Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Canada Day, London, '08! Also: Back From The Continent.



There's some kind of bash in London's Trafalgar Square today, so I'm going to get the train in from Kent and see what's going on.

On Sunday I got back from a week on the continent. I flew down to Italy (Riva del Garda), and spent 4 days there. My friends Alan and Liz were there, so they took me to Venice for a day. Venice was a trip. I just liked being on the water again, and I could smell the salt air (the Adriatic smells like the Atlantic Ocean, fyi). I rode the bus all over. The busses, of course, are ferries. Trippy!

We went up into the Dolomite mountain range the next day. This was sea level to over 6000 feet in less than 24 hours. My ears were popping so much! It was beautiful up there - very Swiss. In fact, there was a lot of German spoken up there. We saw the region where marmolade was originated. (I thought this was kinda neat despite the fact that I don' like the stuff.) We were caught in a beastly hail storm. The hailstones were as big as marbles and we had to check the car to make sure there weren't any dents. Alan was driving and we went up and down a ton of ranges with hairpin switchbacks, populated by sturdy truck drivers and homocidal motorcyclists.

The next day I was going to ride a ferry all over Lake Garda, but in the morning I had some sort of George Clooney Proximity-induced fever and didn't go anywhere. Actully, I think it was the perfect storm of a lot of reasons*.

1) I had taken a prescription pain-killer
2) I drank my first cappucino
3) It was hotter than the third ring of hell

Whatever it was, I was pouring sweat, had shallow, clipped breathing, and lost all my strength. I called my friends to come get me and I slept most of the day in their cool hotel room. By gar, it was hot. My mother would have melted.

The next day we drove to a little town near Nuremburg, where, when I asked the girl at the hotel if she spoke English, she said not at all, so... there I was, 10 years out of Herr Zimmermann's German class at UPEI, and I was doing ok! I understood what they were saying and, even more miraculously, I made myself understood! It was thrilling.

I think part of what made me uncomfortable in Italy (and now that I think back to it, Turkey) was that I couldn't understand the language. I felt like one of those colonial pricks, come to enjoy the place but exploit it at the same time with no regard for the local culture except what could be represented in a 3x5 frame.

Anyhow. The next day we drove to Cologne, and we were there for 2 nights. This is because of a hug shopping centre nearby that my friends like to explore thoroughly. Who am I to complain? I got a couple of pairs of shoes and some trinkets, but didn't do a lot of shopping, really. I got to speak a lot of German, which was cool.

Then we took a ferry from Dunkirk, not Calais. I liked that a lot. In Beligium, we bought chocolates and Alan took me to a war cemetary. (Do people know that about me? I love war cemetaries and war memorials.) It was a beautifully kept little corner of the world, and there were soldiers there from all over (Scotland, England, Germany, Australia, Canada, and one lost soul from Egypt, whose marker, out of respect, was further away from the cemetary's cross.)

The ferry passage was about 2 hours long, and we went into Dover, like normal, so I got to see those chalk cliffs.

Now I'm here for another 2 days, and then down to Switzerland for the weekend. Then I'm back here for a couple more days, then home! Whew!

*Yes, I did intend to slip in that Clooney allusion.


Marilyn said...

Happy Canada Day Fern!
Glad you're having fun. Wish I could be there with you. I had to settle for fireworks on Parliament Hill, ho hum.

Anonymous said...

Hate to break it to you Ferno -- okay, no I don't -- but the Clooney has a house on Lago di COMO, not on Lago di Garda. . . I know this, cause that's where we met up for lunch when I was on my own recent jaunt through Italy. Ah Clooney. . . . he's just so beautiful. . . sigh. . .
Big (consolatory) hugs,

Catherine said...

Don't mess with me, girl. I bloody well know where Clooney lives! (I even used a hyperlink!) I was only 2 lakes over! THAT'S what I call proximity!

Anonymous said...

Ummmm. . . should I point out that your hyperlink directs us to a site about Lake Como, and not Lake Garda???


Catherine said...

No need to point it out - it was intentional. Are you insinuating that I was giving my readers too much credit to put together that Como is close to my destination of Garda?

Anonymous said...

No no no. . . I wouldn't DARE insinuate anything. . . I'm flat out *saying* that you intended to mislead your readers into thinking that you were closer to Clooney's villa than you actually were, and that thereby your relationship must be close as well. . . Shame on you. Proximity, shmoximity. . .

Love ya!!! Can't wait 'til you're home!!

Catherine said...

No. Since I stated earlier in the post that I was in Riva del Garda and the link was to where Clooney lives is Lake Como, I was not misleading. I was demonstrating its proximity.