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(5) Things we love…#27

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Italian breakfastNot so healthy breakfasts

For all the yogurt, oatmeal with fruit and chia seeds that are the run of the mill at my breakfast table, nothing beats an old-fashioned cappuccino and croissant enjoyed standing at a coffee shop counter in Italy.  Old habits die hard. In fairness, cappuccinos are different in the land where they were invented: much smaller and much creamier, their portion making them easier to digest. And the croissants are not a French uber-buttery affair but are more cake-y and deceptively light.


Out with the old..

For the first few years I lived in Los Angeles, I missed “old”: old buildings, piles of ancient rocks, crumbling plaster. Now, when I go back to Europe, I admire the forward looking attitude of many city planners that so successfully have integrated a venerable past with the best contemporary architecture has to offer. Here are Renzo Piano’s Shards and one of the skyscrapers that huddle Piazza Gae Aulenti in Milan.

English garden
Gardening

Maybe it’s because I have a black thumb, or that I live in a sun-soaked and dry land where plants need to be sturdy or, just maybe, my constant re-reading of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden” when I was a child left a dent, but I love rambling gardens that look like no one has been paying attention. Most English gardens qualify, like this little patch in the middle of London.

Lincoln Inn's Fields where I spent a blissful hour reading in the sun
Lincoln Inn’s Fields where I spent a blissful hour reading in the sun

Travelling (solo)

A bit of a cliché, I know, but travelling does have the power to slot things into different perspectives, shift points of view and knock down the limitations we impose on our everyday life. Especially when traveling is done alone. I came home from my wanderings with a better attitude and a more positive outlook on life. We all know it won’t last but I am planning to milk it for as long as I can. And if you are looking for reasons to plan a solo trip, read no further than here.

Simplicity

I look at jewelry far more than I wear it, or indeed buy it. My tastes veer towards extremely simple or vintage. This caught my eye on Arlene Gibbs’ blog (Arlene is an American decorator transplanted in Rome with very good tastes). Francesca Amfitheatrof is the new Design Director at Tiffany’s and this bracelet is part of her latest line. Divine simplicity. And, as Arlene points out, doing “simplicity” well is much harder than it looks.

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5 Comments

  1. Being German-born, I totally appreciate the great pastry and a full bodied coffee in a china cup rather than a paper disposable. As for gardening, it’s a constant experiment. Some things grow and flourish, some don’t but never give up. There is something very therapeutic getting one’s hands dirty in lovely soil even if success if limited, there is such a connection to the earth that supplants any failure.

    November 16, 2014
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      I do love getting my hands dirty and it’s true there is a therapeutic side to gardening. But I am just too lazy to read up on what I should be doing. I feel there is so much to do and learn in life and I stashed gardening on the lower rungs of my priority….

      November 16, 2014
      |Reply
  2. I am hoping to go back to Milan (for the first time since I left over 8 years ago) next year as part of our Honeymoon Around Europe. I’ll indulge in #1 while considering # 2. Can’t wait to see how it’s changed. My Italian friends moan of how the country has gone to the dogs. I wonder will I detect that in a fleeting visit or maybe it will be on the upturn by then…I feel sad for the state of the old boot and hope it starts kicking again soon. Some of the most memorable times of my life were spent there.

    One day I hope to own a garden like that, as opposed to sharing it–and I will exercise my green thumb. At least I think it’s green. I’m a poor cook but I’m convinced I can make things grow.

    November 15, 2014
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      You will find Milan changed. It’s getting ready for next year’s Expo so lots of construction going on. The empty space outside Porta Garibaldi that was just advertising billboards, now it’s a modern square with skyscrapers, a giant Esselunga, shops, cafes and luxury steel and glass condos. Really beautiful use of the space. But, if you look closely, your friends are right: the country is going to the dogs. Stores like H&M and Zara abound but the middle of the road boutiques can’t survive. So many people out of work or just getting by. Way more immigrants that you probably remember trying to get a better life. Newspapers have become unreadable after so many staff cuts. And the news is a mixture of piety, drama and screams – unwatchable. But aperitivi are still going strong as people prefer to spend a few quids on a drink and some appetizers than a fully-fledged meal.

      November 16, 2014
      |Reply
  3. Gotta love a good croissant! Well, I love anything pastry, really…

    I have now been inspired to try solo travelling. Time to scope out some good destinations!

    November 15, 2014
    |Reply

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