What is it with Italians and fire? Sure, stereotype says that they’re passionate people who love to live life through lots of hand gestures and a sense of fatalism, but New Year’s Eve is slightly crazed. IED-sized bangers and boxes of fireworks are set off among the crowd before midnight is marked by the burning of a perfectly nice 40′ sculpture of a deep sea diver. Still, better that than a night on the drunken, vomit-strewn streets of London.
We got to walk home, too, to the charming Da Peerie Hoose. It’s a warm and cosy garret within the old city that’s a great base for exploring and relaxing. And the welcome gift of pannetone and sparkling wine was a lovely and swiftly abused gesture.
Bologna’s a beautiful city that was ripe for our return trip. Go visit!
I’ve no idea what travels the year ahead will hold, but there’s a good chance it’ll involve more of my own piloting again this year in a rather different aircraft. And, while the world of long haul flying to exotic destinations has its attractions, I do miss being in the left hand seat, albeit PuT, for a bit of this in the South Island.
View Cities 2011 in a larger map
A few days later than normal, a brief recap on my travels in 2011. After a long period of intense travel things were a little more normal last year with a better sense of balance. Once again I was out of the country for almost a third of the year, but more than half of that was for fun. More time was spent exploring Europe (Germany, Austria, lots of time in Italy, a perfect summer holiday in France and a first trip to the Arctic Circle) and less time spent in far-flung places.
Lots of beautiful hotels, apartments and homes stick in my mind from 2011, from a castle in Somerset to a mansion in France via apartments on the Cinque Terre. Probably the oddest residence was a night in the ‘penthouse’ of a Mittenwald guesthouse (it had a kitchen in the wardrobe), and definitely the worst night was spent on a wooden chair in a Middle Eastern airport Starbucks after a Kafkaesque trip through the bowels of aviation security. Never. Again.