Buongiorno came way too early this morning! After 2 weeks of complete relaxation I woke this morning in my own bed, which is much more comfy than those Italian ones, but felt homesick for Italy. I have pondered what I should write in this blog because many of you have expressed interest in hearing about our trip. I decided to leave out the day to day details of where we went and what we did and instead tell you about how it "felt". Life in a completely and totally different culture that, in all truth, doesn't think America has it figured out. I say that because the only two other places I have been outside of the US, which were Mexico and Russia, does think that, or at least that was my impression.
I have dreamed for many years of going to Italy so this literally was a dream come true for me. Did it live up to my expectations? Completely exceeded them. At one point I felt like every sense I have was completely overloaded.
Most of you know my whole story as far as food goes, I love it, but also that I am a natural health consultant that eats pretty healthy. Well I decided before I left I wasn't missing anything on this trip, who knows if I will ever go back. Believe it or not my health obsessed hubby did the same. We ate the best food we have ever had in our lives. True Italian food is so much simpler than our American interpretation. The focus is on ingredients. One of my favorite dishes was bruschetta with olive oil. Literally nothing but grilled bread rubbed with fresh garlic and drizzled with the best olive oil I have ever tasted. We ate all, except one meal, in restaurants and were never rushed out. How many times during lunch do we go into restaurants here and they rush our food out with the hope of filling that table again during that hour. Not in Italy. Every meal lasted an hour and a half or more. We ordered pasta, which is just a starter for most Italians, they would bring that before ever taking our main course order. Everyone there treats food as the life force that it is and savors every meal. This was right up our alley. I used to wish that I simply ate to live, they strive for the exact opposite, LIVE TO EAT! Americans try to downplay food and are more obese than any country. I truly did not see a single morbidly obese person. The only slightly overweight people were older women and they showed no evidence of remotely caring about the condition of their aging bodies, hmmm. This was our diet for 2 weeks......Breakfast was cappuccino and a croissant, often chocolate filled. Lunch was pasta or pizza, most days another main course, and wine. Gelato between lunch and dinner. Dinner was a repeat of lunch. Neither of us gained a single pound! Oh and about the wine.......I know this is a big controversy here. But Italy is all about the wine. Vineyards are everywhere. Most people make their own. It is very inexpensive. Kids drink it at special occasions. We did not see a drunk person there. Maybe it's the whole demonization of it here that causes the abuse of it. Just a thought. If you are judging me for enjoying it.....sorry, I'm pretty sure if Jesus turned water into wine he isn't opposed.
As much as I thought I would not like being somewhere that I can't understand the language it really added to the whole experience. The only TV we were able to understand was CNN, which was wonderful because we watched very little. By the time we arrived in Rome, which was the last 3 days of our trip, I really preferred being surrounded by Italian speaking people.
The beauty of the place is really hard to describe. It's unlike anything I have ever seen. Look up pictures and assume they aren't even close to the true beauty.
I really don't know if every American that visits Italy feels the same way we did. Yet for us it was total retreat. The stress of home was gone the minute we got on our plane. I can only hope we get the opportunity to go back, but it won't be soon enough.