I love how Russians always like to use the word “impressions” when asking about travels. Americans ask what you did on your trip. Russians ask what new impressions you received.
Back in cool, green, puffy-clouded Moscow, I’m exhausted from 10 days of touring Italy. After an early morning class I’m tempted to take a nap, but want to get my impressions out before they fade any more.
- My Moscow-born husband setting the pace on day one when he dragged my sleep-deprived, plane-contorted body across Rome to tour the Coliseum before sunset, snap pictures, and try to imagine 20 to 70 thousand toga-clad bloodthirsty Romans cheering the gladiators in the hot sandy arena.
- Getting lost in the winding halls of the Vatican museums, staring at Raphael paintings, ancient maps, and being moved to tears, worship, and awe in the Sistine Chapel.
- Early morning Italian breakfasts with hot milky cappuccino’s, variations of cake and toast with jam served on trays, in colorful mugs, near an open bedroom window, or overlooking the silvery, morning-misted Mediterranean.
- Amazing shopping – beautiful reams of artisan paper, sparkly glass jewelry from Venice, wall-to-wall bottled wine shops, fresh fruit, glossy designer window shops, flower kiosks, and leather-scented rows of bags, belts, and shoes.
- Collapsing into a chair under an umbrella each night, and being brought big plates of amazing insalate, pasta, risotto, pizza, and tiramisu, and enjoying everything slowly with my man over glasses of incredible wine. No cooking and no dishes, but plenty of inspiration for future gastronomic experiments!! Artichoke, parmesan cheeses, spicy sausage, creamy sauces, thin wood-baked pizza crusts, boiled egg, pancetta, lemon, and freshly-ground pepper will be my new art mediums!
- Swimming in the salty, cold, and sapphire-blue Mediterranean near Amalfi. So amazing! Blue sky, rolling waves, rocky cliffs, and trying not to scare yourself, imagining what might be swimming in the bright, clear, blue-tinted depths beneath you. Then roving the beach for sea-glass, and bright pottery shards smoothed by the waves.
- Feeling the ominous gloom at hot, dusty Pompei and wandering through the ruins of an entire volcano-destroyed city. The ancient past has never seemed more real!
- Picking out scoops of gelato twice a day: pistachio, Macedonia fruit, peach, orange, kiwi, pineapple, yogurt, cream, nutella, strawberry, espresso, chocolate, mint, tiramisu, and melon…..the list could go on!
- Roaming the high cliffs of the Amalfi coast with winding roads, olive groves, lemon trees, wildflowers, and the sea blurring into mist near the horizon, everything colored with silvery light
- Running for trains, figuring out the bus system, asking for directions, and walking until our feet were sore and dusty.
- Experiencing a new country with my husband, and just enjoying being with him, and letting him spoil me! Psalms over breakfast, teamworking to figure things out, getting inspired at museums, long walks, seeing his gelato smile, and long conversations over dinner and wine.
All for now…more later…