Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Buon Anno!

It's been a very interesting 2013 for me, interesting and very emotionally challenging... Certainly memorable for many reasons, good and bad. I'm hoping the year will end in a memorable way for the right reasons! Tonight I'll be ringing in the new year at the Radio Deejay studios with two of my friends and some other listeners, after two of my favourite presenters, the belli e bravi Mauro and Andrea, invited listeners to spend New Year's Eve at the radio. I'm very excited!! I'm not sure how I'll manage to stay awake until 10pm when their show starts though, never mind midnight!

Buon anno to everybody, I hope 2014 brings you everything you wish for!

Monday, December 30, 2013

A late Christmas present

This year my mam's beaten the Italian post! Maybe it was the smaller-than-usual size of the parcel that made them not want to steal it... It was only yesterday I spoke to her on the phone, and after two and a half weeks waiting for the parcel to arrive at my work she'd pretty much admitted defeat. But this morning it arrived! It's not so much the content that made me happy - but seriously, chocolate - but the fact that one of her parcels safely arrived at my end, after so many presents had gone missing. I've already tucked into one of the Chocolate Orange bars and it tasted like Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Buon Natale!

It's a very wet and grey Christmas Eve in Milan, it reminds me of Christmasses past in the Old Country... In about an hour I'll be getting on the train to spend Christmas over with a friend in the province of Venice, and I'm very much looking forward! Buon Natale to everyone, wherever you are!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Word of The Week

Il regalo - present

With four days left until Christmas what the Italians like to call la corsa ai regali (the race to buy presents) is well and truly on. These two shiny gift bags were full of regali that I delivered this morning. I got the last few things on Thursday evening, so that I could stay well away from all the crazyness this weekend. And with only a few days left I'm hoping that the Italian post doesn't steal the regali my family's sending over again!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Classic

O mio signore by Edoardo Vianello was number one way back on this day in 1963.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Word of The Week

Le luci - Lights

With ten days to go until Christmas Eve, Milan's all dressed up for Christmas. The great big tree's been put up in Piazza Duomo, this year decorated with unfestive yellow bows as it's sponsored by DHL... But at least it looks pretty at night. There are also obviously luci decorating the streets of the city centre. The prettiest ones are these, hanging from the cupola in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. The stem in the centre is the one of the city of Milan, and the blue lights create a beautiful atmosphere as you walk through the Galleria.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Il panettondoro

When it comes to the panettone vs pandoro discussion I'm firmly in the panettone camp. Call me biased because panettone is traditionally from Milan, but I much prefer it. Yesterday I had to get my shopping done, and it was going to be the day that I bought my first panettone of the season. Except I came home with this:

A panettondoro. It wasn't intentional, honest. I've been having a bit of a tough time with my Italian this week, recently for one reason or another far too many things have been going straight over my head. I blame this bad period on me not realising that the writing on the box said panettondoro and not panettone.

I'd never seen one of these before, and I assume it's a gimmick that's been thought up in time for this Christmas. The word is a combination of both panettone and pandoro, and that's basically what I got when I tried the first slice. It's quite nice actually, it has a bit of a strange texture for someone used to eating panettone every year, but it's not as dry as normal panettoni. The next time I'll definitely read the box very carefully before picking the cake off the shelf though...

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday Classic

This week's song was number one exactly fourty years ago, it's La collina dei ciliegi by Lucio Battisti.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Word of The Week

Comprare - to buy

This morning I braved the crowds and went to the Artigiano in Fiera. Here are some of the spoils, four anelli I treated myself to from a gorgeous stand full of jewellery and beads. The other purchase I made for myself was a bottle of chocolate liqueur from a pugliese stand which had liqueurs in all sorts of flavours including strawberry and pistacchio. It's delicious!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Bilingual Songs

For reasons I haven't quite understood there are more bilingual songs doing the rounds on the radio at the moment than usual. It might be due to trying to boost sales at Christmas, but it doesn't usually happen that you get so many at once. Just in the last couple of weeks three duets by Italian and English language singers have been released.

It's not unusual to see a bilingual Italian and English song pop up every so often. I can think of a couple of big examples from the last few years - Mary J. Blige's Each Tear which featured Tiziano Ferro in the Italian version of the song (in 2010); and at the beginning of my Erasmus year during the autumn of 2005, Anastacia and Eros Ramazzotti's I Belong To You (Il ritmo della passione) was everywhere.

My favourite song of the current batch - and the first one to come along - is Stardust, which in this version features last year's X Factor winner, Chiara. This song was bilingual before Chiara first performed it with Mika, as a special Italian version of his last album - The Origin of Love - was released here last year. This version of the album featured two songs - the other being the title track - which included some Italian lyrics.

The second features one of Italy's most well-loved singers with one of the most famous singers in the world - Laura Pausini and Kylie Minogue. Limpido features on Laura's Greatest Hits collection, which celebrates her 20 year career.

The third is a song I heard on the radio earlier, by Giorgia - another well-loved female voice in Italy - and Alicia Keys, called I Will Pray (Pregherò). The duet is one of two which feature on Giorgia's Senza Paura album that was released last month, the other is with Olly Murs.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Weekend in Rome

At 4.45 on Saturday morning my alarm rang, it was the start of my Roman weekend! I got a night bus - seriously, I was amazed at how many people I saw on it - and jumped on the metro to Porta Garibaldi train station. On the way down to Rome the journey was with Italo, and I really appreciated the Casa Italo in the train station, a safe and warm place to wait. Much better than what I could say about Trenitalia who leave you waiting on your feet in the cold... After just over three hours I arrived in Roma Tiburtina, and navigated my way through the Roman underground to get to Termini train station.

I stayed at B&B Giovy, which is a couple of minutes walk from Termini. Luckily check-in was from 10am so I could leave my case in my room. I was so happy to find a double bed when I'd paid for a single room! After sorting out the makeup I'd somehow managed to apply at 5am and hair I went to find a bar in Termini train station for a cappuccino and then for a wander to the Spanish Steps.

For lunch I met up with the lovely Claire from Run Brit Chick Run who had very kindly offered to meet up during the weekend. She took me to Haus Garten Bagel Bar, where I had a delicious salmon bagel and some lovely pancakes for dessert! It was great meeting her and hearing about her new baby after getting to know her through Twitter!

After lunch me and my full belly rolled over to the Vatican to have a look around. There was a massive queue as the museums had been closed for a few hours, luckily I had no intention of visiting them because I was only down for the weekend!

After a short rest in the B&B I headed out to take some photos after dark. I got off the metro at Barberini to see the Trevi Fountain at night.

Pretty eh?

I then hit Via del Corso, which is the main shopping street in Rome, after Claire recommended that I went to see the Christmas lights at night. There were so many shops all dressed up for Christmas! That was just the start of my long walk, I also went to see the Vittorio Emanuele monument and a rather deserted Colosseo, before dragging my aching feet back to the B&B.

Sunday morning I was up bright and early and on a mission. I'd asked Laura Antonini, aka the loveliest woman in radio and my favourite presenter, if I could visit her at Radio Deejay's Roman studios. I was downstairs with my case by around 6.30, and the lady at reception very kindly showed me to the breakfast room where I could get a coffee, even though breakfast wasn't starting for another hour.

At 6.59 exactly I stepped off the bus, grinning to myself for making it to the radio a minute before the beginning of the show! It was great seeing Laura again and being in the studio with her, it's always so fascinating seeing what goes on when the microphone's switched off!

A second breakfast was very much needed once I got back into Rome city centre, before heading off on another day of touristing. My first stop was the Pantheon, which always manages to amaze me. Then it was off to the Christmas market in Piazza Navona which I'd heard so much about. There were so many stalls selling Christmas decorations and all sorts of food. I had a delicious pork sandwich for lunch which I wolfed down even after having a second breakfast!

One of the things on my must-do list was a stop at Pompi. That place does amazing tiramisu in different flavours. Back when I first visited there in March I had a strawberry tiramisu, this time my choice was chocolate and banana. Gorgeous!

Even though I was exhausted I still had some time to kill before my train so I decided to go and see the Collusseum during the day. Unfortunately at the moment a lot of work's being done on it which means lots of scaffolding... I had a walk around before going to a cafè I'd stumbled across during my last visit, called Cafè Cafè. I remembered their long list of teas, and a break with a hot drink in a relaxing atmosphere was just what I needed.

Then it was time to go back home. And in true Trenitalia style the highspeed Frecciarossa arrived in Milano Centrale 20 minutes late!