However, I do have reasoning. First of all, we really haven’t been up to much since I moved to Italy. Secondly, and more importantly, our internet connection here on base is terribly unreliable. It is extremely irritating for us web junkies.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! Ours wasn’t the same without our families or the overabundance of holiday stimulation we get in the states, but it was nice. We still made our yearly gingerbread house and watched Christmas Vacation and all that good stuff. We even had a little tree (emphasis on little). I observed two things while spending the season here in Naples: Italians know how to do food, and they know how to do fireworks.
For Christmas Eve I attempted my first-ever whole roast chicken, and I am proud to say it was a success despite having to buy a frozen bird (the commissary has failed me time and time again when it comes to ingredient availability) and our power going out about a half hour before it finished cooking. Luckily, it came back on shortly and we enjoyed a lovely, quiet night before Christmas.
Thomas had to work Christmas day, but I joined some friends for dinner out in town with a really nice Italian family. This was my first experience having a homemade Italian holiday feast (and I do not use the word feast lightly). Dinner began at 3pm and went until 7 or so. The first course was lasagna, and they served us a 6inX6in square of it. That’s plenty, right? But then came the Italian sausage and potatoes. Then the steak and mushrooms. Then tons of fruit and roasted chestnuts. Then dessert. And it wasn’t just a cake or something small like that for dessert. There was cheesecake, spongecake, cookies, and candied peanuts. Did I mention this was all accompanied by an endless supply of homemade red AND white wine? There was so much food, I’m sure I’ve even forgotten something. I didn’t need to eat until dinner the next day.
The company was wonderful too. The family spoke Italian, of course, but a couple of them knew a little English, and my friends and I—combined—know a tiny bit of Italian. Our mutual friend of the family speaks both languages fluently, so with a combination of his translating and a lot of hand gestures we could communicate fairly well. We even got to see some magic tricks.
New Years was amazing, but it came close to being pretty lame. Our plan was to either take a bus or taxi into downtown Napoli, then take a taxi back, but when we got to the station we learned that busses weren’t running and only a very, very small handful of taxis were running, and most of them were already downtown (which is dumb, in my opinion. Just think how much business a taxi driver would get on New Year’s Eve!). So after much deliberation, and half of our group going home, our friend volunteered to drive.
So here’s the thing about fireworks in Italy (well, Naples at least)… they are not only used two days a year like in the states. They light off for many reasons—births, birthdays, weddings, a home team win, and anything else that’s worth celebrating. So for a holiday that is known for fireworks and having a good time, we knew it was going to be big. And it. was. awesome. Castel dell’Ovo had the main display, but we had a 360˚ show that included the rest of downtown and what we could see across the water. And these aren’t the type of fireworks you can get at little TNT stands around the Fourth of July. These are full on explosions and works of art like you see televised from NYC every year. Except I’d say this was bigger. I didn’t want to look in one place for too long because I didn’t want to miss something amazing behind me. I was in awe for the full few hours the fireworks lasted.
There was also a huge stage with a DJ and some weird performers (check out the picture) in the street, so we did some dancing and champagne popping after midnight.
It was a blast.