It’s been nine weeks that I’m in Italy. I go home tomorrow and I feel a sadness. I’m not sure I’m ready to go home though friends are missed very very much. I’ve had such a wonderful adventure…..I’ve been italicized/italianized. From Toscana to Amalfi Coast, from Siena to Roma, from Pescara to Ischia – so much to see, to learn, to hear, to enjoy. Such variety! beauty! cuisines! people! history and architecture!
From the start, I knew flexibility would be essential…. Lots of deep breathing and mental and physical relaxation to let things be and to stay flexible as much as possible. About seven weeks into the nine week trip, I was in a relatively bad mental and physical place… Hot, tired, frustrated with being cheated twice in two days and short on acceptance and surrender! That’s when I came close to melt down but a dear friend gave me some of his spiritual wisdom which immediately set me back on path! Just a part of the journey, I think.
Before I put the finishing touches on this adventure, I’ll share some observations and some stories that don’t have pictures but that portray fun and/or frustrating aspects of the trip. But first I want to be sure you understand I’ve avoided sharing negatives about the places I’ve stayed and there were some but this is not a travel guide and I’m not doing TripAdvisor on my adventures! Having a bad time has something to do with all parties involved and I’ll leave it at that. If per chance you might like my full detailed (good & bad) input on something in this blog, email me and I’ll be as helpful as I can.
Bugs: Have seen very, very few insects crawling or flying except of course those little bastard mozzies (Brit for mosquitoes) that adore me! Don’t understand why there aren’t more…maybe the dry climate? Dunno just glad of it!
Driving: OK, Ok. Yes, I know I’ve talked a lot about driving but hey! I did drive over 3300 kilometers so it was of importance. My observation is >>>>I know I saw less than 10 roadkill during those kilometers! How’s that possible? Yet I constantly saw signs cautioning deer in the area! Never saw one! How do the animals stay out of the road? I hate to see animals in the road but we see them constantly at home but not here!
And speaking of animals, I saw very few sheep or cattle and I was deep in rural areas plenty! Curious.
Driving question…can anyone estimate how fast a passing car is traveling if they pass me in less than a full second and my speed is 130 kph? Think about that question and you may come to the realization I did after a car I did not see in my rear view mirror was suddenly behind me and it appeared he was close enough to open my trunk/boot. Gave me a start! I know I jumped!
On the autostrada, in order to change lanes to pass, one must first check the rear view mirror for cars approaching as far back on the road as the eye can see. I’m serious …some of those cars are traveling so fast it’s hard to pass a slow car in front before the speed demons are on top of you in the passing lane! Red Rover was zippy but we didn’t get over 140 (86mph)
Smokers: Yikes! There are cigarette butts everywhere in Rome! Same for Pescara. Fortunately, in most of the other cities and towns and villages I saw people put out their cigarettes then divert to put the butt in trash can! Similarly, lots of graffiti in Rome, Naples and Pescara but very little else where.
Laundromat or Lavanderia in Italy>>>>I had occasion to visit lavanderias in several different locations and I got smart about their treachery quickly! The dryers try to melt your underwear!!! I’m serious, people! The dryers I encountered have two settings…no heat or fires from Hell! Then there’s the front load washer that kept flipping my clothes back and forth, round and round but never added soap or water! That nasty contraption ate my 4 euros and did nothing for my clothes except fluff them! Yeah, just what I want —-fluffy dirty clothes! Oh and there are no humans to receive complaints or to help…on your own, Pumpkin!
Language barrier! Yes, plenty of Italians speak some English. However, it was my experience those English speakers are the minority in some places. I was glad for my translator app on my phone yet it is difficult to ask a complicated question using the translator. On the other hand I started working in a few Italian words and phrases which softens up the grouchy ones a bit and they decide they need to help me in order to get me out of their hair! Works like a charm!
“So Italian” story from today…I was searching this afternoon for duck tape to wrap around the cheap duffle bag now packed with my cloths. Unfortunately, my Italian data and cell service provider cut me off because my two months were up last night. So I have no phone or internet except via WiFi and I desperately needed a translator. I got extremely lucky and walked into what appeared to be a hardware store which ….aha! surely carries duct tape!! It was a husband-wife duo operating the shop but neither spoke English and I had no way to translate for them since I had no cell service! Pantomime was not working!
I was not to be defeated! I used ye ole noggin and went back outside to the MailBox store I’d passed a few steps back….in luck again because one of the guys came back to the hardware store with me after I pulled out the non capisco (don’t understand) ! He told the owners what I wanted and the tape appeared from the back storage area I couldn’t see! Yeah!
In general, I think the Italians are so generous and exceptionally tolerant of all us foreigners in their midst! Only a few have actually scowled at me or been rude!
Food and wine: when I travel, I eat a good breakfast if possible then I eat a very late big lunch which serves as my main meal. This is just a factoid sorta related to the following …I was in a tiny village and really hungry on a Sunday afternoon late. I found a restaurant with cars out front and what appeared to be locals inside…always a promising sign! I went in and had a wonderful meal and enjoyed a glass of the local wine. When I was ready to leave, I asked if I could buy a bottle of the local wine. The waitron looked at me strangely but she went back to the kitchen and was gone a long time. When she finally returned she was with the owner and both were smiling. The waitron handed me a 2 liter plastic jug…filled with white wine! They had found a 2 liter water bottle to fill from the cask, I guess. And the kicker?!? Charged me 6 euros for the 2 liters!
And it appears I’ve been drinking whipping cream in my morning coffee. I knew something was off but I was too lazy to use the translator app! I shook the container very vigorously this morning and my white liquid turned to whipped cream…tasty but strange in coffee…wonder why that is?
And FINALLY! It’s been a pleasure sharing my great good fortune with you! Thank you for being with me and for sharing your thoughts, excitement, questions and comments! So special to know I’m not alone!
Well, I rambled enough. G’night! Ciaooooo!