The other thing I've taken a break from is North American media. No news, no netflix, no nothing. I hear a plane went down somewhere. I hear the Canucks are not doing well, and the Luongo has been traded. And that the Italian film La Grande Belleza won an Oscar. That is the sum total of information that's made it's way through.
So what have we been doing for entertainment? We've been creating our own little subtitled film fest, and it's been great.
First up - Fratello Sole, Sorella Luna (Brother Sun, Sister Moon). It's an oldie, depicting the lives of Saint Francis and Saint Claire. It's a 'must watch' if you're spending time in Assisi. It made all the site-seeing more relevant for me, and it's just a good watch.
Next - La Grande Belleza. I was buying a Fellini movie in a little store in the bottom of a church in Perugia and the nun pulled out a copy, said 'Oscar', handed it to me and gave me a smile that said I was buying this, no matter what other ideas I had about the subject. I'm not Catholic, but I know enough not to tangle with a smiling nun. We watched it one of my first nights at Ginestrelle and we couldn't stop talking about it. We've watched it a second time already, and I'll be watching it again as soon as I get home. The cinematography is stunning. No wonder it's winning awards.
Next was Fellini's La Strada, an old b/w about a strange couple living on the road, surviving on a circus act and their charm, neither of which are in large supply. It is bleak and beautiful, ugly and tender. If you or someone you love is considering running away with the circus it'd be a wise thing to watch.
And last night Sarah pulled out a copy of Pina, a documentary on the German modern dance choreographer Pina Bausch. In my man-filled house back home a documentary, in German, subtitled in French, about modern dance? Not happening. Ever. But it was beautiful. Glad I saw it while I had the chance.
Tonight, though, was the entertainment highlight of the trip. Marina took Sarah and I in to Assisi to attend a concert at the Basilica San Francesco. Eight monks sang sacred music a capella in beautiful harmony under the vaulted and frescoed altar. The combination of the sounds, the colours in the painted imagery, all the intricate textures and marble inlay around us, the night falling in shades of indigo through the beautiful church windows as we listened to the music; the combined effect was magical.
So in 10 days I'll be back to the land of non-stop news with other news scrolling along the bottom in case the stuff I'm watching isn't fulfilling my need to know; hockey games, golf games, shows that talk about hockey games and golf games, and marathon sessions of whatever is hot on netflix. I'll be ready for it, under my fur blanket on my sofa with my man and my dog within arm's reach, pizza arriving at the door with one phone call. But I'll always be so grateful that this trip has been possible, filling up my culture cup, napping at will, having quiet space to create and think, working late into the night when the mood strikes.
I have one more day here, then I head south on the train to the Amalfi Coast. I'm off to a town so small that not only does it not have a bus station, it doesn't have a bus stop. I'm guessing that my media break is going to continue. I have no idea what will fill the gap here, but I'll keep you posted.