Well there I was minding my own business strolling through one of the many gateways of Pisa, when I saw it. I was stunned. I had seen photographs, postcards, drawings, etchings, images both moving and still, documentaries, in fact all sorts of representations, but nothing prepared me for the reality that is The Leaning Tower of Pisa. I was stunned by its beauty, but most of all by the angle at which it seemed to threaten to crash down onto the square below. How it manages to defy gravity is for more scientific minds than I, but it is certainly a spectacle to behold. If you have never done it, go visit. Along with the Cathedral and Bapistry the plaza of Pisa, is an amazing site. There is not one straight line or right angle in the whole set of construction.
Now I was thinking of working in something about eating Pizza in the plaza of Pisa but I reckoned it would make a clumsy sentence, and besides, I ate pizza elsewhere.
The food in Italy is half the price it is in Nice, which incidentally is half the price it is in Dublin. So basically by European standards it's very cheap. At one restaurant, at the top of a mountain, at the end of the track, at which there was nothing else but this restaurant, four of us ate, pasta frite, which is deep fried dough, pasta with mushrooms, wild boar with a selection of fried vegetables, two, desserts and coffee for all, and two bottles of wine, which my host assured me were very rude, for the princely sum of 48 euros. Let me put this in perspective. As I walked along Rue de la Buffa with Joe Bagent today and my son, we stopped at a small eatery. We ordered a litre of wine, two plates of carpaccio de beouf, one dessert, two coffees, and the price was the same.
I am still off the cigarettes.
Not even a drag, a puff, a toke, a sniff, a pull, nothing. But I have started drinking pastis (finally). ?????
Italians are a funny people. They claim to be the best at everything. They are a very proud, beautiful open people, and their claim at being the best, is not so much a statement of arrogance. It's plain fact (in their opinion). This is strongly opposed to the French way of stating they are good at something, which is to ram it down your throat, so strongly in fact that you begin to wonder are they afraid of you finding out it's not at all true. The Italians don't have this fear as it just isn't a problem.
So imagine my surprise when I realise the leather market in Firenze, is not the only thing this particular town has to offer. You see it was only when my companion pointed out to me that the statue I was admiring was Leonardo da Vinci's David, that I realised I was in Florence. This town is a place of such architectural beauty, Italian simplicity and the worlds best and most definitely worst waiters, that I was completely blown away. I met one who during our meal spoke five languages one of them Gaelic. Yes I was impressed. I met another who didn't even bother to try and keep us when he was sullen in response to our simple questions. We left, he went back to watching TV.
The town boasts some wonderful Cathedrals, and craftsmanship of the highest order you wonder about the Italian claim of being the best and for a very long time, you don't doubt it. However they do hold their hands up when it comes to making beer and admit that horse piss is probably better. Their wine is stunning to say the least and perhaps lighter than many of the french ones I have tasted.
I thought a lot when I was there. It has been the first real holiday I have had where I wasn't coping with another family's politics or stressing out, or taking refuge,in about eight years, it was just a holiday. Broke and waiting to start my new job next Monday it was probably the best time it could arrive.
Funny for me then that the Italians play the Irish in a match amicale in Dublin tomorrow night. Even funnier to think that next year I will be able to fly home when I like and treat my son to what he wants. :)
We cut the holiday two days short to facilitate my ex as she couldn't find any one to look after my son. She couldn't cut hers short to facilitate me starting my new job next Monday. Why do I bother mentioning this? Well I might need a published record some time, but it is also to remind myself when I am older and wiser what an idiot I have been to get involved with a selfish individual, and also as I need to find someone to mind my boy next Monday, writing it down here is a stress relief in a way.
So the last month, I have found a very decent woman, spent lots of time with my son, found a real job finally, and learnt a lot about people who will fuck you up for a beer or a coffee and others who are real friends. That's life folks, at least I know I am living it. Thanks for reading and commenting. Back very very soon.
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