Spoonful of Sugar By Lucy Williams

Hello, all! I’m happy to introduce this lovely guest post by Lucy Williams for you to enjoy. It’s a beautifully written piece of flash-memoir that I absolutely love. Don’t forget to comment below and share if you’re feeling fancy.

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Hung-over on the bed, but without having been to sleep yet, I force myself to check the time. It’s 3:57am. The side street below my window refuses to sleep either.

Rickety bikes rattle along below, carrying their intoxicated mounts to safety like trusty steeds, homeward bound. The youngsters flowing home along the cobbled river is a sight welcomed by the baker on the corner of Via Matteucci, who half an hour ago exhaustedly turned his key in the lock of his pasticceria door to start making the dough for the day ahead. It’s at this time of night, in his secluded stone doorway, that he hopes to make a little cash-in-hand profit from these students’ wine-induced craving for fresh strips of garlic and rosemary infused ciabatta, still soft and doughy in the middle and half the price of what they will cost them when they officially go on sale in a few hours.

Sleep is on its way, clouding my vision and thoughts until I succumb to its beautiful nothingness. After being awake for this many hours it must surely arrive soon.

It has been one of those days for making list upon list, mistake upon mistake, and handing over more and more money. A day of wearing lots of layers and not having the warmth of someone else’s knowing eyes penetrating them. A day of free beer and telephone cards to reach those who really know me. A day of blurred photographs and of folding paper. A day of looking ten years ahead. A day of putting an extra spoonful of sugar on the foam of my cappuccino, while looking at my watch to work out how long I need to wait before I’ll be dissolving a sugar cube over my absinthe with Federico, when I will be able to lose track of time in the mesmeric cloud of whiteness swirling through the liquid below. A day of playing music too quietly, and of piling boxes high against the wall, filling them with packets of snapped willow charcoal. A day of imagining material on every surface, and of wanting to stop pretending that I know how they feel. Of being the last to go to bed again.

In this gap before the night closes and the day begins, it feels as though it can only be me and the baker who are still awake. The sound of him opening the door to let the heat out of his floury prison floats up to my window, followed shortly by the smell of fresh pizza dough, and I realise that I don’t have to be asleep to have my sogni d’oro here in Italy.

An hour soon gets swallowed up in my thoughts, and the air is now so still that I can hear the baker rest his sweaty weight against the stone wall outside, methodically wiping his forehead before he lights the first cigarette of his shift.

When he resumes his work after this first break the sound of the trays scraping against the oven is my cue to give in to sleep, as it won’t be long before the first customers will be leaning on his counter and I will have stayed awake into a new day. He will greet me tomorrow as I cycle passed and he will be thinking about how lucky I am to have had a full night’s sleep, utterly unaware of how many hours we have spent awake together at night.

As the North Italian sun starts to trickle into the bedroom, I am pleasantly surprised to notice that today the view of the neat orange terracotta rooftops through the mess of curtains has become as familiar and comforting to me now as one of the green hills back home. Every day, as I witness the darkness turn into dawn, I momentarily expect to see Welsh countryside appear but the usual disappointment is less today.

After my time in this special country, I am going to go home and know what I am going to do in the morning. I won’t confuse day and night. I won’t have unpacked bags in the corner of my room. I’ll answer my calls and be outside ready to meet them. I will see doing nothing as a worthwhile thing to do with you. I’ll have just one book in my bag. I’ll redo what I tried to do when I was continually drunk, and start to know what happened and when. My earring will not hurt after a day in the wind. I will be happy doing all the things that they think I’ve done. I will close the back cover and let someone else write their name now.

Author Bio:

Lucy lives in Wales and spends her time as an Italian Translator, Technical author, and Creative Writer. She is particular interested in the translation of culturally-bound humour, crossing boundaries through literature, subtitling, and writing for therapeutic purposes. She has poetry published by The Emma Press, and Hysteria, and was recently a judge for the Hysteria Short Story competition.

She is a freelance travel writer for Looking for Italy where she gets to spout off about how amazing Italy is. Here is an article about why you should shut your computer down and book a flight to Naples right now. She also documents her own travels on her creative writing site: www.lucyrosewilliams.com. She is currently working on getting the courage to move to Italy and live off arancini, views, and calzedonia tights.

Italy Around The Web: Weekly Roundup

Italy’s Highest Court Explains Decision To Clear Amanda Knox: “ROME — Italy’s highest court said Monday that the case against the Seattle resident Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend — whose convictions in the 2007 murder of a British student were definitively overturned in March — was marked by “culpable omissions of investigative activity” and “contradictory evidence” that raised reasonable doubt of their guilt.”

I’ve followed the case for sometime and while the evidence doesn’t seem to prove her guilty beyond reasonable doubt, that woman has shark eyes. She might not be a murderer, but she’s still creepy as hell. And Italy? Don’t you have protocol for-oh, wait. No, no you don’t.

THE DEMOLITION MAN-New Yorker “Italians who admire Matteo Renzi call him “our best hope.” More skeptical Italians say, “Well, maybe our only hope.” The Western press hedges its bets with “brash” but “confident.” And his enemies use the term il rottamatore, the demolition man. Renzi agrees with his enemies. “I’m the scrapper,” he told me. “I’m cleaning up the swamp.””

I’m not for or against Renzi but I’m interested in him and his career. From an outside perspective, it seems like he’s got the right idea in some areas. If he’s able to do what he hopes to do (fix the economy) then maybe Italy can become a real country again instead of the mess that Trump, I mean, Berlusconi left it in.

The Queen, aka, Beyonce, Frolics in Italy With Her family: 7 Photos From Her Trip To Italy-ABC “It’s been a romantic few weeks for Beyonce and Jay Z, 42, who wrote on his wife’s website on her birthday that the song “”Yellow”” by Coldplay reminded him of her. “”This song reminds me of you and I on vacation,”” he shared. “‘Look at the stars; look how they shine for you.’ So many legendary nights. It represents vulnerability; it’s us in our own world, away from work and totally lost in love.””

Awe, a fan of their work or not, they’re a cute couple. So cute it kind of makes me want to barf, but with love.

World’s Saddest Dog Begs For Forgiveness “In a video uploaded to Facebook, an Italian man’s dog begs for forgiveness for whatever it’s done. Bowing its head and giving so many one-sided hugs, the shamed pooch knows that it’s in the wrong.”

I love dogs. Dogs are my favorite. This video is adorable and kind of sad. I’d like to add that animal behaviorists don’t actually buy into the “guilty,” dog thing. Researchers actually believe that dogs are amazing at reading body language so they’re actually responding to knowing that something “bad,” is going to happen to them when you display anger or body language that the dog understands as being upset. Also? Oliver doesn’t have a guilty face. When he does something bad he displays it proudly. “Look mom! I ate the garbage!” Sigh. Dogs.

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Travel Tips: Choosing Where To Travel In Italy

It’s summer and the emails are starting to come in asking for my recommendations for travel. Since I’m working on a series of guides and some super in-depth posts about travel that I’ll have up soon, I’m just going to keep this short and sweet with the highlights of my favorite places to go. I hope this helps at least some of you plan your Italy trip this year.

Choosing a destination depends on what kind of traveler you are and what you’re seeking. Are you a history buff? A food lover? Wino? Artist? Do you love culture and people-watching (legal stalking)?

I’m personally really into culture. I love watching people. If you see me in Florence I’m probably sitting on a bench taking photos of perfect strangers while they smoke cigarettes or talk about their partner or cake recipes. If this sounds like you then you might want to do an off-the-beaten-path trip. Honestly, one of the best ways to travel Italy in my opinion is to pick somewhere less touristy and spend a good amount of time there. There are tiny towns and villages throughout Italy that don’t get a lot of attention in tourism magazines but are well worth visiting if you’re looking for an authentic cultural experience.

Florence, Rome, and all of those places are beautiful, historical, and amazing but they’re swamped with visitors and because of that a lot of the charm is lost as restaurants, stores, try to accomodate visitors. I’m not entirely complaining about that because it did bring large coffee cups to Florence, God bless ya’ll, but it also removes the “authenticity,” and love that normally goes into Italian products, and food, from certain areas. Sometimes in larger cities if you want to really experience them the best way to do it is with a local, or a ton of research to avoid tourist traps which can certainly be exhausting. However, if art, history, and architecture are important to you then working larger cities into your trip is probably a good idea. I vote for going off of the beaten path and spending most of your vacation there but maybe taking short weekend trips to larger cities. For example, I love Gaiole in Chianti. Obviously, it depends on how long you have off.

Gaiole In Chianti

Gaiole In Chianti

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Moments In Italy By Lauren Pricer

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18 Years Old: Beware

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We entered the country with stereotypes and warnings ringing in our heads:

“Beware the Italian men.  They will try to charm you.”

“Don’t open the windows on the train!  Someone could throw in a gas bomb and then steal your backpacks!”

“There are gypsies!  They will throw their babies at you so you drop your bags, then they will steal them!”

“Pickpockets are everywhere.”

“Beware the Italian men.”

First local stop after we crossed the border, a knock at the door of our cabin.  “Ah, scusi, hello.  May I sit a-with you?”  We exchanged knowing glances.  The young man was dressed impeccably and his eyes were gorgeous pools of deep brown.  He seemed polite, modest, and utterly harmless.

But, beware the Italian men.

“I am, ah, learning English?  And if we talk, it will very much help me with my English?  Si?  Yes?”

I rolled my eyes and let out a long sigh.  “O-kay, I guess,” I said.

What started out as a somewhat awkward exchange of pleasantries turned into 45 minutes of enlightening conversation with this intelligent, kind man.  He was studying at university.  He wanted to be an engineer.  He had a serious girlfriend.  He wanted to wait until marriage before having sex (maybe he was lying?).

Clearly there must be some sort of exception to the rule.  Si?  Yes?

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A Visit To The Central Market In Florence, Italy

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Central Market Florence Italy

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How To Travel To Italy For Under $1000

Travel Italy (1)

So, this post is about how you can travel to Italy for one week for less than $1000 bucks* for airfare and accommodations. Look, I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, “Bullshit, lady, it’s impossible to travel to Italy for so little.” And you’re right, it sounds impossible, but it isn’t.

This requires a few tricks, it will require at least one year of planning, but it’s totally worth it. It’s basically how most of the people that I know travel for free-ish. If you’ve dreamed of visiting Italy you’re whole life but it just seems too expensive with your kids or whatever, well, my friend, I’m the babe for you. Platonically. Because I’m married, to a majestic Italian heartthrob who I adore (despite the fact that he sheds like a Husky in the summer time).

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Pisa Street Photography By Artist Kamau

Hello guys! So this week’s guest post is by a very talented photographer. I love his work, it’s so energetic and fun and I think you’ll love it too. And also? What a babe! Enjoy your glimpse into Pisa. Have you been? Do these photos bring up any nostalgic memories of the place?

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II

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Does This Video Change The Way You See Italy?

Similarly to a turtle that’s stuck on it’s back, Italy is desperately flailing to get to it’s feet and recover from it’s economic, political, and social setbacks. Their solution? This video, titled, “Italy, The Extraordinary Commonplace.” I actually don’t even know what that means. Does anyone know what that means? The video is in English, and aims to clean the soiled reputation of a once great nation.

Italy is trying to rebrand itself.

The video has gotten mixed reviews but a lot of them are good. ABC recently wrote a story titled, “Italy Promo Gets Thumbs Up For Turning Stereotypes Around.”

The video was created by The Ministry Of Economic Development. So far the YouTube video has been viewed over 390,000 times. It’s nice to see that Italy has finally found a way to market itself differently and is trying to change it’s image in hopes of increasing interest from foreign investors. At the very least I can say that it’s great that Italy has possibly found a way to market itself to the world. You know what they say? It’s all about marketing. Once they figure that out, they might be able to fix the country.

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