~musée albert-kahn~

May 4th, 2011

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Back in Paris we spent much of our time flaneuring, but did spend an afternoon viewing the ethnographic archive at the Albert Kahn Museum and gardens. You can see the autochromes commissioned by philanthropist Kahn from some 50 photographers sent around the world here. The project was abandoned when the crash of 1929 brought his fortune to ruins, but the collection remains one of the most extensive of early color photography.One of my favorite parts was Danses de geishas à Kyoto en 1912, the geisha dancing filmed by Stéphane Passet and starting here at 8 minutes in. More on Kahn here.

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~alps (or: your own/personal/tom tom)~

May 2nd, 2011

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~villa pagoda~

May 1st, 2011

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We spent a night at beloved Hotel Villa Pagoda.

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~necking in nervi~

May 1st, 2011

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Many moons ago discovered and a long overdue return. Genoa shows off it’s best crumbling villas, creeping plant life and croaking frogs. Plus the Ligurian puddle!

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~swifts of gargano: manfredonia, vieste~

April 29th, 2011

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~le terrazze~

April 28th, 2011

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The aerial photograph proudly displayed in the lobby of our charming (and only regional) hotel, Le Terrazze, had rectangles of ocean photo-shopped into the pools, which remained empty of all but fog during our stay. The hotel sits next to the cemetery where my honey’s namesake is buried, and the locals and on-duty carabinieri who eat at the hotel’s canteen say “I’m going to eat at the cemetery,” for a splash of morbidity and then come watch (the freshly discovered, for me) Bud Spencer kick ass like some Smokey and the Bandit meets Steven Seagal fighting machine, as in the timeless classic, Bulldozer.

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~castelnuovo della daunia~

April 26th, 2011

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We had a few days of (relative) rest in the midst of our race, in Castelnuovo della Daunia (Foggia, Apulia), in the family town of my honey.  Here meals have a three-course minimum (including, yet not limited to: octopus salad, handmade pasta, grilled fish, cheese plates, tiramisu, dusty red wine, family-made walnut liqueur, espresso, basta!).

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We survived a freak storm that covered the normally hot, dry region with rain and a dense, eerie fog that hung for a week, rendering carefully packed sunhats and espadrilles useless.

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The local men gathered at dusk (buona sera!) to discuss world events (allora! capice?) and watch the swifts swoop between the three bars (family favorite Giovannini below) perched on the edge of the town’s piazza. You don’t see many women out and about and we were certainly observed–and recognized via family resemblance–“You a Rutigliano? I knew your grandfather and his brothers and their brothers…”

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Night drives were haunted by tiny foxes with glowing eyes, tin the day the roads were dotted with vintage Cinquecentos and fields of onion flowers and wild red poppies.

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~the great race~

April 24th, 2011

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Our four-day, 2600-mile driving odyssey began with a  two-connection flight that left San Francisco and arrived at the rental car desk of Charles de Gaulle airport  20 hours later, at 8am. The next leg of our trip began promptly and extended over twelve hours. It was as though we were in some hair-brained, screwball, cross-continent comedy, where who was Tony Curtis and who was Jack Lemmon would only be revealed while the credits rolled. Our first night was spent in Saint-Tropez, and the second in Sperlonga, whose images below begin this blog-o-thon.

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The following morning we left behind the already busy Wine Merchant of Sperlonga and high-tailed it to fetch our charges at the Naples airport.

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~concrete jungles, taxonomy of~

March 17th, 2011

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Vestibules, Cupolas and Rotundas, oh my! It must be an hour passed at the Victorian Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, bookishly researching with a favorite lady companion. It was a rather plantish afternoon, as next we took in an exhibit that suggested–citing his cluster of poems Calamus, that take their name from a phallic marsh plant–Walt Whitman as the Granddaddy Satyr Pansy (Pansy Pan? goodness, hand me my mackintosh square) to the Radical Faeries.

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Later our friend Margaretha gave us an improptu tour of the Permaculture enthusiast Hayes Valley Farm where she volunteers. The farm practices forest gardening and companion planting and also inspires with an impressive collection of worms. Curious to see two such disparate responses to the need for plants within the urban landscape–the semi-tame Victorian educational specimen under milky, jewel box glass, and a modern cultivation of waste into nutrients, starting with the collapsed freeway on-ramp the farm calls home.

Not to mention the Naturalist at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution singing his erotic love out not only to men, but to loveroot, silkthread, crotch and vine. Long before we were here and long after we are gone: plants. Or as Whitman put it, I will go to the bank by the wood, and become undisguised and naked, I am mad for it to be in contact with me.

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~the sleep of yeast~

March 11th, 2011

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A second bread attempt, a mere two days later. Tripled the recipe to make a walnut boule and wreath, and caramelized onion and rosemary bread sticks. Finally figured out what the little cupboard of our Wedgewood is for: it’s where bread dough sleeps, perchance to dream (or double in size).

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