Non soltanto una casa di vacanza28.06.09

September this year we will be visiting Agiturismo Le Buche de Viesca in Tuscany for the sixth time. We have been going back every year since 2004 for a stay of either 1 or 2 weeks. And why? Because we love all this and more: visiting the busy Firenze for art, shopping and city fun, visiting Siena for the same reasons, visiting Arezzo for some more shopping. And also exploring the chianti hills, tasting (even more) wine, tasting olive oil here and there, the food, the cakes, the coffees and just being there. Visiting what used to be the homes of people like Da Vince, Galilei, Boccaccio etc. And learning to know restaurants and places where there is little or no tourists for that extra, genuine, tasty food. Or just relaxing at the pool, letting the sun charge our batteries, our D-vitamin levels and what else there is to charge and prepare for a winter i Norway. And with hosts like Angela, Marcello and Luigi who are always willing to share their knowledge of Tuscany, food, restataurants, wine etc. with us it makes the whole stay so healthy. It’s not just a place to stay (non soltanto una casa di vacanza), it’s a place where you are most welcome and where they go way beyond the italian hospiltality in making sure that you are having a nice time.

Ci vediamo in Settembre!

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Cable-cutting by the use of trucks and diggers27.06.09

On Thursday 25th a truck transporting a digger managed to “hook into” a few of the cables in the crossing a hundred meters from our home. Power, internet and anything else on those wires went out with an accompanying “crash” which turned out to be one of the poles hitting the ground. Luckily no pedestrians there at that very moment. No casualties. But no power for 8,5 hours and no internet (which was worse – the weather being 25 centigrades +) for more than 26 hours. The loss of cable-television did not bother us too much.

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The Devil’s Orchestra21.06.09

Listening to The Devil’s Orchestra 24/7 is not my idea of fun. Ways out of it seems hard to find.

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Going to the next level23.04.09

Yakketiyak and another contestant in another sing-dance-act-cry show somewhere out there. And suddenly someone takes it the whole way through – for fun. American Contestant gets a 4 (or is that a yes?) for the idea and the concept, but sadly enough only 2 the performance itself. Fun, but not wuite hilarious. Anyway, someone had to tease these gameshowmakers with something odd.

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Instructional videos pt. 1 :-)16.04.09

Style For Men: How To Tie A Tie – Full Windsor Knot

Fast Folding: How To Fold A T-Shirt In 2 Seconds

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Robert’s in town25.03.09

Since I’m going to Bob’s concert in Oslo today I just had to look up what he’s been playing so far on tour. What people seem to be most surprised of is Bob finally doing “Billy 1″ (from Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid) live. And someone taped that:

Both of the concerts in Stockholm have set lists with a number of the old classics. BUt as always, set lists differ from concert to concert and knowing what we will get today is not possible. But that is part of the fun. Another part of the fun, which most lame journalists never get, is that Bob does his songs in different ways every time. True Bob-fans love this. We’re not going to the concerts for another replay of the recorded version. We want the old stuff together with the new stuff like he loves doing it “on the day in question”. So, let’s go for some of that Italian wine and that wonderful music.

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Maybe I should use Facebook after all22.03.09

I do have a Facebook account. At least I did have it years back when I created it. But I never used it. Kept being pestered by someone asking me to add them to my account. But I have never bothered to check whether the account still is there. Do you think I should use it? I just saw this video so maybe I should…..

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Knowing what may be a bit disturbing11.12.08

Three weeks ago I went through a shoulder repair at the Martina Hansen Hospital and I must say I am impressed by what these people manage to do. And the way they do it! So Kudos to a team of professionals who must be the best at this kind of treatments in Norway. In addition to repairing my one year old SLAP injury they removed the causes of 30 years with more or less constant pain. But let’s see what a SLAP repair is like. And here’s where YouTube comes in handy again:

The normal SLAP repair requires only three tiny holes in your shoulder for getting everything in place. Then they use three screws to fasten the string which they then use to pull the “labrum” in place. And normally all this is done in approximately one hour. And you may leave the hospital just a few hours later.

But let’s look at a real repair and no animation. Makes it a bit more sickening for people like me who do not enjoy medical stuff too much:

And then one video where they just poke around in some healthy shoulder:

For me the operation lasted about 3 hours, left me with 5 “holes” in my shoulder and I had to stay there the night after. And it is a daily struggle to get the shoulder and arm back into working properly again. I’ve been told that it normally takes approximately six months getting all back to normal. But then I may expect to receive the fantastic bonus of days, maybe weeks, maybe years without any shoulder pain at all. Amazing.

I can’t praise the people at the Martina Hansen Hospital enough. If you have and problems with joints or muscles and you’re living in Norway: have your doctor referring you to the Martina Hansen Hospital.

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Visit Poker in Firenze for the best deal on leather jackets.27.08.08

It’s not hard to find shops for leather jackets in Firenze (aka. Florence). But watch out for those back-street or open air “shops” where they trade non-Italian-made products. They might not have the license for doing what they do. We have visited all the shops in the Santa Croce area these two years and have settled for this one: Poker.

I love my Italian shoes. That’s another story. But Firenze is also famous for a number of other locally made products. (Not only the wine). In and around Firenze there are a lot of small and larger companies making leather products like jackets, bags etc. Normally the use lamb-skin. The skin itself is mostly imported. But the rest of the process is done locally.

Most of the people we talked to said the South-African lamb-skin was the best and gave the best result for jackets. In second place came the lamb-skins they imported from New Zealand.

A number of the shops do mainly trade very traditional designs. Poker does the traditional ones and a number of their own design. You find them in Piazza Santa Croce 28/r, tel. 055 24 22 37. If you refer to the video above you might get a better price than what is listed on the jacket. And remember: the best time for shopping leather goods is when it’s really hot. That’s when the least people shop and the prices are the lowest possible.

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Extending my collection of Italian music26.08.08

Whenever I visit Tuscany I have to go to Cory Music in Arezzo to get more italian music. These people know what they sell and they help me find whatever I am searching for. The shop is in Corso Italia 89 in Arezzo. The tel. no. is 0575 20306 and you may mail them at Ci vediamo.

I found this shop in 2004. And have visited it every year since, except 2007. So what makes them differ from other record-shops? The back-catalog, i.e. thousands of records you might have been looking for but can’t find anywhere. And for us stranieri interested in Italian music it is hard to find all the old records we would like to get into our hands. This shop is a must for anybody going Tuscany who is interested in extending their music collection.

But allow me a small side-step before continuing on music: my trusted guide into Italian music, Roberto, who you meet in the video above does also “star” in the video Arezzo Attack found on YouTube. Here he plays the role of “Evil Krest”.

So what did I grab this time around? Well, some more Fabrizio De André since my collection is not complete. Some more Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, some Paolo Conte etc. for the same reasons. And Roberto was, as always, the happy guide into more music experiences.

Sure I can buy the same music from the iTunes store but I still like to have this plastic thingy available for my favourite music. To look through the included booklet and sing along to the lyrics printed there. (even in Italian)

Upon entering Cory Music I heard there was no silly muzak playing. No, it was “Livin’ lovin’ maid (she’s just a woman)” from Zeppelin II by Led Zeppelin. Well, Roberto could not know that this is one of my favourite albums by one of my favourite bands. (With the best ever drummer). But while chatting about music he told me a most funny story: “This guy came into this store just minutes ago. He was older than us, maybe 60. And he said: I would like some real rock records, not like the ones the young listen to like the one you’re playing now”. And we both had a big laugh. Zep played by the youngsters? Hah. Zep not some real rock music. Double-hah!

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  • the tuscan cat
    I for one believe that Leonardo (da Vinci) was really smart. And I also believe cats are smart creatures. So when I spotted a nice cat sleeping on a scooter carrying "the signature" Leonardo somewhere in beautiful Italy I just had to "shoot".

    For all you non-norwegian readers: older entries are in Norwegian only. Sorry.