Tuesday, November 1

Okay, I'm ready to tell you about Italy.

Some times things happen in your life that change you. You cross over a proverbial bridge and once you do you can never go back. Not that the bridge is bad, but it changes your life's direction in such a way that you can't go back even if you wanted to.


NOW radio was one of those bridges for me. When that happened (the boss reading my blog an offering me a shot at a job, then me getting the job and now I am a radio host...in a nut shell)  I started to see myself differently, so differently in fact there was no way I could ever go back to seeing myself the way I did before. Things made more sense to me. I felt like my personal abilities and the direction I should go in life were finally merging together. Like the plans the universe had for me were finally coming to fruition.
In a matter of days, even my life dreams changed. I was dreaming bigger, and setting higher goals for myself. I started to believe I could do anything. It was a good bridge for me to cross, a bridge I am and forever will be grateful for.










Italy was another one of those bridges for me. I really don't know why and to be honest I am not even sure what happened to make me feel so differently, but I do. Being in Italy changed me a little. It's been a week now and I still choke up when I try to look at the pictures. My heart beats faster when I think about Italy. Writing this helps.  


 While I walked up and down the streets I was in aw of everything. The buildings, people, food and the landscape. It was all surreal and  (like my friend Tasha described when she was there) it's like walking in a postcard.


The Brits and I flew to Italy very early Tuesday morning and spent the day in Rome.We ate lunch (the sandwich was horrible) at the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II,  saw the Colosseum and walked down some of the most picturesque streets in the world. As we walked most of the time all I could do was hold Sam or Deans backpack to be lead around. I was uninterested in watching for cars (which BTW will hit you and not even bat an eye). The best I could do was be lead, walking in complete awe looking at everything. My focus was staying in the moment, not thinking about anything other then the fact I was in Italy and memorizing everything I was seeing. 


A few things I noticed:
-Italian men are very very well dressed, even the older men seemed to all look really put together. 
-The weather in Italy (this time of year) was cold for them. It was 23 degrees while we were there. Yikes, I know, just freezing!
OOH MY HECK I was sweating like a pig, yet the Italians were all wearing sweaters and scarves and (no word of a lie) 3/4 length winter jackets.
-There is rather small cars in Italy. All tiny. 
-Everyone wears the most sensational sunglasses. 
-And everything is beautiful, EVERYTHING!


In the afternoon we caught a train and went south to a town called Fondi where Sam's family lives. Her father has a house in Fondi so we stayed there. Fondi is half way between Rome and Naples. I fell asleep the second the train started to move. I was so tired from getting up at 4am to fly that an hour long nap was greatly appreciated.


When we arrived we got to shower and clean up a bit before dinner. It was so hot out that I needed to cool off and freshen up. After we all got ready we walked down the street to go order pizza. What a joy it was watching pizza being made in Italy. Sigh....








Eating dinner was almost a stimulant overload for me. The pizza/food was incredible and the atmosphere was relaxing and humble. That mixed with everyone speaking Italian was beyond heavenly. The life style in Italy seems more simple. Less rushed, people seem to enjoy life day to day where here I think more people endure the day to day to enjoy their 3 weeks holiday in the summer. Meals are very big in Italy, serving food is a pleasure and much pleasure is derived from the food. Where here I find people cut corners with food, not allowing it to be what it can.


 During the meal Sam would translate for me once in a while when her family would ask me a question, or when everyone was laughing at a joke in an attempt to not have me feel left out of the conversation. But I didn't mind. I was loving the feeling of vulnerability mixed with complete elation. I liked being quiet, it does not happen that often for me. I could have sat there and listened to Italian all night, not understanding anything and been more than content. I loved it!


After dinner Sam's cousin took us to go have a special treat. They are doughnuts (freshly made and still warm) then they pump it full of nutella. It was really really good. We ate our treats while walking around the piazza. Again, I walked in silence, listening to my Brits chat with the cousins in Italian, it has become one of  my happy places.









After the walk in Fondi, we drove to a small beach town called Sperlonga. We got out and walked up and down the alleys of peoples homes. This is where I found it almost impossible to take everything in. Sperlonga is like the most perfect dream, it's almost hard to believe people live there in such beauty, such tranquil surroundings next to the ocean. How are some people so fortunate. Do they know how fortunate they are? All I could do was take pictures, because no one would believe me how exquisite this place is. How could I ever do this place justice? 

















Wednesday morning in Fondi we went for a walk in the rain. It is a quaint and beautiful town. There is a Castle just down from the house we stayed at, so you can imagine how horrible that was for me. Walking up and down the cobblestone streets was so simple yet breathtaking. I didn't even mind that my feet were soaking wet from all the rain. It didn't even matter.
After our rain walk, we ate lunch with Sam's family again before catching the train back to Rome for more sight seeing.


Here are the pictures from my 2 magical days in Italy sorry they are not in order. 



Very early Tuesday morning on our flight to Italy. I was a tad excited. 



I could see the glow from Rome on the plane.





All the cars are so tiny there. I kept giggling to myself how monstrous my Yukon would be there. 




This guy was standing at this door, and I was staring at him from the bus I was on (we took a bus from the airport into town). He noticed I was staring at him, so he lifted his glasses to look at me, so I maturely stuck my tongue out at him


One of the many beautiful buildings



Vespas and motorcycles were everywhere. It was so wonderful. I even saw a Ducati shop. It was magnificent to see all those beautiful bikes. I even found a red one for me.  



Such a lovely fountain, right in the middle of a very lively part of town. 


So beautiful.

Everything was done with such detail. Buildings are no longer done with such attention anymore. Really, not much is

Just walking around. 

Sam explained that as Rome tries to fix and better the city, the city will excavate  areas to build and find more ruins from old Rome. Which then halts construction. It is so wonderful seeing how it has lasted even after so much time. 

Monument to Victor Emmanuel II. This is what I was looking at eating that awful sandwich.  It was the nicest  place I have eaten lunch in my whole life.






Inside the monument.


My eyes were covered and I was led up to this spot. What a breathtaking reveal. 




I love the vegetation that grows on homes like this. Apparently it's really bad for the building, but I like how it looks. 


Sigh....the Colosseum. 


Honestly, I have no words.

Built in 70 AD!!! And it is still here. 

Okay, I should explain that we look like we do because it was really hot and my hair was awful. 


I think this is one of my top 10 pictures from Italy. These are the Trinita dei Monti , The Spanish Steps. 

Statues like this were on the corners of most streets. I think all corners need  things like this. 

Loved all the water fountains everywhere. 


Fontana di Trevi. It was built in 1735. You make a wish and throw a coin in. I thought about my wish for a while and then I threw in my coin. Actually I made a couple of wishes. 

Again, not the best hair, but what can you do?




This is the stone oven our pizza was cooked in. 

Fondi

This is the Piazza in Fondi. Piazza means Square. 


The Castle at the end of the street. It was quite lovely. 
The fountain in the square.




Such beautiful streets. 


This is the view from the room I stayed in at Sam's dads place. 


This is the back garden of the house. 


Yup, they have a lemon and lime tree in their back yard. 


The pergola that the grapes hang from over top of the table you eat at in the back  garden. 






Wednesday morning walk in the rain. That is Sam under the red umbrella. 



One of my other favorite pictures. 






The last thing we did before we flew back to London was have Gelato. I could eat this all day every day. I won't but I could. 


  As is my custom...


Dear Italy, 

I came to you with little to no expectation, and you blew me away. I am forever grateful for that. You took my breath away from the moment I stepped off that plane and not once did you return it.  You moved me in a way I still do not comprehend, thank you. Your alluring grandeur has me hungering for more. I look at pictures of you and my insides swell and eyes become blurred.  You're devastatingly beautiful, and I will return. I know that like I know the sun will rise tomorrow. My soul can hear and feel you calling for me and I will listen. 

I will tell everyone of you! Everyone needs to experience you at least once in this life. You are a must. 


Whispered ever so softly into your ear, 

Ti amo Itay, ti amo. 

J


Today:


I am grateful. 



       







4 comments:

Natasha said...

We now have twin Trevi fountain photos!

Yes, the sandwiches are horrible. I'm sure there ARE good sandwiches to be found somewhere, but I never saw any the whole time I canvassed Italy. It's custom in Italy and France to not have much more than two toppings, and they're dry and the bread is tough. Just meat and cheese and butter. Or just tomatoes and bocconcini and maybe basil. No balsamic vinegar, no artichoke hearts and olives, no cream cheese, no feta, no grilled garlic vegetables, definitely no mayo or aioli or cranberry mustard.

And did you have to ask them to disperse the toppings on your pizza or did they just do that?

I felt that same vulnerability and also loved it. Most of the time.

Princess Leah said...

Being in Italy is like discovering a new sense, because your eyes and ears and nose and fingers just can't take it all in. It really is something you experience; you don't just see and do.
I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time in Italy, having such an insider view with Sams family really seems to have made it that much more special.
I'm longing for it again, now, thank you!!
XO

Sam and/or Monika said...

Great pics!

Monika and I were at the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II in 2005. Did you know that Mussolini's old office was right across from the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II? (so I was told) Crazy huh? And also the tomb of Raphael (the artist, not the ninja turtle) is right down the street from there at a place called the Pantheon. That was a cool place to be.

Peep the clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eoc8l2kr3vM

Monika and I are going to go back. When we went the Sistine Chapel closed early and we missed it!

For our ten year anniversary we are thinking about going on a WW2 tour.

Should be dope.

Glad you had fun.

TheRealSlimKatie said...

Italy should DEFINITELY be on my Bucket List!! Those pictures you took are breath taking!! I hope to visit some of those places in person, but I'd be happy to just see it from where you stand. You do such a great job at describing things, Joelle!! I can FEEL how beautiful it must have been!!
My little Sister, Erin got to study for a year in Florence, and my Little Brother got to go for 3 months with an exchange program through his school!! I loved looking at their pics too. (but they didn't have the commentary.)
Italy first and then Australia for me!! A must see too! (^_^) I hope, anyway. I know!! Next time you go, you can revisit the Fontana di Trevi and wish for me!! lol