This week's topic is about our favorite vacation. Well, hands down, it would be my trip to Italy. One year, my aunt decided to (finally) go to Italy. And not only took her two children (we were all adults youngest about 35), but offered to take my sister and I. One of my cousins, Phil, had been to Italy several times and he was a very large help. Helped us learn how to get around, find a place to stay, etc.
We had no itinerary. No timeframe - other than when we had to return home. And it was absolutely marvelous. We visited every church, cathedral and museum we could find. Ate from street vendors, sidewalk cafes, tiny, tiny restaurants and had amazing food the entire time.
We were awed by everything. The arcetecture (ok. spell check is not helping. I know it's not spelled correctly, but darn if I can find out the right way.) was phenominal. Think of the assets designers have today - and none of that was available. We stood outside of the Coliseum and were awed. Talked about Audrey Hepburn while sitting next to the Trevi Fountain. And were left speechless by the Sistene Chapel.
I had pasta for dinner every night. I had a different dish everynight, and not once did I have marinara sauce. Breakfast was a different story though. In all of the different cities we went to, we never found an American type breakfast. The pensiones offered toast and plain yogurt. Which wasn't quite what we were looking for! And the coffee.....ahhh, it just doesn't get any better.
We stayed in a pensione every night except one. And the bathrooms were always shared - a bathroom in the hall for each "wing" of the home. Well, it was truly a different experience. The shower was not like an American shower. Basically, the whole room - floor, walls, ceiling - was ceramic tile. The shower head was near one end of the room, the drain was in the floor, with the sink and commode across the room! You had to be very careful where you put your towel and change of clothes so that everything stayed dry!
We almost always used public transportation. I can remember taking a taxi twice. You buy your bus tickets in the tobacco shop! I don't remember where I bought my subway ticket - I think it was while I was still at the airport. And we all had rail passes for the train.
The fashion sense was incredible! I took a picture of three generations of women - grandma about 50, daughter, and granddaughter about 3 - all dressed "to the nines." Textured hose were very common. We did find a hosiery store - I've seen closets that were bigger than that store. The farmer's markets were everything you could have hoped for. Fruits and vegetables fresh from the fields. The meat and cheese markets had meats hanging from the ceiling. The store owner reached up and cut off cheese for my sister and I.
And of course the art. I couldn't begin to describe it. I came home with books from the museums. And many times I didn't even try to take photographs - I bought many postcards with no intention of mailing them.
I hope to return this year. I want to go to a cooking school in Italy on vacation. I'm also contemplating a bicycle tour through part of Italy. I haven't checked into either of those yet. I obviously have a few things to do to get ready - travel agent, bike training, etc!