Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pisa; Or, the Genesis of My Italian Adventure

 Halfway down this collage on the right is a photo of the four of us at lunch
From left to right: Maggie, Tanya, Diana and Francesca

I realized the other day that while I have made minor allusions here and there to my recent holiday in Italy, I haven't shared much about it.  Well, that's going to change.  After the UK, Italy has been the fantasy travel destination of choice since I was a growing girl.  Thus, it really was a dream come true when my uni friends Tanya and Maggie (also fellow Americans) invited me to go with them for a ten-day tour of the country.

On 5 April 2011 we flew into Pisa where our adventure began.  We were blessed with very warm, verging on hot, weather.  I was struck with two impressions upon arriving in this gorgeous country.  1- the architecture is charming!  2- I'm really confused! It had been nearly seven years since I had traveled to a non-English-speaking country, so it was quite jarring to suddenly be thrown into a culture where I didn't understand a thing!  I developed a new-found gratitude for my ability to read; staring at boards of Italian in which I was lucky to decipher the odd word was extremely frustrating.  Literacy, in any language, truly is a gift.

Luckily for us, Maggie's former flatmate (and native Italian) Francesca was there to greet us.  She served as a fantastic guide/translator and immediately led us to a nearby restaurant for a lovely outdoor meal.  Afterwards, I had my first Italian gelato.  I debated long and hard over which option to choose and ultimately settled on a caramel gelato.  It was delicious, though I learned later in the trip that I prefer the fruit flavours. 

From there, we traipsed through the streets of Pisa, making our way to the infamous Leaning Tower.  That's up next on the Italian Adventure agenda! 

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