Sunday, February 22, 2009

Back from BIT, Baggin Carnevale

Raffaele and I returned by train from Milano Centrale to San Benedetto, just 22 minutes late or 5.5 hours total. Be sure when you make those long train trips in Italy to select a Eurostar intercity instead of just intercity. You gain comfort, a plugin for your computer or ipod and a bit of efficiency in exchange for another 8-10 euros. We experienced the former on the voyage up and the latter on the return, no contest.
We had a great time seeing our old master's buddies including Michele and Teresa who were nice enough to put us up in style in the Loreto area, Angela, Silvia, Rebecca, Tim and Giorgio. Several of us visited the Cenacolo or "last supper" of Leonardo di Vinci near Santa Maria della Grazie with reservations for the 1st visit of the day, which was great! It is a really interesting story with all the restorations and rerestorations the painting has gone through. It was starting to deteriorate even 500 years ago, so the fact that anything is left is amazing. Donatelo's painting on the opposite wall is better preserved and of the crucifixion and is wonderful in its own right. So now, I have found another reason to visit Milan for you tourists who are reading. I am not sure it boosts Milan into the top 10 places to visit however.
Next it was on to the BIT travel fair which was really huge and while I got about 20 kg of literature, it was really more designed for travel agents than individual structures of our size. I marketed the best I could anyway. It is amazing the difference between countries and Italian provinces in their tourism budgets. The Marche is way behind with Sicily, Calabria, and Puglia leading the way for Italy. Greece had a huge exhibit and Switzerland, almost nothing. It is interesting to see all the "banned" (by the USA) countries with their travel booths. I got a hankering to go to Greece on the ferry with my car and see Corinth, Athens Meteora, Thessolanika etc. I am not sure I can do it this year with all the weeds you see on the photo above. There will be too much work outside, if it finally dries up.
Back to the ranch Friday, I picked up Bacco from the stall where he stayed with puppies mixed between chihuahua and dobermans, if you can imagine and cows. He was excited to come home, I think.
I missed the running of the bull as we arrived to late in Offida and today, I took Bacco for a walk through the country rather than go to the Carnival celebrations at Ascoli. The burning of the canes in Offida is a must see however and takes place on Fat Tuesday night. Expect photos from the 24th.
The pictures are of last year's running of the fake bull, a view of Nascondiglio from the south and Bacco on our walk.
Have a great fat Tuesday and be careful!

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