Thursday, October 4, 2012

Returned from places distant, diverting, and delicious

We're back. The Ragazzo took way better pictures than I did.  But here are a few of mine from a walk on the Sussex downs, a view of Ljubljana - the capital city of Slovenia - from the castle which overlooks it, and Lake Bled, a beautiful area of Slovenia where we took a hike - you can see the Alps in the background.  Misha Matthew correctly identified all of the locations on my Vacate quiz and will be receiving a book on distant lands!  Congratulations, Misha.

I didn't actually take any pictures in Venice or London and my pictures from Vienna are pretty boring but the trip wasn't.  We managed to get opera tickets in Vienna and see a performance of Elektra and even before we left, we booked tickets for Scenes From an Execution a Howard Barker play from the 1970s about the freedom of the artist.  The primary character is loosely based on Renaissance painter Artemisia Gentileschi and the play is being given a new production at the National Theatre in London starring Fiona Shaw and with a favorite English actress of mine - Phoebe Nichols.  The British public seems less than happy with the production if the Guardian article I linked above is any indication, but I thought it intelligent and elegantly produced.  We ate well in Venice and stayed in some beautiful and unique places.  The train ride from Vienna to Ljubljana offers spectacular scenery and an honest to goodness dining car with linen tablecloths and decent, if not elegant, food.

In addition I read 5 novels, so I really have some catching up to do here.  In the coming days I will post on David Egger's What is the What, William Boyd's Any Human Heart, Chris Adrian's The Great Night, Marie Ndiaye's Three Strong Women, and Never Mind by Edward St. Aubyn.  In fact, I'm in the middle of his Patrick Melrose novels right now and they are brilliantly written, riveting, and hilarious even as the action is mind-bogglingly ghastly.  More to follow.

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