Posts Tagged ‘parma’

Lights out in Lucca

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Being from San Diego where the weather is perfect, it was astonishing to go through a ‘ginormous’ thunderstorm here in Lucca, Italy!

The first bolt of lightning lit up the town but knocked all the lights out. We fled under a 20′ x 20′ umbrella on a piazza and sat it out by ordering pizza and wine. It was inches of rain in a few minutes.

I thought I should be concerned sitting on a metal chair at a metal table with metal stays in the umbrella above, but the wine dulled that fear.

This same rain caused significant damage to Genoa (a bit north) and Parma where rivers over-flowed their banks. But in the wonderful walled city of Lucca, it was just another example of God’s amazing creation. But please,Lord, send some of this precipitation to California.

These are sand bags at the ready!

These are sand bags at the ready!

After the Fall

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

On August 17 I was running the America’s Finest City 1/2 marathon. Only 3 miles into a 13.1 mile race, I found some uneven pavement and fell, turning an ankle. 7 miles later I decided I probably should stop running. My doctors concurred. I should have stopped sooner. My 1/2 marathon in Parma, Italy 4 weeks later in all likelihood would not happen.

In the ensuing 4 weeks I did my exercises and wore an ankle brace and compression sock any time I was on my feet.

Here in Europe I didn’t do any running, but a lot of walking through Saltzburg. Having made it to Parma, I wanted to experience the excitement with the 6000 (1500 doing the 1/2) runners at the starting line.

Would I be able to run?

Could I complete the run in the allotted time?

Could I walk part of the course?

Could I savor running in a foreign city and just enjoy it for what it was?

The race course zigs and zags through the streets of Parma. We actually ran 2 laps around the downtown section. What a great feeling after running 1/2 mile knowing my ankle was not going to be a concern during the run. It also was a great course for spectating (which I thought I would have to do after the ankle sprain). Debbie and our friends Wally and Pam from Colorado Springs were there to cheer me on at almost every turn. I think they ran almost as much as I did. I enjoyed hearing everyone around me speaking Italian and being encouraged by fellow runners, viewing the architecture of the many ancient buildings, and of course, crossing the finish line to cheers in a tongue I didn’t understand. The Run became the universal language for me and I praise God I got to be a part of it.


Parma Half Marathon

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

I did it. Whoooohooo!!! My ankle did not cause any issues & I had a GREAT support team in Debbie , Wally, & Pam!!! They ran almost as many miles as I did. Now getting ready to go celebrate!! This one is for you Robbie, Happy Birthday.


Parma As In Parmesian

Friday, September 12th, 2014

We are in Parma, Italy for Steve’s half marathon. But while we wait with anticipation for Sunday, we took a Cheese, Balsamic, and Prociutto Tour!

The 4 of us met our guide, Ricardo, at the first venue, which was a family-run operation of 5 people. They make about 10 rounds a day, but that consists of gallons and gallons of milk processed with rennet, thyme, and salt. Each wheel is valued at 3-4 hundred euros each! It’s hard work and nothing goes to waste as the cream makes butter to sell, and the whey is fed to pigs for prociutto. Each round is 90 pounds approximately, and is aged to perfection. The cows, feed, rennet…everything must come from this region to make this authentic Parmegiano-Reggiano cheese. And it’s all in the family, generations back to a nephew who had just come on board.

The balsamic was the same way with the minimum ageing of 12 years to a maximum of 30 years. That recipe is wine that evaporates down to a syrup in special casks. Tastes awesome, not the watery stuff you get in the grocery.

The prociutto ham was quite an education too. The ham is raw, from one of the hind legs of a 9 month old pig. Salted and hung, it dehydrates by a third and is tested multiple times for the correct curing. It too hangs around for 24 months.  

You have to have a lot of patience to eat Italian.



A Piece Of Pisa, Per Favore

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

When we saw the forecast for lots of rain, we made a route change and went to Parma!  It is a big city, but very nice and friendly (featured in John Grisham’s  book “Playing for Pizza“).  The Cinque Terra we figured would be all washed out, so why not head a mere 2 inches in the guide and see why Mr. Grisham fell in love with this place.  Those two inches contained the French Alps, just a few miles from Turin (site of the 2006 Winter Olympics).  

leaningsteveBeautiful, breathtaking, and…”Coast, we are nearly out of gas!”  Due to all of the switchbacks, we almost ran out of gas.  We arrived and had a great hotel and an awesome italian meal and a long walk around Parma before we headed to our reservation at Camp Darby in Pisa (a little-known military base with beautiful accomodations).

So heading out early we had to cross…guess what?   The Italian Alps!  But this time we took a major highway with buckets of tunnels and incredible engineering feats. 

We were scheduled to be in Pisa around 1 pm, but we got in at the ususal Morales-time table of 4:30 (at least it was still daylight).  We managed to go against the traffic, swimming upstream, and see the bapistrypisasights in town with fewer tourists as it was near closing. With the start of Easter week and school breaks, this place is bedlam.

We passed on climbing the  Tower, but were moved by our time in the Duomo and in the Bapistry.  The acoustics in the bapistry is such that every 30 minutes a guide comes in and sings a trio of notes spaced apart, but because of the echo and it’s 10 second length, it comes out sounding like 3 people singing at once (a full chord)!

It is amazing to actually be here and see this all in person.  And it blows me away to see and to know the effort, talent, devotion, and faith to build it all. Amazing!