Kirill Bazerashvili | Winds From Europe


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#4. A Georgian Eagle at Peaks of Gran-Sasso

Happy cities are all alike; every ugly city is ugly as an average German chick in its own way.

I’ve already traveled a lot, and I’ve seen happy cities as clear as the angel’s face of a baby, who step the tail to a domestic cat, as well as gloomy ones, like the embankments of the Obvodny Channel in St. Petersburg. Regarding L’Aquila , the capital of the  Abruzzo region (famous for its majestic mountains and picturesque terrains) it’s even hard to say how happy it is. Probably, it is as happy as the hero of Evgeny Evstigneev in the movie Unbelievable Adventures of Italians in Russia: broken legs and a treasure box.

L’Aquila (translated as eagle) was seriously destroyed during the  earthquake which occurred almost ten years ago. Of course, this earthquake is very far from Spitak earthquake, but the consequences are directly visible everywhere – just take a stroll around the old part:

City center is an endless paradise for stalkers: almost all houses are completely opened to all comers, even doorkeys are left – apparently people had no desire to return there, even after many years:

Supports and props are everywhere: inside buildings that are at risk of collapse the supports are usually more powerful, but often they can be seen outside the buildings – they are like suckers that keep the collapsing halves of buildings, fill arches – in a nutshell, wherever the hope to restore is still alive:

Central avenue. Previously, buses used to navigate there, the main square was actually the main bus terminal with an underground gallery. Now the main street is blocked by workers, the most beautiful buildings seem like a long-term building comparable to underground station Admiralteyskaya in St. Petersburg, and residents, as well as visitors of the city, have just to stare at the numerous images ‘This building after reconstruction in %amount_years%’:

Nevertheless, the city is visited by a huge number of tourists that even a full-fledged souvenir shop works here at their mercy. Which is however not a surprising fact – even almost all tourist attractions are shut down for a complete renovation there is still a lot of sightseeing.

➊ The post office at Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square), one of the few ‘survivors’ in the city center, but closed at this moment
➋ Small church near the fountain “99 channels”, remarkable for its solar clock on the facade
➌ Streets around the Spanish Fortress, Downtown
➍ Spanish Fort. Earlier than it was both the administration and the prison; nowadays it is destroyed more seriously than the Colosseum and is suitable maybe for shooting the next season of ‘Fort Boyard’
➎ A statue with a city symbol in the Villa Comunale park, next to the local administration (by the way, my university is located nearby, as well as local canteen where you can meet local Mafia members local deputies and maybe ask them uncomfortable questions (but this is not exactly)

Numerous neat fountains with drinking water are placed around the town. Some with a tap (made in Italy of course), somewhere without that taxpayers may fell all the benefits of ‘free water’ as it runs away like wine from a Georgian horn 24/7. By the way, the Italians will be very surprised if you tell them that there is not such a free and useful thing in your hometown:

Even mailboxes are so wonderful!

Personally, I do really like the local churches. There is a completely different approach to architecture styles – no boring Gothic at all. The typical Italian church is indeed a house of Lord, and every sole is truly beautiful and unique. Almost all the churches in L’Aquila are built in completely different styles. For example, the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Suffragio (Church of the Holy Souls) on Cathedral Square, built in the 18th century in Baroque style, resembles some Roman churches with its curved facade. On the central pediment the skeleton is depicted and the phrase says Tears are not to help the dead ones, but prayer, petition and charity.
At the same time, Basilica di San Bernardino, the patron saint of the city (here there is an urn with the relics of a saint), generally refers to the Renaissance period and its monumental facade is a bit like classical English and French cathedrals. The most beautiful – Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio, Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Collemaggio, was built in the XIII century, and therefore combines elements of Romanesque and Gothic styles. From the Romanesque – an unusual combination of white and red elements on the facade in the form of geometric patterns, from the Gothic – the design of the cathedral itself (long facade, with classical arches) and some partial elements like the front entrance. Unfortunately, it is not possible to get inside now, however, judging by the photographs taken before the earthquake, the interior decoration is simply fabulous (well, the most important religious building in the city, and since 2009 – also the cathedral):

The most famous landmark of L’Aquila is Fontana delle 99 cannelle, Fountain of 99 pipes – combination of 93 non-repeating stone faces and 6 gutters, from which water flows continuously. Unfortunately, the water from the fountain is not suitable for magic charging in front at the TV screen and further consumption ‘till complete enlightenment, but during the summer it is quite possible to arrange a traditional ablution of the feet, especially if more than half of your friends read the Koran in the original. Generally, the number 99 was not chosen simultaneously: according to legend, 99 surrounding villages participated in the construction of the city (each community erected a church, a square with a fountain, defense buildings), and at noon the church bell makes 99 to announce the beginning of the next day.

Honestly, even some tiny German towns like Lüneburg and Lübeck, perfect for sightseeing and relaxation, can not boast of such diversity. Here it is – the power of small towns in action!

#3. Station Separation

“What can I find in the morning in Italy on Monday under the door, if it is brown?”

I’m sure that this question can be safely sent to game show “What? Where? When?” Wasserman and Drusz (famous Russian Jew players of that game) would never give the right answer for it, I promise. Not only Wasserman – no one academician, with his brains, will find anything better than to ask, but how much it was in diameter.

When I heard the swarming at my door in the morning, it seemed to me that at last my lost parcel with the belongings from Germany came. For the second week I have been losing weight in nerves – how, I’ve been in Italy almost half a month, and the people have not even seen half of my wonderful clothes bought on the advice of the fashion program “The Fashion Court” by Channel 1.

Well, I happily open the door in the hope of seeing there a huge pack, painted in a German tricolor, and there it is ...

“Huye morgen, assholes.” Zies iz ze prezent fram auar cammune. Capiche? Velkam ta Italy”.


The practice of sorting garbage was introduced neither today nor yesterday. Well, in Germany, where I lived for three years, I somehow managed not to engage myself in such a barbaric business as sorting my own waste. Everything according to the old Russian habit – all kittens in one bag. A sort of Mumu cat mixed up with yesterday’s newspapers framed with plastic bottles.

In short, a gift from the local commune consists of:
➊ The bucket for the biomass in brown. I agree, everything is logical – you can not get this waste mixed with anything else.
➋ Green canister for draining used oil (as in a workshop)
➌ Biodegradable bags
➍ A reminder of what type of garbage corresponds to which container (apparently, some still do not understand that the corpse with a hundred bullets from a machine gun in it belongs to a biomass)
➎ Bonus – a calendar with a schedule of taking-out dates for every type of garbage

That is, so to speak, the bio plastic bags for you, and here’s the schedule – we take urine samples in plastic on Mondays, in glass on Wednesday, and solid chocolate color tests on Friday. Now there is a firm ground to arrange a holiday for yourself every day: took out the garbage, crossed out the date in the calendar, drink a glass of wine. Repeat 365 days a year.

I’m reading now a book by Michael de Certeau “The Practice of Everyday Life”. So, there is a central idea that ordinary people in different ways resist to all sorts of established orders (in the book it is called “tactics”). In particular, what is important is not what people use, but how they use it. A kinda of Jeopardy game, huh.

My jeopardy brains have already figured out that 30 bags are enough for 3 months in advance, and not only for the biomass, at the next door we have the same charming bucket that it would be nice to use for the small garbage in the shower room (with half a year’s supply of organic waste bags), and canister is a good eggplant for water from a source in the yard ...

Well, I really hope that we will not have a “who will produce more waste paper” contest – or they will definitely claim oh, those Russians ...

2017   gift   GSSI   Italy   L'Aquila   sorting   waste

#2. FL040, all clear

08:00 am.
A week ago snow fell in the mountains, and the tops were covered with virgin white flakes. As if the Lord himself had thrown the remnants of the heavenly manna to Italy, and it settled just right on the majestic peaks of the Gran Sasso.
Take away the shopping centers from Americans, and the whole nation will go mad, having no idea where to get the next burger and buy a new tee from Lacoste. Take the mountain from Georgians – and you will steal the meaning of life.
During the day it is paradisely warm, and during the night Italians get into panic as if the ice age came and takes off the fur coat in the hallway. In the daytime it is as bright as from the spotlights on the stage, and at night it is dark like in the ass of a nigga selling stuff together with handkerchiefs just around the corner. It seems that at 4 pm God simply twists out the light bulb, saving on electricity. And what else can you expect from the person who got a fare in shekels?
But it is the best time interval to go to the mountains. Maybe it’s cold there, and there are no roads, but only there is complete freedom from networks and annoying messages, only there Big Brother will not see you, only there is fresh air and pure spring water.
And the divine landscapes for whose sake it is worth living.

Hence the formula for a good day: espresso + fitness + mountains = pleasure3

#1. Italians Dreams, Come True

Dreams come true for Gazprom, Abramovich (Russian oligarch) and fools. However, I do not know to which of listed cohorts I belong to.

For the third time over the last two years I take part in the annual opening for PhD students accompanied with Gaudeamus hymn (sorry, this time a low-cost version over WiFi and earphones was only avaliable). Like to marry for a third time in a row – the difference is there you hear Felix Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” in C major, here a students’ march. If only I would every time get a passport stamp by entering a new university like crossing a border, I would rather change a citizenship (by that is not completely true).

I guess if I have one day bromance with 4th university, I will die laughing – sole ‘lucky ones’ listen to “Wedding March” several times a life, I am not even speaking for the same amount within just two years.

Իրականում, չունի իմ պատմությունը սկիզբ ու վերջ:
[arm.: Indeed, my story has neither start nor end]

2017   GSSI   Italian Dream   Italy