Sunday, 26 October 2008

Fun in Firenze

So Mylena and I are back, back from our trip to Firenze that has left us with some absolutely unforgettable memories. We arrived in Italy on Sunday evening after spending two days in a lovely hotel in the Vercors region in France. There we had a lovely 10 course "menu de degustation" accompanied by a wine tasting on Friday evening. Saturday we spent an afternoon picking mushrooms under the watchful eye of a local guide and mushroom expert. We ate what we picked that evening and it sure was yummy. We had a good giggle with one of the other hotel guests who looked like she was an avatar that somehow escaped SL. All through dinner she wore a white woollen hat, fingerless gloves, a leather jacket with metal studs and big ass boots that looked like they were made from an awful lot of prims.

She even had prim lashes !!

Arriving in Firenze was a bit of a shock. We made a little tour around the old center on Sunday evening and found it to be absolutely overrun by tourists and all in all really dirty. It must have been a Sunday thing however because when we walked the old narrow streets from piazza to piazza on Monday things had been thoroughly cleaned up. Being very curious we also walked past the Museum of Natural History where the exhibit would take place joking it would be too funny if it all turned out to be an elaborate hoax. But sure enough the big Rinascimento Virtuale poster adorned the facade of the building.

Not a hoax after all.

Tuesday we spent on touristy stuff. Walking around, visiting the sites but all the while at least my thoughts were with what would happen that evening. A little after six we were at the museum. At first I heard nothing but Italian around me in the crowd that had gathered in the courtyard of the building for the opening speech. I was disappointed not to see any familiar faces. I was starting to fear no one would show up. Then all of a sudden I heard this guy being interviewed by some reporter spell out his SL name An-dro-me-ga Vo-la-re ... Yay, found one ! While saying hi to Andro I heard "Hey Loki !!". Turned out to be Track Hax who was talking to no one other than Nyla Rossini and her husband. We went on to have a look at the exhibit and there they were; Silver, Keiko, Luther, Pilgrim, Raul, Khamudy and Angie. It was really like meeting up with old friends and meeting a few new ones.

ltr Kham, Raul, Nyla's hubby Matthew, Nyla & Andro

I'll be short on the exhibit itself. Let's say it was a nice try but there was not that much SL-Art on display and clearly set up not too interfere too much with the normal collection of the museum resulting in pics being on the floor leaning against display cabinets or pics being almost two meters up on top of cabinets. A setup made of a number of those picture display frames was a nice idea but most of them stayed dark or displayed the setup menu. In the end everyone gathered around one big size monitor displaying an endless stream of pics while once in a while someone would go "hey that's yours!" or "Yay, one of mine". There were a few viewing booths set up to show some machinima. All in all a bit of a disappointment but the company largely made up for it. I'll probably write about the exhibit itself in a later blog.

One of Ariel's dreamy pictures on top of a display cabinet

After we'd seen what was there we decided to go for drinks but first went to pick up Hio at his hotel. Contrary to popular belief he is not actually green in RL but apart from that Hio is Hio. We ended up at an Irish pub on piazza della Signoria chatting, laughing, teasing, gossiping and generally having a great time. If someone listened in on the conversation they must have thought we were completely nuts with all the "woot" "lol" and "Yay" going on. We ended a really great evening having a late dinner at a nice restaurant barely big enough to seat all thirteen of us. You should have seen the waiter's face when Keiko wanted ketchup to put on her fettuccini bolognese ... priceless !

Strike a pose! Or was it hop on a poseball ?

Wednesday was a day of more sightseeing and touristy stuff which I won't bother you with. On Thursday we met up with Silver, Keiko, Luther, Pil & Kham again and strolled through Firenze, had a very good late lunch on one of the countless terraces and did some shopping. Sometimes RL can be so like SL only the food and wine are better in RL, in Italy anyway. More great food that evening when Luther prepared us some delicious pasta dishes at the apartment where they were staying. I picked up a few bottles of wine and a bottle of limoncello and we spent the evening chatting about everything and anything sitting outside on the apartment's little roof terrace around a couple of candles. A wonderful ending to an exciting few days.

ltr Luther, Keiko, Nyla & Pilgrim

It was really funny to see how we all got along so well and without any awkwardness about actually meeting for the first time in RL. I guess you can role play as much as you want but in the end the real person behind the av always shows through so in a way you really know the people even if you have never met them. It really makes me want to meet so many others I met in my time in SL because how ever much fun SL can be, nothing beats sharing a meal with real people.

I thank my lucky stars I got to meet all these lovely people.

Track, it was good to see you there. You should have tagged along on Tuesday.
Andro, it was really nice meeting you and it's a pity you couldn't stay longer.
Nyla, I still hear your wonderful laughter. It was great to meet you and your husband.
Angie, I love the pictures you took with my camera. I'm sure we'll see more of each other in world after this week.
Pil, Don't think we've seen each other in world all that much so far. So great to get to know you a bit better. Hope things went well in Portugal.
Raul, I can see why Gany loves you to bits. It was my privilege to meet a great guy like you.
Kham, what can I say apart from "I love your mind" héhé. Great meeting you too.
Luther, man that pasta was great! Hope to see more of you in world.
Hio, pity we didn't get to talk a bit more, still, it was really great to meet you!
Keiko, you sweet thing, it may sound a bit odd but I love you to bits.
Silver, meeting in person after all this time was wonderful. I sure hope it was a first and not a last. See you in world soon!
Mylena, thanks from the bottom of my heart for a wonderful trip.

Now let's all think long and hard for the next excuse to all meet again ;-)

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Firenze here we come !

The countdown has begun. Three more days and Mylena and I will be on our way to Italy. I wrote about "Rinascimento Virtuale", the exhibit of SL art in Firenze, in an earlier post. It opens on the 21st of this month. Well, the route is planned, the hotels are booked and we'll be arriving in Firenze on Sunday. I hope to attend the vernissage on Tuesday but I'm still waiting for confirmation. I sure hope to meet the organisers and Frank Koolhaas in particular. It sure looks like they have been doing a great job. I promise I'll write more about it when I'm back.

There is of course also another dimension. This exhibit is the perfect occasion to meet a few people I have known for a good long while but never met RL. I'm putting it mildly when I say I'm really excited about that. I don't know how many will be there but I hope there will be plenty. It would be so much fun if we could all get together and tell SL stories, whine about flickr drama, exchange tips and tricks and all of that without even touching a keyboard. What a novel idea! Anyway, if you read this and are going there too please leave a comment or let me know. I would hate to miss the opportunity to meet you too ;-)