My trip is so busy and is going so fast that it’s been hard to catch up. I spent about 2 weeks in Italy, part of the time traveling with a Seattle friend and part of the time visiting a friend I met (and haven’t seen) for 12 years.
I left London and landed in Florence (where I stayed in a 16th century mini palazzo of one of the former ladies in waiting of the Medicis), then onto Siena, San Gimignano (the towers there pre-dated Manhattan’s by a few centuries), Pisa, Lucca, Manarola and Vernazza in the Cinque Terre, Santa Margherita and Portfofino and my friend Fiamma in Genova. Little tastes of a lot of places and of course, a lot of good food.
All of the art is in Florence. I finally got to stare at David’s perfect butt for as long as I wanted and it’s hard to get enough of the tiny, twisting medieval streets of Italian cities.
It’s almost overwhelming to describe the beauty of Tuscany. There is art everywhere you look: frescoed onto walls, stuck in the corners of buildings and mosaiced on the streets. The buildings themselves, in burnt oranges, with rising towers, and if religious, in bands of black and white made me always keep an eye out for tiny details. You could spend your life in a city, it seems, and never find all of the art.After wandering around Florence and Lucca, a city bequeathed to the sister of Napoleon, who decided that the city’s ancient wall should be a thoroughfare to walk, bike and course around, we headed to the Cinque Terre. I admit, I had never heard of this part of Italy, but, apparently the tourists (and Rick Steves) have. Regardless, this grouping of 5 tiny towns clinging to cliffs that overlook the Ligurian Sea were the purest type of beauty. Rugged and tiny, it was hard to stop gaping once we arrived.
After venturing toward a final stop in Santa Margherita, we decided to walk over to Portofino, vacationland for the rich and famous. After arriving and taking a bunch of photos of this pretty little town (because there’s nothing else to do) we looked at the bus schedule and realized we’d missed the 8:20pm bus by 10 minutes and the next bus didn’t leave until 11:15pm. Slightly deterred, due to the reputation of Portofino’s expensive clientele, we had no choice but to venture to a restaurant on the harbor to eat, drink (water only) and be merry. All told, our meals weren’t outrageously expensive (pizza and pasta for 15 euros each is doable) but we were shocked to discover that a bottle of plain water in Portofino cost 10 euros, as did a small basket of bread and breadsticks.
I happily ventured from there to Genova (we say Genoa) to visit a friend I met in Mexico 12 years ago, who has twin, 3-year old boys. Three nights left me so confused. The kids don’t quite speak, but manage Italian and their own personal language when they do. (one twin loves motos, and his word for fast is a verb he made up that sounds like brrrrrruuumay. The other realizing I didn’t understand Italian decided to teach me all of the words he knew by pointing around his room saying “aquell la porta, aquell el cavallo (that is the door, that is the horse), I spoke to my friend in Spanish and her husband in English, so needless to say, sentences came out sounding something like “Quieres mangiare a little pizza, today?”
I am now near Santiago de Compostela visiting my cousins and am on my way to Madrid for my final stop in this 3 country tour (a 3 country tour).by