Mese: Aprile 2020

Music for the people

There are a lot of things I do while listening to music, from cooking to shopping, from tending to my plants to painting. Of course, since I often travel solo, I wouldn’t go far without my palylist(s), so I decided to share a few of my top 10, all kind of vintage, favourite songs.

And of course now I feel guilty because I had to leave out tons of titles and artists XD

Of course I’m always open for suggestions, so if you feel like sharing your own playlists go on, don’t be shy 😉

Procida, the hidden gem of the Gulf of Naples

Terra Murata

I’m really glad to be back blogging about travels, today, since this was the original, and main purpose of this blog. Despite covid-19, the lockdown and all that jazz I still want to travel. A lot. Of course not right now, but hopefully in August.

Everything is still confused here in Italy, nobody knows when we’ll be able to move around the country, let alone the world, so it’d be unwise to plan a two months trip to Madagascar right now. Living in the south of Italy, anyway, has its perks. The three small islands of the Gulf of Naple surely is one of them. Anyway, Capri is a wonder of nature, but definitely pricey, Ischia is usually crowded, so this leaves me with Procida. Let’s be clear, it’s not a makeshift! Procida is an absolute gem, totally underrated and sort of secluded from mass tourism, thus worth a vist or ten.

Its colorful, still tied to tradition, and the scent of lemons is everywhere. Il Postino by the late Massimo Troisi was shot here, among its narrow streets and almost desert beaches. Btw, it’s a wonderful movie, I strongly recommend it.

Marina Grande is Procida’s main harbor. It’s a village of multicolored houses crossed by a network of alleys full of restaurants and artisan shops. On everything stands the walls of a 12th century building, and the baroque bell tower of the Church of the Pietà. Another lovely medieval village is Terra Murata, right in the heart of the island, it offers a wonderful panoramic view because it’s built on the top of a hill, and just like the previous village it’s made by .a labyrinth of narrow streets. The third small village you just can’t miss is Marina Corricella, a mix of Italian and Arab architecture, with domed roofs and balconies closed by masonry arches, that are reflected in the crystalline sea. The last time I went there I was just a little girl, but I remember the fishermen repairing their nets, and the smallest, most lovely restaurants ever. It’s not that I’m against progress, but I hope that charming atmosphere is somehow still there.

It nothing changes drastically, I doubt I’ll be brave enough to go to the beach. Not that Procida doesn’t have a few amazing corner of paradise, it’s just that I don’t think that keeping a reasonable distance on a beach (in August) is possible. Anyway, there’s another way to enjoy the nature, and that way is definitely Vivara. Basically it’s what remains of the crest of an ancient volcano, as of today it’s a moon shaped islet connected to Procida via a bridge. Most importantly it’s also a magnificent protected area. You can truly be in contact with nature, dive to admire the underwater archaeological finds or even do some whale watching. Dolphins are pretty common in the area too, actually it looks like one of the most important colonies of the Mediterranean Sea lives just nearby. I just hope that the unavoidable crowd of the summer doesn’t scare them too much!

Paint your quarantine – aka shameless self promotion

I spent a lot of the lockdown cultivating my artistic talent, assuming I have one. I actually had a lot of fun with pencils, brushes, photoshop and so on, and I also learned a lot. The amount of time I spent watching tutorial on youtube is almost alarming. I haven’t really discovered anything new, tho, I have been drawing since I was a child, I’ve worked as a graphic designer and I still do, but I never spent whole days painting just for fun, at least not in the last ten or fifteen years. Who’d have guessed that it would take a pandemic to unleash my somehow repressed will to make art! I suppose before covid-19 I was simply too busy with mundane, daily tasks. From this point of view I can consider myself lucky to have found such a constructive way out, which I hope will also lead me to something more in the immediate future.

Although I am completely sincere when I say that in times of crisis being creative and doing things with your own hands is the best cure ever, both for body and mind, I’m here to do some self-promotion and I won’t even try to hide this sad truth.
Let’s be honest, the lockdown has put a brake on every activity and we all need to reinvent ourselves a bit. Which is not a bad thing at all, in my opinion (but this is a story for another time), I just wish I had to reinvent myself in a lot less tragic circumstance.

Long story short, I’ve got a little shop on Red Bubble where I sell my graphics. I’d be simply delighted if you’d visit it and maybe even share the link.

Thank you so much, and stay safe.

China, I still love you

A few days ago I came across this video made by Chinese students in support of Italy amid the coronavirus outbreak. Maybe I was tired of my quarantine, or just a bit emotional, but after 10 seconds I started to cry. I don’t cry easily, many things move me but to get to the point of actual tears, well let’s just say it takes a lot. Anyway, I reached the end of this video and I felt somehow lighter, more serene, even happier and surely grateful. Probably I just needed an outlet for my worries, bore and so on. Anyway I wanted to share my relief and newly found positivity in the comment section but of course, of course, it was full of vaguely (or not so vaguely) racist comments and I thought, how could I’ve been so naive! How could I possibly forget that while most people, in this period, talk about union and solidarity, the ignorants are still out there, are still the louder, and are still eager to point the finger, anxious to find someone to blame. The fact that this someone is Chinese (or at least not white) is really the icing on the cake. I also thought, then, how it is possible that someone in their right mind could really think of blaming every single Chinese person for this pandemic? Almost two billion people, all of them guilty? Because obviously Chinese citizens have been very happy to get sick with Covid-19, die, close all their commercial activities and so on. So happy to the point that they wanted to make the same gift to us too, perhaps because Italy and China are commercial partners and Italy has a “communist” past which is also quite recent.

For my part, even in the remote hypothesis that covid-19 was actually created by mad scientists I have, thank God, still enough brain to know that the Chinese people have suffered as much as the rest of the world is suffering now. That a whole nation could not, in any case, be held responsible (and therefore punished), for the faults of a few. However, I still believe that this pandemic was just a bad, very bad accident, and since this is still a travel blog, let’s talk a bit about travel too.

As soon as it’ll be safe again, and as soon as I’ll have enough money, I’ll totally go to China. For the awesome landscapes and the ancient culture, but if this also spites the racists, well, it’s even better. Zhangjiajie and Avatar mountains, of course, will be part of the tour, but to see Lí Jiāng on a boat has been one of those things on my to do list since for ever. And what about Suzhou and Hangzhou? I’m literally drooling just thinking about it.

Obviously I want to see the Great Wall as well as the Forbidden City, I’ve never been against main stream attraction anyway, mostly because there’s a reason if they are main stream. Since it’ll be my very first time in China it seems only fair to start from the fundamentals. I have to say my confusion about the exact geography and distance between all those places is great, and of course I have zero idea about the possible connections. At least I’ve still got plenty of time to study a suitable itinerary.

In the meantime I hope everybody in the whole world is holding on. This will pass, we’ll travel again 🙂

The bubble

First of all, hello everyone, I hope you are doing well, whoever you are and wherever you are. Secondly, I’m going to let the steam out a little bit, sorry. 

Here in Italy Covid-19 is a little less violent, lately, and I’m pretty fine, all things considered. Somehow I’m even hopeful, at least on good days, yet the last time I left home was on March 3rd (I can order my groceries on line and have it delivered at home in a reasonable time) and I admit I’m starting to feel a bit claustrophobic. Also, uncertainty about the future has never been stronger, which of course doesn’t help, especially in a country were future was uncertain even before. Since the pandemic started Italy lives in a sort of bubble within which we wait, wait and see, then wait some more and during all that waiting it’s like floating in mid hair, not knowing if we’ll fly to the sky or crush to the ground. Although it’s common opinion that we will end up falling, but I am not yet so pessimistic

What exactly are we waiting for, then? I’m not sure anybody knows. An happy ending, probably, but we know it’s too soon for that. A cure? Maybe, that would be good but a cure doeasn’t stop you from getting sick in the first place. The most reasonable answer would be a vaccine anti coronavirus, of course, but there’s a lot of water that needs to be under the bridge before we reach that point. Between now and then there’s a big nothing. Personally, I know I’m waiting for something to happen, for what, exactly, it’s a tricky question. Until a certain point the highlight of the day was the 18:00 news where we’d know how many people got sick, how many healed and so on. Statistic on Tv are not so significant anymore, though, they don’t tell us what will happen tomorrow or the next month, they don’t give us a much needed deadline because of course a pandemic doesn’t really have an expiring date. It’s of course good to know it’s slowing down but it’s a fact that it slows down really slowly and there are no real guarantees that it won’t accelerate again as soon as the lockdown becomes less strict.

I can say my own personal bubble is pretty comfortable, though, also family and friends are ok so I really shouldn’t complain, not when we still see mass graves on TV and covid-19 in Italy still kills people by the undred. I try to keep myself busy, I eat healthy food, I exercise a bit every day and I’m learning a lot about watercolor, which is quite relaxing and one of those things I always wanted to learn, so this is at least a good thing. Same goes for paper mache, which is actually kinda tricky but still fun to do and learn. What I miss the most, though, is an actual motivation, a real purprose. Hobbies are a lot of fun and free time is a good learning chance, but I don’t have a job anymore and God knows when I’ll find another one.

Let’s say I can force myself out of a bed for a limited amount of days, and after 47 days I can congratulate myself for my own resiliency, but I’m starting to run out of ideas, creative energy and enthusiasm. I have always kept a high mood and a smile for everyone, even when other people didn’t have one for me, but now I’m a little tired. Needless to say, I am also very sad and disappointed because all my travel and working projects for the summer have gone up in smoke. Again, I know that I can’t really complain, and I swear to God I still have the capability to focus on what I have, not what I miss, but I’ve never, NEVER got along with any kind of constraints and feeling caged is one of the worst feelings I know. Also I have a controlling family, which totally doeasn’t help. In my small way I’m a traveller and every now and then I simply need to leave the nest, or at least to know that I will, soon.

I will always stick to the rules, of course, but I feel like the real fight starts now, and it’s all in my head.

P.S. There’s something I need to say about China too, and I will, very soon, so at least I’ll be slightly more in topic with the main theme of this blog.

P.P.S. The one above is my last watercolor, I shamelessly copied the subject from pinterest just to try my hand and I’m quite happy with the results 🙂 If by any chance you’re curious to check my creative experiments, please visit Art Scraps