Last? in a short series of guest blogs. It seems I may have spoken too sooon. There is another contender for the next trip to Venice. I’m sure we can work it out. Or I’ll just have to thump her.
The meetings are finished, the packing is almost done, and in about ten hours I head to the airport.
As I write, the news is that Berlusconi is going to resign. It feels like there is a thin veneer of prosperity here, propped up by rich Russian, Chinese (and here in Rome, Libyan) tourists, although it is clearly very fragile.
The European financial situation here is on everybody’s minds. Sunday night I ate pasta with the chair of the board I’m part of – an upper class, Gaullist very French man. (If I eat one more bowl of pasta I shall turn into a noodle.) He said, at one point with vehemence, Zhee Greeks, zhay ahre all liairz! (Yes he really talks like that)…unfortunately he said it next to a table of Greeks, but it said to me that his passion for the subject trumped his usually infallible manners.
My sister-in-law has thrown her hat in the ring also as a possible travel companion, and she makes a compelling case…she says she’s willing to walk and carry her own bags. This definitely puts her in consideration. (ed. I’m willing to walk! I will carry my own bags! I didn’t know!) Remember, though, that prize is still out there.
My meetings went very well. The organisation I’m here with has had a very difficult year but has come through revived and reinvigorated, so we all have a feeling of accomplishment. Our Italian hosts took us all to a snazzy restaurant last night and the festivities carried on at the hotel bar after.
We wrapped today by about one o’clock and a colleague offered to take the charming board chair and me for lunch. I’m thinking sandwich. Instead it was a four hour extravaganza starting with prosecco, middling with a magnificent wine, and finishing with dessert wine. I’m keeping fancy -and wealthy – euro-company. A conversation about holidays over lunch went something like, oh there is this magnificent lagoon in the Burmese interior, or, the last time I was in the Maldives…)
I had planned to do a little shopping and sightseeing but since I ate away much of the afternoon I had to scale back my plans. That was combined with a torrential downpour, but I was full of great lunch, so getting soaked didn’t really matter.
It’s still raining and shivery out there so I had a bowl of soup in the dining room and made ground transportation arrangements with Christian the concierge who said I was breaking his heart by leaving and kissed my hand (c’est tres charmante).
I have had a good trip, but I look forward to being on the same side of the ocean with all of you again. And getting home to my Erik (the cat).
- How Similar, Really, Are Italy And Greece? (businessinsider.com)
- Italy bond yields soar; euro zone troubles deepen – Reuters (reuters.com)
- European debt crisis spreads to Italy (theglobeandmail.com)
- Italy Agrees to Allow I.M.F. to Monitor Its Progress on Debt (nytimes.com)