American in Italy, expat, interview, locals i love, tips, travel, tuscany, Uncategorized, working in italy

Locals I love – Trine West

One really important reason that I continue living in my beloved city of Florence, Italy are the people I meet on a daily basis. Creating a life here worth staying very much includes the people that you make real connections with. Every week I want to {try} and blog about people I know who have made their life here and give a little background on what makes them tick. A ‘local’ to me is anyone who considers Firenze their home.

My first victim happens to be Trine West — one of my favorite bar owners/all around awesome person with the reddest hair I ever laid my eyes upon. Originally hailing from Denmark {viking roots?} she and her husband are the proud owners of one of my favorite watering holes, Lochness Lounge on via dei benci. Live music, trivia, good drinks and vivacious red walls – a pretty cool place to hang out on any given night. Nightlife in Florence can almost always be likened to visiting a place based on knowing someone there, that’s the Italian way and I would never give up the chance to share a prosecco and talk politics with Trine till the wee hours in the morning.

Naturally my first question to her was asking what her favorite drink is – because after all she owns a bar. 

Her answer? “spumante all the way (oh, yeah, and tequila)” 

Why am I not surprised? 

How long have you lived in Florence and where are you from originally.

I’m from Denmark and have been in Florence for 22 years this year, so actually I have spend more of my life here than in Denmark.

Wow that always amazes me, that you can be born in another place but actually spend more of your life in another country. That’s why so many of us are ‘nationality’ confused. What brought you to bella Firenze and why did you decide to stay?

My idea was to travel a few months here and there in Europe, working a little to make some cash and then to move on to somewhere else for a few months to do the same. Like I said, it’s been 22 years and I’m still here, never did do the whole travelling thing, but, you know, never say never 😉

What are you up to in Florence? Work, daily life, hobbies?

I am married to John who is English (so, no, that wasn’t my reason for staying ;). We have 2 children, Daniel who is 10 and absolutely LOVES football and more importantly Fiorentina! And Mattie who’s 7 and such a little girl, but also quite mad and tons of fun! They both speak English really well, and obviously Italian, that being their first language. No Danish for now, but I recon they still have the time to learn it. 

They are both quite the experts on Florence, both when it comes to monuments and history, but also local politics – the indoctrinating is endless ;). I own Lochness Lounge, a bar in via de’ Benci and have done so for 17 years. It’s hard work, you need to come up with new things and events all the time, but that is also what makes it so much fun!

I absolutely LOVE my job, I meet so many people and no two nights are ever the same. We try to have a varied program to keep it fresh, apart from DJ sets, we have live music, trivia nights, art exhibitions, and we have even done theatre there, we also organise a wide range of theme parties and semi private events.

trinelochness

I’m quite involved with local politics, something anyone who knows me can testify, especially these days, I seem to be boring everybody to death with my political views. I’m very much ”Renziana” (supporting Mayor Renzi) and have been since 2008 when he first ran for the primary elections in Florence. I was a candidate for the local council with him, I never did make it in, but he did and that was the point! I’m more than ready to support him for the next political campaign, be it locally or national!

That’s why when I was with you I got the chance to meet Renzi, nothing wrong with being passionate! What annoys you about Florence? Tell us the truth!

We quite like to complain here, about all sorts of things, nothing is hardly ever quite good enough, we also like to think that we are better than anybody else. Florentines are generally very confident, but I actually love that.

Me too! Do you think life in Italy is for everyone? Why does it work for you?

Italy is an amazing place to be, the art, the people, the food, the climate – the list is endless, but life is harder than most places. Little things just take that much longer to get done, be it official papers, paying your bills, or even getting served in shops, a little bit of patience is needed for sure. I have been here for such a long time, I consider myself, not necessarily Italian but most certainly Florentine, I can’t imagine living anywhere else, this is my home.

I feel like I am going down that road myself! What advice would you give a newbie?

Not to worry if your Italian is perfect, mix, mingle, chat to people! nobody cares if your grammar is a little off if only you make the effort. Never put cheese on pasta with fish or seafood, and never order cappuccino after midday ;). 

But a macchiato is fine right? 😉 – Three finds everyone should know about in Florence?

Not so much finds as places slightly overlooked by a lot of people, but the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio always leaves me speechless. I go there as often as possible, actually I absolutely adore the whole of Palazzo Vecchio, so much history there, both past and history in the making.

The Cascine park is often not appreciated enough I find. It’s such a short walk from the center and you are basically in the countryside. I especially love going down to the riverbank and throwing stones in the water, very relaxing and fun. We spend many weekends just cycling around the cascine, and on a sunny day it is such a treat just lying on the grass or even having a picnic.

And then I adore Stazione Leopolda, so many fabulous memories of political rallies, the building is gorgeous and so many fantastic trade fairs go on there.

All things that are worthy to note without a doubt! What’s the weirdest thing you have seen/experienced in Italy?

I honestly wouldn’t know where to begin! After 22 years working in the nightlife the stories are endless! The strange and wonderful people I’ve met over the years could fill a book, the bureaucracy is ALWAYS weird – you’d need a whole chapter or two just for that.

I am pretty sure I have experienced some of those weird moments with you! What can you do here and nowhere else?

Because there are so many people living, working and studying here for a relatively short space of time you can actually be quite anonymous if you want, in the same time florence is tiny so making friends is easy, you are bound to bump into the same people all the time.

I like that there is room for both those things.

Also in a relatively small city you have the world at your feet, the history, the monuments, the traditions, the beauty, but also the chance to meet people from all over the world. It’s all here.

How did you make friends and assimilate?

Well, my job helps, but I am just very, very chatty and outgoing. I found it really easy to fit in Florence,the people I met when I first got here were a great help, and it is many years ago I last thought of myself as an expat.

____

This is why I like people like Trine, they throw themselves into the experience and never look back. You can join her for a prosecco at Lochness Lounge most nights – the red hair and high heels can’t be missed. Plus the way she does social media is just the kind I like – full of witty sarcasm and cartoon characters!

Thanks again Trine! I am sure I will see you very soon, probably lining up for my 2nd vodka tonic this weekend ;-).

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0 Comment

  1. Birgitte
    18.04.2013 at 10:54

    Wow, I love this new series. And you even started with a fellow Danish expat 🙂 Great interview!

    1. ggnitaly84
      18.04.2013 at 10:55

      Thanks Birgitte! I can tell it’s going to be a lot of discover things about people I know that I didn’t know.. plus we all share one thing in common – Florence ;-). ps. danish people are awesome!

  2. Kaley
    18.04.2013 at 11:57

    Very interesting! I can’t imagine having children that didn’t speak my native language! However, Danish people most likely speak amazing English (from my experience, yes), so it may not matter so much.

    It’s also interesting to me that, in Italy, you don’t normally order a cappucino after midday, whereas in Spain it’s quite normal to go to a bar after lunch (around 3 or 4 p.m.) and get a café con leche/cappucino/etc.

    1. ggnitaly84
      18.04.2013 at 12:19

      It’s hard enough to speak my own language correctly at times so I can sympathize. I think considering Trine has lived more in Italy than in Denmark at this point, the priority was the kids being bilingual in English and Italian, I am sure they will learn dutch with time. Lucky kids!!! And yes in Italy, having a cappuccino after 11:30 is a little weird, though you CAN get a macchiato (espresso with a little steamed milk) without anyone batting an eye. 😉

      1. D
        20.04.2013 at 10:49

        AND most Italians I know (and see randomly at the bar) will totally order a cappuccino at 4 or 5 pm ….mainly in the winter and as a “merenda”(snack) instead of a schiacciata, dolcino of some sort etc. The important thing is it’s not directly after lunch, so it doesn’t impede digestion. 😉

  3. Kristen Peterson
    18.04.2013 at 12:58

    This series is a must-read! Enjoyed reading this first edition. Great questions.

    1. ggnitaly84
      18.04.2013 at 13:15

      Thank you Kristen!!!!!

  4. Xavien Tremayne
    18.04.2013 at 13:22

    Silly Trine… We all know she drinks cappuccinos after midday. If you fear the local response, buy a cheap coffee machine and secure yourself a sleepless night anytime of the week.

    1. trine
      18.04.2013 at 18:24

      pfwww Xav. No drinkies for you this weekend after that comment! HA!

  5. Nic
    18.04.2013 at 13:39

    Great post. I look forward to more on this series. I do like hearing the backgrounds of people and “How they did it”

  6. […] Locals I love – Trine West (girlinflorence.com) […]

  7. languagewanderer
    30.04.2013 at 15:02

    I was in Florence and I think it’s a lovely place:)) interesting post!

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