The trouble with having only news channels to watch in English is that you tend to become mired in the doom and gloom that is broadcast daily. Civil unrest, the economic crisis, wars, William and Kate (the latter not gloomy but annoying!)……sometimes you just have to turn it off in search of a good time. Right now in Italy, there’s no better time to be had than at Carnivale in Viareggio.
A tradition for 138 years, the Carnivale is like no other I’ve ever attended. Pretty much everyone dresses in costume, there is music, MUCH confetti, food, dancing and a parade of enormous floats that make the Adelaide Christmas Pageant look like a quaint country fair. (Btw, I am by no means knocking our Christmas Pageant with all of it’s charm and unique atmosphere! I’m just making the point that Carnivale is HUGE). Really, these floats are amazing with their sheer size, bright colours and moving parts. They parade along the seashore in a circular route and the crowd is encouraged to be a part of the procession. There are no barriers and only a small grandstand for the elderly (party poopers!). Actually, the kids were a bit overwhelmed at first with all the people and the noise, but after a few minutes they acclimatized and became engrossed in the bizarre sights.
If you DO plan on attending Carnivale some day, be aware that there are NO parks in the entire town. We had to drive almost all of the way out of Viareggio and walk back in. Enjoy the pics:
This week we have continued our usual touring of Lunigiana. Amongst our “discoveries” are the castle at Bastia, Torre di Apella, Caprigliola and more of the lovely area around our village of Groppo. Chris and I have been taking many long hikes around here and discovered a bare hilltop a few k’s down the road. It’s only used for grazing right now, but would make an ideal house site with 360 degree views of the mountains and valleys. On a clear day, the Apuans look so three dimensional! The view of Groppo from a different angle with the alps behind it is also quite spectacular. I’ll let the pics do the talking again:
Finally, I am most pleased to announce that I’m now a card-carrying member of the “Donne di Luna”, the local women’s organization. I was invited to attend the Annual General Meeting last Friday night, followed by a delicious buffet dinner. In the meeting, the “head lady” outlined what had been achieved that year and what plans were in place for the coming year. It seems quite a lot of charity work was done as well as social and cultural events. My friends Giusi, Catherine, Sandra, Alison and Nikki are all members and I met some other Italian ladies on the night. I learned some new words and got to practice the language, as well as enjoying some new foods like “lardo” (thin slivers of cured pork fat!) and swordfish. It was a fun night amongst such lovely ladies. It was also the first night I’ve had out by myself since we arrived in Italy 🙂