The Kingdom is in an uproar. The palace intrigues in Britain relegate the Game of Thrones to the minor leagues. This is Macbeth with a dash of Scarface and the Godfather thrown in for good measure. The Brexit drama makes for good television but the people need a break. When the Brits need to relax they usually start a war or watch a cricket test match. I snuck away to find refuge in art and Italy instead.
Lake Iseo in Lombardy is less well known than its glamorous neighbour, Lake Garda. It was however the location for a once in a lifetime global art event. On Lake Iseo, the artist Christo had installed a 3 kilometre (Approximately 1.8 mile) long floating bridge – a work of art he calls the Floating Piers. It cost $16M to build (he paid for it himself) and would last for 16 days before being dismantled and the parts recycled. The bridge and about 15 kilometres of walkway had been wrapped in an orange fabric; wrapping is Christo’s thing. When you get to be an 82 year old artist you can stay stuff about the meaning of life and how the temporal nature of the bridge reflects life itself, without being laughed at.
The installation was a huge hit, with 200,000 people walking on it every day. There is something surreal about the majestic beauty of the lake and its surroundings, the muted shades of nature graphically bisected by streaks of floating orange fabric. The experience of walking on the bridge is almost mystical. People were taking off their shoes to walk barefoot and feel the movement of the water. Watch the time lapse video below to get a sense of the motion. It was an awesome experience.
The bridge led to an island on which stood a mansion that could have been Blofeld’s lair. A sleek and somewhat sinister matt black cigarette boat was parked outside. Suddenly the gates to the mansion swung open and an attractive young woman was led out by two henchman. She had an unusual tattoo on her back. The men guided her by the elbows and moved her quickly onto the boat. Blofeld himself emerged, and boarded swiftly. The whole drama took seconds; so quickly that the art aficionados around me appeared not to have noticed. The boat slipped away seemingly unnoticed. Simultaneously two Russian speaking frogmen slipped into the water and disappeared. My mind boggled.
I needed a drink.
What do you drink when you’ve just walked on water? The only other person I know that walked on water was Him. He probably drank red wine, most likely a Persian varietal like a Shiraz. However, He didn’t have refrigeration and His monks hadn’t invented champagne yet. There is absolutely no reason to drink red wine on a hot day when you could have a chilled bottle of bubbly instead. Fortunately the Lombardy region makes some excellent sparkling wines. The Monte Rossa Flamingo rosé is a particular favourite – delicate in flavour, light in colour with small bubbles, this is a delightful wine that goes well with the summer. I haven’t seen it in London. What with the drawbridges being drawn and walls going up around Little England it probably won’t make it into the Kingdom. I bought a case to take home to Blighty.