Guess who's going to Italy? Me! AH I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself. It was a last minute decision and I do regret that a little because one of my train tickets (the one coming back home) was hideously expensive (it cost more than the other 4 tickets combined!). Still, even if they take longer, I much prefer trains and they are also a lot cheaper than planes if you want last minute tickets.
I'm off on a 10 day trip to :
Genoa, Pisa, Florence and Rome
or in French: Gênes, Pise, Florence, Rome
or in Italian: Genova, Pisa, Firenze, Roma
A bit off topic but it kind of annoys me why they bother to change the city names! I think they should just stay what they are in their native language and not be 'dumbed down' for foreigners! All of my students pronounce the city Lyon as Lie-on because they think that's how it should be pronounced in English! (instead of the French Lee-yon) Grr... I never say Lie-on. It sounds awful.
Also, from a very young age I discovered that Italian was my favourite cuisine and still is. From the ages of around 8-15 I was obsessed with Garfield, that big fat lazy orange cat. I collected all the comic books and various Garfield memorabilia. I related to him because I adore Italian food and I despise Mondays. And Garfield likes to annoy Odie like I used to annoy my little sister.
When I was in high school I had many friends of Italian origins as there was a small community of Italian people in a suburb not far from our school.
Then, thinking about recent events, I discovered that it was a coincidence that my ex in Sydney, my ex in France, and my new best friend here, C, ALL have Italian or part-Italian origins too.
When I was in Nice recently, I couldn't help but notice there was such an Italian air about that place. It made me want to go to Italy more and more. In fact, I've been wanting to go there for the longest time and had planned to go there a few years back with my ex but it never eventuated.
A note about Venice. They say it's the most romantic city in the world and perhaps that is true. That's why I don't want to go there... alone. Maybe it's dumb, maybe it's corny, maybe it's superstitious, but I don't want to go there until I'm with 'the one', the one that I want to be with forever. I only want to go there with him, whoever that may be and whenever that may be that I meet him. So that's why I'm not going to Venice now.
I also ummed and erred about going to Turin/Torino and Milan/Milano and the beautiful La Spezia/Cinque Terre region too but they'll have to wait until next time (as will the south of Italy!)
Reading Eat Pray Love (Elizabeth Gilbert) and The Promise (Lisa Clifford) also made me want to go to Italy badly.
And the last reason I want to go to Italy is a practical one. It's the closest foreign country to me apart from Germany and Switzerland, both of which I've already been to. I cannot stand flying and try to avoid it where possible. It's not a fear, I just hate all the waiting and queuing and stupid rules about luggage. I can't travel to anywhere I want to, it has to be reasonably close to be affordable and so I can get there within the same day.
I have my accommodation (Couchsurfing, of course) lined up for Genoa and Rome. I just need to find one for Florence now!
Unfortunately, at the back of my head, I'll still be wondering about "the issue" and am still waiting and waiting for more news...
Eh ben, Voilà !
Just before I wrote up this blog post, I noticed on Skype that Luca was online. I 'met' him around 21 months ago in July 2009 (through YouTube) when I first started to learn French and haven't spoken to him for over a year. He's from Rome so I said a quick "Hello" and told him I'm coming to Rome and it would be so cool if we could meet up. He wrote back that he doesn't actually live in Rome anymore but in.... Paris! haha (because he has a French girlfriend and I guess the long distance thing was too hard).
We got talking and he tells me he teaches languages online now (quitting his job in Rome as an engineer) and makes quite a good living from it. If you haven't checked out his YouTube videos you should. In fact, I'll put a link to it in my sidebar now. The earlier ones aren't great quality but anyway, he is a very talented polyglot (someone who speaks many languages) and shares his methods for learning foreign languages. The most incredible thing to me is not that he speaks several languages (which many many people do) but the fact that he has a close to native-like accent for each language that he speaks!! Even though we won't get to meet up it was still cool to talk to him again after a long absence from both our parts.