28 June 2013

L'Aquila Four Years Later

L'Aquila, the capital of Abruzzo, where I live, experienced a 5.8 earthquake in 2009 . The epicenter was close to this ancient and beautiful city and left 300 dead and 40,000 homeless as well as a devastated city center that remains closed to residents to this day. It's hard to imagine how large and elegant L'Aquila was and the extent of the disaster for residents, students at he university and for the economy of the province. Then Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi vowed to reconstruct this vital city in six months. Four years later, the only work done is the placement of scaffolding around the buildings.

On a recent visit I marveled at some intact structures or facades while all around was damaged.

There's a heartbreaking photo posted of some of the caskets from a joint funeral.

And handwritten notes left by former patrons on the door of a favorite cafe now closed.

One of the churches had scaffolding on the inside as well and was open to visitors.

It's hard to grasp the enormity of the loss of this capital, this historical and cultural center, this educational and commercial center. It's hard to see it left in this state of abeyance. It has the third largest piazza in Italy as just one of its many piazzas and elegant buildings and villas among its historic places.

Tours are now given to witness the devastation. I could see glimpses into houses, their doors ajar with dishes on the table and photos on the shelves. Residents have not been allowed back. Lives suspended.

There's no shortage of finger pointing to assign blame in the lack of progress in reconstruction. But it's the more personal side of this enormous loss that was evident at every turn. This large and formerly lovely city, the province's capital, with no people. Add this to the strangely elaborate scaffolding and it was eerie and profoundly unsettling.

26 June 2013

Into The Mountains

This past weekend was too perfect not to travel to see new vistas so when my Honey and I were invited by friends to a luncheon up in the mountains about an hour and a half from where we live, I jumped at the chance. A tiny village in the Majella Mountains called San Lorenzo di Beffi was our destination. The drive was glorious and we made frequent stops to admire the views.

The last remnants of snow were visible in the rock crevices.

The restaurant of the Inn which was our destination stayed cool naturally as it was located downstairs in an ancient building now remodeled but with its characteristically vaulted stone ceilings intact.

The Inn itself is called La Corte Locanda (The Court Inn) and the original structure was built in the 1700's.

We decided to stay the night and enjoy the lovely grounds and warm hospitality of our hosts as well as the company of our good friends who also stayed over. Next morning we enjoyed the pool and the sun.

The property had many little spots to catch some shade since the day was hot even in the mountains.

We walked around the area and saw first hand the damage done to local buildings in the last big L'Aquila earthquake in 2009 (just before we moved here). The Inn had been renovated a few years previous to it so it wasn't damaged but their neighbors are mostly gone and homes abandoned or unoccupied with scaffolding around them. The Inn and restaurant have been seriously impacted nonetheless since people in the surrounding area comprised a large part of their business.

It was such a relaxing interlude that it felt longer than a day and a half. I came back refreshed and appreciative of my home in this little corner of the world but more aware of how long the earthquake recovery is taking.

23 June 2013

Cittá Sant'Angelo, My Fair City


To enjoy on this summer Sunday- a video by Bruno Rugiere with scenes from my lovely, medieval town, Cittá Sant'Angelo in Abruzzo, Italy.

16 June 2013

Home from Paris

The delights of Paris this trip:

Time with long- term friends, including time to talk about our contribution as elders. We're chatting and laughing at the amusing directions being given by the friend of the woman talking the photo for us.

Roses in bloom everywhere to make Paris even more gorgeous.

Special treats that we savored to mark the sweetness of the occasion.

A Vivaldi concert in a beautiful church with amazing acoustics. It brought my friend to tears.

Two art exhibits (Chagal and Boudin) in separate and lovely venues.

This is the reason I wanted to live in Italy- the opportunity to go to places where I and my friends want to visit. The combination of beauty, history, music and art fills me up and grows me as an elder by expanding my world view and awareness. To share all this with friends since the 80's who can check in at deeper levels, is rare and altogether satisfying.

10 June 2013

Travel to Paris

I head to Paris today to spend five days with my friend, Annee, and a friend we worked with in California who's also visiting. It will be a time to catch up with friends, share stories of our past, see more of Paris and even have a romantic rendezvous with my Honey, who's there teaching a program this week. Getting to do this is another one of the perks of living in Italy for these four years and adds to a long list of things for which I'm grateful. Travel to the rest of Europe is easy and since I didn't travel in Europe as a young woman, I enjoy doing it now. A lot. And Paris? How can I not love Paris?

(taken in Notre Dame Cathedral on my last trip to Paris)

03 June 2013

The Choice That Has Made All The Difference

In younger days before the strife
I sought a tall and mighty oak.
But when I had my share of life,
I closely listened to how he spoke,

To how he treated young and old.
And chastened thus by asking why,
I learned my lesson without it told,
And chose, instead, the clear blue sky.

In the labyrinth ways that only poetry can travel, this was inspired by Shay in her Word Garden by her poem: " In The Place Where I First Heard Your Name". It's a beauty, as is much of Shay's poetry, so check it out. It's offered for Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads Open Link Monday and is about waking up enough to choose my Honey. It's dedicated to him, also, because he lost his sister to breast cancer six years ago yesterday after caring for her tenderly and is missing her. He's a dear man. I took the photo on my way up to our town.

02 June 2013

Hawk Squawk

If you'd like a treat, check out my daughter's blog: Following Spirit to track the story of Mort the Hawk whom she and her family fostered after he fell out of his nest. He fledged this week and looks handsome with all his feathers. She posted videos as well as photos from his downy chick stage to now. She lives in Trinidad's rainforest and gets involved in some interesting adventures, including this latest one. Your kids or grandkids will like this series since my two grands, ages 10 and 7, are part of the story. Enjoy.