Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bonjour Paris

There's no doubt Audrey Hepburn is an icon. She's gorgeous, hilarious and an amazing actress. I promoted Audrey Hepburn to my favorite actress in my first year of University.

I genuinely think she is an amazing actress and don't love her because she's an icon, but in spite of it. Sure it's great to be able to find bags with her face on them, shirts with her posters of Breakfast at Tiffany's, It's pleasant, but I love her entirely and without that.
I don't love Marilyn because she's an icon. I don't know her, I haven't seen her movies, so I can't justly love her because everyone else does.

In first year, I bought a great big poster of Audrey (which scares VeronicaJ and Yuki to this day) and tried to see as many of her movies as I could. My favorite (in first year) was Funny Face, a musical starring Fred Astaire.
PLOT: A magazine company takes the average woman (Hepburn!) and brings her to Paris for a photo shoot. There's a catch of course. Audrey despises the materialist magazine, but agrees to come along because a great philospher lives in Paris, whom shes dying to meet and who says no to free airfare?

Anyway, As I am getting excited for PARIS! I leave in about 2 days! I want to watch all the Audrey Hepburn Paris related movies as I can:
Paris When It Sizzles.
How To Steal a Million
Funny Face.

Just like I was watching Roman Holiday in anticipation.
Now I want to memorize this song and BELT it in Paris.


So Paris, in two days. BONJOUR!!!!!

PS. I checked out a French travel phrase book from the library! Problem? It's Italian-French. IT MIGHT be helpful.

Au Reviour!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Eggs, Bacon, and Cake

An expose into an Italian Breakfast.
( With mention of their views on Coffee)

Remember the big breakfasts? Eggs, bacon, hash browns or french toast or loads and loads of pancakes with combinations of syrups and sweets? Italy is a bit different.

Over the past few months I have seen my roomies eat cereal for breakfast, espresso shots of coffee and the most favorite and popular choice: cookies.
Biscotti and coffee is a breakfast favorite. No oatmeal, no eggs, ham, bacon. Just something out of the pastry section of a bakery ( to be fair, in Italy the bakeries are to DIE for) and hot coffee, with milk if you wish it.

On Halloween I went to a hotel for a Bahai Convention in Verona. This hotel featured a breakfast meal.

I found there:
So many asotrments of jams and syrups it was astounding and different types of bread. Crunchy, cookie like, pastries. Also there was fried eggs ( in a pan like brownies), cold and proscuito that had been fried. No potatoes or pancakes or oatmeal in sight.
A variety of....bread and jam. Bread and pastries is a typical favorite after all. Then of course, staring back at me was a dark brown, mouth watering chocolate coffee cake.

I could hardly believe my eyes, surely this is a dream? My childhood sweet tooth come back to haunt me? A hotel serving cake for breakfast? Don't get me started on how breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day. Either the Italians haven't heard this rule or have surely dismissed it.
The eating times are hard enough to adjust to. Dinner is at 8, if that on most days. Which begs the question, how can you not be hungry, since all you had was CAKE and Coffee for breakfast?

Well lunch consists of:
Pasta, followed by another type of pasta ( THATS RIGHT, two pastas!) and then you go to the buffet line for salad and meat. One day I had lasagna to start, then penne in cream sauce. The other Ragu with Macaroni followed by Fussili with cream sauce.
So I thought to myself, I'll be Italian. I'm here, speaking non stop italian after all ( I have successfully killed any french I had left over from my middle school years, right in time for Paris, but that's for another post.....)

So I grabbed myself a mocha from the machine and a piece of cake. I sat down and enjoyed. well not really. Without details, the cake was dry and hardly dessert, maybe suitable for breakfast, not ever having had breakfast cake before, I can make no commentary but I would not have it for dessert.
All in all, I was shocked, slightly unnerved and just confused at the assortment of "food" for breakfast. I'm all for sweets, but sign me up for a good healthy breakfast.
Next time, I'd like eggs benny and bacon please. With a side of Orange Juice. Cheers.

Starbucks is evil. Some of you may agree, but italians don't have star bucks. ANYWHERE.
In vancouver where two face across the street from each other ( ROBSON ST, what are you thinking?)

Italy in comparison has none. None have I seen in Bologna at least. Nor Florence.
Cafes are everywhere. A coffee is an espresso cup, a hot shot of warp wake-you-up goodness. Once you add a whole pack of sugar ( sometimes not even enough) you can slurp it down. You can get a cappuccino, (probably less than a "short" star bucks size) and enjoy. Most italians pop into a cafe, drink at the bar, in regular china cups. WHAT DO YOU MEAN, TO GO? paper cups? and then go on about their day. You can grab the coffee outside and sit down, talking with a friend, but if you're alone, why the hassle? You fork over your 1Euro and be on your way. I once asked someone why there were no star bucks, it was a discussion about the size of coffee and they seemed offended at the audacity of adding WATER to coffee. If you can't drink it real, what's the point. You don't add water to your pepsi do you? or your shot of energy gin-sing?

A TIP FOR TRAVELERS: the touristy places ( Florence and others) will say "3E" on the menu for a "cafe" ( regular shot of coffee black) this is for TOURISTS. A cup of cafe should not cost more than 1.50. So go inside, drink at the bar and relax elsewhere. Or ask if you, a non tourist, can sit outside ( usually kept free for those crazy money spending tourists who get attracted to the cafes and their outside seating)

So to spoil that dangerous myth: COFFEE does NOT have to cost 5 dollars in Europe.

Also, as your waiting for class, anywhere, there are coffee machines, where you can specify how much sugar. Usually for less than a euro. Wake me up before class! Also, fun fact, those little plastic cups you take everywhere with you on picnics? Come espresso-sized here. TOO CUTE.

My last point is that I am now the proud organizer of a Pancake breakfast devotional. On sundays we eat our fill with pancakes with nutella, jam, sugar, honey....etc then after share prayers, wise words. I'm slowly showing them how we Canadians enjoy breakfast/brunch back home.....

Now that's what I call a SOULPANCAKE.


PS. Check this great site out!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Where we lay our scene....

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene

On the weekend of halloween, while everyone back home was dressing up, donning outfits for the weekend
enjoying the candy and the tricks, the treats and the photo taking, I was in Verona.
This blog entry will be short, since I was in Verona for a Baha'i Conference for the Northern Bahai's of Italy.
Needless to say, I made new friends, said Hi to old friends, found Italians, travelers to italy and a great tiny
Italian prayer book for 2E. It was beautiful, uplifting and I adored it.

But as the hotel we stayed at was 20 minutes away from Verona, (for the purpose of this blog)
not much was actually in fact, travelled to or seen.
I didn't see the Home of Juliet, various other attractions that the home of Shakespeare's gloriously tragic
romance took scene.

I solely walked the streets, catching glances of the main square, a colosseum like structure of Verona, fountains
and tourists, all in the space of an hour before we got picked up to go to the hotel.

So here are the photos of what we managed to see in Verona,
I've already made plans to return, In December. During my birthday and christmas, with my lovely friend Nina.