Like a 10 year old lost at Disneyland!
Italy Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
I never thought I would have that feeling again of being a child lost in a wonderful dream meeting all the characters in person from my Saturday morning cartoon viewing, but that is exactly how I would describe traveling through Italy.
As far as I can remember, Italy had always been a country I've dreamt about going. I attempted to go two years ago and had booked 6 weeks off work to spend travelling across Italy. The opportunity kept getting postoned due to work assignments and the trip just kept getting pushed on hold. This year however, out of nothing, I receive an email while in Moscow (on a work project) to fly to Milan (on a work project) for a week. I ceased the opportunity and agreed to go as long as I get to be on holidays after my work stint there.
I had a great time in Milan during my work week there. The people I worked with had been really wonderful. I was very lucky to also see Da Vinci's Last Supper. The tickets were sold out for two weeks and normally book two weeks in advance. Thankfully, there was a scalper outside selling tickets for the same price as they were selling it inside. So I bought my ticket from her and I got to see the famous painting. They only allow certain amount of time and people to view it - Twenty-five people at the time and only 15 minutes. After which, the doors will open, decompress, then let you out. They have taken great lengths to protect the painting.
So my journey after a work-related week took me to Venice - the city on the water. I never really knew it before but if you look at the map of Venice...its a fish. How interesting hunh?
Venice is definitely for lovers. It's a very romantic city with its many small alleyways and water canals, gondola rides and cafes and restaurants along the water. There was a sense of romance in the air. A couple next to me at lunch was yapping on to their friends and family back in London that they were now engaged. He described everything over his mobile. So as I overheard it, it was over a gondola ride along one of the secluded canals while being seranded. She had said yes of course and the happy couple celebrated over some red wine and cheese. Meanwhile, I stuck the fork down my throat to gag (bitter.
I stopped in Bologna because a dear friend lives there. I've known her for many years and even though we didn't meet at TravBuddy, we met while travelling and became instant friends. We actually originally met on a board much like this one and simply got chatting online, via emails, and message board. And one summer, we both found ourselves in London at the same time. After much celebration and introducing ourselves properly, we totally hit it off and had been friends ever since. So no tour of Italy would be complete without visiting my dear friend in her home town of Bologna. She showed me around her city and told me all about the great things about it. But this stop was different than any other. This was an emortional reconnection with an old friend and rekindling of an old friendship.
Florence is probably one of my "must see" cities in the world. It is home to some of the greatest art works known to man. Did I mention I was an Art History major? So this is trully the time I felt like a 10 year old lost at Disneyland...c'on the statue of David is there. Man, I stood there for an hour just staring at the thing...not his "thing"...the sculpture. I can't expalin Florence. I was overwhelmed, but every excited, yet hyper and yet needing time to take it all in...all at the same time. Do you ever feel that experience? I don't quite know how to explain Florence.
So onto another part of Tuscany to see the Leaning Tower. I've never been disappointed in many of travels until now. I felt this was a waste of time. Not a total 100% waste...but it ranks highly up there. Sure it was great to see the Leaning Tower, the Cathedral and the Baptistry on the Piazza del Miraculo. The fortunate part was that it was all in one spot...the unfortunate part was that that was all to see. I spent a whole day there when I could have done it in the morning. Which I actually did. I arrived in Pisa at 9:30 and I finished the three things by 13:00. Then I spent a few more hours in the museums coz I have tickets but they were a bore as well.
Okay, I say Vatican City which is another country. But I was in Rome. I was staying in Rome BUT I did tour the Vatican so I think that counts. In any event, went to the Vatican while in Rome. Unfortunately, the Pope wasn't home. He was in his summer home and was not performing any blessings while I was there. Then again, he only does that on Wednesdays and I've already been blessed by the late-Pope John Paul II, who is the rock star of all Popes (so I've been told), during World Youth Day 2003 (I think) in Toronto.
Naples was a bit disappointing. Other than Pizza and Spaghetti coming from Naples, it was surprisingly...what's the word... It's hard to describe. It just wasn't what I expected it would be. There were stray dogs everywhere and the place was just generally dirty - garbage I mean.
So just a quick history lesson, Pompeii was destroyed, and completely buried, during a long catastrophic eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius spanning two days on 24 August, AD 79. The volcano collapsed higher roof-lines and buried Pompeii under many meters of ash and pumice, and it was lost for nearly 1700 years before its accidental rediscovery in 1748. Since then, its excavation has provided an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city at the height of the Roman Empire. Today, it is both one of the most popular tourist attractions of Italy and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The thing that gets me here the most was that I was standing in the same stone covered streets as those people back in A.
Rome is home. Or at least I wanted it to be...for a while anyway. I fell in love with Rome. I may not have found my true love while sittting on the Spanish Steps...but I think Rome found me. I did all the usual touristy things - Roman ruins, Coleseo, Cirucs Maximus, St. Peter's Chains, more churches, more sculptures, shopping...but more importantly I met a lot of people - local and other travelers. There is something about this city, to me, that just makes everything seems so friendly and pleasant. I felt a very warm welcome from its locals.
So as I stop once more at the Trevi Fountain, I took a penny from my bag, held it with my right hand, closed my eyes, and threw it over my left shoulder (as is tradition) and wished to come back to Rome very soon.