Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ahhh, Italy!

Things here are going pretty well. The girls are still a bit wrangy, so I haven't taken them out as much as I would like, but it has been at least once each day. The space we are in works pretty well and there are a couple other families here that are nice to have around. There was going to be a family with Italian children here but they moved out before we got here, so that is a little unfortunate. I am sure we will meet them at some point anyway, through my Man's work. It kind of feels like a mix between a condo or hotel and a dormitory for grown-ups here. A games room with foosball and ping pong in the basement, cobble stone courtyard, gym, reception, our room has high ceilings, everything is tiled, european efficiency kitchens, and very quiet. On ourfloor there's one Portugese guy that my Man works with, one Italian he works with, and an American family, one of whom he works with. There is an Iranian family a couple floors down. They are all really nice. There have been all kinds of folks coming to meet with my Man from all over. Yesterday we played host to a fellow from Australia and today a guy from Colombia. Tomorrow there is a Spanish man who lives in Washington DC who is here, and who I will meet at some point. Kind of international in scope, hey?

This town is a third the size of Victoria, B.C. but feels so much more urban. The landscape doesn't seem all that different from the prairies where I grew up, but the use of it is so vastly different. All the buildings are brick or stoneand the roads are all cobbled with river stones or brick or large stone slabs. They are built all squished together in that very Italian way, with beautiful ornamentation on the balconies and doorways. The streets are very narrow (in the old town part that we are in) and seem to be smaller than North American alleyways, although I am yet to find a dead end. Traffic is quite restricted, but the odd car still zips down them at a tremendous pace, leaving us to press up against the buildings while also looking out for dog poo. There is quite a bit of that. Everything opens up a bit as you get out of the old part of town, and it is just a few blocks to the river side, where we have walked a fair bit. There is a large stone and brick covered bridge that is a replica of a medieval one that got destroyed in the second world war. They used a bunch of the original stones from the old one in the reconstruction. I my jetlagged stupor the other day, I went for a run at sunrise along the river and caught my breath in the middle of the bridge, it was beautiful. There is much less greenspace in the downtown old city than we enjoy in most North American cities (finding a tree in the downtown part we live in is remarkable), but I imagine that in the end it leaves much more room for countryside than we North Americans do with our sprawl. It could also be that I don't know the city that well yet, to have discovered all the good parks and such.

The church that used to belong to the monastery that became Car College, which is still attached to our building

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