A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

Just the little things

A random list

Needed to make a list for post today in no particular order; toilets ( I am becoming obsessed); taxis; telcos; movies;breakfasts; Air B&B; and honey.
Start with toilets. There arent any!!!! Well, slight exaggeration but on our MAPS of Florence and Bologna there are three listed public toilets. I have t found any of them. I found one outside the Bologna flea market yesterday guarded by two gentlemen of Arabic descent who made it plain that payment was required. Made a pretty basic business mistake by asking for money on exit. Harried you pay at Bologna bus station but the machine was broken. Sometimes find them in bars or restaurants but they are generally without paper, soap, towels or sometimes a seat. Why?
Taxis. There arent many. Occasionally we have to use a taxi and finding one is a nightmare. I have been trying to download an app for my android but it doesn’t seem to like my NZ number. I have grabbed one so far and asked in Italian to be taken wherever and how much is it going to cost and that went well but ringing up for one (no phone) in the B&B and using my mobile is going to cost a fortune). I know I should get a local SIM card but I have been warned this can be expensive too.
Telcos (see above). Supposedly there is free WiFi in most bars, shops etc but the quality ranges from unusable to fait. We found a great lunch place in the student quarter, Scuderia, which bas been the best yet where I uploaded the last blog, got three days of email, booked three bus journeys and got the must need booking confirmation, without which, you wont see the inside of the bus.
On Scuderia I managed to order taglettini el bologna with a greek insalata. Alison had the asparagus risotto. Highly recommended both and Nomes you definitely have nailed the ragu and I overdo the ratio of ragu to pasta.

I am a movie buff. Usually watch ten or so recent releases a week. I am in withdrawal. Havent seen a movie in nearly two weeks. The trailers for the Pope film starring Jude Law have been on RAI TV but the movies on tv are largely in Italian (im not that good) or are Italian movies which look good but I only half understand what happening. And I havent found a movie theatre yet. They must be tucked away somewhere but nothing has struck me yet although there was a Jimi Hendrix copy band and a blues and jazz band playing the last two nights. Sadly past my bedtime. There is also a Bowie retrospective being advertised.

I am not usually a breakfast person but occasionally I will sucumb. I have lately loved an afghan breakfast (chuchuma or something which is basically baked eggs over a pepper or meat sauce. I also like anything with bacon and when I am feeling really virtuous I will go for fruit and thick yoghurt. And I like a strong cup of tea. I practiced before coming on espressos and grew quite fond of them but with the excessive heat I need something long, cold, and sweet. I discovered iced coffee and tea which is most agreeable but not always available. But I cannot abide the bread and pastries that are offered and seemingly loved by locals. The brioche I had yesterday deposited so much sugar it obscured my tablets screen and left me with a ghostly veil. Ii did have a rustica type sandwiche which was agreeable but breakfast choice is a big disapointment.
Thus far we have only had two AirB&B experiences. Florence was a very old worldly 12 century convent that had been converted into small apartments. The hostess Giorgia met us at the door, explained how the aircon worked, gave us tome to ask questions, then left. There were instructions for most things and we felt at home right away. The apartment was well stocked with olive oil, IMG_20160902_105346balsamic, salt, pepper, pasta, passatta, soap, shampoo and toilet paper. Where are now is owned by a bloke who we havent seen yet and whom was rather laisse-faire with communications. We were met by his girlfriend who, I suspect, had just cleaned the apartment. No milk, no biscuits, a little cooking oil , no soap, shampoo and one roll of toilet paper (I suspect males run the sanitation system in Italy as any man who lives with a women knows that you easily go through a roll a day). There is also no WiFi which we now realize is essential and all the next bookings have that feature. So great variability which largely reflected in price.

I holiday in Australia often. I like to start the day with a large cup of dark tea sweetened with honey. I prefer bush honey but clover honey is acceptable. In Australia ALL the honeys I have tried taste like the harsh Aussie environment that the bees must forage in. No matter where from, sane taste which you become used to but it is very distinctive. Italian honey (and I have only sampled a cheap supermarket brand) is to die for. Small mercies.



  Rosalind wrote @

Ciao Graham, am enjoying reading of your experiences. Keep them coming.
Sim cards about 20 euros for a month for 4 or 3 gigs data, loads of telephone and text.
Was really good.
A presto Rosalind
Ps with Italian sim don’t ring NZ or anywhere out of italy as it uses up everything. Bitter experience taught me early on and had to top up.

  graemedixon wrote @

Thanks Ros. Will look into this. I also downloaded an internet free app for my smartphone that has a gps driven map of the area you are in and all the features og Google Map. Very handy for finding public toiletz NOT

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