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Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Walk in the Sunshine

This is where I go and take my Italian lessons. I decided to walk the 3km back from Italian on Wednesday because it was lovely and sunny and I didn't have to pick up Reese for another 2 hours. I had my camera with me so this is a little photo tour of my walk home :)
The Bridge going from the Italian class, over the road and into Milano Tre
These awesome little ponds are dotted all over Milano Tre. Its this village(complex) that is all apartment buildings and they all look the same so its rather easy to get lost in there!! Its HUGE though.
Scuola di Materna- one of the Italian elementary schools
Near one of the gigantic green spaces that are found all over Milano Tre too.
A meeting place, with the stone circle seating, you can see the buildings in the background. 
The green space again. 
And more...it reminds me of Central Park in some ways, just not as big.
The fountain and pond near the stores/restaurants. Reese likes to watch the turtles and the ducks that live in here!
The chinese restaurant on the corner and then the stores that make up Milano Tre
I seriously LOVE fall. This was just off the path on the way back to Basiglio
This one is complete chaos, but I like it for some reason so here it is :)
working on the closeups
More artsy shots
I like the bokeh in this one, that's the blurry background for those of you that don't obsessively read photography stuff like I've been doing!!!!! And a MAPLE LEAF!!!! They are everywhere here and it makes me so happy when I see them, silly Canadian!
Those helicopter seed things
Such a busy path. 
The field across the stream where people take their dogs and leave them off leash. Down a road near here I think I found where the Italian teenagers have their bush parties ;)
It's so pretty here! I'm glad we're living out in the "country" rather than right in Milan. I like going into Milan and wandering around but there is definitely something to be said for walking past sights like this on your way home from class :)
MOUNTAINS!!!!!!!!!! I was so surprised to see them as we drove to class. It doesn't often get clear enough here to see them this well. 
I love this little path, just behind me is the Basiglio Madonna
Seriously I could be at home in this picture!!!! The grasses and the corn field and the barn, with mountains in the background!
Italy.....or Alberta :)
The entrance to Basiglio. If you follow that road straight it curves and then takes you to the Piazza, which is where all the action is :)
Another street on the way to my house.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Italian Drivers....again

So I know I've mentioned it before but the last few weeks have made me even more aware of how truly TERRIBLE the driving situation is here. Any of you who have ever had to drive with me know that there are quite a few habits that other drivers have that I DESPISE. (Lauren if you're reading this, you are well versed in my road rage!!!) For example:

1. When driving on the Autostrada(highway), Italian drivers like to keep their options open in case a faster lane opens up and they can zoom off into the sunset. Unfortunately they do this by driving their car half in one lane and half in the one they might want to go into at some point. This means that if you are driving in the lane that they may or may not want to go into then you are forced to slow down to avoid running into the left back portion of their bumper. Your options are then to beep(which generally does NO good), creep closer until they finally see you in that thing they call a side mirror(this is assuming they actually HAVE one left on the car) and they move back into their lane, or undertake them in one of the other lanes if its not jammed up with gigantic trucks driving nose to bumper. I generally opt for undertaking, or creeping up closer which I HATE doing because I dislike driving so close to someone at that speed. Then I usually give them a very Italian hand flick gesture which seems to mean "You are a total idiot get it together" and I gun my little Fiat 500 past them :)

2.When someone overtakes you here(usually on the highway) they seem to find it necessary to cut back into your lane as CLOSE as they possibly can to your front bumper. This nearly gives me a heart attack EVERY time they do it as it looks like they are coming right into the side of your car. Now one would think that they do this because a Ferrari or an Aston Martin or some fabulous car is flying up behind them but no.....generally there is no car to be seen behind them, its just the way they roll here!! And it's REALLY annoying.

3. The roundabout. Commonly called a traffic circle in my neck of the woods. Now roundabouts can have multiple lanes in some of the bigger ones, but around here they generally consist of two lanes. You go into the inner lane to go AROUND the roundabout to a second, third or fourth exit, moving to the outside lane when you want to exit. Its confusing at first but QUITE simple really once you've  done it a few times. Except for some reason the Italians seem to think that they can just create lanes in the roundabout so sometimes there will be a third, and even fourth lane going around which just causes complete chaos. Then they also like to just ignore the whole right of way thing that most people driving in the roundabout get, and they just drive into the mix expecting everyone coming around to stop because hey if you don't you'd t-bone them. THIS makes driving in a roundabout here rather stressful since the usual rules apparently do NOT apply!!

4.The Shoulder....aka The ambulance lane.  Here they have a great little system of electronic sign boards on the roads so if there is an accident ahead you know about it and you then understand why the traffic is backed up. SO....deciding that you are more important than everyone else and cutting into the shoulder to drive and then NOT getting out of the way when the ambulance responding to the accident is flying up your ass is absolutely unforgiveable! It makes me see red, NOTHING gets me more annoyed than people blocking the way of an ambulance. I could go on and on...and to be fair this is definitely NOT just a problem in Italy, Canadians in their big stupid trucks are just as bad!

5. The parking situation. It seems to be a "thing" here that they all want to park as close as possible to the entrance of a building because god forbid we have to walk 10 steps further to the open space 5 stalls down. I was keying something into my GPS, it was pouring rain out and I had just gotten into my car at the metro station. There were lots of spaces further out from where I was and someone had the nerve to beep at me TWICE to inform me that they were waiting for my parking space! This annoyed me so much that I shut off my car and gave them the "Italian hand gesture"  in a very annoyed way and they gunned it off down the parking lot to park 5 spaces away.........SERIOUSLY.

Wow...well that might be it for now!! I feel much better :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Swiss-A lesson in efficiency

So Switzerland was amazing. From where we are living we only have to drive an hour north and we hit the swiss border just after Lake Como on the Autostrada. We took our passports just in case they wanted to see them since Switzerland is NOT part of the EU. No one asked us for them though! We had to pay 40 Swiss Francs, 32 Euro for a road tax sticker that is good until the end of February. I can see why they make people pay this though because their roads are brilliant and the Swiss tunnels are perfect. There are exits clearly marked all the way along, SOS phones, its clean, well kept and thoroughly organized. Nathan and Claire said that these tunnels are all over Switzerland, apparently the Swiss like their tunnels. We took this little trip to Switzerland to meet up with my cousin Nathan and his wife Claire who live in Zurich but were down for the weekend to a little village called Ascona, near Locarno on the north shore of Lake Maggiore. It was BEAUTIFUL!!!! They were staying at the Eden Roc hotel which was A-mazing! Ascona was gorgeous, nice little lake front cafes, the lake itself was clear and looked like it would be a blast to swim in during the summer. The mountains had snow on top of them(which we were VERY excited about!)
Apparently the yellow signs all over the place were walking signs, telling you how far it was to walk to different destinations, transit, tourist areas, or the next town. There were bike signs in a different colour. Basically the Swiss are SUPER efficient and everything is brilliantly planned out. Nathan and Claire said that this was the way it was all over Switzerland. How amazing would it be to live in a society where everything actually works like its supposed to and the government has gone out of its way to make travel and getting around EASIER for everyone!!!
We wandered around Ascona and then drove up to Locarno and checked it out. Then we said goodbye to Nathan and Claire and drove home. We had a laugh when we crossed the Italy-Switzerland border because you come out of this 5.5 km long tunnel on the Swiss side, cross the border and then immediately go into a tunnel on the Italian side, and HOLY CRAP can you notice the difference!!!!!! The Italian tunnel looked shoddy at best compared to its Swiss counterpart!!! So now I'm yearning for some Swiss style efficiency in the chaos that is Italy :)

The lake front- we had coffee/lunch here. It was officially an Italian speaking Swiss town!!





Reese having a "Swiss Fit" below!!!













OK...so this is the story behind the next two pictures. Peter Greenaway is a Welsh artist/film maker who did a fairly insane project called the Tulse Luper Suitcases
This is what its all about...(from the official website)
"The Tulse Luper Suitcases reconstructs the life of Tulse Henry Purcell Luper, a professional writer and project maker, caught up in a life of prisons. He was born in 1911 in Newport, South Wales, UK and was presumably last heard of in 1989. His life was reconstructed from the evidence of 92 suitcases found around the world. 92 being the atomic number of the element Uranium(of which he had been researching) Our ambition in the next three years is to build an extensive online archive of his adventures, the places he visited, the characters he met, his prisons, the projects that he made and the objects that were found in some of the 92 suitcases, as well as events from 20th century history." Apparently its on a three year tour around the world and this just happened to be where it is currently!!!!!
this was the backside of the exhibition, which is what made us take notice in the first place as I saw suitcases hanging randomly as I walked past one of the gates on the main street!!!


About Me

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Milan, Italy
I am 34 years old, married to my wonderful husband Richard and mother to a beautiful 8 year old daughter named Reese. We lived in the suburbs of Calgary until January 2010 where I worked as an ER Nurse. Then my husband was transferred to Vancouver for a 6 month temporary project. Our blog Tripping over the Sidewalk told all about our adventure living on the 30th floor of an apartment building in the middle of downtown Vancouver. Then we moved to Milan, Italy for 18 months, Ciao-Eh was the online forum for our Italian adventures. We moved to Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates in January 2012 and lived there for two and a half years. Sandscrapers, Souks and Sand is the blog of our adventures in the Middle East! We are now happy to be back on a little acreage just outside of Calgary where I'm sure more adventures await!!!!

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