Saturday, July 9, 2011

Parents on a string; just hold your crutch

Since we are counting down until our life in Italy self-destructs, I have made a very important list.  A few lists actually.  'Wish lists' of places to visit, and 'to do' lists.  The wish list only gets ticked when I have done some of my to do list.  But I can only do so much on my to do list this early before the move, so I have started adding things like; getting rid of old clothes, extra exercise sessions, washing, ironing, brushing my teeth.  Okay so the last few items may seem like cheating, but there is not long to go now, and I have places to see people!!!
We agreed that there would be no more plane travel as the 24 hour transit back to Australia seems daunting enough with the children, (and we convinced ourselves that the money saved would be better wasted at the sales).  I have tried to narrow my wish list to travel within 90 minutes of Milan.  First stop is Novara, 45 minutes away.  Novara lies along the Agogna River, west of Milan. It originated as the Roman colony of Novaria, which was founded by Julius Caesar and destroyed in the 5th century; a new commune, established in the 6th century, was burned by the Holy Roman emperor Henry V in 1110. It recovered to become a member of the Lombard League (an alliance of northern Italian towns) in 1167. In other words... it is really, really old.

The city’s notable buildings include the cathedral (rebuilt 1863–69) with an ancient baptistery, the Church of San Gaudenzio (rebuilt 1577–1659), and the ruins of a castle of the medieval Sforza family.
Church of San Guardenzio

Dome that is 121 m tall

Beautiful alter with priest day bed above???? What the????

Never too early for a confession...

The Sforza castle built in the 14th century under the rule of Galeazzo Visconti, then in 1472 it underwent a restoration and was changed into a fortress. It was also used in later centuries as a prison. It is surrounded by a Renaissance-style Allea park.

Construction of the Novara Cathedral began in the 11th century and was consecrated in 1132.

It was demolished in the mid-19th century to make way for the current structure.

It is still possible to see the mosaic floor of the 12th century, as well as paintings and tapestries in this ancient Romanesque church.
As with any Gonzalez outing, we enjoy a nice lunch to recover and refuel.  We found a lovely little piazza, with a string of restaurants that allowed for the children to run around without too much vespa dodging, which should be treated like an olympic sport by the way.  (Vespa dodging, not children running.)  Prince has been doing pretty well with his toilet training, and has even learnt to use it to his advantage to put his parents on a string like puppets.  All you have to do, is hold your crutch, say '"pee pee", then we jump.  Then you get to go to the toilet, (not do anything in it), wash your hands, climb the stairs, wave at the patrons like a rock star parting a crowded street, and still receive praise; "Good boy, thanks for trying".  Such fun for prince, but a little tiring on the parents by the forth toilet visit in 15 minutes, (5 before we finished our meal), the response slowly turns into "Good boy, thanks for trying me" via gritted teeth, (hopefully prince is too young to understand sarcasm just yet).  The predicament is sort of like the boy who cried wolf, only the wolf wins; if I do not take him to the toilet when he says he needs to go, he will tinkle his pants for sure. Murphy's Law. A risk I am not willing to take. Mr independant must climb each stair up and down on his own too, he screams like I'm trying to sell him to slavery when I try to assist him; I am hoping this all ends soon!
Running space at lunch time piazza, "Why don't you run around the pot...oh hello... that was quick!"

Lunch of mixed vegetables, octopus salad, steak milanese and pesto pizza; YUM!

You would think after all the drink he would REALLY need to pee, (it was all part of his master plan)!

My husband had taken my 'wish list' to his work colleagues to ask for touristy advice.  Out of 5 places, Novara was the only one they had heard of.  And the general response was literally, "Yes, I have heard of Novara".  Thanks for the advice, nothing lost in translation here.  However I can now recommend a fantastic pizzeria if you go to Naples, but we are not, so not much use. (I guess not much forethought in asking advice from people that live in Naples when not in the working office.)  Because we did not have much feedback, we did not have any preconceptions about what Novara would be like, therefore we were pleasantly suprised with the beautiful buildings and clean upkeep.

IF - Interesting Fact

I have been living in Italy for over a year, and I am still shocked when the clock turns half past one and the population vanishes for 2 hours.  Literally vanishes, I am not kidding, even David Copperfield would be impressed.  Best time to walk the streets is in this 2 hours, (less vespas to dodge).

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