I cannot stress enough how stupid it was to jet off to Europe for a month and a half without my laptop. The iPad Pro is a beautiful machine, don’t get me wrong, but when I write, edit, and post these blogs, I feel very restricted with it. So, that won’t ever be happening again. Maybe I’ll get that gorgeous golden MacBook before I leave. LOL no…hospital bills. The iPad got me so behind. I have notes and pictures, but I worry that the nuances of my travels will be missing when I inevitably post them. The sweet lord, Beyoncé, only knows when that will be, though, since I have work starting up tomorrow, college the day after, and then that incurable neurological disorder to deal with every day. Such fun. I shouldn’t moan. I could be paralyzed and unemployed. But I love to complain.
Back to the past.
I don’t understand why more people don’t know about Turin. Every time I speak of it, I inevitably get a questioning look. I mean, it’s hardly the most popular city to visit in Italy, most people are jetting off to Rome or Milan. Turin is not on the usual touristic route, which is a real shame. It has everything you could possibly need for a relaxing vacation — and they even hosted the Winter Olympics a while back, so there’s that. I’ve long known about the city because it houses Europe’s largest museum of ancient Egyptian treasures, and because I’ve always been intrigued by religious mysterious, and this city houses the Shroud of Turin. My eccentricities have led me to Turin, I suppose.
I fell utterly and totally in love when I spent two days there for my birthday last year. It was a dreamland filled with treasures, beautiful streets, and the most fabulous focaccia in the world. My heart and soul have ached to return ever since, so I was ecstatic to be heading back for a week less than a year later.
It took me all of five minutes to pack up, check out, and head towards the airport. There were no troubles of any kind, and I was charmed by how quaint the Berlin airport is. The board isn’t digital and you can hear the letters clapping when the destinations change. I adored it; you didn’t feel like a criminal there. Security obviously eyes everybody with suspicion, but here I felt somewhat at peace. And I loved the Illy coffeeshop where I happily sipped a massive latte.
Each gate has its own security check so you needn’t be bothered by those endless lines we have back home in America. I’ve never understood why they herd us into one spot. It isn’t efficient. That’s one thing Germans are good at, though. Everything is extraordinarily timely.
I also made the fabulous discovery that most European airports don’t really check if you have priority boarding or special privileges. If you just stroll up, smile, fumble their language, and present your boarding card, they’ll let you through. Great fun that.
It was a short flight to Brussels, and I really enjoyed the airport more than a person should enjoy an airport. After all, they are nothing more than holding cells for angry, smelly travelers. But this place was immaculate. Everything is bright, clean, spacious, and they sold the most fabulous pizza. Truly it was special. None of my pictures do the place any justice, so I shan’t post any.
I pushed myself to the front of the line and found myself on the smallest plane I’ve ever been on. It was sensationally tiny. My bag wouldn’t fit in the upper hold or below my seat, so I just halfheartedly tucked it beneath my feet and left my legs in the aisle. It worked and soon we were taking to the air. In what felt like minutes, the Alps were reaching up to welcome me back to my Italian home.
I had the most sensationally smooth travel and was in the bus heading to town within minutes. When I arrived in Turin the last time, I came from the train station, so I only saw the lovely bits of old town. From the airport, you see the poorer areas, and it’s so different from the Turin that I remembered. Still, I was sensationally pleased to be there, I knew where I would be, and I knew that focaccia would be waiting for me, so I wasn’t too perplexed with the unvarnished reality of lower income Europeans. That wasn’t very generous of me, I know, but…focaccia!
My host, Francesco, met me at the bus stop and after having a very pleasant chat about the weather and Egypt, I was back in the apartment where I had celebrated my birthday last year. It felt somewhat aged in a year, but it was still a beautiful apartment — well aside from the atrociously tiled kitchen — but it still had gorgeous antique furniture and a balcony that overlooked the courtyard.
With Francesco gone, I hit the streets…and the shops. I grabbed a few things at the unreasonably cheap LIDL grocery store and then went about my real mission: acquiring as much cheese focaccia as was reasonably possible without arousing suspicions of my sanity. I think I did tremendously well and visited three different shops. My Italian was even worse than I remembered, but I happily found myself back in my rooms with six large pieces of delicious focaccia. They weren’t with me long… I devoured them in a way that brings me shame. It was animalistic, I suppose. They were just so damned good, and I was just so damned happy. I dozed off watching Ancient Aliens, sipped rosé, and I knew life couldn’t get much better.
My attitude was completely changed in the morning. I hated everything. This confused me considerably as I shuffled to the kitchen to turn on the espresso machine. Why on earth should I ever have a reason to be so unhappy? It struck me at once that it wasn’t really me that was unhappy, it was that stupid multiple sclerosis. I’ve been, I believe, very lucky with that crap so far. I’m worlds better than I was before going to the doctors, and my leg didn’t feel funny and my eyes were quite clear. But, I guess people get depressed with the disease, and that is exactly what I was. It helped a lot to realize what my trouble was, what the root of all that unpleasant nonsense was, but that did nothing really to resolve the problem. I was still in a foul mood.
I pretentiously thought of Voltaire…well, this notebook with a Voltaire quote that I saw, and managed to get myself motivated enough to go exploring.
It was hot, which doesn’t normally bother me, but that day, the heat infuriated me. I don’t know what my hair was doing. I just felt like total garbage. Tired garbage. But, from experiences of the past, I knew that I would almost surely feel better if I stopped moping about and went out to do something. So I decided to go see dead people in a cemetery. That always cheers me up.
Along the way, I melancholically munched on chocolate and lemon gelato (surprisingly good combination) and glared at the spots where the sticky treat had melted and run over my hands.
I walked and walked, sweating up a storm, and finally I arrived at the cemetery. I was looking very much forward to a lengthy sit next to a crumbling mausoleum. Such bliss was not to be. The place was closed. I made an inhuman noise.
It turns out that many places in Italy are closed on Mondays or have very limited hours. As a person who is genuinely quite lazy, I found this a charming practice. But as a gloomy man looking for a few hours of meditative peace, I found it irksome in the extreme.
So, I stomped along the Po River, feeling bad about myself.
I bought an espresso at an automat, which for the first time failed to bring me any real cheer. I bought more focaccia, because I clearly had not had nearly enough. And then I found a gourmet popcorn shop, and that overpriced bag of olive oil popcorn did make me feel better.
I was disappointed in myself. I didn’t come all this way to be miserable, after all. I could do that much more reasonably back home. Promising myself to be better in the morning (or afternoon ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ), I went to bed, hopeful, but annoyed.