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Dear Diary: Italy Again!
a virtual postcard tour
by Dianne Kochenburg
Dear Diary, It's raining here in Milano. You can almost
see it on this postcard. Il Duomo looks so formidable in bad weather. I
peeked inside, it smells of the ages, and candles, grime. I shivered in
the cold. A frightening place. I can feel the evil spirits from our
hotel just a block away. A profound beginning of our grand tour of Italy.
The trains may run on time, but the
planes don't. Got in late, our luggage lost, and then found, on its way
to Rio. We will have it in a day or two. Lucky for us, there are lots of
nice shops, so we'll buy a few things to get by until we are reunited
with our globe trotting bags.
Dear Diary: The train to Firenze is
quite luxurious compared to the one that took us to Lake Como yesterday.
The dining car was elegant, right out of an old black and white movie.
Such a treat. And then into Firenze, a medieval city meant for scholars, artists and
lovers, not the two of us. We sat in the piazza and drank the wine,
nearly fell asleep in the afternoon sun like a couple of old dogs.
We are footsore and tired, but will
revive tomorrow for our trek through the Uffizi and a long walk along
the Arno. Hordes of tourists, us among them. What must it be like to
live among the travelers, who look so lost and awestruck. I cannot
imagine living in this city and taking its beauty for granted.
Diary: I thought of you today, how
trying it must be to read these mundane tourist comments. We are
wandering through Italy, gawking here and there, seeing what everybody
sees, trying to find the words to describe the immortal beauty. So trite
and shopworn are the comments. How many trips have you stored away?
We are in Verona and this is Juliet's
balcony. If you sit under it, legend has it that you will return to
Verona some day. Will I? Probably not. But perhaps I will remember the
worn brick, the trailing ivy and gorgeous street flowers. I will try to
forget the annoying tourists with their Texas accents who quarreled and
made silly jokes.
Oh dear diary! We had a spat today, in a restaurant exactly like this
one, overlooking the Italian Rivera. We never raised our voices, just
growled hateful remarks to each other. How civilized of us. It must have
been the curvy road with the drop offs that set us on edge. A nail
biter, and it took so long. I want to turn in the car and get out of
here some other way. So painful to feel miserable in such a glorious
Diary: I must apologize for being so
cranky yesterday. We slept well. It must have been the restorative salt
air, and both bottles of wine we had for dinner. I'm feeling a little
fragile, but it good spirits. Portofino beckons. If I had my way I would
spend the day under one of those umbrellas sipping cappuccino and
reading. Perhaps I will suggest it for tomorrow. We are here for several
days. I do not want to go out in a boat, or tramp up to the viewing
station, or see the cathedral. Traveling can be so tiring.
Diary! I've been ignoring you. Here we
are in Venezia, among the pigeons in the piazza San Marco. The pigeons
strut and coo, then fly off, only to land a few feet away. Then the
incessant cooing starts again. I chuckle. Perhaps they are tourists like
us. Wandering a few feet here and a few feet there, stopping for
something to eat, looking for the loo. And then doing it all over again.
You know, dearest Diary, one cannot
take a bad photo here in this astonishing place. The gondola ride was
lovely, we hired one who sang. All out, that's us. We are finally in
full tourist mode. Buying up trinkets, eating from the food stalls,
drinking every day, as though it were our last meal, our last glass of
wine, our last remembrance. And now it is time to leave. Back to Milano
tomorrow for the plane home.
I can't say I'm unhappy to leave
Italy. It's been a wonderful adventure, but home is best, and I'm
anxious to be there. You have been a wonderful Diary, as usual. You have
nothing to say and you are always ready to listen. I do appreciate that,
an unfailing quality in a diary. I won't forget you. We will be back on
the road again before you know it.
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