Wednesday, April 29, 2009


To travel hopefully is better than to arrive
Robert Louis Stevenson
I think he meant in literature, really: travelling is not at all like in books.
Books, even the most picaresque and surprising ones, have a last page you can count on reaching, even if you don't want to get there. Travelling is hoping the last page meets up with your luggage and your documents. And a hot shower.
I'm going in about two weeks, and will be away for at least 3 months, which means I am just beginning to take packing seriously, clothes, books, shoes, toiletries, electronics and those little odds and ends that you take for granted and forget to pack, and end up having to buy once you arrive. I hate that! So I'm trying to pack smart, but already feel somthing essential has escaped me.
It's all a sham of course, this taking control through lists, observing the passing of necessities from one hand to another like a person swept away on the current of a great river counting the trees and the reeds as she slips helplessly by.
I am starting to be aware of what I will miss; that doesn't happen in books, either, you can always put them down and enjoy something different and familiar for a bit. Apart from dear ones, I will miss 30 Rock, Colbert, the series finale of Lost. I have watched it all from the pilot in September 2004 and have come to trust JJ Abrams to finish his story with enough threads tied to make me happy, and now I depart the night before the finale. Ouch!
I will miss my things, the ones too precious or too big to come with me, but not much, I am used to them being packed away for long periods of time. Easy parking, cheap shampoo, and the chords of Sweet Baby James.
So where and what is Monza. If you look on a map you'll see it's really part of Greater Milan, at about 1 o'clock from the city centre. It's the third largest town in Lombardy, and Lombardy is in Northern Italy. Lombardy, before it became part of the united Kingdom of Italy in about 1860, had previously been an independent Duchy under the Sforza and Visconti families. Later it was part of the Austrian Empire and dabbled in Repubblicanismo too. And MacDonald's: 2 Big Macs for 3 Euros. I have been reliably informed that 'Monza è tutta bella, una città ricca con tanta storia e un'economia molto forte' and that I am going to love it. It is an old town, with links to royalty, there's a huge park there and the Villa reale the palace that was the summer residence of various rulers. Arcore, the home of Silvio Berlusconi is nearby. Monza lies between Milan and lake Como, and the Formula One race takes place in Monza's park in September. My plan is to see it all, and visit Milan, Verona, Mantova, Venice and maybe slip down to see friends in Tuscany and Rome if I have the chance. And then come back here, and tell you about it.
I don't promise to always write in English, or that the embedded links will always work or lead to English pages, but I hope you'll be patient and keep coming back!

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