Monday, May 25, 2009

Welcome to Italy

Laura and I have been traveling in Italy for the last week for our "summer holiday," as it is known in Europe. We started in Pisa, then trekked to the Cinque Terre, gazed at magnificent art in Florence, then visited the hill-top triumvirate of San Gimignano, Sienna, and Orvieto. Most recently, we've been seeing the sites of Rome. Pictures and more details will be coming soon, but first I'll give you my personal orientation to Italy.

Everything in Italy - particularly middle to southern Italy where we have been - exists in one (or some combination) of the following three states:

  1. Disrepair
  2. Complete abandonment
  3. Covered in a thin layer of grime

As negative as all of that may sound, it all contributes to the incredible atmosphere of the country, which is frenzied and unique and friendly and (this week) blazingly hot, and yes, also obscenely beautiful. After all, how can we expect a country dotted with the remnants of "the ancients" not to be in disrepair?

We have seen the pastel buildings of the Cinque Terre clinging to hills on the oceanside, smelled the fresh lemons in the terrace groves, seen the Italian laundry wafting in the breeze from city balconies, climbed thousands of steps, eaten more gelato than should be allowed in a lifetime, walked through underground caves, stood in awe of some of the world's finest masterpieces, retraced the steps of Roman Caesars, and - most importantly - we've managed not to get anything stolen.

"Holiday" isn't the right word at all. We're on an adventure. Welcome along for the ride.

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