Where is Bryan?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ischia: The Thing About Pizza

Yes, please!
I don't know if you guys knew this, because I don't talk about it a whole lot, but I really enjoy pizza. It's sort of a passion. Or obsession. Maybe addiction. Either way, I like it.

The thing about pizza is that it's just so much better here than anywhere else. And I know. There are those people who always say, "Such-and-such it's better in France," or "So-and-so is better in America." I'm not one of those people. Pizza is not better in Italy. Not globally, at least.

Pizza is better in Naples and its surrounding commune. Ischia is no exception.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Ischia: Sun, Sand, and Dislocated Shoulders

Hiking offers a few nice views...
When I thought about going to an island for a month, it was to get away from the crowds and bustle of Naples. It worked. Ischia, just an hour or so by boat, is a little oasis of tranquility, at least in the off-season. I didn't think, however, that I'd end up feeling like such a local, waiting in the island's only emergency room. Let me explain.

Ischia is a tourist haven, of course. The thermal baths and seaside towns have attracted visitors since the mid 20th century. Today, Italians still flock here in the summer, and it seems as if all of Germany has also migrated to its villas and apartments. It's April, and the weather rocks, but not enough to lure the Italians out in full force yet. I feel like I have the place to myself.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

London: THATMuse at the Natural History Museum

Partners in crime, Daisy and I launched one of her famous hunts at the Natural History Museum London!

When I first met Daisy, creator of museum treasure hunt company THATMuse, I interviewed her for my PhD thesis under the statue of Louis XIV outside the Louvre. Fast-forward to 2017 and we find ourselves sitting in London, a place we both serendipitously moved to at the same time. We were discussing life, books, and projects over coffee. It was during a casual mention of how much I love dinosaurs that the idea for a treasure hunt at the Natural History Museum came to be.

Daisy, as an entrepreneur, developed treasure hunts for tourists in Paris at the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, and now in London at the British Museum and V&A. I attended a hunt with the NYU alumni group at the British Museum and was hooked. Daisy's an art historian, and has tips about the famous works or iconic monuments in most any city in the world (as far as my travels are concerned). The idea of talking about mammoths and Iguanodons, however, seemed foreign. She knows Caravaggio and Edouard Manet, but Mary Anning and Gideon Mantel weren't on her radar. Until now.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Naples: Fontanelle Cemetery

Scenes from the Fontanelle Cemetery...

Walking through the backstreets of some forgotten Neopolitan neighborhood, I had no idea if I was going in the right direction. Even Google Maps seemed confused. I knew I was close. Or I knew I should be.

At the top of a steep staircase, a sign pointed me towards the Fontanelle Cemetery, though I still did not trust it. Down the stairs and along a street I found what seemed like an Italian shanty town, men sitting on chairs in the streets watching the emptiness pass them by.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Naples: I Miss My Bike

Cycling in Florence is a thing apparently...
I feel shackled. Weighted down. Limited. Without my bike in Naples, I feel immobilized. The feeling of the wind on my face as I zoomed over Blackfriars Bridge in London has no equivalent in Naples. There is no rush as I submit to gravity from atop a hill, no excitement of swerving through traffic, no zooming to clear a busy intersection before the light turns red.

The things we give up for pizza, right?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Naples: It's Not that Cold

Year-long clothes drying...
I came to Naples to escape the winter. After London, Paris, and New York, I felt like I deserved a break. I felt like I deserved to go somewhere without ice and painful winds. Somewhere without hats and gloves and scarves day and night.

When I woke up and saw Mount Vesuvius covered in snow last week, I began to feel like I made the wrong decision. Maybe Naples wasn't the haven I thought it was. Maybe I hadn't escaped the winter. It was February in the Northern Hemisphere. What did I expect?

I made my coffee and opened the window. Italian women were hanging their laundry outside. The air was crisp, but hardly cold. Winter was contained to the top of that volcano. The rest of us were spared. There would be no London winter here.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Naples: Never Trust an Italian

This is a pizza. There are certain things you don't do to it...
There was a remix of some old Phil Collins song playing through the room. The DJ was really into it. A fridge full of Italian beer and a shelf of whiskey faced the bar where the bartender was singeing a bit of rosemary for a Monte Negroni that I had ordered. I liked its bitterness, which also slowed down my drinking.

The Italians with me were getting gin and tonics, our Brazilian friend ordered a Long Island iced tea. We went outside, Phil’s lyrics more muffled at this point.

We clinked our glasses and in the chill of a Saturday night in Naples, what in London would be considered springtime bliss. We drank while a woman danced on an aerial ring hanging from a balcony because, well, she could.

“So you’ll never guess what Bryan does,” an Italian named, let’s say, Giuseppe, said to a Brazilian named, let’s say, Alice.