But then we discovered what had happened in Italy while we were away: a bombing at a high school in Brindisi which killed one and injured many and a major earthquake nearby Padua! The day we got back a funeral was underway for Melissa Bassi, the bombing victim. Meanwhile in Northern Italy, over 4000 found themselves homeless. For some images and information on the BBC about the quake's effects, click here.
The epicenter of this earthquake was San Felice sul Panaro, about 100 km from Padua, and registered 5.9 on the Richter scale.
My area was shocked to feel such a strong tremor because it generally feels "safe" from this kind of natural disaster. Italy has over 40% of its population living in what scientists consider an emergency danger level for earthquakes.
Below is a picture of the danger levels with red and purple showing the highest risks
It got me thinking about the other earthquake I didn't feel but was deeply involved in: San Francisco in 1989. That one measured at 6.9 on the Richter sale and risked killing or injuring both my parents who were on vacation there. I was a young teenager home alone for the first time and briefly contemplated being an orphan after the news hit. Since I couldn't contact them because the phone lines were either too busy or down and cell phones hadn't existed for the public yet, I just had to wait and see if and when my parents would contact me to say they were OK or just plain come back home.
Maybe the strangest news coming out of Italy's most recent earthquake disaster is the fact that 250K rounds of Grana Padana and Parmigiano Reggiano were "disformed" or destroyed. Could be funny if you don't think about the massive financial loss for the factory and producers because of those "cuts" in the cheese.
I deeply and sincerely feel sorry for the people in that area. It has lost castles, towers, cultural treasures of all kinds, thousands of homes and destroyed farmland. Some died. Even in modern factories as they worked the night shift.
Le mie condoglianze