Thursday, August 21, 2008


Warning: This post may make you hate me.

My opportunity to stay in Italy was facilitated by a workshop in higher education policy in Bellagio, a fancy town on the edge of Lake Como. I am working on a project about higher education policy in developing countries, and our final meeting was sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, which owns a villa here. Villa isn’t quite the word for it, it is an incredible expanse of hillside alongside the lake. The Foundation sponsors meetings here with scholars and policymakers who are somehow supposed to get work done in one of the most spectacular settings in Europe.

We were doubly lucky to get space right along the lake. My room is on the top floor of the tower, built in 1590, which has an incredible view of the entire lake and towns on the other side. Last night, the moonlight shone directly on the lake and it was almost magical. I could literally dive out of my window into the water. (Well, not me, but Alexandre Despatie could…. mmm, Despatie.)

We get three lavish meals per day, not including the fresh pastries in the afternoon and bottles of champagne in the evening. After five weeks of pizza and sandwiches, it is a nice change of pace. We have had fresh polentas and cold risottos and other delightful things.

There are rules: no partners or spouses, for example. Our rooms are very nice, but the beds are intentionally quite narrow to ensure compliance. We have no Italian television to distract us, which is certainly no loss. We are also ordered to arrive to meals on time, also truly horrible.

Yesterday we toured the lake for a few hours by boat, looking at all the little towns along the way. We tried to get them to stop at George Clooney’s villa, but no luck there. Then we had champagne on the veranda. Enjoy this picture of me, totally paying attention.

On Friday, my Italian fantasy comes to an abrupt end with a 5am departure for the airport. I pray only that Tina remain in Sicily.


At 4:34 AM, Anonymous Bo said...

I don't hate you. I can't even envy you. If it were next week? Absolutely. But I'm such an Olympics nut that being stuck in paradise without a television would be torture.

At 6:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're right. I hate you. My envy is blocking all the nice feelings I usually get when reading your blogs. Totally.


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