Sunday, 20 December 2009

La France & Italia with Love & Stress


So...I have not written for a while, but I reckon I have a grand excuse - I have just been on the longest holiday I've ever had...6 weeks...lame to many, but Woo Hoo to me!

2 weeks in a spectacular, just-like-home apartment in Paris with our fabulous kids and then 4 weeks driving around France and Nthn Italy. Here's a little movie my son made for me of our joyous family time in Paris...Sadly, because it contains music from "Amelie" it has been blocked. : (

I updated friends and family on Facebook and thought I would pop those compact, off-the-cuff-traveloguey, crap grammar (I was on HOLIDAY!) bites on here...so here they are starting at the end of our 2 weeks in Paris.

Sick of being sick in Paris, (have the FLU!) can't wait to pick up shiny new car tomorrow and head off for 4 weeks with no itinerary with Mr Ian, but will MISS the chillies and our incredible Parisian dream home away from home ♥

Day 4 on the road...Loving the car...GPS is s NIGHTMARE...signs and maps the only way to go...Have wasted hours and hours following fucked directions from an electronic MORON. Anywho, so far -Lille/Fromelles/The Somme/Abberville/Amiens/Hornfluer/Trouville/Deauville/Bayeux & Rennes.

Found where Great Grandfather Patrick Rahilly died & his name on memorial :( Met amazing artist Lietitia and shared a fabulous evening with her in stunning old bar in Amiens Saw the biggest gothic cathedral in the WORLD & felt like an ant Saw John the baptist's petrified head Stayed in a nut-OTT-decorated Chateaux Adoring Autumn splendour in France Eating FAR too much butter, cheese, croissants and baguettes!

Craving Vietnamese food and crunchy salads...my insides have butter overload!

Medieval and Gothic Chateauxs, Villages and Churches everywhere we go...Spectacular Autumn splendour across the countryside that we drive through...this trip is AMAZING ♥

Do NOT want to return to the stinkin' hideous WRONG time of the year/this planet is rooted HEAT in Melbourne...after enjoying such a splendid and glorious Autumn in the Nthn hemisphere.

Blew the budget on expensive mega restaurant in Avignon...and got the snippy, quintessential, arrogant, bastard waiter to boot...SO wanted to slap his mincing, judgemental face!

Italia...here we come! Piedmonte 1st - the Slow Food region of the WORLD...and Autumn is peak food season...Oh Madonna...and my pants are already tight!

1st day in Italia makes me sad that I have never been before...drove Nth from the coast as soon as we crossed the border into spectacular Autumn coloured and STEEP rocky snow capped mountains with rivers of aqua coloured water (no wonder that's what they call it!) and after up and up hairpin-bend madness we were IN the deep fluffy aquamarine snow...A completely alien landscape, yet glorious.

We are staying in Cuneo in Piedmonte. Our hotel is proof that Italians really DO do it bigger and better ha ha 95 euros for beautiful, recently re-furbished room with mega King size bed, stunning black-marble bathroom, 50 inch flat- screen TV, free Wi fi and breakfast of organic, local produce.

It's ONLY the 1st day in Italy...but it's been PERFETTO so far...and now off to EAT!

France V Italy (warning, rash generalisations follow) France = quiet talkers, beautiful countryside, rich, complicated food & courteous drivers Italy = hilarious animated LOUD talkers(that's where I get it!) spectacular countryside, fast and furious fuck-the-rules drivers and the food - Oh Madonna...SOOOO full-on, spectacular and flavoursome and delicious and and and ...

Turin/Torino what a spectacular citta and hardly any tourists...SO glad we came...ringed with snow capped mountains, piazzas and churches and towers and old old old everywhere and modern art scattered surprisingly around every corner.

Hello?! Somebody stop me...my intestinal tract is in overload...how do we NOT eat in Italy? My real life: lunch = sandwich and dinner is rarely followed by dessert, but HERE to hell with that! Sadly, it doesn't appear that the 3-4 hours waddling a day is making any difference. Thanks La Stupenda Contessa

Verona - che una bella citta! Now in Venezia having our tiny minds blown...oh and the eating continues...I don't have a muffin top it's more like a giant souffle top! ♥

Oh and...can someone please organise one of those hydrolic lifters they use to get obese people out of their apartments, to be at the airport when we get back? Thanks

The Venice we are experiencing is EXACTLY like the one in "Don't Look Now!" Moody, misty, hauntingly beautiful with echoes and shadows around every corner and hardly any people...I am keeping my eyes out for tiny people in red capes. ♥

Getting lost in Venice - it appears that is part of the mystery of Venice...Nth/Sth/East & West all just disappear.

I'll tell ya something for nothing...Italians LOVE a tile!

Ciao Lucca and Bagni di Lucca e la Famiglia...here I come!

A perfect day in the town of my father's family, Bagni di Lucca...blue skies, Autumn glory, mountains and flowing river and I met the hilarious and very friendly cousins!


So my crime against Art & Culture is this..only a day in Florence, CLEARLY there is nowhere near enough time to appreciate the gazzillion galleries and churches and piazzas and palazzos and and and....SO I am watching Italian Big Brother...Oh Dio Mio...THE BEST!!! Huge hair, hysterics, hugging, hand-action talking with tears, tantrums & total over-the-topness from BOTH sexes! It's brilliant entertainment.

Here's the thing: "the end is drawing near" and just quietly I am just a wee bit OVER the monuments, art, sculptures, architecture, churches, palaces, bell towers, piazzas and the reasons why they are there and who designed, created or commissioned them. Is that wrong?

I am still amazed at the insane amount of ancient hill-top walled villages and loving the spectacular Autumn countryside and the FOOD and WINE.

SORRY?...CAN'T HEAR YOU, I'M IN ROME! A lot of ancient broken bits everywhere...gloriously sparkling sunny day. Got to love a city where the police fang around in Allfa Romeos! Booked a table for dinner and didn't have to spell my surname. Loving toughing it out nonchalantly stepping on to the road Wogarina style in front of 4000 cars, motorbikes and buses!

*%#!*%#!! !- the sound of my brain snapping at the whole Vatican/Sistine/hall of maps/museum experience - absolute over-the-top massiveness in every way. thanks Rome...we really liked you...we have eaten the best food in fab little places that we have stumbled upon...and NOT expensive at all...this arvo had farewell drinks in a brilliant little bar near the Campo di fiori...been amazing ♥


Firenze, San Giminiano, Sienna, Roma, Bangers then Melbourne and Taswegia! It all just FLEW by and is now a blur or mixed memories and thousands of photos!

There's NO place like HOME There's NO place like HOME!!! Hello Melbourne and GEE THANKS for nothing ROME...after we were SOOOOO happy with you, you ruined everything - flight cancellation NO assistance 48 hrs of torture to get home and we have NO bags WHERE are our bags???!!!

The Age "Melbourne" Magazine - all about why people love Melbourne, The 25th anniversary edition of Good Weekend, The Sunday Age "M" Melbourne inside out supplement...all read cover to cover...all making me feel so "HOME" and happy and totally, 100% in love with this city...and on the political front...Thank-you Liberal party for some of the FUNNIEST, most entertaining boys-behaving-badly EVER!