Monday, 12 October 2009

Italy - where to start?

I'm not even sure where to start with this trip - there was so much that went on, and at the same time I did very little considering the amount of time I was away. There were the typical tourist activities (Uffizi, Museums, etc) and then there was sitting in a tiny cafe for a few hours, writing in my journal and watching life unfold around me.

There's these moments that I get when i travel when it just hits me that I'm actually there. I get it every time I walk along Westminster Bridge and see Big Ben on one end and the London Eye on the other. In that moment I feel nothing but pure joy and happiness. Cheesy, yes but so true. It's like nothing can beat the excitement of having travelled and seen this new city.

In Amsterdam, my moment came, not when walking through the infamous red-light district and seeing prostitutes wearing glow-in-the dark bikinis in the windows in attempts to beckon and attract clients. Nor was it during the sampling of the local herbs. No, it was during a bike ride with 8 of the people I met and travelled through Amsterdam with. Cycling down a country road with the canal on one side and fields on the other, looking down the road and seeing this long row of new friends I had just made, it was a good feeling.

In Italy, I was hit with moments at every corner. Literally. Turning the street corner in Florence and seeing the magnificent Duomo up ahead. Or walking down a corridor of the Gallerie dell'Accademia and right there in front of me was the massive David.

Traveling alone, for me, was a thrilling and terrifying experience. Having no knowledge of Italian, the simplest requests left me shy and tongue tied. Ordering an espresso in the morning, or one of the delicious and flakey sfogliatelle al melone was a huge achievement, but made each sip and bite well worth it.

I met some amazing people on this trip. There was L. who was kind enough to meet me for a drink in Bologna, which quickly turned into a few hours of conversation, that night and the next too. There were the fellow English speaking tourists who were always curious to find out why I was travelling alone. There were the young student protestors who eagerly shared why they were on the streets that day, and taught me the cheer they were chanting on the streets when I joined them. There was G. who graciously let me couch surf at his place. And of course, the unnamed Albanian waiter who provided hours of amusement and ample red wine. Grazie to each and everyone of them who helped make my trip totally unforgettable.

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to reading more of your musings, Irene! Way to go for travelling's amazing who you can meet.