Europe, North America · 16 Days · 64 Moments · June 2017

Elaine's voyage in United Kingdom and Italy

20 June 2017

This is where it all begins and ends. If not for Transplant House of Cleveland, I would not be in graduate school, and I would not have enjoyed two weeks in Europe. If not for Transplant House of Cleveland, my life would not be nearly as richly meaningful. Thank you Deanne for surprising me at the train station and seeing that I was greeted by this beautiful banner. There is no place like home.
I think I am finally headed to CLE! How many airports are there in New York City?? I've been in 3 of them in the last half day. Two cancelled flights, two rebooking, one unintended night in a hotel...every kind of delay and yet the evening ended with a double rainbow (pictured) in NYC! Now having breakfast ordered through this nifty though impersonal tabletop tablet. My new friend Kati Stoll, from Finland is pictured.

19 June 2017

Last Italian breakfast...and I am starved for it! Had another snafu (not my fault!)- on the train from Milano to MXP Terminal 1, a passenger hit an alarm instead of the exit button for the door. The operator would not let us off at Terminal 1 , even after resetting the alarm. A very loud, animated, extended argument between offending passenger and operator ensued, in Italian, as the train moved on to Terminal 2! Additional passengers joined the fray. Fascinating language (was it wrong of me to record it?). Had to go all the way to T2 (argument continuing) and then ride back to T1...walked several miles in the immense Milan airport/shopping mall and at last to my gate. Thank goodness a baggage clerk told me I have to claim my luggage in NYC for customs. I never would have thought it wouldn't go to CLE. Still learning and still VERY grateful for safe travels. And espresso! Efficient drink! Almost home, America! 🇺🇸❤️💙🇺🇸
On express train to Milano MXP airport- relief! Had one final (hopefully) snafu- went to buy train ticket and machine would not take either my credit or debit, which I have been using without trouble for more than 2 weeks. Only had 5 euro cash and needed 13. Figured cards would not work in cash machine. Called Chase 24/7 number and it said I cannot access the service from my geographic location (even the outside US #). Tried troubleshooting online- nothing. Went to cash machine just to give it a try...prayed..,cash came forth! On the train with 3 min to spare. Lesson learned: Carry More Cash...don't burn through your euros before home is in sight! 😉🇬🇧🇮🇹🇺🇸 Last random thought- 37 years ago today I got married. 20 years old. Wow. Nuf said ❤️

18 June 2017

This is kind of funny- I'm a "regular" at the wine bar across the street from my hotel...on my second visit! It's out of the way- a nice reprieve from the last hours shopping for gifts for loved ones among the throngs. (Had to buy a second suitcase in order to get them home) But back to the wine bar- The staff can't believe I'm going home! (Right) I'm eating dinner-4:30pm here- and I asked for a cold caffe to finish off my meal. Do you think he understood my English? (See photo) oh and he asked that I tell all my friends in America about Francesco. Done!
Bonjourno from back in Milan. Being a Turley, I awoke even before my very early alarm. Thought I'd post some more photos while I have internet connection. (Why do public, free wifi connections NOT allow you to reach the internet? Planes, trains, cafes?). These photos are from Florence, taken yesterday. It is now 5:30 am Milano time on Monday. The street is already busy, it is light, and therefore time for me to navigate my way out of this Air b&b room (old building, 3rd floor, the OLDEST of "lifts" that will allow me to get my luggage to ground floor...though I should have taken better notes on how to operate it when I came in at 9:30 pm!). That was a run-on...alas the brain does not work on so little sleep! Anyway, photos speak their own truth. Enjoy!
Bonjouno. I was first in the Boboli Gardens when they opened (Sunday here) and I've had the great joy of walking the labyrinth-like expensive grounds in near silence. The only sounds I have heard are the chirping birds and the tolling bells of the churches of Florence. The gardens are built into a hill side that gives views of the city, so I have been able to see the steeples that are chiming. Better photos coming from my good camera when I get back to Internet. Looks like some of yesterday's photos did not upload...sigh. So much beauty to share.
Prepare yourself. If you don't like random photos, skip the next two entries. I've decided Florence will be my study of people, in a pictorial sense, anyway. Maybe I'll make up stories about them, too! Tomorrow, more people shots. But here and in the next entry are a few.
One of these photos is of the aperitivo spread at the wine bar across the street. My kind of dinner (Italians appetizer)- a glass of wine and unlimited appetizers, all for 8 Euro. Pinot Grigio never tasted so good. And I didn't have to eat meat, cheese or pizza!
Some more street walking and people watching (and secretly photographing....). Note the little girl in yellow skirt and sun bonnet. I watched her stand in awe of the carousel, then watched her right it twice- once on horseback, once in a luxury car with her daddy. Happy Father's Day, come to think of it! I miss my own dad, very much. Next year at this time, I will wish Erik a Happy Father's Day!

17 June 2017

Made it to Florence! Let the solo adventures begin! Morning was heavenly- I spent three hours in a walking photography tour with Davide Mondolini, professional photographer. We worked on using the manual settings on my camera and on following the light. The morning was sunny, hot, bustling with tourists. Davide bought me a sandwich at one of the oldest shops in Florence (1870-something!)- it came wrapped in paper, was on crusty roll, and we ate while sitting on a stoop at the edge of a stone road, and talking about photography. Davide is 23- pictured here. I showed him a photo of my "boys," and he exclaimed, "My! So tall!" When I said I was from CLE, he expressed sorrow that the CAVS did not win it all this year. Hooray for being on the map,however, way over here in Florence! My afternoon was not as good- total snafu with the Air bnb (language barrier), dead cell phone, purchased remote charger, didn't work, etc, eventually found a hotel. I have earned some dinner and vino!
We took a tram to the top of the mountain/hillside overlooking Lake Como. Once there, we found AMAZING narrow streets between houses built into the side of the mountain. With each turn around a corner, there were more beautiful details than the alley before. We were tempted to travel back down in this way- like a hidden treasure walk. I will bore you with these additional photos. Of course, we had to have some Prosecco at the top while we savored the view.

16 June 2017

Okay. Lake Como has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth! What a great venue to end the summer residency with four friends. Do we look like MBAs???
Oh boy! Falling in love with Lake Como, Italy!!!!!

15 June 2017

Pics from earlier today. One is of the train station, where we got the high-speed train to Bologna. Massive building!! Several of the other photos are from my evening run ( running buddy and 50% or more of our cohort have had colds!). I found the canal area of Milan and enjoyed running along the water, away from the traffic. Like London, traffic is horrible. In London there are also many bicycles on the roads, but here there are is very treacherous. Anyway, earlier today I tried to get a good photo of the sunflower fields, and during my run, look what I came upon, but a woman carrying a sunflower! I just love it when life's timing is that way! Who has ever walked along a busy sidewalk and carried a sunflower in this way? I ran through a dog park and saw a light Golden Retriever, much like Riley. I did not get a photo, but rather a video (which cannot be posted here). She was playing with a ball on her terms- running after it but not returning it!
And some more shots from Bologna.
These are street scenes from Bologna, and some views of the restaurant where we enjoyed lunch. About Italian is very hard to be meatless here, and maybe impossible to be vegan. Avoiding cheese here is like avoiding rain in London. But my philosophy is "when in Rome (or Milan or Bologna)...". As for the streets of Bologna, they are what I had in my mind when I imagined Italy. I like the rustic textures and colors. Also included here is my best photo of a field of sunflowers, taken from our speeding bus.
Today is a travel day-from Milano to Bologna. We passed by fields of wheat and sunflowers, and vineyards. The varied countryside and tile topped houses were gorgeous. In Bologna we visited Ferro corporation which is based in Cleveland but with an acquisition partner here. This branch of the company makes very fine colorings coatings and technology for application to ceramic tile, resulting in a product that is very hard to distinguish from real stone. It is more durable and less expensive than natural stone. We were asked not to take photos but I snuck in a few. Like the architect and the adhesive label businesses we saw, this was a creative space and filled with pride in corporate culture and product.

14 June 2017

We were fortunate enough to have a visit to the art museum here in Milano- Pinacoteca di Brera. I had never seen such massive pieces of art in my life. We had far too little time there (a theme of this whirlwind visit, but hey- we're here!!). Each painting is rich in history...I would glaze over if we did have more time to study them all.
Bonjourno from Milano. First, I've never been away from home or work for more than 9 or 10 days (5-day work week and the weekends on either end), so today marks new territory for me! Second, as most who are reading this journal know, I'm an introvert. Maybe an extreme introvert. It is what the men I have loved have detested about me (my analysis now is that they were insecure and needed me to need them...were threatened by the fact that I need time alone). Being who I am, and being in big cities with a big tour group and a relentlessly busy schedule, I am not getting the solo "recovery" time to which I'm accustomed. When I lay down in bed at night, I'm completely "wired"- my soul, it seems, is trying to sort and process everything I've seen, heard and felt. Sleep does not come, no matter how tired my body feels. So, I'm getting by on 5-6 hours of sleep each day, and that seems to be working! I use about 30 minutes each morning to gather myself, think of you, worry about work!

13 June 2017

More from the cooking class. Much more of a social event than a cooking event...including my classmate falling in love with one of the staff.
As boring as it may be, I'm going to fill two entries with photos from last night's cooking class. First, the clean, professional cooking class kitchen- shiny and ready for us. Then, a progression of photos from the hours during which we "cooked," drank, learned, joked, ate, and laughed endlessly. Those dear chefs...I think they successfully "read" us and began playing along. I must also add that Italians give new (literal) meaning to the phrase "Swimming in butter." Oh my gosh! We prepared a risotto and a breaded veal chop. The veal was sautéed in clarified butter...a pool of it. I am absolutely craving green leafy salad with fresh veggies. I have not seen such in England or Italy yet.
Second business visit of the day was to IBM. They did not allow us to take photos paper and I got scolded by security for these two but kept them somehow. It's too bad-the inside of their building was very interesting. They gave us an interesting presentation that centered mostly around Watson-their artificial intelligence technology. It's ability to sort through and find patterns in vast amounts of data in ways that the human brain cannot allows more uses than I would've imagined. The most interesting to me was the possibility of bringing medications to market much faster and saving money too- most of the delay in this area is needless. I did not know that Watson played on the Jeopardy show and won against two very bright human beings. We saw and heard a demo of Watson's ability to compose music based on analysis of news headlines and people's feelings about the news- creating lyrics and sounds that touch emotions universally.
Other random views of Milano and my colleagues
First business visit today (Tuesday) was Nuceria Group- designer and maker of adhesive labels and other packaging needs. All of us enjoyed this visit- it ranks up there with Foster+Partners architects in London...inspiring for the creative working space, clear culture combined with energetic focus on mission, and palpable sense of teamwork. It appealed to my heart because it is an entrepreneurial family business and the son is carrying on family values set by the father while also modernizing the business to match the market. Brexit is hard on this biz because of contracts set in pounds, but this proud Italian company will no doubt continue its phenomenal growth and attention to customer needs and thrive.

12 June 2017

Weird thing about this European trip- each night I think I'll just grab a quick bite from some carry out place and then stay in and organize my photos, read, etc., but ha, ha, ha. Next thing I know, I'm walking the streets with these friends, being drawn to the local culture, stopping here and there when some setting calls to us. Hours later, we are falling into bed exhausted, but so stimulated that sleep does not come. Going back to work On June 20 will be a great vacation from all this "educational vacationing!" Here are a few photos from the local hospital that we visited today (older gentleman is one of the pioneers of laparoscopic surgery), and from our visit to the Duomo in the City Center of Milan, and to an opera house. Milan is very inviting! I love listening to the Italian language being spoken on the streets.

11 June 2017

Very proud of the second stamp on my passport! Arrived in Milano after missing our intended flight out of Heathrow and then waiting 4 hours for another. We are happy to meet our Italian guide, Paula. It is now midnight here- 6pm at home. We are riding to the hotel and Paula is giving us a safety warning for Italy...the danger is pick-pocketing. Buonasera Italy!
I need to catch up on our last sightseeing in London- The Tower of London. Amazing structures- practically a small city - noted for both the glimmering and the ghastly. The Crown Jewels are there (no photos allowed of these expensive royal crowns, scepters, and other ceremonial gold pieces) and a memorial site where queens and others who stepped outside the lines were beheaded! The glass sculpture memorializing that is shown here. There are also "resident" ravens (two pictured) on the grounds, cared for by the beefeaters (guys in red and black coats who look like they consume a lot of beef!). Also pictured is the tour guide, Barry, who has been with us all week. I choked back tears when we said good-bye to him at Heathrow! I felt such connection to him and respected his knowledge, energy, and total commitment to our wellbeing and to English history. I can still hear him telling us about Queen Elizabeth's most highly jeweled crown (which we saw) that she calls her "posh hat!"

10 June 2017

It's our last night in London! We had a fancy group dinner off Trafalgar Square and a pleasant walk to and from. A couple of us will take an early morning run, followed by a group tour of Tower of London, and then we'll head to the airport for Milano! I'm a bit sentimental about leaving England- the first stop in my first international travels ever, and a city where our MBA cohort bonded in new ways. Over dinner tonight, I found three people willing to help me think creatively about Transplant House's growth. This is also the country of my relatives- I can see it is from our British roots that we got our tall, lanky physique. It's been a great week, London! Thank you for welcoming us!
Stonehenge and a few more photos from Bath. I would love to sit at Stonehenge alone (wouldn't everyone?). I'd love to sit there at several times of day, under different lighting, moody skies, sunny skies, and full moon. In the one hour we were there, the energy of the stones and countryside changed. President Obama got to be there alone once, lucky guy. I also wish we'd had time to walk the fields to get to the huge rocks- past cows, blowing grasses, orange poppies, varied grains. Just watching the wind-blown, moving scenery from our shuttle window melted me as I imagined walking freely, joyously through the English countryside. I began humming Sting's "Fields of Gold" while I walked. (You'll remember me when the west wind moves, upon the fields of barley; You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky as we walk in fields of gold; Will you stay with me, will you be my love, among the fields of barley?). Beauty. Thank you God, for so many forms of beauty
This is Bath, England. Old, old, old. I am a terrible historian, so cannot summarize what our guide told us, but trust me, it is not like anything I've seen. Maybe a very, very, very old "Sante Fe" of SW England? Artsy, exceedingly interesting walking. Several prominent and breathtaking churches in the center of town. I wanted to buy gifts for my niece Carrie and her newborn, Molly, and older girls, Cora and Eva, but time did not allow. I therefore dedicate to them the candid photo of the little girl in a store window, playing with Paddington Bear! Sooooo adorable! I could walk an entire day away in a place like Bath. My classmate Garrick has been good about grabbing my camera and taking photos of if he knows that I exist in NO family photos. Thank you Garrick- I can now remember how relaxed I became on this trip.

9 June 2017

An evening run (solo this time) along the Thames in a new direction rewarded me with these sites. About the camera crews and newscasters- this was the scene all around Parliament today. Seems that everyone is waiting for some news, but none is coming. As to the boat filled with partiers- I think they are too drunk to know that boat ain't sailing! After my run, eight of us went out for Thai food in the Covent Garden area of town. (No photos). During the walk back, classmate Noelle and I shared the feeling that we will miss London. Our time here is winding down. Tomorrow we take a trip to Stonehenge and Bath, and Sunday morning we will leave for Milano.
Foster + Partners is also doing the new Apple headquarters in San Francisco. It is a circle- with a hole in the middle- aka a donut! Two of the tour guides were architects, Alexandra (from Italy) and Igor (from Spain). They shared their unsettledness over Brexit; many in their firm are from Europe, not England. In fact, 40% of Londoners are from outside the country. Real lives and real businesses in the holding pattern, a year after what we learned was a foolish referendum, now with a hung Parliament and Brexit negotiations (working out the details) begin on June 19.
This was the best visit of the day and maybe of the week. Foster + Partners, architects. This is a huge firm that happens to be designing the new Case/Cleveland Clinic medical, nursing and dental school site back in good old CLE. We loved the hosts of our visit (some of whom are working on the Cleveland project) and we were totally turned on by the workspaces (note they are ON the river). This is a full-service firm, that will do master planning, big design, small design, and even the story telling (photography, video and music) for a project. I'm sure they come with a big price tag, too. I was personally energized by being there. Therefore, many photos!
Today's two business visits were very interesting. We started a Digital Government Services, which designs the systems within the UK government web sites. Though the actual work is obscure to me (aka boring), the process for innovative design is intriguing. This department uses Agile, an interactive and incremental software design process that - surprisingly - requires the use of a lot of little pieces of PAPER- Post-it Notes! And whiteboards! See the photos. The point is, collaboration. Plans and ideas and user research are all put up on boards so that the whole design team and even those from other design teams can see and collaborate. Work is done in design "sprints" of two weeks in duration with specific goals during each sprint. Seemed creative for a government office!
Best quote of the morning relative to yesterday's election results: "maybe the best way to deal with one fuck up is to create another fuck up." (Weatherhead Assistant Dean, who happens to be native of England)

8 June 2017

Another set of photos!
I was supposed to go to the London Symphony tonight (a handful of us bought tickets on our own), but as it turned out, I decided against it at the last minute. Circumstances were such that I was going to walk there alone (others went 2 hours early to eat) and though that would have been fine, I hated to think I might be walking home alone in the dark after the concert. Maybe I was just looking for an excuse for being quiet. This introvert needed some down time after 5 days of being "on" and active until late at night. So, I did a walkabout- Trafalgar Square, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St. James Park, Buckingham Palace. Though I'd seen it all before, I wanted the exercise and the chance to both wander and walk briskly. I also wanted to walk close to Buckingham Palace. As it turned out, I got to see the guards do some of their pomp and circumstance, so that was cool. And here are some of the things I saw.
Second stop of the day was to Cerner, the leader in electronic medical records. Our hosts everywhere we go give us generous amounts of time and information and treat us like colleagues. I understood so little about this business...but felt wiser nonetheless. Maybe it was the good coffee and chocolate bourbon cookies! Other photos here are of sites along the walk to and from the Tube stops. I'm trying to upload a video also- of a carriage procession that was apparently a rehearsal for something that is coming up. Such pomp and circumstance! Oh! And a photo of a Paddington Bear statue!
We started the morning with a "visit to the Queen" (not really) and learned that you know if she is "in" or not by the flag flying over Buckingham Palace. She was in today, though we learned that she far prefers Windsor to Buckingham. From there we walked on to the future site of Cleveland Clinic London, the whitish building shown. The facade of this former office building will remain, but the interior will be completely renovated, for opening in 3 years. We heard a very interesting presentation by Clinic London executive Keith Hague, who will oversee the planning and operations of this new hospital. Cleveland Clinic will be the only nonprofit hospital in the private healthcare market here, and will treat the 10% of patients who have private medical insurance. This is a $1.5 billion apparently have to come in with a "big splash" in London; a $40 million hospital would not work. This visit generated a lot of "values based" chatter among us
Today is "polling day" in the UK and the BBC is NOT commenting on it! That's because it's a criminal offense to report on the polling while the polls are open. Though the BBC can report on factual things that might help residents get to the polls, no commentary on how citizens are voting is allowed, nor any other information or opinion that might influence voters. It is odd but refreshing to turn on the TV on a day of national voting, and NOT have the talking heads blabbing about early results, speculation on outcomes at day's end, and commentary about everything from candidates' stance on key topics to their bathroom habits.

7 June 2017

All kinds of late night fun!! Dena, Neal, Patrick and moi.
After our business visits we walked to the British Museum, which features much more than the British. We are so thankful for our guide, Barry. He is so good natured, knowledgeable and committed to our group. I'll bet he's grabbed half of us by the arm to keep us from stepping off the curb in front of a double-decker bus! Bless his heart- keeping track of 35 gawking overgrown children!
And a few art shots for today
Business visit- University College London Hospital. We heard from the CEO and CFO. I joined the tour of Oncology led by the Director of Operations. They need healthcare hospitality housing here! As in the U.S., such services are provided by local nonprofits. UNLIKE the U.S., after the nonprofit provides two years of " pump priming" service, the hospital puts any worthwhile work into its budget (which comes from National Health Service). The photo taken through the blinds is of a pretty atrium where patients receive chemotherapy, if they desire. There is often music and also art therapy in this space that was designed in part, by patients.
Our first bit of travel on the Tube. Classmate Scott (colorectal surgeon, who brings that up whenever things are boring or too serious) adopted an origami horse during the Tube ride...just enough time to adopt a ridiculous story about how he folded it in his front pants pocket. "Uh, what are you doing there Scott??" "Creating this!" He replies. That Scott...

6 June 2017

A run along The Thames with this chap, Garrick (classmate and comedian), presented us with the unique views you cannot get from a vehicle. Sadly, London Bridge is still closed to auto traffic due to last weekend's terrorist attic there....but open to runners. Notice the rainbow over Tower of London! The pointy glass building that has Garrick all excited is known to the Brits as "The Shard," due to the open peak of pointed glass. There are many buildings that have nicknames here. British humor.
Rains stopped, sun came out, we took off our hoods and folded up our "brellies" and here are 10 things that caught my eye on the walk back to the hotel.
Our second business visit of the day-Wayra, a business accelerator. A great number of bright and creative minds all in one place. Inspiring!
I love this. Just say in'
Tower Bridge, Tower of London ( which looks like a fortress not a tower), street scenes and today's lunch spot.
Just so sad...
A visit with the Deputy Mayor for London business. Report is that London will remain strong despite Brexit (what else would a mayor say?). Yes, the vote for Brexit surprised them and him, but he says we Americans know that elections sometimes surprise us. Yes, indeed.

5 June 2017

Fun little Italian spot...much better than British food
The London Eye- gave us a stunning view of London AND front row Thames seats for the 6:00 chiming of Big Ben!
St. Paul's Cathedral/ site of Diana and Charles' wedding and the filming of the "feed the birds" scene in Mary Poppins
Beautiful St. James' Park extends between Buckingham Palace and the Abbey. I wonder if Kate and William ever walk the kids in this park!? Note the Queen Anne's Lace!
The Abbey! WOW!
Big Ben and Parliament. So many great walking sites!
More lovely than photos can show
Westminster Abby in the distance. It's a bit like looking at Oz
Flags at half mast...
Trafalgar Square- a few blocks from our hotel on The Strand. The guy in red is my classmate, Ben. He's a Navy man and therefore in charge of navigation during our morning excursion.
Among the first things that convinced me the plane did land in England!