Category: Europe

Based in Batignolles 4: Love Locked Down

Posted May 19th, 2017
Based in Batignolles 4: Love Locked Down

The novelist Federico Mocci (b. 1963) published a story in 2006 called Ho Voglia di Te (“I want you”), some variation on the star-crossed lovers theme, in which a doomed pair affix a lock to the Milvian Bridge in the northern suburbs of Rome as a symbol of their eternal devotion, and toss the key…

Based in Batignolles 3: Beyond the Pale

Posted May 13th, 2017
Based in Batignolles 3: Beyond the Pale

Apparently, our neighborhood does not exist. Consult a tourist guide like Eyewitness Paris and there is an empty white space where one might expect to find Batignolles.  The teal-green blob of Montmartre floats in a void separate from the colors that identify the other quartiers of the city. There is the 8ème and not much of…

Based in Batignolles 2: One Thing After Another

Posted May 10th, 2017
Based in Batignolles 2: One Thing After Another

Gounod’s Faust was the first opera I ever saw, and I saw it at Palais Charles Garnier in Paris in March 1970. As we ascended the massive stair forty-eight years later, studied Marc Chagall’s rainbow of a ceiling and gazed out over the loggia outside the ornate Grand Foyer, it all came back. I was…

Based in Batignolles 1: A Good American

Posted May 9th, 2017
Based in Batignolles 1: A Good American

What good American doesn’t dream of a pied à terre in Paris, especially now that we have elected Donald Trump president, lying, ignorant bully that he is, and the French opted for the rational and articulate Emmanuel Macron over harridan of the Far Right, Marine Le Pen? Not that real estate is cheap. We perused…

The Naples Jaunt 5: It’s My Birthday

Posted April 25th, 2017
The Naples Jaunt 5: It’s My Birthday

Everyone was celebrating my birthday. That morning bagpipes skirled nearby. When I logged in on the computer, I noticed that Google had lit eight candles in my honor. Or maybe for Hanukkah. And just as I started making notes for this post, fireworks exploded in the vicolo Pietro del Pesce, right by our front steps….

The Naples Jaunt 4: Mining and Minding the Past     

Posted March 5th, 2017
The Naples Jaunt 4: Mining and Minding the Past     

Ruins. Antiquities. The bones of the dead. Italy is a place where one culture layers on another, razing, reusing, raising new structures for new orders. Italy has commoditized her archaeological past since long before she was unified as a nation in 1860. Romans collected and copied works of Greek art. Greek, Roman, Egyptian relics were…

The Naples Jaunt 3: Swiss Army Knife Cooking

Posted January 5th, 2017
Swiss Army Knife cooking

I don’t want to be unduly critical of Casa Futura Retrò at vicolo Pietra del Pesce in Salerno, 2. It’s charming, decorated with a modern sensibility (and old photos of kissing couples in the bedroom). I love the gated stair with terracotta tiles that leads to the front entry. The space is lovely, with a large…

The Naples Jaunt 2: Downpour

Posted January 5th, 2017
The Naples Jaunt 2: Downpour

Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh! Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh!… Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh! Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh! … Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh! Rrrrrnnnnnhhhh! What the hell was that? Oh god. The doorbell. The guy from the bar downstairs with our double espresso, cappuccino, and a couple cornetti. What time was it? Must be eight o’clock, that’s what I told Francesca when she said first breakfast was a freebie. I felt around…

The Naples Jaunt 1: Getting There

Posted January 5th, 2017
The Naples Jaunt 1: Getting There

Surely these aren’t streets one drives a car down? I mean, it looks like this whole part of Salerno, the Storico Centro, has been pedestrianized. It was late, after 4:00. I texted Alessandro that we could be at the apartment Casa Futura Retrò around 3:30. Then got a message back that he was sick in…

Christmas Letter 2016

Posted December 13th, 2016
Christmas Letter 2016

Dearest all, I made the pilgrimage on my own, from our moorage on the Danube in Passau, Germany, up the Wallfahrtsstiege, the 321 steps to the Mariahilf.  I counted off the Stations of the Cross and contemplated the gifts people had left, pleas for help and expressions of gratitude. No one else was there, no…