All the coastal cities are romantic & beautiful!
Best food in Europe (yes, France, it’s true! Except for your salmon/trout).
Great Pasta, like you’ve never had.
A hill on every path, museum, cathedral, trail, or tiny town. Lots of walking & stairs required. Take substantial shoes.
Italian - most beautiful language, especially spoken by men in a low, persuasive voice. Many Italians know English but you can get by with a smattering of Spanish & just trying.
Prego means Come on, or Let’s go, or even Next in line.
Grazi is a great word to know and fun to say. So is Ciao.
Another Italian term - Agriturismo. Italy’s version of a B&B, on a working farm or more often, winery. Better yet!
A castle or walled city on every hill. Since they all used to be their own fiefdom, they have somewhat different personalities.
If you drive, a blue P sign indicates public parking in inner cities.
Roads are excellent, even in small towns. Tunnels are abundant, impressive & necessary since the mountains are granite, like our countertops.
Rome, crazy traffic; don’t even attempt to drive; Vespas dive, dart and dribble between traffic even huge tour busses. Same in Milano.
Use a travel or tour group to avoid long lines for great Roman artifacts in amazing Vatican Museum; (Substantial Roman ruins found all over Italy & Europe-Spain, Portugal, France, & Croatia, probably more! )
Serenity of Sistine Chapel is lost if there is a large, boisterous crowd; St. Peter’s Basilica is awesome; The Pieta will take your breath; Trevi Fountain is a work of art, but always crowded. Best studied from a photo.
Florence (Firenze) is a tour de force. Built by the Medici Family who had big bucks for art & whatever they wanted. Made their fortunes from textiles, tapestries & banking. $$
Siena - beautiful, well preserved walled city, rural, getting into wine country. Crazy horse race inside the plaza every year. Visited Chianti, San Gimignano, & Firenze from there.
Fall in love with Cinque Terre! Small towns, no traffic, we were there before cruise ships, so less tourists. We walked all but one leg of the trails between towns. Most are paved & distinct but some are paths between olive groves, slick when it rains. Opportunity to roll right down the mountain into the Mediterranean! Fortunately a train travels between towns and beyond.
Milano - big, busy working city. Driving/parking is a bitch. The Duomo is amazing! (All cities have duomos - cathedrals- but this one is special.) So is the one in Siena. Join a tour to see DiVinci’s Last Supper in Milano since visitors are limited. A-mazing!
"The cure for anything is salt water. Sweat. Tears. Or the sea."
Isak Dinesen, AKA Karen Blitzen
If the words sound familiar, it's because the movie director used the author's words to set up the movie. Such a rare move and credit to the writer. Most times, the movie folks make sweeping changes from the book and rarely use the author's own words as a voice over. Actually, there were some changes to the story, making it more compatible to a movie audience.
We would do well if we could incorporate such interest, empathy and curiosity in our main characters and their stories.
Remember the salt water cure. Sweat. Tears. Or the sea.
Check out my 99 cent books on Special for July and August. Books and links are on the front or landing page of my website.
Without change, a story or book is weak, goes nowhere. We are inspired by someone else's change and how they made their lives better. But for us, change is something we resist. And believe me, the older we get, the less we like change. We moved our cat's dish to a better spot and heard about it for a week. But she managed and has now adopted this new spot for feeding. She looks at me with that defiant cat expression that says: Don't change a thing! I understand.
Last year at this time, we were completely shut down by The Pandemic of 2020. Isolating to save the Realm. No dining out, no basketball games, no Bookclub meetings, no family & friends gatherings, no travel - only on TV (or Zoom ). We became TV addicts… obsessed with travel and food channels, fantasizing over home renovation shows. We adapted, but didn't like the change.
Last year, due to climate change and drought in SW Arizona, a spark flamed by notoriously high winds burned for a month on our mountain. We saw on TV the devastations in California. And floods in other parts of the country. We desperately wanted change but felt helpless.
All year, we watched news of how horribly we Americans were treating our fellow man and woman. Life was vulnerable, at risk. I told myself we were living in a dystopian novel. If we lifted the blindfolds, we would go blind! All I wanted to do was to escape… but no one wanted us.
Friends on Facebook were posting Spring flowers in their yards and on morning walks. Our cacti were dying in bunches. We thumbed through photos of beautiful times in Italy, France, and Portugal. Sigh.
This year, things are different. Better. What changed?
We survived. Thanks to lots of folks who also wanted change, including our brilliant scientists who developed a vaccine to enable us to be protected from the worst of the virus.
And we changed. We are now grateful for Everything, large and small. Life and liberty. Friends and family. Attitude and action. Cactus flowers. We just had our first in-person Bookclub in over a year. Such joy! I've stopped hoping because hope isn't action for me. It's transferring the action to others, hoping 'they' will do something about this thing I want changed. If it is to be, it's up to me. I have to make it happen, or change! What about you? Do you embrace change? Does it make you feel out of control … or in charge?
And, despite all of the problems we've encountered, these small desert cactus bloom once a year in the Spring for about a day. We take their pictures, send them to our friends and wait another year, with a smile for a change.
Vintage Books on sale this month on my home page for a special price of 99 cents::
CALLAHAN'S GOLD - He is a gold digger with a heart of gold. She is resentful of her past and wants her share of the gold. Can togetherness bring out their best?
A LASTING LOVE - He did the unforgivable. Now he's back for another chance. Does she dare risk her heart - again?