June 30, 2009

Andiamo!!

June 26, 2007

As I'm sitting here waiting for my luggage to be delivered, suffering from jetlag and hating Starbucks, I have to laugh. Laugh at my life. Honestly, I am my favorite TV show, movie, comedy act, book or play. Our luggage was lost TWICE! On the way there and on the way back. Somewhere someone is smiling and they have no idea why. I must have done something horrible because karma kicked my traveling ass!

I believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was born in the wrong country. I was aware of this the first time I went to Europe. I felt at home…too comfortable. I thought perhaps it was just a fluke. Perhaps I was so excited about traveling that I created this feeling. But after visiting Spain, France & Italy…I feel the exact same way. I didn't want to leave. Not because I was on vacation but because I was where I belong. I come alive when I'm in Europe. I can breathe. I can feel the life pulsating under my feet. I am not afraid nor do I find anything daunting. I can feel the history. I adore the beauty. I am who I want to be. I'm sorry, Steph. I know you hate when I talk like this. I'll stop now because I love you, my friend!

Here is a summary of my trip. You only get a summary because the full story is mine and that's where I'm selfish.

After 18 hours, 4 transfers, 6 hours of delays, 1 missed flight, 1 glimpse of the Eiffel Tower & no luggage, we finally reached Barcelona. Good thing we went in a day early because we would have missed the boat. As it was, we missed seeing Barcelona. The only thing we saw was the mall because we needed an outfit & the statue of Columbus because we drove by it.

The boat was massive. As I walked up the gangway, I knew I would be taking a Titanic photo op and I did. Haha! I didn't think I could handle over 3,000 people but it wasn't so bad. I met some great people & I got a new boyfriend. What I find truly amazing is that I can wait for 3 years to find a boyfriend in the US. In Europe, 2 days. WTF??!! Poor Volodymyr from the Ukraine…I left him on the Mediterranean pining after me. Heehee. What a cutie though!

Our first stop was Villefranche-sur-Mer. GORGEOUS! You can say whatever you want about the French, but their Riviera is breathtaking. We hopped a train to Nice and once we got there, we turned around and went back. Nice wasn't so nice. We had lunch at a cute little cafĂ© nestled inside a passageway. Our waiter looked like a French Dudley Moore and wanted to marry my mother. He told me, as I was mimicking his French, that the language is spoken with the eyes…not the mouth. I mimicked again and passed the test. We had French wine, nicoise salad and escargot. Ugh! The French in the part of France are incredibly nice. Probably because they moved from Nice.

Our next stop was Florence, Italy. I don't know if I fell in love because that is where my Dario is from, because of the architecture or because of both. But in love I did fall. We walked through Santa Croce square and found a quaint shop that was having free wine tasting. I bought a pair of Italian pumas because my flip flops were giving me a blister & I still didn't have my luggage. We left Florence and traveled to Pisa. Of course, we were typical dorky tourists and did the pushing over the tower pose. Our guide told us that Pisans were stupid, had us sing kareoke and taught us Italian sign language. Nice...oh, wait...that's in France.

On to Rome. Rome was amazing! The Coliseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain…stunning. If you want to be an architect or just love buildings, you MUST go to Italy. Medieval Gothic architecture on every corner. Oh, hurrah!! I was a little disappointed in the lasagna I had for lunch though. There were peas in it. Bleck. I don't like peas, but the gelato was the best thing that I've ever tasted! All the gelato flavors had Coldstone beat by a mile and trust me, we tasted many flavors! We also went to Vatican City. I'm not religious but the Pope's house is amaza-za-zing. They said that if you walk through the doors that all of your sins will be forgiven. I ran in & out a few times for good measure.

Next we hit Naples. We hiked Mt. Vesuvius first. Thank God we got our luggage the night before. This hike was difficult and there would be no way I could do it in my flip flops. I also decided that I didn't want to ruin my new Pumas. The hike was difficult! The bus ride up was a little scary due to the road resembling a bike path. Which, by the way, Italians drive like maniacs! There were slight lines on the road but no one cared. It was a pell-mell of vehicular action. Smart cars swerving in and out. Vespas skittering about. Buses plowing there way through. If you can drive in all of Italy and survive…then you have mad driving skills! After Vesuvius we went to Pompei. This place was also incredible. Mt. Vesuvio erupted and destroyed Pompei & Herculaneum on Amanda's birthday in 79 AD. These two cities remained hidden for over 1600 years. Today you can see what looked to be a beautiful city. Pompei was remarkable preserved. You can also see plaster casts of the victims found.

Then we were off to Sicily. I have to say, I wasn't too excited about Napoli & Sicily. They just happened to be included in the cruise. I probably won't return to either, even though Pompei was awesome. Sicily was nice, the vineyard we visited was ok but I didn't like the feel. I didn't find a mob husband or see the mafia either. Damn it. I did see Coreleone though. Our guide told us that they are trying to rid the town & family of the reputation. They no longer want to be referred to as Godfather mobsters. They also wouldn't ship wine to my house. I wasn't about to place a case of wine in my luggage either so no one gets wine. This sort of sucked because I didn't buy souvenirs. I planned on giving everyone Italian wine. Ooops, sorry! Haha!

Despite the lost luggage, my mother complaining & little time in the places I loved, I had a wonderful trip. I will definitely go back to France, Florence & Rome. Besides, I threw my coins into the Trevi Fountain. I will visit Rome again AND I will marry the man I love. Hurrah! Now I just have to find the man I love. ::sigh::

*Peace.

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