Tag Archives: Italy

Rand and I got home last night. Since we landed, I’ve been waging a losing battle against jet-lag. It is 9:15 am, and I really want to go to sleep, which, even if you take into account ALL of the time zones I’ve visited in the last few weeks, makes zero sense (depending on which location my body got stuck in, it is either 12:15pm or 5:15pm, neither of which are appropriate times for curling up and going to sleep). As best as I can figure out, I’m on Papua New Guinea time.

I have never been to Papua New Guinea, but it is presently 2:15 am Thursday there. Which feels about right.

As soon as we left Italy, Rand and I started to have a little bit of perspective on it. On our way home, we spent one more night in Germany, and two in Boston (I guess that counts as taking the scenic route), and when people asked how the Amalfi coast was, we both answered to effect of this:

It was beautiful. And stressful as hell.

Taking a photo in my grandparent’s village, presumably of a house I wanted to buy.

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That, in brief, is southern Italy. It is lovely and infuriating. Something will inevitably happen that will cause me to think, “I’m never coming back here,” and then, in nearly the same breath, I’ll be planning our next trip to Naples and trying to convince my husband that we need to buy a summer home in my family’s village, which is hilarious for lots of reasons, not the least of which is this: we don’t even own a regular home, and I want to buy a summer one.

The entire country makes me absolutely lose my mind. I detest it. I can’t wait to go back. (more…)

Sometimes, I take for granted how much my husband puts up with.

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Indeed, that might be the understatement of the year. If my beloved is reading this, he’s probably done a spit take all over his computer while sputtering, “YOU THINK?”

My poor, maligned love. He puts up with a lot. From me. And during the holidays, from his in-laws, too. Which I argue is his fault.

I mean, I was born into them. I had no choice. He walked right into this situation, mostly sober. THE FOOL.

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Today’s post is by my friend Dan, on whom I have a little crush. You might remember Dan from my account of our trip to the Oregon coast a million summers ago, or from his other brilliant guest posts on the blog.

Sadly, it won’t work out between us. Dan’s already madly in love with my friend Mike, and besides, I kind of want to see where this thing with Rand goes. Oh, well. We’ll always have Astoria, Dan.

(Oh, and psst! If you want to read more of his adventures, check out his blog, Speak of the Daniel).

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One of the things I love about travel is that it’s always an adventure. And like any great adventure, the best journeys are full of exploration, discovery, and surprise (just not the “Surprise! We sent your bags to Tbilisi!” kind of surprise).

It was during one such adventure that I uncovered what was possibly the most delightful surprise in all of my (rather limited) experience as a world traveler.

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I was looking through my photos of Rome from my trip last spring, and I realized something: it is impossible to look cool while tossing coins into the Trevi Fountain. Behold:

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The sign behind my husband lies. Italy is not Eataly, nor vice versa. But it's still damn good.

My cousin’s village in Italy is a relic of the sort you rarely see outside of Indiana Jones movies or PBS-programs narrated by David McCullough. It winds up a hill, dotted with ancient stone houses, now conveniently equipped with electricity and spotty hot water. The local children, carrying heavy monikers of saints or artists, call to one another as they play amongst centuries-old ruins.

And yet, when my family came to visit America, leaving the homeland of Michaelango and Leonardo (and all the other great artists for which ninja turtles were named), they wished to do one thing: shop.

In comparison to the dusty history of their home, the expansive malls and grocery stores of the United States were a sight to behold. They were new and briskly air-conditioned, full of rows of glittering items with reasonable prices that ended in .99. My cousin would explain to me that so many groceries I took for granted – Crest toothpaste, Lucky Charms, Nestle Quik- cost a fortune in Italy. I’d run down the aisles of our neighborhood supermarket with a new appreciation for the sugar-laden products of my homeland, marveling that I could have Frosted Flakes without having to shell out $12.

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During our last trip to Italy, we headed to the Pantheon (in the interest of full disclosure, I did not know the difference between the Parthenon and the Pantheon until rather recently. I also cannot tell the Olsen twins apart. Tell no one of my secret shame). It was at the suggestion of Jessica at WhyGoItaly (whose site was invaluable when trying to determine what we wanted to see in Rome), who declared it one of her favorite places. As she noted, most of the structures in Italy are shells of their former glory, but the Pantheon, having been in continuous use for thousands of years, looks almost exactly as it did back in its prime. It’s truly humbling.

Which is why I’m going to ruin it with yet another comic.

Sorry.  (more…)

There are parts of our Rome trip which I would like to share with you, but I can’t. I would like, for example, to share with you the name of the restaurant where Rand’s friend Fleur took us, but I swore to her that I would not. I willfully forgot its name and location. I remember only the food, which was fantastic.

 

Carpaccio with shaved truffles.

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Seafood pasta: the live lobster was actually shown, on a tray, to all the tables. Barbaric. And delicious.

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They are four-inch-tall, rhinestone-studded confections. And they were probably a mistake.

They are also taupe.

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And yet, I regret nothing.

I found them in a boutique near Piazza Navona, as the rain fell on our last morning in Rome. I saw them in the window, and stopped abruptly. The way romantic leads do in Hollywood movies. I stopped, I stared. The rain fell.

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