Tag Archive for travel

The Thanksgiving Adventures of the Five-Berry Pie

I bought a pie — blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, and cranberry — on Wednesday, to take to my sister’s house in Philly, where I was headed for the holiday. The Greenmarket where I got it is near the Rubin Museum. I was going there, but I went to the market first, to make sure I got what I wanted. Then I went to the Rubin, but I didn’t want to endanger the pie by carrying it around the museum. So I took it to the checkroom, giving the coat-check guy a chance to add “May I check my pie?” to his list of Sentences I’ve Never Heard Before.  All well and good, unchecked the pie and took it home when I was done.

Next morning, the plan was to head down to the Staten Island Ferry and meet the illustrious JL on the other side, then drive to Philly, which is how we do it every year. Since I was planning to go to the gym without going home first when I got back Friday, I packed up the pie and detoured to the gym Thanksgiving morning to drop off some stuff I’d need. Then the pie and I took the subway to South Ferry.

When we got to the ferry terminal, however, I got a phone call from the illustrious JL: he was sick as a dog, could not go! I wished him well (he sounded awful) and thought, Uh-oh, what now? Here I am at South Ferry with a pie and the need to get to Philly, no plan to get there and it’s Thanksgiving Day.

I walked over to a picnic table, settled the pie, and started searching buses online. Amtrak, I was sure, would be sold out and cost a fortune besides, but they were my next plan. But lo, Megabus had a few seats left on the 2:45. I grabbed one up.

And now there I was at South Ferry at 10:15, on a gorgeous day, with four hours to spare before my bus. I could go home, but the weather was too spectacular. I could walk up to the bus, though that’s a little farther than I was prepared for, carrying the pie. I could walk partway, and then sit and have a cup of tea. Before I decided, though, I needed a bathroom. I started back to the ferry terminal, but a thought hit me: the Smithsonian’s NY branch of the National Museum of the American Indian is right there. All Smithsonian branches are open 365 days a year — this one too, yes?

Yes! The pie rode the conveyor belt through the X-ray machine. That museum used to have lockers, so I thought I might be able to check the pie in a second museum — surely a first for any pie — but no lockers any longer, so after the trip to the ladies’ room, where I sat it on the window sill, the pie and I went to the “Transformers” exhibit, which I’d wanted to see anyway.

After the Museum, I started to walk uptown. How far I’d go. whether I’d have tea, was still undecided, when I ran into Diane Fusilli. We exchanged hellos, and she told me her husband and granddaughter were upstairs — we were right outside their building. So I went up to visit with Jim Fusilli. I walked in and said, “I brought a pie, but it’s not for you.” Jim and I had a cup of tea and caught up, played with the adorable granddaughter, and then I picked up the pie and walked on. I took the A train to 34th St., thinking maybe I could go standby on the earlier bus.

The walk from 8th Ave. to almost the river, where the bus leaves from, is very long, but the day was still beautiful. Since Jim’s tea had been herbal, I bought a cup of caffeinated tea from a food truck on 10th Ave. and sat on a park bench to drink it, the pie beside me. Then I went on, and when I got to the bus stop I asked the guy whether I could stand by on the 1:50. It was only 1:20 so I figured I was in plenty of time. Haha– the 1:50 wasn’t running that day.

Now, I’d had Jim’s tea, and the other cup, too. No way I was going to wait in the cold for over an hour for my scheduled bus. So the pie and I hiked back to 9th Ave., to use the facilities at the diner. Then we hiked back. The pie sat on the sidewalk with me next to it, waiting for the bus.

The bus pulled up right on time. I settled in, and when we left, the bus wasn’t full, so the pie had its own seat beside me. The bus ran late getting out of NYC because the Thanksgiving Parade spectators and participants were leaving at the same time. For awhile, trying to get into the tunnel, were were behind a float of snow-covered hills and a mountain goat.

The pie and I finally arrived at my sister’s house at 6:00, having left my apartment at 9:00. Dinner was waiting, warm and welcoming, as were my relations.

And I must say, the pie was delicious.

More Assisi, and a little Bastia

I had the best of intentions of blogging often. I was thinking Ah, I’ll be lounging about, drinking a little cappuccino, laptop on my lap… My tenth year here at Art Workshop International in Assisi and I still haven’t figured it out. Between teaching and hanging with my buddies, between walks and art and my local friends I only see once or twice a year, all that lounging time doesn’t exist.

So here I am, belatedly, back again, with some photos. Most of them are from Assisi, though we took a little trip — and I mean little, literally 4 minutes on the train (though of course you have to walk down to Santa Maria degli Angeli to get the train, and then wait for the train, so from the hotel the trip is about an hour and 4 minutes) — to Bastia, and strolled around.

View from our favorite cafe

 

Breakfast at the Hotel Giotto (plus a little fruit for lunch…)

 

The hard-working guys holding up the rose window at San Rufino

 

Below street-level plantings. Don’t show this to Grow Dammit, he’ll feel insecure.

 

Flower pot on the wall

 

Sunflowers, almost ready for harvest

 

Bastia: the market’s over

 

Bastia: painted wall

 

Filipina nuns in habits and identical straw hats waiting for the bus.

 

Bastia: I don’t think this is the police station any more…

 

…or else some cop has a very green thumb.

 

Dragon sings karaoke

Assisi, Assisi

Arrived at the Hotel Giotto, went to my regular room, unpacked and I already know where everything goes. Charles Kreloff and Bob Hughes had a slice of Pane di San Francesco waiting for me. Went for a walk around town: it’s been beautiful for 1,000 years and it changes but it doesn’t; still beautiful. Herein, the first set of photos. Including food, as requested.

Salad at dinner

Archway

Bootleg photo in the Basilica (no photos allowed!)

Basilica door detail

Outside my room, dawn

The Pope’s Dining Room in the Basilica. For nine hundred years, when a Pope visits Assisi, this is where they feed him.

Interior garden at the Basilica

Lemon and sage ravioli (SO yummy)

We visit the Basilica at night

Walkway

 

A great idea! In fact, two.

I’m just loving this: ice stupas!

To bring water to drought-stricken areas.

Photo by Sonam Wangchuk.

And speaking of the Himalayas, come to Kathmandu!  Click the link for details. (Not the photo, the link.) See you there!

http://www.himalayanwritersworkshop.com/mystery-writing-in-kathmandu

 

More Mississippi

Now that I have a little leisure — after the New Orleans/Mississippi trip there were Philadelphia and Saratoga Springs, and the teaching semester started — I’m catching up on some photos I wanted to show you.  At Dunleith Castle, a mansion we toured in Natchez, one of the rooms has absolutely sensational wallpaper. Les Zones Terrestres by the Zuber Co. is what it sounds like — all the climates of the earth, shading into one another in a 33-panel spread that wraps around the room. These are details. I was hoping to find more complete photos on the Zuber website, but no. The blocks it was printed from were destroyed during WWII, so it’s not made anymore. It’s astoundingly beautiful. The White House has a Zuber wallpaper, Vues de l’Amérique du Nord, in the Diplomatic Reception Room, and another Natchez mansion has a different set, Hindustan, along the gallery walls. I’ve never been a wallpaper fan, but these knocked me out. I wish I could show you more but I couldn’t back up far enough to take wide shots. If in Natchez, though, do not miss this!

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Doe’s Eat Place

This is me lurking in the shadows of Doe’s Eat Place, Greenville, Mississippi. Doe’s was originally a honky-tonk, and later a restaurant. On the wrong side of the tracks because Doe himself was Italian, which made him, like the Lebanese and Jews of Greenville, colored folk, the restaurant found itself sneaking white folks in the back door because the steaks were so good. Now anyone can eat at Does, and I do recommend it.

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A day in Florence

The rest of the photos are on the camera and so have yo be downloaded, but this was on Jonathan Santlofer’s phone so here it is. After a hot and hectic day, we chillaxed in a sidewalk cafe that was, actually, in the street.

 

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Evening in Assisi

Assisi, like any other, oh, gee, 2,000-year-old place, has some extremely cool things going on. I’ve learned about a few over the years, and they’re too great not to share. Here’s me on an evening walk, running my mouth for the benefit of newcomers about the cloth, brick, and tile measurements built into the wall by the town fathers 900 years ago so you wouldn’t get cheated when you bought your goods at the market in the square. Photo by the sneaky but invaluable Jonathan Santlofer.

 

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter…

…from my hotel room window at sunrise.

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Turtle and giant carp, LA

Just thought you might like to see what’s in the pool at the Hilton.

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