Saturday, April 14, 2007
Its been awhile since my last post due to my travel with my son Jon to Italy. Two years ago I promised my son that we'd take a trip to the place where his paternal grand-parents migrated from. For years I have read books on Italy and watched many travel channel shows on this very rich in culture, art and history place. My husband stayed behind due to work and also expense, but he was happy that Jon and I would have this time together. I was hesitant to travel at this time because truly it is such a luxury and one that I certainly can't afford. But the bottom line is that there will always be a reason not to go and since Jon was little I tried to provide him not with things so much, but mostly memories that he can carry in his life. We don't have a lot of money but we are blessed with a very very rich life in ways that allow me to wake in the morning and smile.
Our trip to Italy began with a nine hour flight from New York to Rome. Upon arrival I realize that I will need Euro's. Trust me friends, do not purchase Euro's at the Airport in Italy. The exchange is not good and they charge you service fee's. Unless you know the language (and trust me I used my broken Italian quite often) you don't always know what you are getting into. At the Hotel we meet Our trusty, quirky and delightful guide Dominic John Harris, a Scottish fellow who lives in Italy during heavy tourism time and in Scotland the rest of the time. It is a hectic and busy job he has, organizing, rushing us in the morning, singing on the bus and overall keeping us entertained. Dominic and our trusty driver Fabio (yes, Fabio) spent 10 days driving, organizing, searching for missing tourists, and entertaining us (Dominic is has a record label and share with us one of his very catchy fine tunes "Searching"). By the end of our trip everyone knew the words and sang delightfully during our bus rides. We were very fortunate to travel with a very nice group of 4o adults and about 8 kids. We got up every morning at about 6:30 and it was go, go, go all day. It was not a vacation for the faint at heart. On the first day one of the girls stated that her pedometer said we walked about 12,000 steps. Trust me it was a working vacation and all I have to say is Thank God for all the Vino.
Honestly Italy was bigger, richer and more beautiful than I had ever imagined. We were in Rome, Venice, Florence, Sorrento, and the Coast of Amalfi. In 10 days we saw more history and art than I have seen in my life time. I had deep moments of not wanting to return to the US. Italy is wonderfully passionate, with people who are so expressive and alive. They truly get it. They work and then close from 1-4 in some areas for their siesta and then life picks up again. I think most human beings would benefit from such a break in the day. My favorite city was Florence, I am deeply affected by the peacefulness of the countryside with all its beautiful color, mountains and wild pastures.
Jon, who is 14, had a wonderful time meeting new friends, learning about his heritage and our time together (which, as he's grown older is sporadic) was a gift to us, as we talked late into the night about our day and shared our favorite moments. For all who yearn to travel and like me often have a million reasons not to. Please do yourself and your loved ones a favor and do try. It is what we take with us and the memories we leave for others. Life is so very short and there are just so many aha moments and things that take your breath away like the Sistine Chapel, Pisa, St. Marks Square. For me this trip was an Aha moment often, the world has so much beauty and we really miss so much of if being busy making a living. I cannot tell you what my favorite moment was because everyday was a treasure that left me in awe. To explain what I saw and describe Michael Angelo's work or the enormity of the Trevi fountain would have zero impact until you see it.