It’s snowing

Just back from 3 days in Barcelona, and as usual I can’t help to compare it with Brussels and Milan (and Denver, since I was there last week).

PEOPLE: rude, noisy, very active, smiling: that’s Barcelona. Cosmopolitan, reserved, multilingual: that’s Brussels. Perennially angry, walking fast, elegant: that’s Milan. Where are the people? That’s Denver… (at least in the city center).

CITY: Barcelona – incredibly changing every time I visit, although you can perceive the gloomy atmosphere now. Brussels – roadworks, construction works, deviation/omlegging everywhere… Milan – it’s all about money (where is the promised park in the ex-Fiera area) and look at what’s happening for the Expo. Denver – you can still see the cowboys riding in town, if you work with your imagination: wide streets that take you from the middle of nowhere, to downtown, and then out again if you walk straight for 20 miles or so.

WEATHER: Barcelona: +10°, sun. Brussels: -6°, snow. Milan: +2°, rain, Denver: +9°, cloudy.

Where would I live? You guess 😉

The new corruption index by Transparency International

Countries that rank better (some of them MUCH better) than Italy in the recently published Corruption Perceptions Index 2010:

Rwanda, Ghana, Macedonia, Tunisia, Slovakia, Turkey, Namibia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Costa Rica, Bhutan, Taiwan, Botswana, Qatar and many others.

Italy went from 51st place in 2008, to 63rd place in 2009, to 67th place in 2010.

Compleanno Marco 2010 – gli amici, la tenda e la pioggia

Ringraziando della pazienza (sfortunatamente il “live update” che avevo annunciato non e’ stato possibile a causa della mancanza di segnale nella localita’ che avevamo scelto), ecco finalmente alcune foto di qualita’ non eccelsa.

La qualita’ delle foto e’ pero’ compensata dalla riuscita dell’evento, che si puo’ dire completa: tanti sorrisi, nottata in tenda all’asciutto (anche se abbiamo temuto…), nessun ferito (quasi) nonostante le numerose armi proprie e improprie, e cena cotta sul fuoco, nonostante qualche iniziale difficolta’.

Questo e’ il sito del posto che ci ha ospitato, se siete curiosi:

Alla prossima!

Continue reading “Compleanno Marco 2010 – gli amici, la tenda e la pioggia”

Summer holidays 2010

Here’s our planning for our Summer holidays starting on 25 July. If you have any suggestions on places to see or things to do along the itinerary, please let us know.

We will be camping around France (camping à la ferme mainly), and having a relaxed week in a small hotel in Castelluccio di Norcia, a VERY remote place in the Monti Sibillini national park.

After that, we will travel North and spend a few days on Bolsena lake, swimming and kayaking are on the menu. We need to drop Piero off at our friends’ place in Castelfiorentino (he’s leaving to Tanzania for a 2-week volunteering camp, I am sure he’ll enjoy that) and drive up back to Belgium. Tommi is very anxious to get back in time for his first football training session of the season on 17 August, so that’s our deadline…

Europe as an allegory for the ages of man

You’re born Italian. They’re relentlessly infantile and mother-obsessed. In childhood, we’re English: chronically shy, tongue-tied, cliquey, and only happy kicking balls, pulling the legs off things, or sending someone to Coventry. Teenagers are French: pretentiously philosophical, embarrassingly vain, ridiculously romantic and insincere. Then, in middle age, we become either Swiss or Irish. Old age is German: ponderous, pompous and pedantic. Then finally we regress into being Belgian, with no idea who we are at all.

Excerpted from the Times Online

Thanks to Vic Schuster

Biking in Zeeland

On 2 May 2009, with Giovanni and Anna Paoli (group leaders), Ale Magoga and the Natale family.
53-odd kilometers of sun, wind and sea. I thought that by choosing an electric bike would make it a lot easier, but nobody told me that once the battery runs out the bike is actually twice harder to push… the last 3 kilometers have been hell. Definitely worth doing anyway, and I would recommend the “lekkerbekjes” in Vlissingen.

Advice to women by the Archbishop of Mexico City

In Spanish, make an effort to translate, I am sure it is worthwhile…

“No uses ropa provocativa. Cuida tus miradas y tus gestos. No te quedes sola con un hombre, aunque sea conocido. No permitas familiaridades de tus amigos o parientes. No admitas pláticas o chistes picantes”.