Best of- The Rest

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!

Cooking Classes in Rome
Cooking Classes in Rome

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.

Chef Andrea Due making it official!!
Florencetown’s Chef Andrea Due making it official!!
Florence for Foodies with Nat!
Florence for Foodies with Nat!

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!!

Papa Francesco!

Papa Francesco!

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.

But let me add one more moment to this category.IMG_1935_2

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.

IMG_2180_2

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!

IMG_1925_2

This and the "Thanks Daddy" in Anacapri are a FAV!

This and the “Thanks Daddy” in Anacapri are a FAV!

I was in awe each night as new art was created.

I was in awe each night as new art was created.

IMG_1949_2

Inspiration everywhere you look....we should all carry masking tape and good thoughts!

Inspiration everywhere you look….we should all carry masking tape and good thoughts!

Even the street signs are canvases for clever artists!

Even the street signs are canvases for clever artists!

Best Museum Experience- Musee Matisse, Nice, FranceIMG_2802

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…

One of MY "National Geographic" photos...

One of MY “National Geographic” photos…

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.attachment;jsessionid=abcf3LglHms1YhI7CkHdu-1attachment;jsessionid=abcf3LglHms1YhI7CkHduattachment;jsessionid=abcZwG13UeSTp-TFlkHdu

What special faces. What special places they hold in my memories.

Best Photographs-

I will limit myself to just a few.

Pantheon

Pantheon

Roma's countryside

Roma’s countryside

Antonio Viva

Antonio Viva

Team Leader at the Blue Grotto

Team Leader at the Blue Grotto

IMG_1156_2

First sunset in Monterosso

First sunset in Monterosso

Sorrento

Sorrento

One of my TOP 3

One of my TOP 3

One more of my TOP 3

One more of my TOP 3

Possibly my favorite...

Possibly my favorite…

And finally, Best Sunset- Piazzale Michelangelo, Firenze

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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……

So when I returned a few evenings later to witness thisIMG_2341

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!

11 thoughts on “Best of- The Rest

  1. Oh, be sure I am still reading your blogs! I will be hoping for more in the future. I believe that you could make a somewhat ordinary day come to life with your great eye, your insight and your quick wit! I am a fan!

  2. I’m just in love with your pictures, specially that one with the three chairs with the Italian colors! I’ve been to many of this places, and the way you talk about it is so soft and beautiful! Congratulations for the great blog!

    • Thank you so much for your praise! The chairs are one of my favorites as well. Of course it helps that every time I look at it, I am transported back to my walks along the via.
      I am already slipping cash into my Italia “piggy” bank for a return trip.
      Wouldn’t a job traveling, taking photos and writing about adventures be heaven!?

  3. Hahaha wow! I should do the same, because despite of not having left Italy yet, I seriously miss it already. You are right… this kind of job is my dream. If you find the recipe, the formula, the secret or whatever that leads to that, please let me know 😀

  4. I just had to read it all again- YOU just take me there– I hate to see it end- everyone needs to just always read your words- see the photos- to just ‘take us all away in the ‘dream.- YOU do have the gift to see what is special and capture it for us- and your words- this could ppen doors to any travel book company- when your ready- Thanks for the ‘trip’ – as an armchair traveler–
    marti boyd–

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