Pleasures and Ponderings

Friday, September 09, 2011

Memories of Italy

I was in Italy the year I graduated from college and again in 1998--I found those dates in my old passport book where I had my hands slapped, figuratively, for writing in that sacred passport the dates and places of my foreign trips from 1963 on.

Do I ever remember Italy! Venice with its canals and bridges and gondolas and the hostel where I stayed. As I was coming back for the night, I heard opera out of a window across the canal. It stopped and started a few times, and I imagined someone practicing for a performance OR just having fun singing between bites of pizza or sips of wine.

In Florence, of course, I stopped in front of the statue of David and gazed at Michelangelo's handiwork. I admired all the carvings on doors around town and the art in galleries and churches. I can't find my 1998 journal, or I'd have lots more to share from Florence.

Rome brought me the famous ceiling painting of the hand touching God's hand, the huge piazzas for people watching, the Pope blessing the crowds, and the Roman amphitheater where crowds gathered to see lions kill Christians. One strong memory there was of mimes--one that looked like a sculpture of a head suddenly started moving in the show. What a surprise and delight!

In Naples, my strongest memory was of having my travel mate Dee's large pack stolen in the train station. I was supposed to guard our packs as she looked for lodging, and I was sitting against the wall, so I still, 13 years later, don't know how someone sneaked it away from me. I had pulled something out of my pack, and that must have been when it happened. My guilt was partially handled by paying to replace all that was in her pack. I couldn't replace all her mementos saved from one year of teaching in Istanbul.

She forgave me, and we went on to the Amalfi Coast, where fishermen came in from th sea at various times, and moms called families to dinner. We were surrounded by sea and cliffs. We also walked the Cinque Terre, a trail not to be missed. Would I go back again to Italy?

Yes, any day!