Sunday, July 22, 2007

Italia! Arrivederci!

Italy is truly something special. For the art lover, especially Renaissance art, this is heaven on earth. For the historian or lover of architecture this is medieval actuality at its best. For the romantic traveler Italy offer real “slow travel Italy.” It has a lot of beauty, lots of special places and provides many memorable memories. But there is another side to Italy. Thanks to the weak US Dollar against the Euro and high cost of living in Italy, it is very expensive. Being a southern Mediterranean country it takes life in its stride. Let me use the Spanish term to describe it better “alla yo siempre manana”, there is always tomorrow. As our host in La Spezia elucidated to us; Italy can be a very frustrated place to live in if you don’t understand it, grew up in it and except it for what it is.

Rome is proverbially not built in 7 days, not even seven centuries. Its beauty lies in it perseverance to exist as a major city through the ages. It survived the raids and plundering of the Northern Barbarians during the late Dark Ages and the early middle Ages mainly to the existence of Roman Catholic Church. That so many of its ancient ruins are still standing for today’s travelers to see is amazing. Florence’s lasting imprints on my mind is terracotta red/orange and light reddish-brown. These colors are everywhere in its ancient buildings. The city can thank a few Allied soldiers and pilots during WWII for not bombing it and all its treasures to rubble. I am sure the city fathers would have rebuilt the city, but most of its 14th and 15th century buildings would have been destroyed and it would probably not have been the jewel it is today. The Cinque Terre and most of Liguria are what it has always been: A treasure cache to be discovered, savored at that moment and memorized for one’s “golden” years. And Venice, so different than any other city on earth, so amazing that it actually still exists and maintain so many medieval characteristics in spite of the onslaught of mass tourism and the demanding modern world.

Will I go back to Italy? With a drop of a hat. Will our next trip be to Europe? Probably not, but who knows. There are so many other places I would like to see in the rest of the world. We could have enjoyed several State-side vacations for the cost of one trip to Italy, but there are no regrets. We see it as a once in a life time experience. We obviously hope that more European trips can be taken in the future, France is already in the dreaming-about stage, but for the time being there are several other non-travel plans and projects in the works that another European trip will have stay on the backburner and stew until ready to be devour.

And so my series of posts about Italy comes to an end. I wanted it to be different than so many other descriptions of Italy you can find on the Internet. From the start I decided against crunching 16 days into a single page with 3 tiny pictures. You, the reader deserve more. I wanted to describe Italy day by day as we experienced it so you could share our experiences. I also wanted it to be mainly a picture diary instead of a wordy diary. I hope I succeeded. I also hope all the regular readers have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Ciao!

PS: Just like a chef wants to know whether you are enjoying the meal or not, so the blogger wants to know whether the content of his posts are enjoyable. So leave me a comment or chat or criticize, whatever your fancy!


Anonymous said...

Hi Oom André, ek het die vertellings van oom-hulle se vakansie vreeslik baie geniet. Dit het so lekker gelyk en het baie keer myself probeer indink hoe dit daar moet wees. Maar ek sal seker nooit weet voor ek nie self daar was nie. Dankie dat oom julle vakansie met so baie mense gedeel het en ek hoop om sommer nog baie te lees van alles wat julle daar in Amerika aanvang. Geniet die dag en stuur groete vir almal daar!!!Groete Mariska

Anonymous said...

Avid reader from the UK (SA expat)Just loved your travel posts. You certainly have a way to paint a picture with words. The pictures were great too.

Anonymous said...

I just love your blog! Looking forward to see what else lies ahead for you and your family. Keep on posting!

Anonymous said...

Andre, reading your posts about all your experiences lighten up my day's. When I am stressed and don't know if I'am coming or going here at work, I take some time out and read your blog. Being a traveller myself for work, I just shake my head in agreement and smile, thinking your not alone! As the "Avid reader from UK" said you have a way to paint a picture with words, it feels like I am there experiencing it with you! Keep writing, I'l keep reading Adri

BluegrassBaobab said...

Thanks for the kind comments everyone. Keep on reading and I will keep on posting.