Saturday, January 29, 2011

La Nebbia

The Ferrara fog. It covers the city almost every morning in winter. Before I experienced it myself, I met a girl from England who now lives here and told me about it. Of course I thought, "how depressing" but she said in her lovely British accent "no, it is really quite mystical". She's right... it is eerie and mysterious to see all these centuries old buildings bathed in fog. Mystical is the perfect word to describe it.

So I've tried to remember that and as my hair is limp and plastered to my forehead from the fog, I repeat to myself... "it is mystical, it is mystical, it is mystical". When visibility is really low, the children and I play "guess what that is" while walking to school. Someone points out something and we try to guess what it is. One time we guessed sign and it was actually a dog.

These tricks work pretty well until mid-January.  By then, I am desperate for the sun.  Last year during the fog, I ordered a bunch of spring clothes in bright yellow.  Of course I never wore them.  I don't wear bright yellow but in the midst of the fog, I seemed to forget that.  This year, on day 16 of no sun we booked a trip to the Canary Islands (Spanish islands off the coast to Africa) to go lay in the sun for a few days.  Luckily, this week, the sun has appeared.  Who knows what we would have done next.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vado a Bicicletta

It is becoming increasing difficult to think of things to blog about because life in Italy is becoming increasingly normal to me.  Don't get me wrong, it is wonderful, but I'm just not noticing the things that are different anymore.  For example, I didn't think anything was strange or different about the way I get around now.  I'm simply doing as everyone else does... but when my family was in town, they were a bit surprised.

Driving in this city is less than ideal and parking is even worse. Within a few months of living here, I already "bend the BMW" as the Italians say. So last year I walked everywhere because I had a two year old in a stroller. (If you have ever tried to shop with a two year old on the loose, you understand why I needed that stroller.)   Even when my two year old needed stitches, we walked to the emergency room.  It is a few blocks from my house and there is no parking at the hospital. 

This year, however, I have joined all the other Ferrese and I go by bike.

Ferrara is the city of bicycles. The number of people biking here is among the highest in Europe. I'm not talking about Sunday afternoon leisurely bike rides. No, this is a way to get from A to B. It is common to see 80 year old women loaded down with shopping bags, whizzing past you on a bike. I often see people smoking a cigarette and talking on the phone pedaling down the street. People eat gelato while riding, teenage boys ride with their girlfriend on the bar in front and kiss while they ride down the street, people ride with their dogs in the basket. I've even seen a waiter in an apron biking while balancing a tray of espresso. This all used to amuse me, but after living here so long, it all seems quite normal.

Outside of the train station:

When I take the kids to school...

Saturday morning in centro...

On the way to dinner with my husband...

Sempre a bicicletta.  (Always by bike).  It is actually faster than driving but I'll be honest, the biggest advantage is that I can wear heels again. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sono Qui

I can't believe it has been almost a month since my last post.  It has been a wonderful, but very busy month.  December is absolutely lovely in this city and I spent most of the last month just enjoying it instead of writing about it.  The city is busy and bustling with everyone out bundled in their furs doing their Christmas shopping.  Seriously, it is like living the Christmas song "Silver Bells".  Right down to the bells in the bell towers ringing while strolling the outdoor Christmas market.

We've had family in town and enjoyed cooking big meals and talking over wine, shopping, a trip to Venice, a trip to Verona, a night out with an eight course dinner... I've been to Sorrento, the Almafi Coast, Naples, and Pompei.  So much to write about but first I must catch up on the mundane things I've been ignoring.  Like two weeks worth of laundry to plow through one 2 hour load at a time.  Stay tuned.  I might be finished by February :)