One Day In Geneva | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

It’s midnight, dark, winter and cold, I want to take a walk on a long straight street and smoke a cigarette. Geneva is very cold this time of the year, I am not used to it, and now it’s raining too. Illuminated stores across the street invite me to look at their merchandise, perhaps in the morning, I will be in the mood to buy something I can’t buy tonight. Their lights will go off at a programmed time, but now are still shining on beautiful objects for the nightcrawlers people like me. I want to go across the street, a red light tells me to halt. As far as my eyes can see, no cars are coming from any direction and the need to get under a protected portico in a hurry is stronger than getting wet waiting for the street light to change color.

 

Jack Ward Unsplash - Switzerland

Jack Ward Unsplash – Switzerland

 

As I cross the street, I hear the sound of a whistle as if a policeman is whistling. It couldn’t be whistling at me, I am thinking, but he is. Where did he come from? A minute ago I was the only one in the street. He really dropped out of the blue. He is gracious at first, his voice is soft while he is giving a 10 Francs ticket for walking on the pedestrian zone with a red light. I am so surprised a small act like mine can cause a pedestrian to have a ticket, I tell him but he doesn’t listen. I also tell him that in Italy, no one gets a ticket for walking on a pedestrian zone with a red light, not even for J walking dodging cars in the moving traffic. I soon realized it is the wrong thing to say in this circumstance. The policeman hands me the ticket accusing me of not observing the law. I protest, argue with him as much as I can and he begins his intellectual speech of anarchy. In his opinion, my disobedience for crossing the road with the red light is a libertarian act, a rejection of society based on the order. My theoretical flexibility and individual action in deciding which laws to obey and which to ignore could result in a revolution against regimentation and consequently in terrorist acts, he says. Mind you at that time, the world didn’t know terrorism as we know it today.

By now, I have unleashed my persuasion arts. I am trying to tell him I am not a terrorist or an anarchist, that I have no intention of starting a revolution and that I have only crossed the road on the pedestrian zone with a red light. What harm my action could cause to others since I am the only one in the street in the deep night? He doesn’t want to listen and gives me another ticket for disturbance of the night peace.

I better shut my mouth and pay for my ticket. Walking away I am thinking some people are made in blocks on the assembly line, no creativity, no compassion, no flexibility and are not even equipped with a vision to see two inches away from their nose.

My hotel room overlooks Lake Geneva, and it has the cutest balcony. it’s an old building with stone stairs, decorative cast iron gated elevator with glass doors, the type we see in films of a different era, vaulted ceiling, and the bathroom in the corridor. I should have stayed on that cute balcony to smoke my cigarette in peace and enjoy the rain hitting the waters of the lake.

Bern - Clock Tower

Bern – Clock Tower

 

Since then, I have returned to Switzerland and had great experiences. That episode had gone unnoticed in the maze of my memories until today. I don’t know why it has returned….., I guess my traveling experiences always leave an impression on me. BTW, I have stopped smoking since then, that was many, many moons ago. Ciao,
Valentina
https://valentinaexpressions.com/trips-to-puglia-2

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Valentina with short hairValentina Cirasola is a storyteller by nature. Stories are very important to her design career to convey ideas because making someone’s home or personal images is not only about building around shapes, lines, forms, and colors. It is about the story one can create around their spaces and how they want to appear to others. It’s about life experiences and how Valentina can incorporate them in her clients’ homes. She is the author of five books, all available on Amazon Barnes&Nobles
The latest published books are ©The Road To Top Of The World
and ©Naled Lemons

A Month in Europe | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

Ah, it was so good to have been off the Internet for a month, I detoxed of some of the electromagnetism and it feels so good.
I was in Europe the entire month of May and what a month has been! On the return flight back to the USA, everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. I assure you it was painful, however, when I was finally up in the air acting as if I was enjoying the flight, I recollected the precious moments I lived in May, it was like images scrolled in a film and I relived the beautiful moments.
Life is much better as a comedy, I saw the funny side in every situation.

My hotel was a 16th-century building. I enjoyed my room in the mansard, the exposed wood beams in the room, the small windows on the roof, the stone stairs and the whole antiquity feel of it. The nights were so peaceful and warm up there, it was enveloping after being in the cold weather all day. The chirping of birds and the sound of a church bells wake me up in the morning at 6:00 am punctual.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Prague - 16th Century Hotel

Prague – 16th Century Hotel

The weather was inclement, it was cold and rainy the entire month, I even experienced the “bomb rain” as people call it there. In Prague, one day, I was walking to the Alfonse Mucha’s Museum, the day was cold and sunny, it was a good day for a brisque walk. Right before I arrived at the Museum, rain poured down abruptly without warning, the sky turned dark grey and water came down like a furious hurricane, it got me totally soaked head to toes!
That was fun. 😱

Every day, I walked on cobblestone streets and enjoyed the changing of design from block to block. I also enjoyed the kind manners of some men when the sidewalk was narrow, stopping and yielding for me to pass first. In a world of rude people, that’s so precious!

Designed Cobblestones

Designed cobblestones

All stores had an antique feel to it, caryatids held the building gracefully. Antique, blackout wood doors, closed the stores at night, the same doors I had seen in my childhood in Italy. I am so in love with rich classic architecture and Prague is full of it!

Jewelry Store

Jewelry Store

 

Caryatid

Caryatid

I climbed many steps, visited many artists and folk art places.

Castle Stairs

Castle Stairs

 

Figurines

Figurines

 

Marionettes Shop

Marionettes Shop

 

Leather Money/Telephone Cases

Leather Money/Telephone Cases

I ate in the most characteristic places and not necessarily restaurants. Murals in this bistro resemble the style of Dutch Renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

Restaurant-Mural

Restaurant-Murals

 

Murals in a Restaurant

Murals in a Restaurant

 

Mural in a restaurant

Mural in a restaurant

I admired beautiful panoramas, visited castles and cathedrals, took a boat ride, saw the change of the guards in the castle, and studied the character of some militaries on a post (humans are the same everywhere, there is always the leader in every crowd).

Tourists Boat on Charles Bridge

Tourists Boat on Charles Bridge

 

Militaries

Militaries

Prague, the city of 1000 spires is a beautiful walkable city, its red roofs nestled in a lot of greenery convey traditions, people are very kind and the bad weather didn’t stop me from having a nice vacation. Food is based on meat, potatoes, starch, and divine beers. 

Prague - Red Roofs

Prague – Red Roofs

The art I saw here will be a new inspiration for my design. My European genes are calling. See you soon, Europe. Ciao,
Valentina
Trotting the world one country at a time
https://valentinaexpressions.com/trips-to-puglia-2/

 

Copyright © 2019 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian interior designer in business since 1990. She is passionate about colors and all expressive arts. She is a “colorist”. To her, selecting art means to bring out the best energy of her clients and nourish their soul. She trots the world and loves writing travel notes, from which she draws inspiration to design her interiors. She is the author of four books, one of which is on the subject of colors: ©Red-A Voyage Into Colors available on
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w
She also wrote a travel narrative: ©The Road To Top Of The World
available in paper and Kindle version:  https://tinyurl.com/y7tuyfh8

Things That Changed Me| Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

I don’t know what triggered the memory of London trip to come to my mind this week, but it was sweet and nostalgic. I arrived in London in the early ‘80s all dressed up like an Italian model, constricted in the latest fashion trend dictated in Italy, soon to find out that London is about freedom of expression. Something I was not familiar in Italy, my homeland. If fashion for instance says this year the color black is in fashion, like an army of obedient soldiers, everybody will wear black whether it looks good or not, then black will show up even in home accessories, kitchen ware, (I hated the black plates when they were indeed in fashion), bathroom and bed linens, illumination and everything else.

In London all this doesn’t exist, everyone wear what they want. Carnaby St. was the center of revolutionary fashion from Mary Quant’s mini skirt we are still wearing today 50 years later to the underground music of the Rolling Stones when they played at Marquee Club and where the swinging London lived fun days. I shopped in Carnaby St. and got rid of my traditional clothes forever!

I was pleasantly enthralled with the street life and entertainment I had never seen in Italy up to that moment, except for food markets. At Covent Garden, the man in chains was really intriguing. In a minute time and without anybody’s help he untangled himself from the chains he had wrapped around his body. Street players and minstrels filled the air with fun, laughs and madrigal music from ancient England. Life in London was much more colorful in my eyes than the life I was accustomed to in Italy. Oh, how I loved the freedom in London!

Nowadays in Italy many things have changed, there are a lot of street events, entertainments, art exhibitions, music, flea markets, you name it they have it. The city administrators  have realized that creating street events would increase store sales and help growing the economy, thus copied our neighboring countries and made their own street fun.

Back in England, one night at 11:00 o’clock, I crossed on a pedestrian zone with a red light. All of the sudden I heard the whistle of a Bobbie who scolded me for crossing with the red light. Where did he come from? The street was deserted, I was the only one there. I did it many times in Italy even in the traffic and nobody cared, I could not understand why I deserved a ticket and a ticket I received.
Upon my return home, trying to tell my co-nationals in Italy to respect city rules, to respect city vegetation, learn to eat different food, or dress to suit own personality was a huge undertake.

I traveled England by sleeper train from London to Scotland stopping at major places. Going toward Scotland, I fell asleep passed my stop and I didn’t get off at Inverness. When I woke up the train was at a full stop in a station.
I didn’t know where I was, for sure I must have ended up in the wrong place, I thought. The train keeper came and offered me breakfast. I was at the last station where I needed to be, they let me sleep for a while and then woke me up with breakfast of my choice. I was mesmerized of the gentle treatment I received from British people.

The England trip opened up my mind. It was my first time visiting an Anglo-Saxon country, up to that moment I had traveled in Mediterranean countries similar in customs to mine, where life is laid back, tomorrow is a better day, rules are merely suggestions and dressing up, no matter how beautiful and elegant it may be, it is always very constrictive. I was forever changed and I welcomed the changes.
What experience changed you? Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved Val Leopard

Valentina will host one or two trips a year to Italy with the intention of showing Italy with the eyes of a designer born in those parts and let people experience the ”wheel of emotions” don’t even know exist. She will take her groups to the non-commercial Italy, areas not beaten down by massive tourism. Valentina will guide the tours through art, architecture, food, shopping and special adventures organized for people who want to live it up! Check out her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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