Tag Archives: italy

Lago di Garda – Italia, 2015

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Motto:  “To have experienced beauty.”

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Copyright photos: Andreea Sepi 2015.

(BW Photos on street corner belong to art photographer Luciano Bonacini: www.lucianobonacini.com)

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… e viva Italia!

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The first thing that strikes you about Italy, coming from Germany, is the light. Italy has a whole new level of light. The moment you emerge from the Alps, you’re blinded. The colors look different, they’re mellow, and the air is a pleasant warm embrace in which you can float. Your heart lights up too, and you simply feel so free. So in touch with your natural self. Not all is lost, you tell yourself. You realize you have been living under a sinister dark lid until now and you wonder what have you done with your life, how was it possible that you squander it so. This is it, stupid, you slap your forehead. This is life.

Especially in the off season.

Radio moderators chatter happily away in the most limpid of languages (the kind of language that sounds noble and cultivated out of the mouths of seven-year-olds), a sort of patient Mediterranean fertility blankets the scenery left and right, and almost every farmhouse could stand on the cover of lifestyle-and-design magazines.

Ok, ok, I like to exaggerate a little, but that’s just how I feel. Italy is the home of my heart.

We make our way to Lido di Jesolo through the quiet Italian countryside and everything seems magical. We’re full of anticipation. My son (5) is confused that the place does not look boot-shaped at all, and asks where the Leaning Tower of Pisa is and how come there are no red Ferraris. Then, close to our destination, we hit a giant roundabout with malls on each side, supermarkets and fast food joints and we panic. But it’s soon forgotten. Our residence of creamy walls and pale blue Venetian blinds sits buried under oleanders still blooming and purple valerian. The pool is lit by underwater spotlights and gives off a zesty damp smell in the indigo night. In the restaurant across the street a drunk old crooner gives a live, disturbingly off-key performance of “Hello, is it me you’re looking for?” which sounds more like he should be looking for himself.  His raucous voice blares into the microphone with the elegy of a Leonard Cohen impersonator on antidepressants that aren’t working. While we’re having dinner the mosquitoes go about theirs, too (our limbs).  They are particularly keen on gelato-laden blood. It’s sweeter. Sweet, good-natured Italy.

Venice in the rain is an adventure. Venice in the rain with two kids and a heavy buggy is an extreme sport. Lots and lots and lots of bridges. Lots and lots and lots of stairs. But you’re there, you’re damp, wearing impromptu raincoats made from plastic bags at €1.50 apiece, stepping in every puddle, taking in all the beauty, the cosmopolitan bustle, the colors – sienna next to ocher next to terracotta next to the milky, dingy turquoise of the canals; taking in the stunning architecture – a column here, a typical arched window there, a crystal chandelier behind a burgundy drape as heavy as 500 years; the unexpected piazzas, the awe-inspiring wealth of the museums, the slow-moving gondolas and the melange of the flowing human masses as well, and you don’t even mind your bruised hip from all that lifting of the buggy.

Next thing you know, you’re home staring at the pictures and realizing how happy you were in them, how at ease with yourself, how dizzy with joy and excitement, and how much younger you  seemed to look only five days ago.

Italy: instant beautification.

With a heavy heart – and body

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Ciao, we’re back. I didn’t want to come back. Had no choice. Italy seduces me every time, and one of these days I am going to cave in and move there. For good.

Until then, if there’s one conclusion that can be drawn from our little Italian stint (apart from the fact that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE Italy – did I mention that?), it’s that I’m fat. Fat, fat, fat. By my own standards, I am horrifyingly fat. I have seen myself in a bathing suit, and – trust me – it’s not pretty. I am so fat that I have my own field of gravity.  I am so fat that I generate tidal waves and they banished me from Venice for fear of actually sinking the place. I am so fat that when I laugh, my cheeks cover my eyes completely and I have to stand still lest I run somebody over. I am so fat the neighbors have asked me to move  – they were tired of living in my shadow.  I am so fat that when I rollick in the waves at Jesolo, there is a tsunami in Costa Rica.  I am so fat that my left and right hip are in two different time zones. I am so fat I am allowed to travel only at night, in a special convoy, with gyrating lights on each end.

See, that’s why I haven’t bought any new clothes lately. I was afraid I’d cause a global shortage of textiles. I had some cereal for breakfast and the price of wheat exploded.

My son, on the other hand, is thin. By my standards, he is frighteningly thin – bones poking out of his skin everywhere. He is so thin, he doesn’t even cast a shadow. All that money spent on his swimming lessons? A waste. He doesn’t need to swim to stay afloat. He is so thin, he remains perched on the surface of all fluids like one of those mosquitoes, simply due to capillary forces.

Now I ask you, is that just? We threw at him everything Italy has to offer in terms of culinary accomplishments. He barely touches the crust around the pizza and won’t even look at profiteroles. Not my case. Not my case at all. Minestrone, antipasti, primi piatti, secondi piatti, pizze, dolci, I love them all with a passion.

So there you have it. Now you see why I had to leave Italy with a heavy heart – and body.

(Don’t worry. There’s more about the actual trip too. Just testing your patience. It’s supposed to be a virtue – or so I heard… :-)) Talk to you soon about the Italian sun, beach, Venice, Padua, etc.)