Thursday, April 22, 2010

Italy Continued?

Sorry I'm so late blogging this morning.

It's my turn to blog, every Thursday. And you know it's hard to come up with a subject week after week. I call on a few friends to help me from time to time. But today I'm winging it. I had a topic picked out--Reviews. Are they fair? Or not.

But heck, the last two days have been about one of my favorite places. Italy. So....

Let's talk Italy. Venice, Florence, Rome, Milan... Oh man, I loved that place. We didn't make it to Southern Italy but plan to visit next year.

Our Italian Journey began in Milan, while I wasn't impressed with the city itself I loved the people. Our hotel manager--I'm sure they're called something else. Berated me right off the bat about not learning their beautiful language before my visit. I explained it wasn't for lack of trying. I have the CD's to prove it. I just suck at languages, even English.

From that moment he decided to teach me. He'd say a phrase to me as we'd leave for the day. And I'd say "what?" and he'd repeat. Then he'd throw up his hands. "See you later alligator!" I'd laugh and tell him I was not going to say "After a while crocodile!" in Italian. When we checked out he gave us a bottle of Barbara wine to remember him. Believe me we'll never forget him.

My other fond memory of Milan is the laundromat. Yup you heard right. We packed light and washed clothes when needed. Until Venice we had a lady who had sort of invited herself along (long story) anyway we invited her to go with us. She said "No I'm making use of that little toilet thing with the faucet on it to wash out my things." After I swallowed back the nausea, I decided I wasn't going to explain what bidet was.

My husband and I found the little place around the corner. A German man was in attendance. In broken English he helped us get started. Then offered to share his beer with my husband while we waited. For an hour and a half we enjoyed his company. He told us stories in German, we commented in English and we were in Italy. How fun is that? I have no clue what he said.

We traveled to Marghera a little town across from Venice. We were on a strict budget and couldn't afford the hotels in Venice. So every day we'd pay a Euro to take the bus to Venice. I fell in love with the place. I want to go back and stay forever. Hubby has other ideas.

One of my favorite times there was 'discovering'. In the Rick Steve's book we had of Italy it said not to visit all the tourist traps but to discover your own treasures. So every time we were lost my husband would say we're not lost we're 'discovering'. We went discovering a lot. Anyway our first night we were completely turned around. We found ourselves in a local area and the last bus of the night left in about twenty minutes.

We had no clue where we were. A nice man led us out and gave us instructions on how to read the signs of Venice. We weren't lost again after that. I saw more of Venice than most people that night.

For our Anniversary we indulged in having custom masks done. We found a shop and though we could find some we liked they were the wrong colors, or if they were the right colors we didn't like the design. So with a lot of sign language we were able to order two that would be ready for us before we left. The designer packaged them for us to carry in our back packs.

Our next stop: Florence. My favorite was the scenery. I loved it. But the gelato Mm. There is nothing like it in the states. And we walked everywhere. Beautiful.

We took a day trip to San Gimignano known for it's towers. We picked a day of rain. No not rain down pour! On the main street we only saw a see of umbrella's. So we veered off to side trips and found some ruins. They were roped off, but we didn't 'see' the rope and climbed to the top. The view of the valley with it's breath taking view made it worth the risk.

Then we found my favorite eating place. A little tavern above the main shopping, no one was there but us. We stayed until time to catch the bus.

Rome our final destination. History. I loved every minute of it. Though my feet did not. We didn't sleep past 5 am the entire time in the ancient city. Wanting to beat the crowds we were up and at the site before opening. I was so overweight and out of shape at the time of our trip if we had visited Rome at the first of our three week trip I can honestly say I wouldn't have made it.

We climbed the stairs of St. Peter's Basilica--The dome. Small stairwell, and curved literally. Again, well worth it. The view. Can't be described. We visited all the normal sites, but my favorite was stopping at nondescript churches. Plain on the outside, but you walked into a ornate beautiful old world church. Hard to explain.

And that sums up my trip to Italy. I cannot wait to visit again.


KK Brees said...

Italy is high on my list of places I hope to visit. I'd love to set a mystery there - definitely a place with a capacity for high intrigue and drama.

Lindsay said...

Your husbands comment about discovering is perfect and just goes to show that we men don't get lost and don't need to ask directions. We 'discover'.
Sorry to say it but as much as you all like Italy, my choice is England and Scotland. Must be something in my blood. Since I'm half Scots.

Mary Martinez said...

Keep Italy there at the top of your list. It's worth it!

I would love to visit Scotland. Unfortunately it's not high on my husbands list. But I want to see everywhere. If I had the money I would spend my days 'discovering' the world.

Lindsay said...

I've got family in Scotland. Albeit very distant but a Lindsay, family last name BTW, is a Lindsay and especially in Scotland we're most likely related. And I've got very distant relatives who fought alongside William, not Mel Gibson, Wallace.
Plus the sequel to my current book takes place in England.

Mary Martinez said...

I wish I could say I had relatives in some cool exotic place. And that I write about them. But alas I don't.

Have fun with your book!

Someday I'll visit Loch Ness and nessie.

Lindsay said...

Only if Nessie wants a visitor. She's temperamental don't forget.
And thanks for the Good Luck wishes

Liz Lipperman said...

Sounds like a great trip, Mary. We were there during an unusual heat wave and nearly died. They can't get my drinks cold enough and you have to specifically ask for ice.

Ah, I relived my trip through your adventure, but now it's time to get back to writing. A deadline looms.

Mary Martinez said...

Thank you for posting. Good luck with the deadline.

Wouldn't it be fun for the M&M's to visit Italy together.

The country would never be the same. LOL

Lindsay said...

Having the four of you ladies in Italy at the same time and place. Don't know if I'm scared or if I should start saving my money for bail to get you all out of jail.
They do offer bail over there don't they

Patg said...

Next time head south to Pompeii and on down into Sorrento. Take a ferry over to Capri, or continue along the Amalfi coast. If you'd rather go north, jump off in Milan and head to the lake region. Lake Como is spectacular, and you might catch a glimpse of George Clooney.
Top if my list is Malta.
I go to England at the drop of a hat, and I always swear I'm going to go to Scotland, but never do.

Anonymous said...

Policeman found unpublished coal drawing NESSIE Loch Ness Monster and the Black Man without a face date 1949 cm 53 x cm 42 – Famous Artist M.C. ESCHER 1898 -1972 NL