As you can tell I have put off and put off this final post. I felt as long as I left something hanging, I was still living in the present regarding my trip and not the past.
Now that I have flipped TWO pages in the calendar, I must admit the past is the past and it is time to move forward.
When I consider my title “The Best of the Rest” I realize I could basically just rewrite my entire trip. Every moment was wonderful and had value. I could come up with a fitting category for virtually every person, place, tour, food, mistake, outfit, etc. For example;
Best T-shirt– the one I am wearing right now, Florencetown Alumni(also the ONLY t-shirt)…see…I could obviously let this get out of hand…..but I will try to tighten it up a bit.
Best Tours- Cooking/Foodie Classes
It started with my 18 mile bike ride down Via Appia. I am so proud of myself for completing that one. I have some great memories from it that I could not have experienced any other way. I also enjoyed Firenze bike ride. I think everyone should take a bike tour their first day in any town that offers one. I cannot imagine a better way to get your bearings. But, without a doubt, my favorite “tours” were my cooking classes and my “Foodie” tour. They were all such a good marriage of food and culture, and frankly…that is what I want in a vacation. Give me great, regional food and an authentic cultural experience and I am a happy girlinroam!
I know the fact that I love to cook and eat comes into play, but I feel that anyone who enjoys new experiences would love investing 5 or so hours of a holiday like this.
And the Florence for Foodies was such fun! I am working on a “Fredericksburg for Foodies” in my head.
Best Spiritual Moments-
Fortunately, this journey/adventure was filled with moments that touched my heart. Visiting amazing basilicas. Realizing the lengths man can go and is willing to go to honor God. Lighting prayer candles…. Igniting mine from the flame of another’s….there is a powerful connection there. The kindness of strangers. Etc… But if I HAVE to narrow it down, so,
Being Eye to Eye/Occhio per Occhio with Papa!!
The entire experience that morning was uplifting! Many people ask, did I see all I wanted to see during my trip? This one example of many, that everything about the trip exceeded my expectations.
When this man looks me in the eyes and tells me he will pray for me, I believe he still is.
Best Mass Experience-
This is a tough one. There were such special individual moments at each; the neighborhood feel of Santa Maria in Trastevere, the connection the priest had with his parish at Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence…But my mind keeps going back to the Saturday evening mass at Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi. The sound of the thunder, the wind whipping through the lower basilica, the darkness the storm created….it was beautiful…and that is such a weak word to describe it…but I am at a loss.
Best Street Art- Firenze
As with every city, beauty and art are in the eyes of the beholder, and in Firenze…beauty and art are EVERYWHERE!
I feel so fortunate that I arrived during a special exhibit. This being the 50th Anniversary and pieces loaned from various museums for the celebration, was just icing on the cake.
Best Beach – The waters of Cinque Terre
No doubt about this. Seeing the coastline from Amalfi to Nice, there are countless amazing spots…but I truly think none compare to this…
Best People- The people of Italia….hands down!!
I wish I had a photo of everyone that comes to mind…..my waiter at Gusto, Franco, Franco’s Family, the little guy that worked at the jewelry store in Anacapri but was an architect, my shoe guy, his sons, the lady that kept helping me find the fried calzone bakery, Emma from the Blue Grotto, Chef Andrea uno and due, the lady who ushered me to the barrier at Piazza San Pietro, the Franciscan Friar, the little guy in the hills of Capri that insisted I see his part of the park, the kids that begged for gelato, my waitress Grazia in Albenga, Milena and her precious girls, the limoncello man in Monterosso, my waiter at Al Pozzo, the guy with the eggplant for a friend, the baby girl washing her pappa on the beach, Nat, Luca, Fabio at the leather shop, the women where I bought Dalton’s socks, the butcher, the wine guy that loved-a hees-a grappa, the list could go on and on.
What special faces. What special places they hold in my memories.
I will limit myself to just a few.
And finally, Best Sunset- Piazzale Michelangelo, Firenze
I was in awe the entire evening. When I returned home and shared this photo, I was reminded that the sun would only hit in that spot on the Arno very few days out of a year…and for the atmospheric conditions to be just right……
Well…..you can see why this spot gets top honors!
To anyone who is still reading my blog (hi mom, hi dad), thank you so much for adding another dimension to my trip.
Sitting here, finalizing this journey, my heart aches. But aching for something makes the return that much sweeter. Ciao!