Giubbe Rosse

There are coffee shops and then there is Giubbe Rosse.  Giubbe Rosse has been a jewel on the south side of Piazza della Republica in Florence since it was founded by the German Reininghause brothers in 1897.  I can imagine the Florentine’s marveling at the bright red jackets of the German waiters.  I am quite …

10 Mighty Euro

Small Italian businesses hate making change.  The shop owners are squirrels hoarding coins and burying them away.  Innocently producing a paper bill can be trauma inducing.  Who can blame them?  A trip to the bank here is a nightmare.  You will age about 20 years waiting for help.  And while you are sitting there, you …

Secrets

Florence exists in layers.  It takes a lifetime to peel them back.  Yes, like an onion, she can make you cry.  The veneer of the city is best admired by gazing down at the city from San Minato al Monte.  The Romanesque gem has stood watch over Florence since the 11th century.  The first time …

Io Sono Qui

Italy is essentially a study in duality.  A gorgeous veneer blankets a sometimes grisly reality.  Allora, if I may throw us right into the depths of a bureaucratic abyss?  The American Consulate’s website here in Florence specifically says that Americans can remain in Italy for 90 days as tourists with no need for a permit …

A Few Final Farewell Farewells

If you don’t mind a mind blowing rhetorical trick.  Two words, both the same, one is an adjective and the other a noun.    It is a polyptoton.  Fitting for my fixation on farewell.  Curtain calls are not the time for subtle alliteration.  There quite simply is no time.   I have been a Virginia for …

The Bastian

It doesn’t matter if you are an adult.  When you set out on an adventure the age old adage, trumpeted by the well-meaning choir, is “have fun but, for Christ sake, please be careful”.  You just never know what might happen if you behave badly.  Actually, I do know. In 1845, Heinrich Hoffmann published “Der …

Danger

Ah yes, the infamous billowing red flag.  Danger, high surf and/or strong currents.  Warning. Risk.   There is the possibility of danger everywhere, but in no other capacity is a lifeguard flying down the beach on the back of a 4×4 gator and jumping over the dunes, David Hasselhoff style, to hoist flags letting you …

Can’t Beat the Heat

My morning ritual in Florida starts by sauntering across the stone floor in my Lisa Simpson socks straight out to the back lani to observe the temperature.  Over 80 degrees at 8am, I make a face like I ate a lemon. 90 percent humidity, I make expletives.  This of course causes me to immediately break …

Endless Summer

In childhood, summer lasts for eons.  This summer is different.  For the first time in my cognizant life, there is no back to school looming on the horizon.  No classroom to fill as a student or as a professor.  All of the transitions are making for protracted, eventful days in an ever changing environment.  This …

The Life Altering Power of Pigs

Pigs are majestic. You heard me right. 600 enormous, lumbering pounds of majestic. I have no pig fascination start date.  Yes, I have always loved Miss. Piggy. That lovable, complicated, firecracker of a pig, taught me all of the useful French that I know and how to karate chop with the best of them. I …