Two years ago today, we were getting home from our trip to Italy. I’m feeling a bit nostalgic, and I desperately want to go back. Sigh. It was my first trip to Europe, and it was entirely more than I had imagined it would be. It changed me. Everything we saw, everything we did, every experience we had stays with me. It’s part of me now. I look at our photos and can’t seem to process I can’t just be there in a heartbeat. Do you ever feel that way after traveling?
Rome was awesomely overwhelming. Every corner we turned brought some other historical building/fountain/location to see, right in the middle of everything modern. After three days, we’d learned how to successfully cross a Roman street without holding up traffic or getting run over by a bus. We figured out dinner didn’t really happen until 9pm, and was a 2-hour affair, which I loved. We saw so much, and walked so much. I cried when we walked into the Sistine Chapel. I’m still in awe when I think about it. We experienced a summer storm. We refilled our water bottles like pros. My camera card was nearly full, and we still had Tuscany and Venice to go.
I felt at home the minute we hit Tuscany. I knew instantly why so many Americans drop everything and move there. While I knew we were in Italy, it looked similar to home with the rolling hills covered in vineyards. On our way to our Tuscan villa, we stopped for lunch at Banfi Castle, complete with wine pairings. Amazing. We stayed in Montalcino. I would love to have a month in that beautiful town to absorb it all. I felt I could breath there. And don’t get me started on the wine. Ahhhh….the Brunello di Montalcino….and the gelato…..
Then there was Siena. I could picture the horses running in the piazza. One of my favorite photos from the trip is looking up at the clouds floating in (before the rain started) over the tower. We shopped, ate, and drank. I could almost feel the history seeping into my bones.
When we got off the train in Venice, I couldn’t believe I was really seeing this city. I blinked and told spouse, “Well, this certainly isn’t the Venetian in Vegas, is it?” We took a gondola ride at sunset, and laughed as our gondolier took a cell phone call smack in the middle of the Canal (firstworldproblems). We had drinks at Harry’s Bar. We ate beside the Grand Canal (totally a tourist thing to do, but it must be done, yes?). We walked, and got lost more times than I can count. We kissed at the top of the Rialto Bridge (along with about a thousand other people). We sat at the rooftop bar, watching the evening world of Venice go by.
We got lost driving back to Rome. It really isn’t difficult to do. But because we got lost, we came across a beautiful lake at the foot of a hillside town. It was breathtaking. I’m convinced we were meant to see it, and we would have missed it entirely had we not missed a turn.
There’s so much of Europe we both want to see, but I do think Italy will always be our favorite, because we went there first.