Turandot is probably not the easiest of Operas for people who don’t know much about this form of music but the performance at Verona’s Arena was a wonderful introduction to it.

Sitting in the world’s biggest arena where people have come to be entertained for hundreds of years made it a special experience from the start.

Even if you didn’t appreciate the music it would have been difficult to have remained unimpressed by the visual spectacular. Some of the scenes are on YouTube  here.

Then came Nessun Dorma which earned an encore and provided a wonderful finale for our holiday.

A performance of that song from the Arena a month ago is also on YouTube.

Too safe can be dangerous


We’ve wandered along castle parapets and Roman mule tracks, climbed hills and walls and not once in Spain or Italy have we seen a sign like this:

09 various 032

It was on Rob Roy track in Mount Aspiring National Park just before a bit of a slip that was so old the many feet which had walked over it since had worn a new track.

Near the start of the track was a newer, bigger slip which did require considerable care but it was too fresh for anyone to have put up a sign.

No doubt some time someone who is responsible for such things will discover the slip and provide a sign, but is it really necessary?

Is the motivation for such warnings safety or just to preclude any blame being laid?

And do warning signs and other precautions make life safer or more dangerous because it encourages us to stop looking after and taking responsibility for ourselves?

Exchange rate woes


Travelling in Europe we might have welcomed a strong New Zealand dollar, but it’s difficult to consider the dollar is high when it takes more than two to buy a euro and if it costs a dollar at home it usually costs a euro here so everything is twice as expensive.

Besides anything we gained while here will be more than cancelled out by the impact of the exchange rate on sales of meat,wool and milk.

The $NZ was at 59 US cents when Fonterra announced its forecast payout for the season. It hit a 10 month high of 66.9 cents this week.

The forecast payout for this season hasn’t changed but MAF economists are prediciting next season’s payout will be lower before recovering a bit in the 2011/12 season.

Seven days computer free . . .


. . .  and I didn’t even miss it.

We left Milan last Thursday morning and this is the first opportunity I’ve had to write a post since then.

Posting will be erratic for the next few days as we start our trip back to New Zealand tonight, arriving (providing everything goes according to schedule) in time to cast our votes for the National Party Board at the annual conference on Saturday.

Thanks to everyone who popped in while I was wandering in the sun – Milan to Verona via Lake Como, Switzerland and Lake Garda.

July 30 in history


On July 30:

762 Baghdad was founded.

1818 Emily Bronte was born.

Portrait by Branwell Brontë

 1930 Uruguay won the first Football World Cup.

1979 carless days were enforced on New Zealand motorists.

1980 Vanuatu gained Independence.


 Sourced from Wikipedia and NZ History Online.

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