You Never Do Arrive

The hardest part of travel for me is … me.

I don’t sleep easily in a new place, not to mention a new time zone. So my first few days in Italy, I was bleary and cranky from sleep deprivation.

Travel also proves that I am an incorrigible creature of habit. While I tried to adapt to Italian breakfasts of espresso and too-sweet pastries, I missed strong coffee and eggs.

I have a truly ridiculous habit of comparing anywhere new (like Italy) with something more familiar (like California). So when I first saw the startling color of the Mediterranean, my first thought wasn’t “Wow!” or “How beautiful!” but rather, “We have water that color at Tahoe!”.

Since this was my first trip to Italy, I also brought along my movie-inspired ideas of what Italy was like and the reality wasn’t always what I’d imagined. I’d expected all of the Renaissance art, but not the graffiti. I knew Italy was a popular destination, but the sheer number of tourists was astounding.

But incredibly, despite the lack of sleep and coffee, travel works. It gets to you eventually. Even with my bad habits and expectations, I arrived back in San Francisco charmed by our two weeks in Italy.

We arrived where we needed to be (even with an initial train strike). I slept some. What the country ultimately lacked in caffeine, it more than made up in gelato.

We visited places that even I had to admit were unlike anything in California. The Napa Valley is lovely, but it’s nothing like the endless green hills of Chianti. I can get delicious pizza in San Francisco and great pastas in New York City, but the incredible 2 hour meal we had at Solociccia is impossible to find anywhere outside of Panzano.

In many ways, the reality of Italy was so much more than I could have expected. I’d read about Dario Cecchini, but his personality can’t adequately be described on paper. There is probably no happier person in the whole world.

In the Cinque Terre, we asked in our meager Italian to rent a room and were rewarded with a huge, two bedroom apartment with terrace that looked out on the Mediterranean and a kitchen that looked out on the terraced vineyards. That night as we cooked dinner in the kitchen, I looked out on the vineyards and thought to myself, “Now this is Italy”.

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One Response to “You Never Do Arrive”

  1. sarah Says:

    that last photo falls into the category of pictures so beautiful they almost look fake. Can you believe i was vegetarian when i was in siena? Can’t wait to see your photos in person.

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