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Posts Tagged ‘Pilates’
It was July 2005, and although Mike and I were now engaged, this was to be yet another of my many solo trips. I had just arrived in the sweltering, early evening heat of Milano and, after checking into Hotel Speronari, was preparing to meet up with Mike’s cousin Pam, who was in the city for her job with Bulgari. We decided to meet at the Duomo and then go somewhere for dinner. I left my room dressed in the most elegant clothes I had brought with me: a light, cotton mini-skirt, fitted t-shirt, and sandals. As I reached the edge of the piazza, the sky opened up and began pelting me with raindrops, so I sprinted across to take shelter in the giant doorway of the Duomo. Pam was nowhere to be seen. After a few anxious phone calls, I finally spotted her—an adorable, petite Asian in her mid-20s, with a pierced tongue and a flair for high fashion—waving to me from the south side of the piazza. I felt entirely under-dressed next to Pam’s chic Prada dress and 5-inch heels.
The brief downpour had ceased but threatened to begin again any moment; therefore, I suggested we eat at the nearby Pizzeria Dogana. After my pizza margherita and Pam’s quattro stagioni (actually a “due” stagioni pizza, since she ordered hers minus the mushrooms and olives), we said good-bye. Pam caught a taxi back to her hotel, while I walked the couple blocks back to mine. Around 10:00pm, the thunder and lightning kicked in with a vengeance. Despite the rain, I threw my window wide open, in hopes of getting some relief from the heat. The temperature gauge on the bedside alarm clock read 91°F! Between the heat and my jet lag, I remained awake until around 5:30am, when I finally dozed off, only to be awakened two hours later by the resonant tolling of church bells.
Once I finally dragged myself out of bed, I went out for a walk, leaving my suitcase at the front desk. With an appointment later that afternoon, I still had several hours to kill. First, I headed to Via Solferino to pick up some lunch at Più del Pane Callegaro. I came away with an assortment of mini quiche and polpettine di riso (rice balls), and after a picnic of sorts in Piazza della Scala, I returned to Hotel Speronari to collect my bag.
Since my appointment was in the direction of the train station, I decided to check my bag at the station, so that I could go straight there afterward. I was just leaving the deposito bagagli when I realized that I had left some important items inside my suitcase: magazines that I had promised to bring to my interview. The baggage handler was extremely annoyed with me, but I eventually persuaded him to retrieve the suitcase.
I was still 90 minutes early, so I treated myself to a triple cup of gelato to help beat the heat—limone, fragola, and pompelmo rosa. I sat for the remainder of the time in the shade of the Giardini Pubblici outside the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale, looking over my notes and rehearsing my questions in Italian.
My appointment was an interview with Anna Maria Cova at her flagship Studio Pilates Milano. At the time, she was Italy’s number one Pilates instructor and had opened numerous studios throughout the country. As a Pilates instructor myself (and author of Balance on the Ball: Exercises Inspired by the Teachings of Joseph Pilates), I had recently written for the new Pilates Style magazine. I was now planning on submitting two articles for their “International” section: one on the Pilates studio in Milano and another on a studio in Budapest that I would be visiting in October.*
When it came time for my appointment, I had a bit of a panic trying to find the studio. Italian buildings are notorious for their illogical numbering system; however, I was able to locate the correct address without much difficulty. The problem was that number 4 at this address simply did not exist, nor was there anything that indicated the presence of a Pilates studio. Frantically, I strode around the entire block and, by some miracle, stumbled upon the studio—on a completely different street from the address that I was given!
The interview went superbly well. I stayed for over two hours, chatting with Anna and observing a session with one of her clients—and yes, I did remember to give her the stack of Pilates Style magazines from my suitcase. It was 4:30pm when I finally left; I would now have to hustle to make it to the station in time for my train to Udine.
I reached the station with only five minutes to spare. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough time to buy a ticket, collect my bag, and pick up something to eat for dinner on the train, so I had no choice but to wait and get the next one that was leaving two hours later. The bad news: now I wouldn’t arrive in Udine until 11:30pm. The good news: this was one of the few direct trains, eliminating the usual change in Venezia Mestre. At the station’s market, I picked up a panino with mozzarella and bresaola, along with a cup of kiwi chunks, to eat while biding my time in the grand, high-ceilinged sala d’attesa. As it turned out, the 5:00pm train I had planned on taking was delayed by more than an hour. If I had caught that train as planned, I would have missed my connection in Mestre—and since the direct train I was forced to take didn’t stop in Mestre, I then would have had to catch an even later train into Udine. Sometimes things just have a way of working out!
* Shortly after I sent in my articles, Pilates Style hired a new editor. In fact, their entire editorial staff seemed to have turned over in a very short period of time. Although I submitted my pieces several times during the following year, they were unfortunately never published.