Our travels have bought us into Northern Italy to Como, a town that dates back to Roman days and still has a medieval wall around it. (Not to be confused with Kokomo which the Beach Boys sang about in the film Cocktail. I did.) The main draw of the place is of course the lake. Just like England, the Italian Lake District can be found in the North of the country, and a bit like its English counterpart, it’s starting to get cloudy.
The main difference between Keswick and Como though are the shops. In Keswick you are fine if you want Kendal Mint cake or waterproof trousers. Here you are fine if you want an Armani suits or a pair of Max Mara shoes. Being about 50 km North of Milan (the fashion capital of the world, apparently), the shops cater to a certain market. I joked yesterday on Facebook about being to find an Armani suit within 30 seconds of our apartment, yet it took 2 hours to find the supermarket. It wasn’t a joke. In one shop today we found a pair of shoes at €405 and T-shirt for €203. A T-Shirt!!!!
We learned from Tourist Information that there was a market today, so we headed along to have a look. It finished at 1:00 pm (they still seem fond of their siestas here). As we approached it, my hand tightened it’s grip on my wallet. It was one of those places where as you walked through it you needed to keep one hand on your wallet, one one on your phone and that elusive third hand on your camera. Actually I have no worries about my camera. The other year Nikki (my sister) bought me a fabulous sports camera strap which has so many buckles, straps and carabiners that my camera is virtually part of me. Added to that I have added an extra wrirst strap so to get my camera off me you would need some scissors, have to strip me naked and possibly cut of my hand. (Saying that there were some characters today who looked like they would do just that!). Luckily I also has a razor wire booby trap on my wallet…mainly to stop Karen from gaining access to it.
Amongst the tat, sorry, merchandise were a lot of fake football shirts, mainly the Milan teams, Barca and Real Madrid. In fact I only saw one English team shirt and that was a Liverpool one with “Gerrard” on the back. (Next to it was a fake England team kit with “Gerrard” on it which he was selling for half price). The prices at this market were slightly more in line with what I was used to. I was particularly impressed by the €8 pairs of shoes. Quality if ever I saw it.
I found a book stall and began perusing it for any books in English. There weren’t any, but I did find a series of books about a cowboy called “Tex”. These seemed to be aimed at children as they were “graphic novels” (or as we used to called them before people began getting poncy about such matters, “comic strips”). I was actually quite tempted to buy one to try and improve my Italian (from two words to maybe three or four). I think if as children we had foreign language versions of popular comics it would have made learning a new language a lot easier. Who wouldn’t want to read “l’Beano” in French to find out about “Denis l’Menance et son chien mal Gnasher” or the “La Dandias” in Spanish and the exploits of “Dano, el Desperado” or even the German classic “Whizzerunchipscomicplaza”.
He didn’t seem to the grasp that to make money, you need to stand very still and when someone puts money in your pot, then you acknowledge them. He jut stood waving “ciao” to anyone who walked by (myself included). He was more like a human greeting machine than a human statue.
Eventually we came out of the market and even Karen had to admit that there was some tat and half in there. Still, at least it was affordable tat.
Today’s cake was a Chocolate Torte which was a bit like a brownie but with orange peel and fig in it. Sorry, can’t find a recipe.