Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Month: December 2009 (Page 2 of 2)

Home and back on Megan’s Head

I missed my blog while I was away in Europe. I missed being able to download, purge, diarise, reflect, complain, criticise and connect. So, this is the first of many posts about going away, things that struck me, differences, similarities, people, places and new ideas and inspirations.

Today’s post is about fairy lights and decorations. The moment we arrived in Paris, at Charles De Gaulle airport at around midnight, I saw a brilliant modern red Christmas tree made up of rope lights. Immediately, I was struck by how stylish and slick and Paris the holiday lights were, and I hadn’t even left the airport yet. Obviously the street lights and shop decorations blew my mind. The trees along the Champs Elysees were lit up with white fairy lights and dripping lights that looked like melting icicles. The shop windows were decorated with trees and sparkles and leaves and snow and fairy lights. Every single store had their own style and flavour. We were staying in Monmartre, altogether a seedier and more bohemian place, and there the Christmas lights and decorations were cheaper and more garish, but still nothing like I’d seen before.

When we got onto the train in Paris, bound for Venice, it was around 2030 and already pitch dark. After travelling through the Industrial side of Paris we slid into the country side. I don’t know when it became Italy, but I was awake and looking out of the window at about four in the morning. It was gloomily dark, but at even the slightest hint of human habitation there was a Christmas light to guide us train travellers on our way. I saw trees, stars, flashing rope lights, fairy lights and coloured globes. I can’t explain how touching it was.

Venice was the home of the climbing Santas. Every flat had one or two or even three Santas entering a window via a little white rope ladder. But that’s not all. Being on the Grand Canal at night and seeing the hotels and shops on the water’s edge lit for Christmas was absolutely spectacular. It was breathtaking. Hotels lit up their entrances from top to bottom. Waterfront facing rooms had lights in their windows. The little streets and alleys were all strung with lights. The stalls selling souvenirs all had lights. The shops and piazzas were covered in lights, making the whole of Venice even more magical. I felt like I was in fairyland.

But Rome took the Christmas cake, literally and figuratively. I have never seen anything like it. Rome was a sparkling Christmas wonderland, and it was splendid. Some of my favourites were the Piazza Navona, which had a market with stalls selling sweets; toffee apples, candy floss, nougat and long strips of marshmallows, toys like weird laughing witch puppets, Christmas stockings and decorations, a carousel and huge cartoon balloons. Benetton also had a genius Christmas idea for their shop windows; Christmas trees covered in tiny woollen jerseys and cardigans of all colours. There was even a baby tree in the window display for the kids’ stuff. On the floor of our hotel (literally 50 metres from the Trevi Fountain!) there was a Christmas tree with shiny red heart baubles.

It helps to be in a shivery, snowy landscape. Christmas really works in the Northern hemisphere.

Beautiful Life

I woke up this morning with that feeling. “I am going to another country tomorrow”. I am not a great traveller, and there have been very few times when I have been a proper tourist. This time I am. Museums. Towers. Statues. Fountains.

I always think of the double life when I am away. This time it will be particularly acute because Big Friendly is staying, manning the post, animal sitting, being my love at home. But I am excited abut the shift in perspective that being somewhere else brings. For 12 days I will life that other life.

And I will take photos, wear winter clothes, walk in boots, sleep in strange beds, go on trains, talk to people who I will never see again, look at things millions and millions of people have seen and written about. And I will come back home. The same person; only…different.

Summing up, winding down, speeding off

I have tons on my mind at the moment, and I’m feeling just like the blue arsed fly. It’s been a whirlwind of world cup fever (did anyone else notice the not so fantastic lip sync mess of the gorgeous Angelique Kidjo?), last minute TheatreSports performances, the handing in of proposals for a project next year, a bout of a tummy bug, still biting my nails to hear about whether The Tent will be accepted onto the Grahamstown main festival next year, and getting ready to go overseas!!!! I am accompanying my friend and 12 of her 17 year old students on their art and kulcha tour of France and Italy!

I have only been to Holland and Germany in Europe, for work, so a visit to Paris, Venice, Florence and Rome, with a transit in Istanbul is making me very excited and happy. And nervous! It has been 4 degrees in Rome these last couple of days. The idea of a pre-Christmas Europe is thrilling. I am imagining the train journey through the snowy landscape, the Venice Christmas night market, the small ice rink on the first floor of the Eiffel tower, the icy fountains in Rome.

I need a dollop of kulcha. I need to look at really old buildings, listen to old language, see gorgeous old art and walk really old streets. And I’ll be doing it all through the eyes of the young and fresh.

I hope my jacket is warm enough!

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