Thursday, April 5, 2007

A "Delizioso" Vacation


Buon giorno!

I'm back from Italy and it was absolutely one of my most memorable vacations...ever...ever. It's hard to believe that it is over. All the waiting, excitement, build up...and now it is over. But, I have so many wonderful memories, wonderful pictures (hopefully I can get them off of the camera before my son goes off to college 18 months from now),...and wonderful Italian mementos to help me remember my six extraordinary days in Italy.

Let's see...what were the best parts:

- seeing my daughter was one of the top highlights. Actually, seeing my daughter living in Rome was the top, top highlight. Was that truly my daughter...the person who was walking like she knew exactly where she was going in this big Italian city called Rome(she walked faster than I do when I am in New York City...she never used to walk faster then me)...was that my daughter, the person who spoke Italian like she knew what she was talking about(she purchased our train tickets, ordered our meals, and told the taxi cab drivers where to take us)...was that my daughter, the person who guided us through all the sites and toured us through the little streets to local restaurants and shops we never would have found had she not been our guide...was that my daughter, the person I gave birth to 21 years ago (she turned 21 when we were visiting...it was her birthday...was it really 21 years ago this month that I had my first child...impossible...where did the time go? And how is it that I'm already 49?) I am just so proud of the person she has become...the experiences she has had during her semester abroad. When I think of all my accomplishments in my life... my daughter (even though she is 21 and did buy a pair of real Christian Dior sunglasses in Italy for an exorbitant price) still tops the list.

- Oh, all the sites we saw...yes, we saw them all and some days I could barely move by the end of the day...I was glad I was 49 years young to do this trip...it was a lot of walking, a lot of climbing, and a lot of waiting in lines. But, my sturdy Easy Spirits kept me on the move (love those shoes made for us baby boomer women). One day we walked all the way from one side of Rome to the other...from St. Peters Basilica (awesome), to the Piazza Navona (I should have rationalized and bought an oil painting there by one of the incredible artists...now I will have to wait for my next visit), to the marketplace in Campo di Fiori (wish I could have taken home some of the fragrant spices to make my favorite puttanesca sauce), all the way back to our hotel, the Mecenate Palace Hotel on the eastside of the city (a lovely hotel nearby Termini Station, that had a hairdryer that worked...yes...I said a hairdryer that worked). We walked to the Colosseum and up and around the Forum and Palantine Hill...we walked to the Borghese Gardens and rented bicycles to ride around the park and then walked all the way back again to our hotel. We took the train to Florence and walked around in the pouring rain. It was all worth it...yes, it was all worth the walk.

- Oh, all the "delizioso" food we ate...the pizza and the gelato...the gelato and the pizza...the pastries and the biscotti...the pasta and the antipasto...ancora un po' - I always wanted more.

- Oh, all the shopping I did...the leather wallet (always wanted a red leather wallet and what could be better than a red leather wallet that was made in Florence)...the red leather bag (always wanted a red leather bag and what could be better than a red leather bag from Rome)...the green pashima shawl (had to buy something at the Italian market in Florence)...the orange pashima shawl (okay I couldn't decide which one I liked better so I bought them both)...the Murano glass earrings (had to buy a piece of jewelry...what would a trip to Italy be without a piece of jewelry)...the artwork (bought a few lovely small watercolor prints that will be stored in the closet until I finish paying off this trip and can afford to frame them...hopefully before my 50th birthday). There were also all the presents for some of my close relatives and friends...wish I could have bought something for everyone.

What did I pass up that I really wanted to buy? Even though you didn't ask I'll tell you...I didn't buy the leather gloves, even though the nice salesperson from Border's books told me to buy leather gloves (there were too many gorgeous colors and varieties...it was too difficult to decide...so I didn't buy any). I didn't buy a leather jacket (I really liked the leather three quarter length coat in my favorite beige color...but it was just too many Euros...had to pass). I didn't buy the oil painting or the red leather shoes to go with my wallet and bag...there was a limit to what I could rationalize...and fit in my overloaded suitcase...even if I am turning 50 next year.

So, what would I recommend to those who want to visit Rome either before or after your 49th year? Here are some tips:

- pack light (my bag weighted in at more than the designated 55 pounds so I had to take stuff out at the airport and put it in my son's bag...which only weighted 33 pounds). As you can probably imagine...I brought way too many clothes, way too many books (I did read The Secret while in Rome...will share my feelings on that book at a later date), and way too many pairs of shoes, belts, and other assorted accessories.

- read the maps and plan your days. I think our six day visit was just the perfect amount of time...just don't plan to sleep too much. But, if you're like me...you likely don't sleep too much anyway...so it is good to go to Rome during the pre-menopausal years. Also, taking along a teenager who knows how to read maps is very helpful(even if he doesn't like to shop)...was so proud of my son who helped my sister and me navigate the big city of Rome when our guide (my daughter) left for Egypt during the middle of our visit(of course she had to go to Egypt...when would she ever, ever, ever get this opportunity again to see the pyramids and ride a camel).

- take a day trip to Florence. You don't have to go first class either...we made a mistake and ended up getting there really quickly but paying twice the price. And look out the window when you are on the train...it is very pretty and I think it is Tuscany.

- be careful in the subways. It is crowded and you have to watch your bag. We were lucky and made it through without any pickpocketing.

- take an umbrella...but don't worry if it breaks (like mine did)...there are always tons of street vendors selling umbrellas

- eat the pizza and gelati and don't worry about your cholesterol or your weight...just keep walking.

- and don't forget to visit the Bocca della Verita, the legendary Mouth of Truth located on the porch wall at the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, near the north end of Circus Maximus. It was another one of my highlights of the trip...I was determined to find this landmark...how could I leave Rome without putting my hand in the Mouth of Truth. After all, that was where Gregory Peck took Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday...I had to put my hand in the Mouth of Truth. As legend has it, if you're a liar, your hand will be gobbled up. Why would I lie...I had legitimate reasons why I had to buy all those mementos...I am in Rome...no reason to lie about all my purchases...or my age...I'm 49 and proud of it.

My Roman Holiday...I'll always remember.

Judi

2 comments:

Joyce said...

Wow! I've been waiting to hear how your trip went. Sounds fantastic! So glad it was everything you wanted it to be. Now I want to go on vacation - anywhere!

Nancy said...

Could not wait until Monday to hear all about your trip - now I can savor every detail....