Thursday, March 23, 2017

I Puked, I Sketched, and Then One Man in Munich Changed My Day

Very early this morning, between the hours of midnight and one, I was kneeling over the toilet in my friend's apartment in Munich (he, out of town for work; his roommates, asleep), throwing up the day's consumptions. Another bug, something I ate, I have no idea.

Regardless of the cause, I spent most of today lounging in bed. I watched 500 Days of Summer on Netflix and a writing seminar which had been on my list for a while. I left the apartment briefly around noon, to buy ginger ale from the grocery store across the street, and picked up a pretzel from the bakery too—because goddamnit these are limited days in Munich!

Around 3 p.m. I decided to leave the apartment and walk around for a bit. My stomach didn't feel totally at ease, but I wasn't about to hurl either, and I couldn't bare to spend any more of this sunny day indoors. I walked to the center and through a food market, where I sat down on an open seat and pulled out my sketchbook.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dining in Dozza

I had two Saturdays—my days off—while working on the farm near Dozza. I was also on my own for lunch, so both weeks I went into town to dine.

Dozza was very close to the farm—you really just walk up the grass hill, then five minutes down a straight road you enter the town through an archway. There are two parallel streets about two blocks long, with the castle at the other end, and that’s the old center.

The walls in Dozza are covered in over a hundred paintings by contemporary artists, the oldest date I saw was perhaps in the '70s.

Every two years there’s a festival in Dozza where artists are invited to paint in the town. So it's basically a free outdoor art museum!

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Two-week HelpX Farm Stay in Dozza

Victoria picked me up from the small train station in Imola, and then we were off to the farm. Once I got settled in, my first task was to organize the tupperware drawer. "Do it however you want," she told me, "just as long as everything fits." Yes!

On the first evening, I asked Victoria what time I should get up in the morning.

“The girls are up eating breakfast at 6:45, 7” she said.

Seeing the look of horror on my face, she then added "but... you could get up… quarter past, or..., um, 7:30, yes, I think that would work if you’re up by 7:30.”
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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Barfing in Bologna

On Wednesday, February 22 I arrived in Bologna, from Firenze.

Bologna Italy map


On my first evening I had an hour or two before dark, so I left to do some wander walking, map in hand. I took note of some markers along the way, so I could easily find my way back: "WIND" store under the arches. Got it.

Except when I took a few turns to come back a different way than I’d headed out, I quickly got turned around. Why? Because, as I quickly learned those first hours in Bologna, practically all the sidewalks are covered in arches! (Plus WIND is a chain store all over.) Oh, and also my map disappeared—that was the clincher. I really don’t know what happened to it.

I eventually found my way back before it was too dark, only stopping to ask someone the direction of the train station. I’d reasoned that worst case scenario, I go to the train station, because from there I could easily walk the 5 minutes to the hostel, as I’d done a few hours earlier. 

My direction intuition won again that evening, and I didn’t have to go all the way back to the train station! I got another map from a different hostel worker the next morning, and later in the trip painted this postcard for myself to remember Bologna and its covered walkways:

Bologna watercolor postcard
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Moments in Firenze

I've only shown you photos of my time in Firenze, so here are some moments that took place during that week (February 15-22).

Followed on Arrival

After boarding the train to leave Roma, I double checked with the couple on my left—asking in my default Spanish thinking they were Italian—which direction the train would be leaving (to make sure I wasn’t sitting backwards the whole way, while I had a selection of seating).

They answered in Spanish, and it turns out they were from South America. We perhaps briefly chatted a bit more, but then it was a nice, quiet train ride to Firenze. When we were one stop from the last, called “Firenze [something or other],” I wasn’t sure if that was my stop or not, so I asked the same couple. They didn’t know, so I checked with an Italian woman in the next row who told me my stop was the next one, the last one.

When I returned to my seat, that couple asked me if I had lodging in Firenze. “Yes…” I said, and told them I’d booked a hostel. They asked the price, and I told them roughly how much per night for a shared dorm room. Then they told me they hadn’t booked anything yet, they were just showing up.

“Can you show us where it is?” asked the guy. I said yes before I realized what I’d agreed to. “It’s a 15-minute walk,” I told them, hoping they’d think it was too far. Then we didn’t talk for the remaining minutes of the ride. Hmm, maybe that’s not what I’d agreed to after all, I thought. The train stopped and I got off before them, then was like—dang, do I have to wait for them?
• • •

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Resolutions Checkpoint 2017: February

Wow, and here we are, halfway through March already. I was in Bologna the last week of February with limited Wi-Fi, then spent the past two weeks on a small farm near Dozza—which also had hardly any internet.

This was no problem, as it was great to unplug—though what really kept me from blogging was the time! I’ll be playing catch up soon, including my typical day on the farm, but first an overdue check-in with my resolutions and action items for February.

Spoiler alert: I nearly didn’t complete anything!

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