lundi 18 août 2008
On Thursday we decided to visit the Villa Nobel, where Alfred Nobel lived his last few years. This mansion was later bought by a branch of Alain's family, before it was sold to the city historical society.

Many people don't know that Nobel developed dynamite and amassed a fortune, and when he died decided to set up a foundation to honor those who have contributed the most to humankind. Alain would love to win the Nobel Prize in Physics.

The mansion was nice, a small museum in the basement. I wouldn't have been too happy to have been his neighbor- imagine someone playing with dynamite the next house over.

We decided to leave on Thursday night after the fireworks, instead of early Saturday morning. We were pretty worn out from our vacation. The beds are terrible, it was hot, and at some point you begin to miss luxuries such as "flushing toilet" or "shower".

We packed our bags and cleaned the house Thursday afternoon, then went down to the Porto Vecchio for dinner, then waited for the fireworks, which began at 10:30 instead of 9:30 as we had hoped. The fireworks were nice, but didn't seem to fit the music at all. After they were finished, we walked back, loaded up the car, and left at 12:40 am. It took us three hours to drive back to Marseille. We unloaded the car and fell into bed.

I woke up at 9 am like clockwork, moved the car, and bought some croissants. Alain slept until 12:30. We spent Friday watching TV and doing laundry, and then slept until 11 am on Saturday, then spent the rest of the day grocery shopping and watching tv. Sunday was spent eating croissants and watching TV. Made the most of vacation. Back to work!

Lessons learned:

5 Things you didn't know about Italians:

1) They don't talk in anything less than a shout. Especially at 8 am. Especially right outside your bedroom window.
2) They can have entire conversations consisting of 2 words.
example, "ciao" and "bello"
Ciao bello!
Bellisimo, ciao!
Ah, mio bello! Ciao ciao!
Ciao bello ciao!
Bella ciao ciao!
3) They can make a living riding vespas, eating ice cream, and going to the beach.
4) Italian women color-coordinate their Vespa to what they are wearing.
5) There are more scooters than Italians of legal-driving age. You do the math.

Fundamental Questions posed

1) How much pasta can a Franco-Italian eat in a week?
2) Do the Italian women of 20-30 years old realize that in 20 years after sunbathing like they do, their skin will resemble their Gucci leather handbags?
3) Will I, with my light skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes, ever have a suntan that resembles that of a dark-haired, dark-eyed Italian sun goddess?
4) How long can I go without a shower and a flushing toilet?
5) Is there such a thing as eating too much ice cream?
6) Are the days when, upon my travels, my digestive system could handle eating a rat fried in oil from a street vendor in India with nary a gurgle over?

Answers to the above:

1) This question will never be answered because an American-American will crack before said Franco-Italian is able to complete his experiment. However, said Franco-Italian could do some physics equations and computer simulations to arrive at an approximate answer of 50.
2) Obviously not.
3) No and see answer number 2
4) Number of days stayed minus 2
5) Yes. But so what?
6) Yes. See question number 4.


I enjoy going to San Remo, but only for short periods of time. I don't know what will happen when the next generation (Alain, his sister, their 3 cousins, and the assorted spouses) take over the house. Between paying of inheritance taxes, yearly taxes, utilities, and repairs, it will most certainly be cheaper to just pay one week at a hotel, and one will certainly be better lodged. Wow, a toilet that flushes and an electrical system that doesn't short when a hot pot is plugged in!!!

Yet I don't know if anyone will be able to buy out the others who don't want to continue to pay for the house, nor be able to pay for a new(ish) appartment. Also don't think that much would be gotten if the house were to be sold- two smallish bedrooms, a toilet that doesn't flush, and a kitchen with extremely old wiring and no hot water. No parking or air conditioning. If another developer came along and offered to tear down the place, build an apartment building, and offer a one-bedroom apartment in exchange, I think everyone would jump on the offer now. As it is, the place isn't even usable for half the year or so- no heating. Exactly how did the human race survive up until now? I don't know.

I'm not even sure if everyone will want to continue going there- it isn't like we live in the boondocks of Podunksville- we live in Provence for goodness sake. We have a beach, ice cream, and rollerblading facilities. Not within walking distance, but at least we can stay in the (semi) comfort of our own homes.

But all in all, it was nice to go and have a break.

2 commentaires:

Starman a dit…

"someone playing with dynamite the next house over.

We decided to leave on Thursday night after the fireworks"

Interesting phrasing.

amerigirl a dit…

That's fun I can't wait to go to Italy in Nov.
BTW -- UVA for graduate school 2001-2006 - Biochem.

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