All posts filed under: Observations from…

A series of random observations, usually made while on the road

Observations from the Road (Or the “Has It Been Six Weeks Since I Was in Milan?” Edition)

In mid-September I published a post from Milan that promised “Lake Como and more still to come.” Next thing I know, we are pushing toward Halloween and the things I’ve wanted to post have been piling up in my brain.  So with the first open weekend in about six weeks, I’m going to catch up by using my trusty “Observations from…” catch-all post. This edition will include photos from the second and third days of my quick trip to Milan in September for the Executive Committee meeting of the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO). Speaking of Lake Como:  Lake Como is beautiful. We were there to visit the Villa del Balbianello, a property of FAI, the Italian National Trust.  Commissioned in the 18th century by Cardinal Durini, the villa “has hosted literati and travellers up to the time of its final owner, the adventurous explorer Guido Monzino.”  Throughout the house are travel mementoes and art objects from his 20th century life.       This is a remarkable home in a stunning setting.  It is …

Observations from the Road (Or “The Deer Isle’s Locally Sourced Food and Music” Edition)

During our first week on Deer Isle in Maine, we have jumped enthusiastically into the local food and music scene.  Sometimes the outing was planned.  At other times the opportunities were serendipitous.  But isn’t that how we are to live? This is one long “Observations from the road…” post, which could be titled “My, Maine has so much to offer in locally sourced food and music.” Our first two encounters with food and live music were unplanned yet set the stage for our visit.  Upon our arrival at Pilgrim’s Inn last Sunday evening, we saw someone carrying a guitar into his cabin.  After meeting Richard Perlmutter and his wife Judy the next day and determining that he did – in fact – have a guitar with him, we agreed to meet up after dinner on Monday for an impromptu jam session. Serendipitously, we found that the Whale’s Rib Tavern was open for dinner at the Inn on Monday (we had mistakenly thought it was closed both Sunday and Monday evenings), so we quickly booked a …

Observations from the Road (The Celebrity Sighting – Obscure Music – Edition)

I have been on the road forever it seems.  So here are a few “Observations from the road…” posts which are – as always advertised – quirky and perhaps not ready for prime time.  You’ve been warned. Celebrity Stalking:  True story.  As I was walking through National Airport earlier this afternoon following a flight back from Chicago, I noticed two young ladies carrying cases for a guitar and mandolin.  I had been focused on getting something for a late lunch before rushing to the office, but my brain did engage to the point where I said to myself, “That sure looked like Aoife O’Donovan – and I bet that was Sarah Jarosz with her.” At this point you may be asking yourself, just who are Aoife O’Donovan and Sarah Jarosz? Well, for music lovers who veer away from the Taylor Swift variety of music, they are two-thirds of one of the most terrific – yet widely unheralded – music groups today:  I’m With Her. (And no, they are not connected to the Hillary Clinton campaign.  …

Observations from the Road (Or the “While I Was Out of the Country” Edition)

It turns out that the world continued while I was on sabbatical for six weeks.  We returned on Monday afternoon and caught up with chores on Tuesday, while simultaneously trying to keep our Italian buzz alive.  Pacci’s Pizzeria here in Silver Spring and Takoma Park’s Dolci Gelati Cafe certainly helped in that regard! In checking the news here in the states, I also discovered a few things that caught my eye. Baseball season has begun – When I left the country, spring training was underway.  As we returned, our Washington Nationals were jumping off to a 12-4 start and are currently in first place in the National League East.  I know, I know:  it is early.  I also know they have feasted on the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies.  But a win in April is as good as a win in September, and if they expect to do anything this year, the Nats will need to feast on the teams in their division who aren’t very good.  I have tickets for Sunday afternoon’s game, and …

Observations from the Road: The “Final Rome Edition”…For This Visit

As we prepare to leave Rome and head home, I have pulled together a few final observations about things we have seen while in this most fascinating of countries.  I’ll begin with the serious, and then move on to – shall we say – less serious thoughts that have popped into my head before returning to a final note of thanksgiving.  As always, these Observations From… posts are quick and quirky.  You’ve been warned! The Non-Catholic Cemetery is a treasure – Several people told us to make sure we visited the “Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome” (also known as the Protestant Cemetery), and we are so glad we did.  On the day we visited Ostia Antica, we walked across the street from the train station upon our return and spent a good hour roaming through this beautiful space. Here is a bit of the background, from the cemetery’s website: The Non-Catholic Cemetery for Foreigners in Testaccio, Rome (to give it its full name) is also widely known as the Protestant Cemetery although it contains the graves …

Observations From the Road (The “Quick” Edition)

About three weeks ago I realized I was going to have too much material to post from Rome and too little time in my six-week schedule to do it justice. Right now I have one draft written that needs some editing, (fully understanding that many regular readers don’t believe I actually edit this stuff), an entire weekend in Venice that is calling for my attention, visits to amazing historic sites that I want to capture, and so much more that I can barely keep it in my head.  Oh, and I’m trying to meet as many people as I can at the academy, attend lectures and tours, visit places throughout the country, and do some work on my project. But at least I’m not stressed!  That would be very un-sabbatical-like. To help out, I’ll rely on my trusty “Observations From the Road…” formula and will throw out some very quick and unrelated posts to ensure that I don’t lose these thoughts.  As always, these may not be worth seeing the light of day, so feel …

Observations from the Road: Scenes from Holy Week in Rome

Sorry.  No pope sightings (or even attempts at pope sightings). We have had a relatively low-key Holy Week while in Rome, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t had its memorable moments. Olive Trees and Palm Sunday:  Our week began last Sunday with a Palm Sunday processional at the neighborhood Basilica di San Pancrazio in Monteverde.  A 6th century basilica that was extensively renovated following Garibaldi’s 1849 attack on Rome, San Pancrazio was a lively place last Sunday. We met about a block away from the basilica and followed priests and musicians through the streets, waving olive branches in place of the palms we see in the United States.  During the service, conducted (of course) entirely in Italian, we only understood the occasional word. But we knew the shape of the liturgy and could follow along without getting lost.  The nave was filled with worshipers, while the aisles were used by parents and nuns to walk or stroll young children throughout the service.  The music was similar to Catholic folk masses in the U.S. these days …