Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Day traditional food

Thanks everyone for sharing information about the name of the Nativity scene. Is it Crèche or crib? I noticed that both the two words express the same fundamental meaning. Maybe, the best term is Nativity scene , although displays often go beyond the manger scene and may even include a representation of the entire village.
So this is the last day of the year and tommorrow New Year's Day is every man's birthday. According to tradition, New Year's Day food will bring you fortune in the year to come. Here in Italy, seafood dishes are always eaten at New Year's eve. With regard to fish dishes, the picture below shows a big brown grouper, which I saw while I was buying seafood on December 24th.    
In most cultures,  meal prepared on New Year's  Day brings good luck.  Here  in Italy New Year's eve  meal consists of seafood and lentils,  which symbolize little coins:  they can  bring prosperity  for the new  year and should be the first meal we eat for the new year. Of course, we also celebrate with party and firework.
What is your New Year traditional meal? 
Happy New Year to all the blogger friends! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Back home to Naples

My two daughters did the Christmas three two weeks ago and this morning I'm also doing the crib. We are going to Naples on December 24th and we'll stay there one week.
My mother, who had left the rehabilitation centre on December 13th, came back home in Naples last week. So I took her home to Naples last Sunday. She learnt the appropriate way to walk safely with two canes on level surfaces. Of course she will continue the physio therapy there in Naples, at home. 
I'd like to show you a picture of  our crib with its central figures of the nativity scene. This time we made a small one.
Could you tell me the correct English word of that oldest Christmas traditions? is it crib or crèche? Maybe crèche is a French word but it is also used in the U.S. and Canada. With regards to linguistic innovations related to blogging communities, I've noticed the evolution of an even more abbreviated language. Reading blogs' comments gives me the opportunity to learn some abbreviations such as LOL, GR8, ASAP, F2F and C%L (sic!). Those abbreviations can be circulated at an unprecedent rate through comments, emails and sms. Fortunately, Christmas wishes' abbreviation  doesn't exist ... I hope :)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

Friday, December 06, 2013

1 hour and 15 mins training on a cloudy afternoon

The last two weeks at the rehabilitation centre my mother has been able to recover slightly from her orthopedic injury, as she has been going out and working through the pain. She has been believing in her healing, so since 20th November she has walked about two hours a day with the walker. I can say that things are going better and she will come back to her home soon. I will probably take her to Naples by car next week. In the meanwhile, she is also enjoying the scenery (available through her window) and taking pictures of the sea as you can see above.
Today I did 1 hour and 15 minutes training on a flat track. The two  following pictures were taken while I was running in the early afternoon. The second one shows the flat track above mentioned and the cloudy weather. Unfortunately, that concrete path wasn't as soft as I can usually see in the hills which surround the town :) 
Nice weekend and happy running/walking to everyone!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sitting in the air

I have been living crazy busy since the last week of October because of job issues and my mother's orthopedic injury. At the moment my mother is recovering slightly as she is in a rehabilitation centre situated here, in Civitavecchia, 60 km North from Rome. Its location is perfect as it is close to the see (picture on the left). I'm going there twice a day and this gives her motivation.
On the job front, I went to Rome three times last week and I was happy to see a lot of people, mainly from Japan, who were gathering the Vatican Square. This means that people around the world are still interested in my country. While I was walking next to the Vatican Museum I saw a particular show along the street: a Pakistani, who wore orange clothes, was sitting in the air. You have probably seen that in many different towns around the world. Here below there is a link of a Youtube web page which shows how those charlatans work:

The picture below shows the Vatican Square.
Of course, since November 1st I haven't been running three times a week and I've lost my training. At the moment my training in not adequate for a 10 or 21 km at a sub 5 min./km pace. 
Happy running, cycling and swimming to all my blogger friends.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Physical therapy

First of all, I would like to thank my blogger friends who supported me when my mother was operated. They were very kind and supportive through their emails and blogging comments. Surgery went well last Wednesday although she lost a lot of blood: about 700 ml.
At the moment my mother  is still walking slowly and of course she struggles. I hope she will go along the sidewalk soon and enjoy the fall colours of the town. 

Thanks again!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Too Busy

I wrote down my last post on October 18th and since then I have been too busy. Last week my mother fell while she was walking on  a sliding floor after she had done daily shopping. The floor of the entrance of the building where I live was too sliding because the women who cleaned it had left a lot of soap on the surface. Unfortunately, my mother had a fracture in the high part of her right femur. She wasn't operated immediately because her blood was too fluid. This morning the doctor said he planned to perform the surgery on Wednesday 30th. Stefano is supporting me as he knows the doctor who will perform the operation.
I hope everything will go well.   

Friday, October 18, 2013

Civitavecchia and its beautiful place to run

Since late August 1991 I have been living in this town, Civitavecchia 60 km North from Rome. I have seen how its urban area has been refurbished at great expense and hugely cherished by people who live and work here.  From an urbanistic point of view, many urban corners and buildings in the mid 20th century in Italy were made in the brutalist style. Actually, those parts of  our cities were cold and unfriendly and some have already been demolished. For example, this week I found an old picture which I took in 1991 when I arrived in this town, after I had worked four years in Sicily (South Italy). It shows a place located in the middle of the town and close to the see, where railway operations took place. How could policians chose to do railway operations beetween the town and the coastline? That's hideously unfashionable!  In the 1930s decision makers didn't plan to preserve urban environment and its landmarks. Fortunately, that part of the town has been transformed from this ... 

... to this. 
The picture was taken on a cloudy day and it doesn't do it justice.

As you can see in the picture above, nowadays the railway tracks have disappeared and this urban environment has become a nice place to walk, running and cycling. Local government has made this part of the town more attractive, sustainable and pleasant. And it is a place where I sometimes do short runs and repeats next to the sea. This place gives me motivation. And my small experience in running has taught  me the importance of motivation. 
Are there enough pedestrian areas in your town?

Saturday, October 05, 2013

One week inactivity

Just a short post to say that I had been sick (flu and sore throat) last week. And it was hard enough to do a 10 km run yesterday after about a week inactivity. My small experience in running has taught me that inactivity breeds inactivity and consequently we might lose motivation. 
I'd like to share those pictures from last week. The first photo was taken while I was doing shopping and it shows italian garlic. The second one shows packaged lettuce which has been made in North Germany (I saw it in a supermarket in my neughborhood yesterday). Although I love Germany, I thought how could I buy (and eat) veggies which had been harvested more than two weeks ago on the northern side of the European continent (more than 1500 km far from my town)?

With regard to veggies, I have just visited Amy 's blog and I'm delighted with her post where she shares the recipe of the vegetarian lasagna. I look forward to giving it a try. Since last Spring I have noticed my high cholesterol levels and awareness about the importance of fruit, veggies and other healthy food has increased sharply. Of course, local food!

Happy weekend to all my blogger friends! 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Civitavecchia bike sharing scheme

I haven't been blogging since August, 18th and I'd like to write a short post about the bike sharing scheme which my town inaugurated this summer in July.  
The Mayor decided to follow the example of other towns around  the world (as you can see in the first two photos). Unfortunately,  some people are unhappy about the distribution of the stations because entire boroughs of Civitavecchia have been left out. Moreover, less than 30 bikes are available! it's a very small number considering that New York's bike share scheme offers 6,000 bikes. Obviously, I know that the "Big Apple" is bigger than my town and the two towns are incomparable. 
Yesterday I  did a good run with two friends although I haven't planned to run any race at the moment. After the warm up we ran 30 minutes tempo run and  4 x 5 mins repeats. Weather was (and still is) perfect! 

The last picture below shows how I got carbs before the workout. It's a beautiful pasta dish with a delicious shrimp on the top which I had yesterday at lunch. The name of this traditional type of pasta is Tagliatelle: they (that name in Italian language is plural) can be served with a variety of sauces. Tagliatelle dish, which you can see in the picture, have been made with whole wheat flour, eggs and ... red wine. That's why their colour is red.

Nice weekend to all my blogger friends!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The hills of Gaeta

Back home after a pleasurable vacation in South Italy! It was so nice to get away and spend time on the beach and relax poolside, although returning home and back to work after a vacation usually feels like punishment for temporarily ignoring our responsibility. Vacation time is really important and it doesn't matter the place or resort. I'd like to show you just six "Summer" pictures. The first one on the left shows a particular way to sell icecreams on the beach.

Unfortunately there were fires in the woods surrounding Gaeta and this is especially the case in the hills located behind the beach where we stayed. 
I didn't forget my running shoes and enjoyed my runs through the countryside. I ran at least three times a week and the photo below shows the scenery which I enjoyed along the running track. Of course I always did my runs in the early morning considering the hot weather conditions

A picture of my mother's house, located in the hills close to Gaeta, and ...

... her birthday cake.  

I hope all you will enjoy this Sunny Sunday of August!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Moray eel

This morning I noticed that my blood cholesterol level decreased from 254 to 230 mg/dl: since May it has decreased by 10% and I'm so happy for that and I will try to eat healthy food again. First of all, seafoods, considering that Civitavecchia, the town where I have been living since 1991, is situated close to the see and I can always buy good fish. Local market offers seafood that have been harvested in the past 12 hours and can contain more iron, phosphorus, proteins, and vitamin D than fishes that are shipped from far away.  With regards to local fishermans, the picture above shows a muray eel. I saw that it in the local market and despite its snake-like appearance, moray eel is a fish and not a reptile. Of course, it is edible: the meat is very soft and white, delicious. Someone says that deep fry works better but I don't think so ... I've decided to avoid fried food. Have you never eaten that fish?

Just two picture, here on the left,  to show you a particular motorcycle (maybe,  its right definiton is "sidecar"). 
It was in my neighborhood this morning and came from Poland, as  shown by its registration number.  We, bloggers,  are sometimes  looking for new  images  for our blogs. 
Running sessions are going well although I'm running no more than three times a week at the moment. 
On the vacation front, I will be on holiday since July 25: the main destinations are Gaeta and Bologna (North Italy).  I really need some time off work to be spent doing whatever I want.

Happy vacation time to everyone!

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Blood cholesterol levels

Since last week I have had another thought which gives me motivation on the running front: I've noticed that my blood cholesterol levels are high enough. In Italy and other European countries Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter (mg/dL) of blood and total cholesterol level below 200 mg/dl is desirable. At the moment, my cholesterol level is 254 mg/dL. It's so high although I always do the best cholesterol-lowering exercises, such as are walking, running, and swimming (in summer only). Actually, a combination between an active lifestyle and healthy food can help to lower cholesterol levels.
I'm afraid I can't forget to keep my cholesterol levels within healthy limits and have no choice but avoid high-cholesterol food. I need to avoid foods that are high in saturated fat and can raise cholesterol levels in the blood. As it is known, there are two different types of fats, saturated and unsaturated, which can make a huge difference in meal planning. I'm trying to replace foods containing saturated fats with foods that are high in unsaturated fats such as healthy oils, fish, beans, and nuts.
Last week our Dutch blogger friend, Fran, from Netherlands, said (through her comment left on my blog) that she would plan to cook spaghetti carbonara next week. So she reminded me that traditional Italian dish: unfortunately, that carbonara recipe combines cream, eggs, cheese and bacon ... which contain saturated fats :( 

The first picture above shows the starting line of the 2013 Rome's Race for the cure and the second one has been taken on the same day before I ran that Race. It shows an old church with a simple architecture, located in a green neighborhood of Rome. The photo mentioned also shows some runners, before the race, while they were doing the warm-up next to the church.

Just a little bit no more time to show two old stone houses that have only recently come up for sale (In the last two pictures above).
Those characteristic flats face south and are located in a lovely village of Tuscany. The name of the village is Piancastagnaio  and I wrote down a post about that place last year on November 3rd, after I had visited it. Last month I saw those particular stone houses whose price is good enough. I would advise those old stone houses to a friend of mine who would want to own and run a characteristic and unusual "Bad and Breakfast" in Tuscany.
Nice weekend to all my blogger friends!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Race for the cure

Thousands of enthusiastic people  ran this Sunday the Race for the cure and could enjoy the wonderful landmarks and buildings located in the old neighborhoods of Rome.

Running around the Colosseum and past some Rome's monuments was exciting. But I also enjoyed the friendly atmosphere along the track. The organization was very efficient and a lot of people, who didn't run, were very supportive and enjoyed seeing the race: I have never seen such  beautiful people along the running path and next to the finish line. The weather was never too hot and never too cold: it was perfect. I was so happy to see some runners from France, Spain and other countries. As known, the main aim of the race was raising money for medical research.
Stefano and I enjoyed that 5 km race and reached our sub 5 min./km goal. I ran the race as tempo run training and crossed the finish line after 23:48 minutes. I was happy for that!  

The second picture here on the left shows the two black knights  close to the starting line.
It was the first time that I ran with a camera and took pictures while I was running. Some running friends of our world blogger community, such as Johann, inspired me to run with  a camera and this time I decided to run with my Nokia camera mobile phone. Unfortunately it rang while I was running the 3rd km past the Altar of the Fatherland (photo below). A colleague had to communicate some information (I saw his name on the mobile phone while it was ringing) but I had no choice but give him a quick answer. So, I quickly told him: "I am afraid I can't speak at the moment. I'll give you a call as soon as possible". After I had crossed the finish line I gave him a call. Next time I will run with a camera ... without mobile phone :)
The picture here on the right was taken while I was running past the Altar of Fatherland. As you can see, there were cobblestones along the track but it wasn't  dangerous. Have you never got a phone call while you were running a race? Nice week to everyone!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Next race on May 19th

This is my first post this month and it gives me the opportunity to write just a note about the second race which I have planned to run in 2013: It's the Rome's Race for the Cure which will be held next Sunday. My running shape isn't good enough but I don't care. 
Next week I will be in Rome for job from Monday to Wednesday  and my wife also will be busy because of her job. So this morning we decided to do shopping and buy food and other thngs for next week. Doing shopping on Sunday morning is unusual enough here in Italy but fortunately we find a market in a small village situated 30 km South from Civitavecchia. Black olives were really good.
Nice week to all my blogger friends!  

Monday, April 08, 2013

First race in 2013

I am so glad to see my friend Stefano back running a race in our town. Yesterday, we ran a short race on a sunny  Sunday and everything was perfect:  friendly atmosphere, good organization and a lot of runners (some people came from Rome and surrondings). The average pace was sub 5 min./km.
I really enjoyed the event  although after the ordeal the two black Knights didn't get any loot :)
Happy running to all my blogger friends!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Special day

Today is a special day for me because I have reached 52 years of life:  I was born on March 26th, 1961. And this morning my wife gave  me a wonderful gift, which you can see in the picture.   

The photo below shows the shop where she bought the running shoes ... she chose Asics, as usual.
Happy running!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Back running as a beginner

During the first week of  March I had  tracheitis and sore throat: it was difficult to handle. I haven't been running since March 5th,  and I hope to be back running  tomorrow.
The weather is still  cold enough and it doesn't seem that Winter is going to an end. Moreover, I need new running shoes and likely I'll buy them next week if I go to Rome for job. In Rome I can buy the same running shoes, as I see here where I live,  paying  about 25% less.
I used to take photos only on holidays: since I have been writing a blog I take photos every week. And I think that blogging gives us the motivation to take photos. More and more of us are carrying a camera during a race and our blogging community gives me the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of other. In this perspective,  I'd like to share the photo below that I took this morning.

My neighbour is a woman who love cats as you can see in the photo of  her window: the two cats are really nice but I don't understand the combination with her black bra. Do your  neighbours put their bra on the window? :)
Nice week to everyone!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Winter running outfit

I'm sorry for the delay in writing posts considering that I wrote my last post in January. However, I've been reading my running friends's blogs with their reflections, comments and opinions about running, healthy food, outdoor lifestyle and other topics. We, friends of our blogging community, do not need to be a journalist to write an interesting blog: reading your blogs gives me the chance to know thousands of new ideas, trends and places all around the world.
I notice you that since February 14th I've been having  connection problems with some websites, such as Amy, Black Knight and Char's blogs ... I don't know why! Anyway, if I didn't understand where the fault is I would communicate through emails soon.  
As you can see in the photo, I'm still running in the dark ... that's why I'm compelled to wear yellow running clothes :)
I will not bore you with the  uncertainty of Italian 2013 election and the  impact of its outcome on the euro currency.
Happy running to everyone!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Back blogging about Sudan's social cause

I wrote my last post on December 31st and despite a drop in frequency of posts I've still read  hugely interesting running blogs. 
I've just read the Johann 's post about Sudan and a great social cause to be raising money for.
As you know, Sudan is such a dangerous place again.
This is my first post in 2013 because I've been busy for job and since January 8th I have finished working late. That's why I am compelled to run in the dark and can't join my running group. Consequently, I try to keep my eyes out for dangers along the track. First of all, I always wear high visibility running clothes and don't listen music along the track. Unfortunatey I haven't planned yet any races.
Nice Sunday to all my bogger friends!