martedì 30 settembre 2008


As I explained at the beginning of yesterday's sermon, I went to Verona at the weekend to see my friends there and go to the annual Tocati festival. "Tocati" is local dialect for "tocca a te" or "it's your turn" and the festival is all about traditional street games. Every year, as well as the Italian games, they invite another country to share its traditions, and this year that country was Scotland.

Unfortunately we missed the caber tossing and the back arm wrestling (we saw the wrestlers heading for the bar a couple of hours before their show and they never came back), but the boys had a turn on the go-karts and played with some old-fashioned spinning tops, which you launch with an underarm throw using a string - pretty exciting when the tops are weighted and have metal spikes on the bottom of them! We also saw some kids being taught to play conkers:

Guess which of these guys was actually Italian!

I have never heard this game called anything other than "conkers" but the guy running the show claimed that it was called "cheggers" and that "conkers" was the English name. He was from the West Coast though, so when he said "England" he probably meant anywhere east of Harthill service station.

After that, we had typical food from the region for dinner (I had pasta with a duck sauce) and then headed to the Piazza dei Signori, which had been renamed for the occasion:

Here, Scottish musicians ranging from a harp and cello duo to the Milngavie pipe band played to an enthusiastic crowd as Dante Alghieri looked on:

Finally, on Sunday morning, we waited for a very long time in a queue and eventually got to paddle down a short stretch of the river Adige in a rubber dinghy.

What a great weekend!

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