I look now at what I typed as we traveled and decide to post it as it is, though it is out of order and floats in and out of tense. I seem to struggle with sorting myself into a linear world here. All circles and in some way I feel myself living all time periods at one time. All tilts here, and many of our meals have been shared at tables on a slant. I think it is a good lesson for how this world whirls. Feng shui says energy doesn't like straight lines. They are not found here. Energy delights!!
The following was typed in Pisa on October 21st. It begins with our leaving Florence, on Sunday,
This may be confusing as I typed it in with no ability to post and flipped between time periods as one does here all the time, Etruscan, Roman, medieval, modern, and I also switch between past and present tense, depending on when I am typing and on my mood. Perhaps it offers a taste of this week.
Because the internet has been either expensive as in by the minute or inaccessible, there are huge gaps. This is not SF with a Starbucks on every corner or free wi-fi, and that is a good thing. We have not seen one Starbucks, and, yet, one can stop and enjoy a cappuccino every few feet. Quite right!
I type this now on October 21 in Pisa. It has been storming delightfully down, so I bought a purple umbrella on the street for 2 euro, so we could explore in the rain. Pisa is considered as delightful as Florence with more color, space and light, and without the crowds.
I take this from the Michelin guide. “Sheltered from raiding pirates, Pisa was a Roman naval base and commercial port until the end of the Empire. (5C).It became an independent maritime republic at the end of the 9C and continued to benefit from the geographical location. Pisa became the rival of Genoa and Venice, and the Pisans waged war against the Saracens in the Mediterranean basin. It was in the 12C and the beginning of the 13C that Pisa reached the peak of its power and prosperity. This period was marked by the construction of some fine buildings and the foundation of the university.”
I backtrack. On Sunday, the 19th, we left Florence and drove to Bologna, and then on to Parma. We checked in at the Hotel Star du Parc and walked across a bridge to explore the duomo, campanile, and battistero. An Italian couple asked us for directions. We must look like we know what we are doing. We explored the downtown area, where the shops are mainly closed on Sunday and enjoyed a leisurely sidewalk café lunch along with many exuberant, chattering folk.
I decide the clouds are so magnificent here, because they flutter into being and float on the moisture in the musical notes of the language. I absorb.
We walked through the Park of Peace, and crossed back on a different bridge entering the park that adjoins our hotel. We found our recommended by a friend dinner spot and strolled through the park. Parma is like a New England college town with the students, falling leaves and temperature. I love Parma.
Since the restaurant doesn’t open until 8, we take a nap after asking if it is safe to stroll across the park in the night. “Of course,” she responds. We realize this is not the U.S.
The food in the restaurant is incredible. I savor sea bass crusted with thin potato slices, and we share a salad with a mix of cooked and uncooked vegetables. Crème brulee and Parma cheese conclude. Yum!
We walk across the park, lit with floodlights set in the ground, so the trees are bright and all is magical and safe. Two men drum in the night. We learn that Colin Powell whole-heartedly endorses Barack Obama. Hooray!
Monday morning, Steve has a meeting, so I walk through the park into central Parma. I learn this was the Parmesan Duke’s Park and enjoy the statues of Apollo and Venus. It is fascinating to imagine living through different time periods here as servant, nobleperson, merchant, nun, and priest.
I find a private place to sit, with a seemingly personal fountain of lava rock, covered with moss and a fine spray. I am alone on a stone bench with soft light, falling leaves and twittering birds.
I again visit the cathedral and sit for awhile, then head out to the book store where I find Oliver Sack’s book, Musicophilia. I stroll the streets and sit in the Garden of Peace, then, walk back through the park and meet Steve. We head toward Pisa, on the autostrasse, but feeling hungry, hop off, and end up wandering in another world. We didn’t realize the nearest town was up, up, up, in burning red autumn leaves. We stop for lunch and step out of the car to the smell of wood smoke. We continue up and over the pass and are in enchanted land. We come down near the Cinque Terra and continue along the Italian Riviera. Mountains caress on our left. Unfortunately, the sea is blocked by a continual stream of lodgings. We scurry past this area, not impressed. I need nature unpackaged.
We travel into Pisa and circle round and round, crossing and re-crossing the Arno, trying to find our place to stay. We choose a relais in the center of town, a former manor house. We walk to the Tower of Pisa and are astonished with its beauty. Somehow we thought of it as a joke, a dirty gray leaning tower, but it has been cleaned, and is glowing white marble. It definitely leans, as it stands next to the church which is fine and straight. People have their photos taken as though they are holding the tower up. There is a college protest of some sort going on, and, yet, it seems light-hearted. I think the church may be the butt of what is going on. There is a youngster dressed up like a cardinal, and a parody in process for sure. The piazza area is incredible, and as was pointed out for why Pisa surpasses Florence, there is a huge lawn of grass.
We again take a nap as dinner is at eight and requires a great deal of street strolling to find the place. Again, the food is incredible. Where do they get these tomatoes? When I sit and look out over Pisa, I see red roofs of a medieval town except for one roof with solar panels. Pretty funny. I think again it is odd to hear motor scooters, cars and church bells all at the same time. Again, I balance history and allow myself to bounce in time.
From Oliver Sacks – Musicophilia – Tales of Music and the Brain
Schopenhauer – “The inexpressible depth of music so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain…. Music expresses only the quintessence of life and of its events, never these themselves.”
Nietzsche – “We listen to music with our muscles.”
He also makes it very clear in this book how important it is for babies and young children to hear different kinds of classical and other music. It does affect and form the brain.
Let music dance your ears.