Monday 18 October 2010

SPQR I: Sono Pazzi Questi Romani (Friday 15 Oct)

the Colosseum
This weekend my wife, our kids and I visited Rome. For them their first visit to the eternal city, for me the second real visit. I already visited Rome in May 1989 with the entire fifth grade of the RK Gymnasium Rolduc and for work I've been there once or twice, although those were typical business trips, from the plane to the meeting and back into the plane.

Ever since her classmate held a presentation about Rome my daughter Giulia (the oldest of 9 years old) wanted to visit Rome and the Colosseum in particular. So Friday morning (October 15th) we flew with EasyJet from Milan-Malpensa (MXP) to Rome-Fiumicino (FCO) where our B&B arranged for a taxi to pick us up at the Airport and drive us to our B&B near Vatican city. After we dropped our luggage in our spacious and nice room of B&B Sweet Vatican we walked to the Ottaviano metro station, just 50 meters from our B&B. From there it could've been a 15min drive to the Colosseum, changing lines at Termini if it wasn't for an illogical deviation to get from Line A to B at Termini station. Apparently the Termini station is being renewed but the deviation is ridiculously long: climbing stairs, walking through small hideous tunnels, exiting the metro station, walking through the train station, enter the metro station again, descend some stairs, walk through tunnels again and finally arrive on the right platform. In the evening the trip back in opposite direction was just one stair down, around the corner and there we were.... they are crazy these Romans!

Anyway, after a 15min metro trip and a 15min walk through the metro building we arrived at Colosseo Station. And right outside it was: the Colosseum Giulia was longing to see for over a year. We were immediately caught prisoners by a crazy Roman with sword and everything who wanted to throw us for the lions if we did not take a picture with him, and of course wanted to get paid for this service. There are quite a few of these leftovers from the once so mighty Roman Empire, some of them in good shape, some of them reminded me of Fantozzi, an Italian slapstick actor (see photo on the left). But Rome is overloaded with tourists, even in October, and if they are photographed over 25 times a day they might make a better living then the average Roman craftsman.And of course we donated him as well.

Before visiting the Colosseum we needed to lunch though, it was already past noon and the brioches of that morning were already digisted. So we walked into the smaller car-free streets not too far from the Colosseum where we found some nice looking restaurants with interesting menus. We choose Gli Angeletti; after a small antipasto with a selection of Salami and Bruschette al Pomodoro we all had a pasta. The original Roman Spaghetti Carbonara was really fantastic, I won't say it was the best ever, but it certainly got close. Having our stomachs filled we went back to the Colosseum where we wandered around for some time. Meanwhile I explained to the girls the fascinating and sometimes horrific history I recalled from History- and Latin classes in the past. But also from Asterix & Obelix and films like Spartacus and the Gladiator to be honest.

After having walked around in and outside the Colosseum Maddy could use some rest. Her leg, still recovering from an accident and operation, was not enjoying all those Roman steps and ancient roads. I wonder by the way how these Romans could ever drive on their roads with wooden cars and wooden wheels without suspensions... The chiropractor must have had enough to do. The trip back to our B&B went a lot faster.

Our legs (and eyes) got some rest before we went back into Rome, but not without passing the Saint Peter, it was getting dark and the church is so beautifully lighted that we shot some nice pics out there. From here we took the bus into the centre, to arrive near Piazza Navona, one of world's most beautiful squares. Just walking around, absorbing the atmosphere, enjoying the liveliness of a city always gives me a pretty damn good feeling, I could do that all day and night long. Of course dining on the Piazza Navona is something for the Japanese, so we strolled into the streets one or two blocks away from the square and found a typical bar to have an Aperol-Spritz (and some bites for free): Bar del Fico. Next stop Ristorante La Scaletta degli Artisti, friendly owner and waitress, fair prices for decent food (nothing spectacular though).

We concluded the evening with an ice-cream before heading back to the B&B where we all fell asleep before our heads hit the cushions....

(to be continued)

Monday 11 October 2010

About Me 2.0

My first "About Me" in this Blog was written in Dutch over a year ago so it needed both an update and a translation.

I am Dagmar Sporck, 39years old, married to Maddy (Maddalena) and father of two fantastic girls (Giorgia of 7 and Giulia of 10 years old). I represente Dutch and German companies in Italy and Ticino-Switzerland with my company Sales4Italy. And for the German readers: Yes, I am a male Dagmar!

Since 1996 I am a proud member of the Round Table, first in RT171 Kerkrade, NL and since 2008 in RT64 Varese. Last year as IRO, this year as Vice-President and as of June 2011 as President. I hope to be able to attend some interesting RT-meetings in the next two years: the Gala in the Academy of Siena in November this year, the Italian AGM in Taormina, Sicily June next year and various international meetings as well. In Switzerland I try to visit as much RT's as possible, combining the business trips with visits to the local RT-meetings.

End of this month (28-31 October 2010) the Twinning partner of Morazzone, Wimblington will visit Morazzone. I am honored to be part of the organisation of this event as chairman of the Morazzone Twinning Committee.

The so called Social Media are getting quite a lot of my attention as well. I was an early adapter of XING and LinkedIn, one of the first to move to facebook in the Netherlands (where the national equivalent Hyves is still far more popular), Over a year ago I discovered Twitter and after a slow start I now can't stop tweeting, RT'ing and replying. This might be my only real addiction!

What's more to say? I like cooking, but even more I like to eat honoust food with a good glass of wine. If money wasn't an issue I would be travelling around the world a lot more. Especially city-trips.
I have a lot of experience playing around with computers (started with C64, self build PCs, Macs), operating systems (Windows 3.x, XP,7, Ubuntu 9.x/10.x, Mac OS X), software-applications (office suites, graphical, DTP), mobile devices (iPhone, Windows Mobile 5.x/6.x, pda's), and so on. I like to watch movies, listen to music and I can't stand disorganized CD/DVD collections so I put everything on my server (WD MyBookWorld) and play it on PC, laptop and of course the fantastic XBMC Live box (on a Foxconn NT330i barebone).

Although the names of my 3 girls might make you think at least 3 of us are Italian we all have the Dutch nationality and are all born in the Netherlands, in the utmost south-east, Limburg. To Italians I do like to say we're the Olandesi Pugliesi (the Dutch from Puglia). Just like Puglia, the heel of the Italian boot, is hanging on to the rest of Italy as an appendix, Limburg is the Netherlands' appendix.
The four of us moved to Italy in August 2008. Our motivations were not business nor did we want to open a B&B, we just liked the idea of living in Italy, close to the mountains, the lakes, Varese, Milano, Lugano, etc. So one day in 2007 we took the decision, put our house on sale (which we sold) and we moved from Kerkrade to Morazzone (VA), Italy, where we bought a house. After some time off (sabatical) I wanted to start doing something not involving too much travelling away from home. So I joined Engel&Völkers Real Estate at the Lago Maggiore. Not the best choice ever but I learned a lot, and I got to practice my languages every day. Languages I use every day being in touch with business relations from the Netherlands, England, Germany, France, Belgium and of course Italy and Switzerland!

So I live in Italy where people still know how to enjoy life and (at least as important) good and honoust food!

Wanna know more about me, just ask!

to be continued...

More then 10 months ago I wrote my last blog-entry, how to get more out of your iPhone. Surprised by its success, it got over 1000hits within 2 hours after tweeted about to it, I didn't know how to continue. Should I focus on iPhone related stuff? A personal nightmare, my mother's cancer and her death in July this year, a new job in Switzerland I started in March, and lots of other less important things dragged my attention away right at the moment  my blog had gotten some attention. I don't mind. There are more important things in life then MY Blog.

I decided to restart blogging and to write about anything that I feel the urge to write about. About life in Italy, work in Switzerland, gadgets I use and the stuff (apps) I put on them, what I cook and what I eat, and God knows what... I also decided to switch to English in my blog. I started in Dutch, since at that time I saw my blog as a way to inform friends and relatives back in the Netherlands about my/our life in Italy. But on Twitter, where I have become pretty active lately, I currently have quite a variety of nationalities following me, mostly from the Netherlands and Italy but also some Swiss. In order to avoid spending too much time writing my blog in Dutch, Italian and German I'll stick with English.

Keep in mind: the fun of social media and blogging is not in the writing and reading alone but above all in the INTERACTION. So please respond, react, interact and whatever; in a reaction under the blog or in a tweet!