by Stubborn Mule on 18 April 2011 · 4 comments

This is a quick post to reassure regular readers that I have not given up the blog. The hiatus between posts has been due to travel. Seasons in Australia are not as distinct as they are in Europe and when I lived in England (many years ago) I always found the arrival of Spring the most striking illustration of this difference. True to my recollection, the European Spring put on an excellent show for this trip to England and Italy.

Wandering the streets of Rome, I came across a street called Via De’ Burro. While a burro is not exactly a mule*, it is a close enough relation to remind me that I was neglecting the blog and to inspire a quick photograph.

My family and I were not the only ones enjoying Spring in Rome. It had been many years since my last visit to Italy’s capital and I am convinced that there are more tourists there than ever. Perhaps good weather, a week of free museum admission and the lead-up to Easter were conspiring to swell visitor numbers, but I can only imagine that the crowds would be larger still by summer time. The photograph below shows the square in front of the Trevi fountain and I cannot help thinking that, while tourism is a big industry for Australia, we don’t really know what it means to be a serious tourist destination!

Of course, no trip to a non-English speaking country is complete without coming across bizarre English translations. The sign in the photo below was in the window of a restaurant near our hotel. What it means remains a mystery as it certainly did not tempt me to try their cuisine.

As well as Rome, the Italian leg of the trip took in Venice. Spring is an excellent time to visit Venice: excellent weather and not at all stinky!

Venice’s famous “Bridge of Sighs” was under renovation and partly shrouded in scaffolding. But I was able to photograph another Bridge of Sighs, named with a nod to the Venetian original. Before Italy, we spent some time in England and spent a beautiful Sunday morning punting down the river Cam in Cambridge. The bridge in Venice connects the court rooms in the Doge’s Palace to the prison cells and the name supposedly derives from the sighs of prisoners getting their last glimpse of freedom through the windows of the bridge. The connection of the bridge in Cambridge to the original is simply that both are covered stone bridges, regardless of how dim a view students of St John’s college may have taken of their studies at times.

Travelogues are not the usual fare here at the Stubborn Mule, so stay tuned for a return to more typical content soon!

* Thanks to Magpie for reminding me that while “burro” is donkey in Spanish, in Italian it means butter!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Magpie April 18, 2011 at 10:01 pm

So, you are a wandering, almost feral, mule… :)

Just one thing: burro means donkey in Spanish and Portuguese, not in Italian.

In Italian it means butter.

Have fun!

2 Stubborn Mule April 19, 2011 at 7:54 am

Aahh, you are right of course. Funnily, using Spanish instead of Italian was a bit of a theme of the trip. This theme was even picked up in the movie “The Tourist” which I watched on the plane. It was a truly awful movie whose only redeeming feature was the Venice setting.

3 Zebra April 19, 2011 at 8:52 am

My saucons tell me the sign says that they cook all food freshly and do not serve fast food; they must wonder why they don’t get more business when their translation says the opposite.

4 Magpie April 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm

They seem to be consistently mysterious: it’s not only the English version that’s difficult to translate…

But I think Zebra is right: I also suspect that’s what they meant to say.

Porca miseria! (Italian for D’oh!)

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