03 February 2008

On a Sunday, does "this week" mean the last six days, or the next six days? Depends if you're asking an American or a Catalan.

In case you weren't aware of the fact, it is February already. I myself am only barely aware of the fact, and this is probably because I am in denial. February means cold weather, and still more to come. It means a little blip of red hearts (the chocolate stores, which in Brussels are as omnipresent as corner groceries, won't let us forget it) and then back to the gray wait for signs of spring.

So, in order to pretend that it is not February and not gray and not cold, we are going to Italy. More specifically, on Thursday we're headed to Naples, where the lemons are the size of your head. The Mister has a conference for two days, and I'm tagging along, and then we're taking two days for ourselves to go whither we wish in the area. Capri? Sorrento? Amalfi? Any recommendations?

Also, on Tuesday we're going to try to make it to Binche for carnival, which is the most famous of the Belgian celebrations on shrove Tuesday. It involves lots and lots of people wearing the costumes pictured here, which I find to be slightly scary. We'll see how I feel about it in person. I may have to keep my distance, especially if any break away from the parade formation and head directly for me with those eerie green eyes and twirly moustaches.

We're thus hoping this coming week will be an improvement over this past week, during which the Mister had surgery on his hand, and I developed even more of a cold than I had before. On Thursday, we spent seven hours in the hospital for the surgery, and in hindsight (and because it went very smoothly, and because it wasn't *me* having the surgery) I can say it was kind of a cool experience. The doctors were able to remove the strange lumpy thing that was in there that has been puzzling them for months (they're still analyzing it, so it will remain a mystery until next week), and the Mister has had hardly any pain in his hand. He was calm and collected when I would have been a nervous pre-op wreck. And in the end, he ended up taking care of me, instead of the other way around, when my cold took a turn for the worse.

The good news from the week was that I passed my French class, at the head of the class! That's not saying a whole lot when you consider that half the class failed and our teacher called the general level of our class très faible (I got the highest grade with a 77, a figure that in any other academic context would definitely make me cry). But it is saying a lot when you consider that I skipped a level, didn't have very much opportunity for conversational practice, and wasn't terribly confident. I'm looking forward to starting the next level (like a video game!), hopefully with a congenial teacher and friendly classmates.

There you have it. The news from this (last) week, and the plans for this (next) week. American calendars place Sunday on the left of the grid, and European calendars place Monday at the left of the grid. The Mister would say "next week" when referring to this coming Thursday, whereas I would say "this week." It's all very confusing.


pinolona said...


Lucky you scoring hols in Italy! I'd avoid Sorrento- the town has nothing going for it, the beaches are hard to access and it'll be full of lager-swilling Brits (apologies). The Amalfi coast is gorgeous though: I recommend Amalfi, Positano, Ravello, Praiano - and it shouldn't be too crowded at this time of year. There are some cool villages above Amalfi too- I liked San Lazzaro- and tons of walks along the cliffs: try the Sentiero degli Dei. Buon viaggio!

Oh and I really wanted to go to Ischia when I was there but the sea was too rough so there was no boat.

Nb. If you're going to be in Naples you may want to take a mask of some kind (nothing to do with the Carnival unfortunately):

Robin said...

Thanks for the recommendations, pinolona!

Did you go to Capri? We're leaning towards going there, but we're worried it might be too touristy. Although, as you mention, maybe this time of year will be less crowded.

Yeah, we knew about the trash problem in Naples, which is why the goal was to get away from the city the days we don't have to be there. It'll be...um, an adventure.

Anna said...

I loved Amalfi too, but my experience does not extend to any of the other possibilities you mentioned.
Instead of Capri, I went to Pompei and loved it. But that may have less to do with the place than because I had a funny little adventure there: I was a college student traveling with another woman my age who happens to be model-like gorgeous. Some local teen-aged boys zoned in on her the second we railed into town and while we were debating whether we should spend our money on something to eat that day OR enter the ruins (our budget would not allow us to do both), one young signore approached us and offered free entry tickets in exchange for a little kiss (from her, not me). The boys squired us through the gates and gave us their own version of the grand tour; our paltry Italian was slightly better than their English, so it was all done via pantomime and very exuberant eagerness. We had a grand time and afterward had enough lira in our pockets to treat ourselves to some fabulous Italian deliciousness. I don't know what it is like to travel in Italy with a male companion and I have to say I am not sure it would be quite as interesting. But the food is always good: pasta is no fickle flirt.