living soul except myself and the presence of Jesus's spirit of course, sneaked in to little gardens, visiting a local art gallery, took photos of residential courtyards, deciphered interesting graffiti on the wall. And I had to pay my cultural dues - I visited the Stradivari museum, home to a great violin collection designed by Stradivari & sons. for ages in Italy. Truth be told, no orchestral performance is quite complete without it, adding drama and emotion to the dialogue between the instruments. Think Mendelssohn, Brahms, Mozart. Turns out, even the famous Henry Ford owned 3 Stradivaris himself even though he never really learned how to play professionally. The oldest on display dates back to about 1595, outliving the man who crafted it with his very hands.

It made me think - people don't live forever but what they leave behind can be fantastic. What are we going to leave behind?
What will I leave behind 30+ years from now? Words. Are words enough? ..

I still had some time to kill before my 5:30pm train back to Milan so I had a lemon & strawberry gelato and sat in the park, watching Cremonese families play, couples wrap themselves around each other and old people stand back, gazing at it all as if it were they themselves 'just' 40 years ago.

On the ride home, I reflected back on my day and life's recent events (withheld here) and watched the long stretches of fields unroll before me - and I felt better. Somehow, the only time I ever really feel free and myself is when I'm on the road, discovering a new place, alone with just myself, opening my mind to history and clearing eyes to new sights. It's so stimulating. Since I'm writing on a travel website, I'm sure that makes sense. But does that make sense? Some people find that very pleasure at home, in the convenience of their four walls. To me, though, that just sounds - so boring.

I'm going to take on more weekends from now on - perfect time in Italy for that. And you never know what the open road might bring.

Finally, today is Venus's transit, crossing the sun and supposedly visible this afternoon - I heard a really interesting sound bite on NPR today and recapped it here below - life, my friends, is all about timing:

It's all about time.

The next time the orbits of Venus and Earth will line up just so, the phenomenon will be visible to an unborn, completely new generation on earth.

We usually think in year long' cycles '- i.e. our dreams for a home, summer vacation, looking forward to the weekend so we can rest. The time horizon of our lives never stretches more than a few years. And then comes the Venus transit - these long time horizons aren't easy to digest in the framework of our lives, we don't have experience with these kinds of time horizons. And while the astronomical aspect of this transit isn't news, the celestial mechanics of life and the universe are an ongoing story.

We are so busy worrying about getting to work, securing a meeting with the boss, getting to school on time, etc. that we completely forget that time spins in many different cycles. The solar system continues on a steady dance made up of gravity matter and motion. The sky is the original clock - there are times and cycles that dwarf our own. This kind of reminder is very...timely.

Endlessly yours,

Posted by enoura 06:25 Archived in Italy Tagged art park town basilica music festival ancient duomo violins cremona stradivari trenord Comments (0)

Among the ruins

sunny 20 °C

For the longest time I couldn't write. By far the worst writer's block of all time. Even reader's block.
Barely 10 pages in and I lose total and utter concentration on the story.

I completely forgot what I wrote in my last entry though - more than two months ago!
I was incredibly strong there and somehow I lost my balance. That's what being home does to you and being abroad exposes you to.
Comes with the adventure package I suppose.

I'm surprised I can even write at this moment but it's about time
to put the mind to rest and the words to action. Might very well be that the best way to get over writer's block is to just start writing until one sentence begings to make sense.

It's crunch time at work with a lot of things going on and a lot of deadlines - if I make them, big score for Mr. Independent here (it is official by the way, minus the pension plan which turns out is a bit of a downfall for freelancers who want to be, well, free). Once again, proving myself and my abilites to bring in success and make it happen. The only negative (growing with time) is having no social work life. But that is the price of being independent and roaming the planet. Still, it is hard to complain while having the luxury of visiting an Italian city like Milan that has so much to offer every single day. You get to walk past churches, one which was built in the year 382 - yes the 4th century! - and somehow people seem to pass it as if it did not exist. Too bad we can't overlook our failures and even exes in the same way. You can see how everything here was built around already-standing structures that are hundreds of years old. They just took what they had and worked their way around it. That is the Italian way after all, isnt it?

It's a real privilege to walk among these sites and on streets paved so many years ago.
There is not one day when I don't stop to marvel at something.

And amid these incredible ruins, I'm trying to make a comeback amid my heart's own ruins. As if I didn't already confess my feelings before, I found the need to do it again! This time, I faced the demon and let out the three words just like that. First time I have ever done that in my life.
E V E R.

I didn't get the response you want to hear. I did get "I have feelings for you too but I can not be in love right now...too much going on in my life at the moment, too many troubles and issues I need to deal with..don't know when that will happen - in the near future, in the distant future, if at all."

Coming from a person who professed love twice I was surprised and yes, hurt. B/c you can't really trust anyone.
Masochitstic character of mine. Stubborn to the bone.

A friend of mine loaded me on his motorbike the next day and drove all the way to Lago Maggiore for some lunch and fresh air.
Cried all the way there but was a great call. It was a splendid day with boats docked along the lake, people strolling, the sun shining, the snow capped mountains glaring above. We had lunch in a little town called Stressa which was really tranquil and picturesque despite its name.
As luck would have it, his parents spent their first married night there. Great..

Glad I said what I did. I feel free.
What good is it to be pretend that you are a clean canvas - seemingly free of any signs of wear'n'tear, scratches, mistakes, loose fibers going almost unseen - when ironically, you are rather transparent and your faults can be seen without other colors to hide you. With this in mind, I chose to be the painted canvas, enclosed in the frame, with all the details right there for you to see it in broad daylight or total darkness and up close, hanging on the wall. Last card pretty much drawn! But that is totally ok because the only way to really know is to tell the truth.

He has a birthday this weekend - I decided no gift. No letter. Just a call.
Respectful and the very bare minimum I suppose although I wish I had the liberty to do more.

Whatever will be, will be. No tears welling up as before.
And without further due, I can not waste any more time wondering. Sometimes the mind wanders off thinking maybe something will change, maybe it will all work out, maybe we'll meet up and we can just be as before I said it all and everything will be okay. And it means the world to me but I can't let it matter anymore because I can't change anything. Nothing. I can only make a decision for myself right now.

I've kind of left him with all of this to deal with when I know very well that he can't (and maybe won't regard it in seriousness)
but I couldn't fight it anymore - sometimes the truth can be selfish.

So as I'm picking the pieces of my broken heart scattered all over this city - in little corners, small streets, broken pavements, packed cafes or heartfelt bistros - life is happening. Deadlines are looming. Work is calling. Responsibility is needed. Decisions have to be made. Exhibitions are opening. The famous Salone del Mobile is coming very soon. Daylight savings time. Wine every night. Heading into the unknown every day. People to meet. Food to taste. There is a life to live.

And my mom is finally coming to visit this weekend.
Really looking forward to showing her this city for all it has to offer.
I thought she might have the chance to even meet him. But there you have it, hope amid the ruins.

Posted by enoura 04:20 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Home coming

Timing is everything.

sunny 23 °C

Home. Again. Happy 2012!

Things are soooo much better. On my last day in Italy, the morning before my flight, I finally said all I needed to. I asked the questions. I made the statements. I let it out, made it known, exerted my powers, summoned the energies. It was so overwhelming to be able to finally say what I felt. I was so relieved from my frustration and disappointment.

I was told everything I needed to know; love there is. But I asked myself, is it everything? No.
Contrary to popular belief of believers and hopers, it can not save the world and make everything possible!
Because it's just not enough.

At this point in time, he is unable to give me the relationship that I am looking for, unable to sustain a relationship right now. For a long time, I didnt even consciously remember what that was. And being back home now, I realized exactly what it is that I want.

By saying what I had to, I just released myself and let myself go.
It was never going to be him to do it. He doesnt have the courage to let a dreamer like me go.

I'm now home, visiting only. I've been here one month now but it is one month that has done me so well. It's incredible how timing works and how everything happens exactly when it needs to.

Obviously, nothing has been decided and nothing closed but between myself and I, I have decided that I simpy can not afford to wait and want so much from this one person any longer. Can't sustain this! Simply can't contain it either; pushing aside all other opportunities in case he comes around and decides he is ready.

One month in, life has let me be alone, sleep alone at night in a nice big bed with fresh white sheets - just myself and I, I've had the time to absorb things said to me, realize behaviors, my responses, let the coins drop and be honest with myself - what it is I am getting and what I am not.

I tried to distract mysel with books but it didn't work.
I just let myself be and did nothing but work, took on yoga, walks on the beach and spent my time with people I love.

Step 1 - understood.
Step 2 - .... Almost 2 years when I have started this blog, I went on a journey. And two years in, life let me have the closure that I never got - because of timing. And not just closure, HUGE realizations.

The one who I fell in love with and inspired me to come to Argentina in the first place, was scheduled to arrive. We had dinner last night. Incredible how timing does its own in due course and how right now, the two of us are here, in the same city again. It's something you just can't ignore.

I had a really great time and felt so happy. Our time together is always amazing. And the immense attraction is still on fire like ever before. And we've grown. The timing of us meeting could not have come at a better moment.

This morning I realized that once again, just as this man was the key to my leaving on a journey (which I told him openly) that opened me to the world, he has now once again, reappeared in my life to give me a key again to show me, remind me, what it is that I DO WANT. All that is important to me in a companion, what it is I am looking for, where and how I feel comfortable. It is amazing!

It's so simple - I want the person that loves life as I do - someone who loves to eat, laugh, travel, take things lightly.
I know this, we all know this. But you forget along the way. But you sometimes overlook those small things that don't seem important once you meet someone who challenges you, doesn't let you be you.

Everything else is just too serious to also take things so seriously. I am unable to be involved with someone who is so tough with himself, that it is absolutely impossible to please or meet some grade of his satisfaction because of the fear that the things I might say or do will never be enough.
I can't do it . I can try, I can fake it for a certain period of time. But do I want to? Can I "sustain" it? NO.

Al I can say is thank you to whatever it is working to help me, to show me. Who knows, maybe all that visiting the Wailing Wall on a somber week day did help.

In the meantime, I've received 4 "when are you coming back?" text messages.

What now? I don't know. I just know that I'm happy for these realizations because they are in-cred-i-ble.

As if all this wasn't funny enough, I happen to be wearing a wristwatch again, first time since I was 14, and my cherry-colored nails on my left had are adorned with a click ring whose time has stopped at 14:30pm.

Posted by enoura 04:21 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

What they don't tell you...

after you touch Juliet's boob

sunny 10 °C

I have been a very foolish little girl. For a very, very long time. So foolish I am almost embarassed to keep writing.

You know how this blog is supposed to document the adventures of an anonymous me, wandering the world and turning it inside out to live it inside out. All these words that describe experiences, feelings, adventures, food, plans, etc. It's all words. In fact, if you really think about it, it all means nothing. It's calculated sentences that put together an idea, one after the other, and rarely does it ever really mean much. It means what I want it to mean - for you. Not for me. Because for me the experience is on another level.

And so, for almost a year now, I believe I have been fed words. Words of love and adoration. Words that include plans to be with me and share life's experiences with me. Plans for the future. Plans to meet my family. Plans to take me to a hometown. Plans for nothing. Absolutely nothing. I have been lied to. Right in the face. Bullshitted to no end.

It's come upon me very recently, these very days as I am here in Italy. I came back to do another short course in Italian and to see the status of my relations with one man. Which seemingly, quite clearly, do not exist. So many words. So many lies. So much crap for nothing. Useless, wasteful air containing words. I suppose it's okay. Because it means I can clear my time for other things, like cinema and classical music concerts which I have been so yearning to see with him together. How many times can you take a girl out for dinner. I don't want drinks. I don't want dinner. I want the real thing. I want to share a life with someone and I've been wanting to share it with someone who just can't and won't and doesn't want to. Quite clearly.

Remember when we had friends whose guys used to say "I'll call you" and they never did. And we always said "babe, he's just not that into you. He's playing with you. He's keeping you where he wants you." I have no idea how I got to be in that very chair. I took control of the situation two months ago, made the call and spilled the beans in a mature manner, making sure I was understood. I thought so. And that idiot in the chair is me today. The idiot who keeps believing 'no, it can't be', 'he really cares, he just doesn't have time right now', 'he's going through a bad period so give it space and have faith'. And without asking for anything at all, not even 30 minutes for coffee time, I am being promised things beyond the possible, beyond the desire, beyond the imagination and beyond reality. You wouldn't believe it at all.

And then I wonder, is it something that I've done and said to make these empty promises be said on his end? After all, I expect nothing. I told him I don't expect anything, that I just want him to hear me out. That I know he has priorities right now and there is no room for me in his life at this point in time. So he is proving my point very right. So clearly, I must have done something. And then comes blaming oneself. It's all by the book and according to every script. Just open another tab in your window and you'll find it. We all know it. But when we love and when we think we want something, we don't believe it.

They've told me to beware of Italian men. I knew they were right but I thought I could do it. Thought I met someone different. The foolish little girl inside still believes that she met someone different. Someone smack her. She's already been across the world and experienced this once before. But she does it over and over again.

I am writing truth though - nothing here is fake.
But it is sugar coated because if I have to say what I *really* am feeling right now, it would not be appropriate.

Know this though; I wake up, brush my teeth, color my face, get dressed like a proper, classic Italian lady and my heartbreak is out there, nestled out in the cold Milanese air, looking for warmth and to be hugged. I miss a hug. I really feel like I need a big, warm genuine hug. And it is nowhere to be found. Not out of self pity at all. Just a yearning for something real from someone who really cares. Someone who thinks you are wonderful.

He clearly doesn't.
I'm not *that* wonderful or intriguing or important to him; and now safe to say, unloved I suppose. Ouch.

Every day the slap across my face gets more sore so I'm understanding that its more real and one day maybe I will wake up all clear of everything.
I can not believe that this is what it's coming down to. I can't accept that this is the situation just yet. It seems so far and disillusioned from the recent events of my life when he showed up in Paris just like that. And spent the weekend in my home, in my bed, in my corner of the world, my refuge from him and everyone else, among my own friends. In my life, without any early warning. I tried to protect myself but it was just too fast and I needed to see where things could do, if there was still something there.

I passed a lovely park on the way to the library today. I went inside and sat on a bench to soak up some sun and I released my hands from one another to try and relax. And I reran the script of my life, starting from when I was a kid, and my dad used to tell me to jump into the pool when I still couldn't swim so well and I didn't trust that he would catch me. I thought he would turn around and disappear in the pool, or just forget one second later. I really was scared though that he wouldn't catch me. And he would get mad because I didn't believe him. So I pooped the party. I almost never jumped. I walked casually to the stairs that lead the way into the water and chose the safe route. I've done that many times since.
So it started with 'dad', the first so-called 'man' of my life. I ended up doing much of the same with others, in real guy-girl relationships. I looked back and saw that in almost every situation I have done the same thing: of not being able to trust, not believing I deserve more, shutting up and going with the flow, now asking for what I want, being unable to say NO or walk away from situations that did not make me happy because I just didn't know how to. And I still don't. Don't know how to let things go. And don't know how to let this guy go now. Because I still haven't said what it is I need to say. And if I look further, the only way I was able to tell my 7-year ex that I loved him was in a Valentine's card. Afterwards it was easier, but I have never said it to anyone else. Ever. Even when I was in love with every cell of my being.

I'm afraid to say 'I love you' and then you'll just disappear. Like my dad did. 13 years ago. He dropped me off at my friend's house one night, touched my cheek, said "I love you. Take care of yourself, have fun and be happy." and I ignorantly got out of the car thinking 'damn he's weird'. He was saying goodbye. He died the next day playing soccer - collapsed after 10 minutes and gave way to a severe cardiac arrest.

Apart from my ex, he is the only other 'man' that has ever loved me I believe.

So you see, psychology is right here. I solved it right here, right now. I just realized this by writing.

And voila, here I am. Winter. Italy. Which only means *even* *more* pastas, aperitivos, risotos and pizzas. How absurd that I can barely bring myself to eat at all. I've found myself cutting pieces of bread to smaller pieces so I could at least swallow them. My sadness and disappointment over this love affair is far greater than it should be or has any right to be. You can be sure that he is not suffering or thinking at all.

I'm working from the famous Sormani Library, full of people reading newspapers as if their life depended on it but nice to see the Italian population so interested in their national news. Seems that for once, many more are engaged in the events of this country recently, or actually in the last two decades almost since Berlusconi appeared. And yes, culture and art and nightlife are all somewhat a part of my time spent here, but I can not bring myself to share at the moment. I will when I'm ready. Give me time. I just needed a place to vent right now as I sit in this library, supposed to be working but consumed. But I realized something important sharing this with you.

And for the record, what they don't say after you touch Juliet's boob in Verona is that afterwards, things can get a bit...sore.

Posted by enoura 05:42 Archived in Italy Tagged winter culture travel life love italian pizza milan course memory pasta Comments (0)

How Juliet's boob touched my life

sunny 28 °C

Almost three weeks in to pizza, pasta, vino, prosciutto, bread and real macchiato.

Every morning my friends at the cafe outside of school greet me with a smile, a kiss, a heart-sprinkled coffee and a Facebook friend invitation, the latter of which I elegantly decline of course. One of them is old enough to almost be my grandfather, after all. But it's sweet.

Italy is treating me so well. People are kind, welcoming, friendly and inviting. I have met really nice people here, some of which will surely become friends for a long time. No matter where I go solo, within 30 seconds I am never alone. It's the only country where I've encountered this.

I ventured to Verona with my room mate and a friend from class. The three of us head out to check out the site of Juliet's house where only I took a photo grabbing her boob - apparently for good luck. We made a wish, signed on the wall, took pictures with combination locks symbolizing people's hearts. The amount of people there is absolutely unbelievable. A museum of her house and the balcony that still stands marks the place where the two lovers secretly met. I have to admit, it is quite captivating and romantic. So I made a wish in my heart and moved on.

We went to an old vinoteca in one of the alleyways that turns out is a historical site of Italy. Delicious mortadella sandwiches filled our stomachs alongside Italian white wine. We couldn't leave for 2 hours. One of the guys that works there seemed to have been very charmed by our questions and curiousity so he took us down to the cantina. It was amazingggg.

Every story had a 'saldi' sign and couldn't resist. I indulged. And I enjoyed every moment of it.
And I indulged more. Pizza. Ice cream. More wine. Afugatto. I love it here.

My Italian is also getting so much better.

The following day I spent solo, walking around Milan, licking off yet another ice cream, bought the Sunday paper and by evening I found a spot at Radetsky (one of my favorite aperitivo places). Drinking my 'spritz' (Venetian drink), I minded my own business, admired the people around me and let the clouds above me sprinkle rain over my head. It did get a bit challenging to sit outside at some point, but at that point, I was already adjoined to another table with a guy wearing a "Katz's Deli" t-shirt. Three Spritz later, he and I had another drink at a place by my apartment and continued chatting. Actually it was mostly me. He just sat there with his eyes twinkling - I swear it's true. It even continued last night when we were having dinner.

Since then, we've met up a couple of times. He is a nice man though no sparks on my end. He tries though it's not working for him. He wouldn't be a man if he didn't try, right? Yesterday we went for dinner and he asked what wine I want so I told him "a good white wine, I trust you." So he put the menu down and said "yes? you trust me?" And I said "yes, only with the wine though. Not with anything else!"

He was a bit taken with that line but it's true. His intentions are clear and so are mine. I don't trust anyone with my heart that belongs to me.
There were three nice Italian men sitting next to us, I chatted them up as my friendly-side always does. Turns out they are Sicialian, from Palermo. Their accent was present and it was so great to speak to them! I had a great time. While this guy sat across from me, again eyes sparkling and twinkling like I put him under a foolish love spell or something.

A couple of days ago I went to see an exhibit of Russian Contemporary Art at the PAC Museum by Park Palestro. It was truly brilliant. It was pouring outside so it was a great excuse to stay indoors and take advantage. The artists used materials from Russia; so, recycled steel and iron sheets from gates, train tracks, etc., plastic material, cardboard and even car tires. It was such a unique way of using Russia's industrial resources to create art. Loved it.

Also visited Palazzo Reale to see the photography exhibition of Bob Krieger. The exhibit is housed in this beautiful palazzo where some of the rooms are stripped naked of overhead ceiling decor and frescoes from years that have passed, uncared for. It is actually a work of art to look up and see this incredible site. I dont know what struck me more - the exhibit or the venue. Huge chunks had obviously fallen and were never replaced. All around the huge chandeliers, is the outline of the decor that once was and is now gone. The exhibition was a nice time travel to the 70's and 80's when Giorgio Armani was young and handsome and models of the 80's posed in mega shoulder pad styles.

And now, backtrack.

Last week - Tuesday, July 19, 2011. I was sitting at a cafe working when I saw *him*. He walked passed me and stopped as if he knew I was there. He just stopped outside the window, exactly where I was sitting. I think Juliet's boob worked. Destiny woke up. He was in utter shock. "Arent you going to ask when we can see each other? When can I see you? - he asked me. My heart was in an internal washing machine.

Next day he called, we discussed something tentative for Thursday.
I was playing a bit of hard to get, 'we'll see, might not be here this weekend, etc.' So he said 'okay, well if not tomorrow and you're gone this weekend, then we'll just have to do it next week.' Regardless we agreed to text and let each other know the next day.

Thursday, we met. My room mate and his friend later joined. Amazing night. I held back as best as I could and remained cool.

Friday, left his arms in time for class. He said "I'll call you later, okay?"

Tuesday - a text finally comes in - "send news please".

What Juliet and her boob have done to me is all I have to ask.

Posted by enoura 22:59 Archived in Italy Tagged art verona house milano palazzo contemporary russian pac juliet's vinoteca reale radestky aperitivo Comments (0)

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