slow clap

in photographs of me
in the canals
my face eating the sunlight
I smile
because
it’s amazing
in my memory
and even now that
winter is heavy
upon us
I somehow forget
wanting to push
my fellow tourists
into the green
and simply get on with
taking comfort
from once, years ago now
once being so far out
of reach
and no longer
thinking of jackets
thick socks
or desperately
hot showers,
just the slow clap
of feet on dry stone.

venice

Friday, 30th September, Florence

We slept late because of the Conrad trial, which shows the defense as bumbling and pointless, and the doctor as grossly negligent. The Accademia was not too far from the Duomo and once we gained entry, we moved into a hall of paintings and on to a nearby stairway which eventually led to a wide hall – around which stood David (almost with no warning.)

He was lit effectively, standing twelve feet on a podium that was already about five feet tall, and gazing off to the distance, way over our heads and seeming a little bothered by the attention? The marble sculpture was just a triumph of detail – veins, muscle, smooth, smooth skin, powerful, all that suspended grace standing with a mix of casualness and pride.

It was probably the best piece of art we saw in Italy – repeating the word ‘masterpiece’ here doesn’t seem like much, but looking up at David, he strikes you that way. We circled the statue, noting wear on his toes, the piece of cloth and the counterweight tree-branch at his leg, ultimately hesitant to leave.

From the Amalfi Cathedral

View from the steps of the Amalfi Cathedral. A casual holiday maker should be visible in the hotel window.

 

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After tea one night in the main square (the restaurant isn’t visible in this photo, but imagine it off to the left if you like) I realised we didn’t have a table number and I had to explain the order in very poor Italian, but it went well enough. I think I also managed to compliment the chef, I had a calzone that was pretty damn amazing. Of course, when you’re on a holiday food is more of an event, so you’re expecting good things anyway, but even with that in mind, it was a very, very good meal.

Since then I’ve been craving another good calzone, but we’ve yet to attempt to make one in this household. Below is a link to a recipe from Jamie Oliver that looks good, on the off chance that anyone hasn’t seen a calzone before there it is:

Calzone (Vegetarian)

(I had salami and mushroom with ricotta in Amalfi from memory, great thing about the calzone is that it works with a range of pizza toppings)

Probably one of the best meals I had in Italy, so how about you? What was your best meal while on holiday?

All time or recent.

Thursday 22nd September, Rome

The Colosseum has steep steps (the downward slope once used to rush people out) and our guide moves a little fast for pictures or close examination, though we see a lot and our guide is knowledgeable. The brickwork is impressive too, the arches, thin bricks, mortar etc, it’s like a skeleton revealed after the centuries of looters were done and gone. Getting in with a tour had meant we skipped the lines, which were considerable indeed, and we walked through corridors that were under restoration with scaffolding that looked not unlike clumsy, blocky spider webs, all unfinished themselves. Our guide mentioned that around half a dozen arches took about 4 years (I think) to clean of smog and exhaust fumes.

shuffling over old stone
the echo
of tour guides