Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Sunday Morning Walk and an Afternoon with Amici

Sunday, 21 January, 2018

Sunday promised to be another good day in Italy's Lombardy region and it was.

It all started with a good breakfast watching . . .

Peppa Pig in Italian

Unfortunately, little Mary was not there to watch with me.

The first order of business was the walk to our closest supermarket to buy more supplies for the Villa Skorpion.

This trek would take me through, for me, some new neighborhoods.

 Lion on Guard

LOTS of cyclists out on a crisp Sunday

This area of Italy is known for producing several world class cyclists.

 My Supermarket

It has everything!

You see obituaries like these blue
ones posted all over our cities

In the afternoon, Enzo Petrillo picked me up to give me a Grand Tour of Varese and then share lunch with his wife Nency and two daughters Sophia and Emma.

Cheeses on sale at a
Varese street market

Blood oranges too

Enzo LOVES this chess set
for some reason

After our Grand Tour of Varese was done, we headed to Casa Petrillo for an amazing lunch that was highlighted by Nency's incredible lasagna and a lot of fun conversation with this delightful family.

They did a wonderful job of both welcoming into their delightful home and making me practice my limited Italian which continues to be a work in progress.

After lunch, we headed to the lakeside village of Porto Ceresio located on Lake Ceresio.

Lake Ceresio is half in Italy and half in Switzerland. One of the quirks of Lake Ceresio is that swimming is not allowed on the Italian shore but it is perfectly fine to swim in the lake if you are on the Swiss shoreline.

 Nancy and Enzo
with daughter Emma

With Nancy and Emma

Yes, those are the Alps and Switzerland in the distance.

Historical House in
Porto Cesesio

According to Enzo, near the end of World War II, Italy's Benito Mussolini met in secret with Germany's Adolf Hitler and representatives of the British government to try to bring about a mutually beneficial end for all parties to the hostilities.

The meeting didn't work to well for Benito and Adolf. 

 Lions guarding the historical
Porto Ceresio home

Via Roma is Porto Ceresio's
main street

 Honoring Porto Ceresio's
War Dead

World War I
The African Campaign
World War II

 The Promenade along the lake
was a gorgeous setting

But the icy winds whipping off of the Alps and across the lake shortened our visiting time greatly.

What a great day with a wonderful family!

Grazie Petrillo family!

And a good day of physical
fitness walking to boot!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Blessed Sleep and a U15 and U13 Flag Football Practice

Saturday, 20 January, 2018

I don't know if it was the Jet Lag finally catching up to me or the sangria, margarita and mescal from last night's Mexican food fest, but I slept in for all of the morning and a bit of the afternoon as well today.

Fortunately for my otherwise dormant body, I had to get up and coach a U15 and U13 flag football practice at 3:30 p.m.

Enzo Petrillo, our U15 Head Coach, picked me up at the Villa Skorpion and we were off to what would turn out to be a good session of improving our American football fundamentals.

One good thing about having a team in 100% control of their training/game facility is that the snack bar is open for any and all Skorpion activities.

I have only been here for five days but it is obvious that we have an incredibly involved and dedicated support staff to go along with what appears to be a dedicated group of players.

Now, that's a GREAT combination to have on your side!

Nothing like a café before practice
at the Skorpion snack bar

The prices are quite reasonable

Warming Up

We would wind up with 21 players, both male and female, which is great when you consider that flag football at this level is played with only five players on the field at a time. 

 Scarpe Alla Moda
(Stylish Shoes)

After all, we are only a 20 minutes away from Milan, the Italian fashion capital.

3-on -3 Pattern Recognition Drill

As I inferred earlier, we had a great session with these kids. If they keep working like they did today, we'll have a top notch club at this level.

As usual, it was a GREAT day for American football!

No surprise there really . . .

Of Arancini, Varese and Mexican Food in Milan

Friday, 19 January, 2018

It would be another sunny but crisp day in northern Italy today with lots on the agenda.

A gift from Pietro one of
our amazing Skorpions

He went to the Rams-Cardinals game in London this past season and gave me this much appreciated souvenir from the 33-0 Los Angeles victory.

GRAZIE Pietro!

Dario D'Adelfio, a Sicilian by both birth and inclination, picked me up at mid-day for a drive to nearby Olgiate Comasco to visit a couple of his favorite Sicilian bars in the village.

The Arancini at Regna delle due Sicilie

And the café was perfetto too!

While the cannoli at the second spot
were HUGE!

I opted for a brioche crema at this place, at only 1€ it was a bargain.

It was still early in the day, so after a nice mini-road trip with Dario, I asked him to drop me off at the little train station near the Villa Skorpion.

This is the stop and . . .

. . . this is the station

As timing would have it, I had just missed the train and would have to wait about 20 minutes for the next one.

In 15 minutes, the train had whisked
me away to this large station in Varese

Powerful statues above a Post Office

Great architecture

I need a closer look at this
bell tower

Colorful Pedestrian Street

Monument to Heroes

Passageway to that elusive
bell tower

 Just a few more steps

There it is next to the
Church honoring St. Victor, Martyr

This tower took nearly
160 years to build!

Construction started in 1616 and ended in 1774.

They needed a Project Labor Agreement methinks.

The Divine Mother of Love

A tribute to Varese's War Casualties

A fixer-upper

New bike, old alcove

Interesting Mural

I resisted this temptation

Truth be told, the shop was closed for lunch.

This place looked good

The next time I'm in Varese, I'll eat here.

If I can find it again.

Varese Court Building

Archer riding a bull

Isn't that an Olympic event?

Vanessa would be happy

I love these narrow pedestrian
only streets

Interesting alleyway

 Christmas dies slowly
in Varese

It was time to head home, but I got a good taste of Varese today.

Bart Iaccarino's Lazio Ducks
Italian DI schedule was announced

A rugged 12 game regular season and then the National Playoffs.

You better be in shape for this campaign Ducks.

In the evening I was invited to join former Skorpion Head Coach Giorgio Nardi and his wife Barbara for a ride into Milan where we would meet up with our Offensive Coordinator Gigi Brevin and his mate Martina and their families for dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

Parking on Milan's narrow streets
usually means invading
pedestrian territory
 This must be the place

A good, fun loving group
of diners

The food was good and so were the sangria, margaritas, mescal and the company.

GREAT fun tonight!

Of course the topic of American
football came up a few times

We even used coach's stationery, i.e., placemats and napkins to illustrate a few ideas.

Good times . . .

It's GREAT to be a Skorpion!