ITALY AND BELGIUM
Italian wine was the the first mission, and after that was conquered, we went for the Belgian beer and chocolate. Did I eat and drink my way across two countries? Yes. And do I regret it? No. Do my pants still fit? It’s Summer why would I wear pants?
I can’t even think of a favorite place or part of the trip that stands out the most to me. To take in everything and then recall what happened among the crowds and the heat and tastes and smells and sites and sounds. How much time do you have?
Florence was huge and old where everything was smooshed together and just off the main drag you felt that you were in the city alone. The people were incredibly friendly which made it hard to say goodbye. Cremona was the next stop to see Stradivarius. This tiny mid evil town felt quiet and forgotten compared to the hoards of people in Florence. But it’s not so unknown when you talk to luthiers. They know why you are there. Venice rose out of the water in an instant making me think I have never said wow more times in my life. At first it seems so fast and complicated, but after a couple of days it is small, hot and filled with art and life. stumbling along old paths and taking wrong turns makes living in the moment the only thing to do.
Then there was wine country. The higher elevation and clear clean air felt like slowing down after a roller coaster. The first thing to do was sit and be and take in the vast countryside covered in grapes. We learned about generations of people making wine. Wine that is different from vinyard to vinyard in technique, style and taste, but the passion for the process and product is the same. High up in the Dolomites we found quiet and chilled nights with a strong German accent. Taking in the hugeness of this place felt impossible but we kept trying.
Belgium was a destination that Adam and I wanted to visit for a long time, and a week was not long enough. Brugge was a quiet sleepy city, just what we needed. In between sips of beer and bites of chocolate we found art both public and in galleries beyond what we had imagined. Brussels was a jolt of beauty in art nouveau and dismal modernist buildings that looked so out of place. While it is a large city that makes it in the news frequently we felt safe and happy there.
All I can do right now is skim over the details and tell you what it felt like and what stuck in my mind from these places. I’ll go into more detail as more Mondays come and go. I wish you could have been there. I hope you get to go there someday too.