My travel blog by Cristina Senoner

After Belen De Bacco’s excellent trip through Spain, we now move with Cristina Senoner to another wonderful city, Amsterdam. We will continue soon with wonderful tours all over the world.

(c) Anny Ballardini

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Hello everybody! In October I went 4 days in Amsterdam, also named “Venice of the Nord” with my family. Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands, and it is a very big city located on the river “Amstel” that is lovely, crossed by canals with more than 1500 bridges, it’s incredible! This city is also very particular because there is something for everybody, for everyone’s taste: museums, relaxing spots, parties, and shopping! We visited the museum of Van Gogh, the house of Anne Frank, the old city, we traveled by ferry on the canal while listening to the history of the city and we finally visited the “Bloemenmarket”, it’s a very big market of flowers, located on the side of the canal, I loved it, you smell the scents of so many flowers. The house of Anne Frank struck me, because I visited her apartment and when I was there, I thought of her story and it really moved me!

I also loved the drawings of Van Gogh, you must look at them carefully to understand.

We also went to typical restaurants: they eat lots of potatoes and cheese, waffle and the “Dutch café au lait”, the mint teas with fresh mint are awesome! I could live of them.

We also tasted their typical smoked sausages.

What I liked most of the city is that you see everybody on a bike! Everyone has one and they move around everywhere. Also women with little children, they have a basket on the back of the bike and the little children sleep in there! This is so nice to see.

In the center there is a big road with a lot of shops and fast food restaurants, there are so many shoes to buy, and many so particular.

I prefer Amsterdam to Venice, because there is a greater tolerance for other cultures, it’s a multi-ethnic city, definitely characteristic, but I like also Venice.

Prostitution and weed smoking has been legalized, in fact you can walk through the red-light district at night where many prostitutes wait in front of big windows, Amsterdam is also known for the many coffee shops.

The climate was like here in Bolzano in October, it was chilly and not too cold, and not to warm! We always had sunny days.

I hope I will return to Amsterdam, and maybe with my friends?

© Cristina Senoner

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My travel blog by Belen De Bacco

Our coursebook – Language Leader, Upper Intermediate by Ian Lebeau and Gareth Rees, Pearson Longman – offers an interesting reading on trips under the form of “Travel Blog”. I suggested to the students of the 2nd Linguistic Lyceum, to write a post for our Blog on trips they have undertaken. The very first one to reach my mailbox is by Belen De Bacco, an excellent example of an entry for a “Travel Blog”. She gives interesting information on the sites she visited to the point that we wish we could go there soon.

Since she talks of bullfighting, I would also like to remind my students to read the impressive The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, novel written in 1926 about a group of American and British expats who traveled from Paris to the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona to watch the famous “running of the bulls” [believe it or not, many of my university mates – although warmly advised otherwise – took part in it!], and the bullfights. It is a book that allows you to get into contact with the innermost spirit of the Spaniards, and since Spanish is on our school curriculum, I dearly advise my students to put this book on their summer reading list.

© Anny Ballardini

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Málaga, Granada and Ronda (Andalusia, Spain)

Day 1

Puerto de Malaga

The first day we arrived at the airport of Málaga in the morning. Our hotel, Alameda Principal, was on the main street. In the afternoon we visited the city center and the harbor. Málaga is in the south of Spain and it is a combination of land and sea. It is situated on the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) of the Mediterranean sea. It is the second most inhabited city of Andalusia, one of the oldest European cities. Málaga will be the 2016 European Capital of Culture. It has an average annual temperature of around 20°C and 300 days of sunshine a year.

We walked down the shopping street, Calle de los Larios, and to the main square, Plaza de la Constitución. Then we visited the heart of the city: the cathedral. in its Baroque and Renaissance style, La Manquita (in English “The One-Armed Lady”), because first it was a mosque and then, when it changed into a church, they couldn’t finish the bell tower.

Calle de los Larios en Malaga

We didn’t have time but it would have been very interesting to visit the bishopric museum. It is very interesting from an architectonic point of view, and it contains many objects related to the Catholic religion in Málaga and Andalusia.

We went to Plaza de la Merced to see the house in which Pablo Picasso was born. He was a famous painter, the creator of the Cubist movement. His house has four floors and it is a typical Spanish house of the bourgeoisie of the XIX century. There are many photos, documents, and personal objects of the Picasso family. We also saw the museum of Picasso with many of his paintings in 11 rooms.

We took a walk through the city by night. It is a lively city at night and calm during the day. We saw from the outside the Roman theatre, beautifully lighted.

Day 2

The second day we walked through Alcazaba, the residence and the control tower of the Arab sovereigns. We could understand the way they lived and their traditions. Architecturally, it is very well built, carefully planned down to the smallest details. From the top of the Alcazaba we could have a beautiful view of the city.

Alcazaba en Malaga-2

Near the Alcazaba, there is the Plaza de Toros. We didn’t see it from the inside because we saw it in the city of Sevilla the year before and they all look similar. If you have time you have to see it because it is the most traditional center of Spain. They often have also in the inside the bullfighting museum that explains the history of the Corridas and the Toreros .

Torero en Ronda

Then we went to see a little but very curious museum called Museo de Artes Populares (Museum of Popular Arts). It is the fundamental reference point in Málaga in order to understand the typical day-to-day life, the city, and its people at the end of the 19th century. It shows handmade polychrome clay figures, animal-drawn carriages, skilled trades of the blacksmith, baker, fisherman and printer. It also shows how wine and oil were prepared and how countryside life unrolled through farming equipment, folklore and popular religion.

Day 3

Alhambra en Granada

The third day we went to visit the city of Granada, another city in Andalusia. We went through the city center and the small traditional ancient Spanish streets. We walked through the highest point of the city, the Arco de Elvira (Arc Elvira) and we visited the famous Alhambra and the Generalife. From 1984, it was elected to be under the UNESCO World Heritage. It is a construction for protection and vigilance. It takes at least 3 hours to visit it all, so if you want to see it you have to book a ticket to enter and calculate the time you want to spend there. The view is absolutely stunning, especially from the highest towers. It is divided into six main parts. The Alcazaba is one of the oldest parts of the Alhambra and the military area of the fence. Another part is formed by the Palacios Nazaríes (Nazaries Palace) with three palaces built in three different periods (Palacio de Mexuar, de Comares, de los Leones). The Partal is an area that groups the porch of the palaces, the gardens, the Palace of Yusuf III, the Rauda and the walks. The Generalife has the lower gardens, the palace of Generalife and the upper gardens, built to be the recreational area for the sovereigns. The Escalera del Agua (Water Ladder) has canals from which the Acoquia Real water flows. The Silla del Moro (Moro Chair) was a construction for the surveillance and the protection of the Generalife and the orchard for the distribution of the Acoquia Real water.

Day 4
The fourth and last day we went to visit another city on the countryside, very particular for its location: Ronda. Also here there is a Plaza de Toros and a bullfighting museum.

Poster 2

There are three main bridges but the most important is the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge), the tallest – 120 meters, and it was built with the most modern technologies of the century. It towers the high cliffs, called in Spanish El Tajo for the number of murders that happened here. The view from here is spectacular.

Puente Nuevo en Ronda

A lot of writers and poets came here and described the place in their books or poems, for example Ernest Hemingway, the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and the Argentinian poet Jorge Luis Borges .

We saw a very interesting museum about the Bandoleros (Bandits), they came here in Ronda when the authorities in bigger cities looked for them, because this was an isolated place and difficult to reach. A museum in Ronda is dedicated to them to explain the phenomenon of the bandolerismo. Its peak was in the XVIII century. The museum has more than 1.390 objects: documents, books, clothing, prints, comic books, lithographs, official seals, photos, oils, and films. The contrast between the upper and the popular social classes were very marked by corruption which triggered men to go against established order. These men were called the Bandoleros, who have been seen by Spanish history as generous human beings. One of the most famous is Diego Corriente (1757-1781), called the “Bandido Generoso” (“Generous Bandit”). He was an example of a romantic and kind bandolero. He never killed a man, just stole the money from the upper classes and gave it to those who ranked among the poorest social Spanish classes. He operated in Andalusia, especially in Sevilla, where he was executed.

Poster 1

Last night we went to a famous and typical restaurants, Bodega Bar El Pimpi. Exhibited are the autographs and the inscriptions of famous people, like Antonio Banderas and the daughter of Pablo Picasso, Paloma Picasso. Here we had fried fish and tapas, little portions of all kinds of food. It was delicious.

Bodega Bar El Pimpi en Malaga

© Belen De Bacco

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Intervista a Suor Augusta Keller

Suor Augusta Keller e’ la Responsabile dell’Istituto delle Marcelline di Bolzano da vari anni. Per il nostro blog viene intervistata da Belen De Bacco e Asia Pargalia, due studentesse del secondo anno del Liceo Linguistico. Prima di arrivare a Bolzano, e’ stata Preside del Liceo e del Comprensivo all’Istituto delle Marcelline di Lecce, dove la ricordano con grande nostalgia e affetto:

http://www.20centesimi.it/blog/2011/06/13/la-suora-di-faccetta-nera-otterra-il-trasferimento/

@ Anny Ballardini

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Asia Pargalia, Suor Augusta Keller and Belen De Bacco. Photo credit: Vivian Manzardo

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  • Com’era la sua vita prima di diventare suora?

 Era la vita normale di una studentessa universitaria che frequentava con interesse la facoltà di storia e filosofia all’Università Cattolica di Milano.

  • A cosa pensa se si guarda indietro?

 Penso che rifare tutto quello che ho fatto con più intensità ed impegno.

  • Ha ricordi felici della sua infanzia?

 Molto, molto felici: un’infanzia vissuta in una famiglia unita e nel meraviglioso spazio verde della campagna lombarda.

  • Che lavoro svolgeva prima di diventare suora?

 Non lavoravo, ma studiavo.

  • Come ha capito che diventare suora era la sua strada?

 Mi sentivo attratta da una vita non solita, piuttosto lanciata verso imprese di aiuto alle persone.

  • Immagino che abbia conosciuto molte persone. Cosa pensa abbia imparato da loro?

 Ho imparato molto osservando le altre persone, ho imparato tanto anche dagli sbagli o difetti degli altri.

  • Alcune persone che ammira/che l’hanno ispirata?

 Figure di grandi missionari del Vangelo e personalità di spicco nel campo sociale ed intellettuale, che ho incontrato.

  • Cosa pensa dell’istruzione al giorno d’oggi?

 Oggi l’istruzione ha raggiunto livelli molto ampi e può servirsi di efficacissimi strumenti didattici, ma ha perso interesse ed efficacia sul piano decisivo della formazione delle personalità.

  • Che piani ha per il futuro?

 Vorrei occuparmi di ambienti che non hanno risorse né presenze per aiutare i ragazzi a crescere nei grandi valori cristiani.

  • Che messaggio vorrebbe dare agli alunni di questa scuola?

 Coerentemente con quanto ho detto prima: “Ragazzi date la massima importanza ed impegno a costruirvi una bella personalità!”

image @ Asia Pargalia, Belen De Bacco

Belen De Bacco & Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes Short Stories, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

 

Introduction

The book I read gathers some of the most famous stories of the detective Sherlock Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson, selected and retold by Anthony Laude.

The stories are: The Man with the Twisted Lip, The Engineer’s Thumb, Wisteria House.

The author

The author is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He was born 22 May 1859 in Edinburgh (Scotland) and died 7 July 1930 in Crowborough (England)for a sudden heart attack. He was a doctor, an author and a poet. He is considered, with Edgar Allan Poe, the founder of the crime stories. He studied at the Stonyhurst Jesuit College in Clitheroe. Then he studied in Austria at another Jesuit college and finally graduated at Edinburgh University at the faculty of medicine in 1885. In this period he wrote his first book, The Mystery of Satana Valley, a horror story, and his first article about medicine, specifically about a sedative that he tried on himself. He founded a remedy for the tuberculosis, supported the reform for divorce and intervened against the atrocities in Congo. He became a very influential man. He began to write the stories of the detective Sherlock Holmes when he opened a medical office in Southsea that wasn’t successful, that is why he found time to write. He wrote the first story about Holmes in 1887, it was called A Study in Scarlet. Doctor Watson was the narrator, in which the author felt reflected.

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The Man with the Twisted Lip

Under the request of Mrs. Whitney, Watson went to an opium den to find her husband. There, he found Sherlock Holmes dressed up like an old man. He was looking for a man called Neville Saint-Clair that had been missing for a few days. Watson could find Mr. Whitney and brought him home. After this, Watson and Holmes went to the house of Neville’s wife to query her. She told that a few days before she saw her husband on the second floor of the Bar of Gold, on Upper Swandam Lane. It was an opium den and he was waving at a window. Neville’s wife decided to call the police because she thought that they would never let her in. When the policeman arrived and searched the room, he could only find another person called Hugh boon. He was a beggar. There was a window that looked onto the Thames and here the police found a few blood stoins. Out of the river lied Saint-Clair’s jacket, so Holmes understood that Neville was dead. But later that night, Mrs. Saint-Claire received a reassuring letter from her husband. The day after Holmes went to the police department and paid Hugh Boone a visit. The detective cleaned the face to this beggar and discovered that Saint-Claire and Boone were the same person. He explained that for several years he was earing more money as a beggar than as an employee but he had not the courage to tell his wife the truth.

The Engineer’s Thumb

In the year 1889 a London hydraulic engineer went to Holmes’ house and told him about the strange happenings of the night before. He had a nightmare in which he saw that Mr. Hatherley’s thumb had been cut off. The Colonel Lysander Stark visited Hatherley in his office. The Colonel offered him a job at a country house to examine an hydraulic press used to compress fuller’s earth into bricks. But he could not say anything about this job, which was paid 50 guineas. He accepted because until then he had only had little work. When the next day he came to meet Stark, he had to do little repairs in his house. When he discovered that the press wasn’t used for pressing fuller’s earth he escaped, ventured death when the machine turned on, his thumb splitt. When Holmes made sense of what had happened, Watson could go to the house to interrogate Stark and his allies they arrived too late: the house was on fire with the machine, which ruined the criminals’ operation. This case is one of the few where Holmes fails to bring justice and punish the enemies.

Wisteria house

There were some strange events at the house of Garcia, a friend of Scott Eccles went to Holmes to relate about then. Garcia was dead and the police wanted to interrogate Eccles. He was invited by Garcia to stay a few days at his house with his two servants. At dinner, Garcia was distracted, especially when he received a note. At one o’clock in the morning Garcia went to wake up Eccles because he thought that Eccles had rung a bell to ask for assistance. The next day Eccles was alone in the house. The police said that Garcia was killed before a rainfall at one o’clock. The police arrested the cook that worked for Garcia because they thought that he had a connection with the crime. Holmes believed that Garcia invited Eccles to his house to witness that he was home at one o’clock. He believed also that the nearby house on high Gable had to do with the crime. An old evil man lived here called Mr. Henderson. Miss Burnet, a woman that lived there, said that she wasn’t able to see anything since Garcia’s murder. When Holmes and Watson tried to climb into Burnet’s room at the house, they all escaped. At the end Holmes discovered that the police had arrested the wrong man, the cook, to make Henderson feel safer and so to save Miss Burnet.

Personal opinion

I personally like crime stories but I always read books written by Agatha Christie in Italian. I’ve never read Sherlock Holmes. It was my first book by the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I liked it because there is a lot of psychology about the thoughts of Sherlock Holmes and this is why this book is different from the others. I would suggest it. It was a great pleasure to read this book. I will also read other books of Holmes. The language is not too difficult also because at the end of the book there is a little vocabulary with the explanation of the most difficult words. There are also some activities for the comprehension of the three short stories. This book is especially made for those who study English. This book is simplified for the upper-intermediate level (B2).

(c) Belen De Bacco