Welcome Everyone.

Welcome to News From Italy, my blog about our Italian Adventure. Although this blog has now ceased publication I will be continuing to blog and I am sincerely hoping that my many followers here will move with me to Travel Tales blog to follow my next adventures wherever they may take me. The links to my other blogs are:-

I look forward to keeping in touch with you via them, thanks once again for all the support you have given 'News From Italy' over the years.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hong Kong Trip Part Three



The next walk that we did involved taking a ride on one of the wonderful Hong Kong Trams to the end of the eastern line, Shau Kei Wan,where I was able to get some interesting photographs of the trams which I am featuring in this post.

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If you are interested in reading more about the Hong Kong Trams click on the link here which will take you to the Wikepedia page.

This video will take you on a virtual ride on a Hong Kong tram.


We also have trams in Italy, here is a video of the ones that run in Milano.

Our Garden in March Nostri Giardino in Marzo

Spring or Primavera as it is known in Italian is well and truly here. Since returning from Hong Kong last week I have taken great pleasure in pottering about in the garden.
It is not surprising that Spring really advanced while we were away for three weeks. The daffodils that were just starting to bloom are now almost over, but there is plenty of colour arriving to take there place. As you can see from my selection of photographs today.

The beauty of Nature never ceases to amaze and delight me.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hong Kong Trip Part Two


The next morning March 3rd we started to properly explore the amazing city of Hong Kong. We were to walk many miles during our stay and we started our tour using a useful little book 'Hong Kong Walks', a useful addition to our own Eyewitness and Lonely Planet guides.

Today's cacophony of sights and sounds took us to the Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok districts, a non stop experience of local urban Chinese lifestyles in the heart of the Kowloon peninsula.

We visited the Flower Market, Bird Garden, Goldfish Market, Jade Market, Ladies Market (misnamed as not just for ladies but selling a vast array of items at bargain prices). Also Shanghai Street one of the city's oldest where kitchenware shops mingle with those selling Chinese style wedding clothes(more of weddings another time) and a Tin Hau Temple.

I will leave the photos to say the rest and remember if you want to see more take a look at LindyLouMac Flickr Photos

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The Bird Garden

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Owners take their birds with them to the Bird Garden for an outing, it is also a market for all bird related purchases.

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Even live food!

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The Goldfish Market

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The Ladies Market

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The Jade Market, where yes I did buy a little something from this lady.

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Tin Hau Temple

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No photography allowed inside but to finish off, are a couple of the ones I took in the garden.

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These trees are amazing and we were to see many of them during our visit.

Holy Week

Yesterday was the start of Holy Week and various regions of Italy carry out special celebrations today on Holy Monday/Lundei Santo.

So far I have not discovered any particular rituals that take place in the Viterbo region.  Castelsardo in Sardinia seems to be the most well known region that carries out a ritual today called Lunissanti. Members of the Brotherhood of the Holy Cross/ Confraternita di Santa Croce, dressed in long white hooded tunics and carrying religious artefacts, take part in processions and sing, or rather chant from dawn until dusk.
I found the following video on YouTube which will give you an idea of what goes on.
Mote information can also be found on Wikepedia/Holy Monday and in particular about the rituals in Sardinia here Easter Week in Sardinia

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

The start of Holy Week in Italy, today is Palm Sunday.

File:Jesus entering jerusalem on a donkey.jpg

Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.

Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast which always falls on the Sunday before Easter Sunday. The feast commemorates an event mentioned by all four Canonical Gospels Mark 11:1-11Matthew 21:1-11Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19: the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his Passion. It is also called Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion.
In many Christian churches, Palm Sunday is marked by the distribution of palm leaves (often tied into crosses) to the assembled worshipers. The difficulty of procuring palms for that day's ceremonies in unfavorable climates for palms led to the substitution of boughs of boxyewwillow or other native trees. The Sunday was often designated by the names of these trees, as Yew Sunday or by the general term Branch Sunday.
According to the Gospels, before entering Jerusalem, Jesus was staying at Bethany and Bethphage, and the Gospel of John adds that he had dinner with Lazarus, and his sisters Mary and Martha. While there, Jesus sent two disciples to the village over against them, in order to retrieve a donkey that had been tied up but never been ridden, and to say, if questioned, that the donkey was needed by the Lord but would be returned. Jesus then rode the donkey into Jerusalem, with the Synoptics adding that the disciples had first put their cloaks on it, so as to make it more comfortable. The Gospels go on to recount how Jesus rode into Jerusalem, and how the people there lay down their cloaks in front of him, and also lay down small branches of trees. The people sang part of Psalm 118 - ...Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father, David. ... (Psalms 118:25-26). Where this entry took place is unspecified; some scholars argue that the Golden Gate is the likely location, since that was where it was believed the Jewish messiah would enter Jerusalem; other scholars think that an entrance to the south, which had stairs leading directly to the Temple, would be more likely (Kilgallen 210).

Palm Sunday Text above courtesy of Wikipedia. 

In Italy Palms are less common than Olive trees and a few of the Biblical passages that mention the event speak of boughs in general, or speak of palms and other branches as well. So it is no surprise that the Italian worshippers on this day almost all carry olive branches instead, although the priests themselves are often seen with actual palm fronds.

Sunday Song

In celebration of Mina Italy's Queen of Pop who was 70 just a few days ago on the 25th of March.

Portati via (Take Away)



The text is from You Tube and originally produced by sarc2

Mina Anna Mazzini, OMRI,[1] best known as Mina, (born 25 March 1940 as Anna Maria Mazzini[2]) is an Italian pop singer. For her voice and performing talent, she was a star attraction of the Italian television variety shows and a dominant figure on the Italian charts. She has sold over 76 million records.[3] Mina gave up public appearances in 1978 while has continued to release albums on a yearly basis to date.
Mina's TV appearances in 1959 presented the first female rocker in Italy. Her loud syncopated singing earned her the nickname "Queen of Screamers". For her wild gestures and body shakes, the publicity labeled her the "Tiger of Cremona". Having turned to light pop tunes, her chart-toppers in West Germany and Japan in 19621964 earned Mina the title of the best international artist in the countries. Originally in surf rock style, her hit "Renato" is a pop standard in Estonia. Mina's more refined sensual manner was introduced in 1960 with Gino Paoli's ballad "Il cielo in una stanza", which charted in U.S.
Mina's pregnancy and relationship with a married actor caused her a ban on the public Italian channels in 1963 as it did not accord with the dominant catholic and bourgeois morals. After the ban, the Italian broadcasting service RAI continued trying to prohibit her songs which were forthright in dealing with subjects such as religion, smoking, or sex (e.g. the songs "Ta-ra-ta-ta" and "Sacumdì Sacumdà"). To her bad girl image, Mina added a sexy appeal and a cool act, featuring public smoking, dyed blond hair, and shaved eyebrows.
Mina's voice has a distinctive timbre and great power. Her main theme are anguished love stories interpreted in a dramatic way (e.g. "Un bacio è troppo poco" in 1965 and "Portati via" in 2005). The singer combined classic Italian pop with blues and soul music (e.g. the songs "Se stasera sono qui" (1968), "Deborah" (1968), and collaborations with the composer Lucio Battisti in 19691970). She introduced nuevo tango in Italy, recording the song "Balada para mi muerte" with Ástor Piazzolla in 1972. Italian top songwriters created material with large vocal range and unusual chord progression to showcase her singing skills, particularly Bruno Canfora's "Brava" (1965) and Ennio Morricone's pseudo-serial "Se telefonando" (1966). Her ballad "Grande grande grande" was carried to the U.S., U.K., and Australian charts by Shirley Bassey in 1973. Mina's easy listening duet "Parole parole" was turned into a worldwide hit by Dalida and Alain Delon (1973).


The artists and songs featured are not always particular favourites of mine, but I want to introduce a selection of the type of music that is popular in Italy.

I discovered this morning that another Blog 5 Minutes Just for Me   which I have recently started following also features a Sunday Song. Her choice today is from Sissel Kyrkjebo.  I had never heard of her before, she has a beautiful voice.  I hope you will have time to click on the link and listen yourself.

Sunday greetings to you all, have a relaxing day.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hong Kong Trip Part One

It has taken me a few days to work out exactly how I am going to format these posts and tell you all about the trip without boring you with an excessive number of photos, or in fact too many words, as I have decided that the photos will generally say it all.  I have written a personal diary of the trip which will provide us with memories for many years after we have started to forget the details, actually that can happen at times already!
This after all is a blog about Our life in Italy so I do not want to over whelm it with posts about our travels elsewhere, although of course they will always get a mention, as they are an important part of our lives. That after all is what our family and friends visit this Blog for, to read about our daily and usually mundane happenings. We are just fortunate to be living our daily life in Italy.
This trip was a big event for us and I therefore want to share it with you, please forgive me if you visit here solely for News From Italy, normal service will resume.
I have taken an incredible number of photos, which at the moment are divided into 12 separate albums. With over 100 photos in each album it is going to take me sometime to edit them all for viewing. I will deal with one album at a time, selecting a few photos to blog on subjects covering our sight-seeing and places of interest as well as other subjects that fascinate me such as markets, people, transport, streets, architecture and food.
I will be putting all the photos I have taken on my Flickr account so those really keen to view more photos will be able to do so there.   http://www.flickr.com/photos/mctumble/

So lets get started, with our first few hours in Hong Kong. Arriving early morning we had a few hours sleep then started the day feeling refreshed at lunchtime. We spent the afternoon getting our bearings in the Central and Western district the area closest to Selina and Chris's apartment  in Mid-Levels.  The apartment is on the 27th floor, a fact we had to keep from my husband as long as possible before the trip as he hates heights. He managed amazingly well as long as we did not expect him to get too close to the huge windows. In the master bedroom one wall is nearly all glass!
Amazing views from the apartment, so very different from the sort of views we are used to!
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Our explorations that first afternoon took us through the antiques district of Hong Kong and down (literally downhill all the way)to Possession Street, also known as Shui Hang Ho which is where the British first landed in 1841, although it is now hundreds of metres inland due to multiple landfills over the years.
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We returned to the apartment by returning to mid-levels on the escalator. If you have a minute do read this article about it, although written in 2004, it is still relevant and interesting. Mid Levels Escalator/Dihn Tai

That evening we had our first experience of watching the high-rise skyline light up as dusk falls over Hong Kong.

A far more professional and beautiful shot than I managed to achieve with my camera that really manages to reproduce the magical atmosphere of Hong Kong.
Uploaded on March 9, 2010
by wickateers at www.flickr.com

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Foto

A new idea and what I hope will become a regular post for me.

I have been thinking a lot about far away family and friends over the past few days for a number of reasons, a major one our recent return from Hong Kong.

A friends post on her Blog Chocolate Brick today made me recall what a comfort cats can be. So with her permission I am not only using her Friday Foto idea but using the same theme as her this week with this gorgeous photo of our daughters cat Mei Lei.  I hope this is the right spelling?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Home In Italy

We knew we were home when we suffered a power failure before we had even finished unpacking!  To my surprise though this was not the usual case  of me overloading the  3kw system and throwing the trip switch, by trying to use more than one appliance at once like maybe the washing machine and hairdryer.  No this was  much more serious no electricity or telephone line from around lunchtime yesterday until about 11pm last night. Just at a time when we needed both, washing to do, calls to make and I would have loved to get online! We discovered from our neighbours that a fairly large local area was effected due to some tree felling taking both the power and telephone cables out.

We left Hong Kong at 12.10am, local time on Monday morning arriving back at Fumicino Airport at 7.15am, local time yesterday morning after a nearly fourteen hour fight due to the headwinds. In sharp contrast to the efficiency, cleanliness and modernity of Hong Kong Aiport Fumicino felt somewhat jaded. It took an unbelievable two hours before we were actually driving away from the long term car park. Even after the long walk to baggage reclaim there was still the inevitable long wait for our luggage. We began to think it was one man moving the luggage alone as it seemed to arrive in batches of around six cases, followed by a gap while another trolley load was found. It was a relief to see our cases eventually appear as we had not seen them since around 7.30pm on Sunday evening in Hong Kong. How efficient to had been to have been able to deposit our luggage at the in town check in before even leaving the city on the Airport Express. With our luggage checked in we were able to enjoy a final supper in town at 'Red' a restaurant on a roof terrace garden floor in the IFC building, Hong Kong's tallest.

After supper and farewells we made our way out to the airport, where like so many other places in Hong Kong, we could have shopped until we dropped had we the inclination.
I  did not as I had hoped get the opportunity to post at all while we were away. To be honest there was so much  to see and do that computing took a very low priority and I only checked into my Facebook account a handful of times as I had messages to retrieve.  The hundreds of photos I took were all downloaded onto my Notebook on a regular basis and I now have to edit them all and sort out which ones to Blog. I will do this gradually as there is so much that I would like to share with you, without boring you with an excessive number of photos! I will Blog some here, post some selections to Facebook and  the serious photography buffs will be able to view the whole lot if they are so inclined via my Flickr.com account.

Our heartfelt thanks to our daughter and her partner for moving to Hong Kong, therefore giving us the golden opportunity to visit them. Also for helping make our trip to visit them a truly memorable one.  We had a wonderful time and hope to be able to visit Asia again, as there is so much more we would like to see now we have had a taster!

Thankfully the weather today is so much warmer than it was when we left three weeks ago and I feel that Primervera / Spring is  here at last. The garden is certainly looking spring like with the apricot blossom out, daffodils everywhere and a beautiful pink camellia in bloom. I must get out into the garden with my camera but first there is the washing to do.