When you search the definition of the word, romantic you get a few results. Two of them in an adjective perspective are:
1. conducive to or characterized by the expression of love
2. of, characterized by, or suggestive of an idealized view of reality
These are how I define experiencing Cinque Terre, Florence, Pisa, Venice, Siena, Naples etc...
Here are a few of those places I have been with pictures and some words. (not really in order)
Our first stop after Rome.
Before leaving Rome, everyone told us that Naples is unlike any other city in Italy.
Staying in the heart of Piazza Bellini (the heart of the historic district and night life scene) proved it to be true. It was unlike anything I had experienced. It was a beautiful Ooooold neighborhood filled with music shops and bookstores and bars around every corner.
In the morning you could open the window and hear a dozen different instruments playing in the music conservatory across the way.
The harbor and many castles were all here too. Going to Naples felt like going to three different cities in one. The historical district, the harbor area, and the residential area where there were just streets and streets of clothes lines and apartments that stacked on top of the hills.
We walked the most we've ever walked in this city. It was also the place we decided to lighten our load. As we are only traveling with backpacks, we needed them to be lighter. Mine started out at about 9.7 kilos (20Ibs) and got down to about 7.4kilos (16.3Ibs).
That was after donating an amount of clothes, a pair of shoes, some un needed toiletries. We really stripped down to what is close to the bare minimum I think. I now go around with two pairs of pants, three shirts, jacket, computer, and a journal with a few other things.
Stuff is just stuff. Even if it's nice stuff. It's just stuff.
One of the places where it it socially acceptable to hang your intimates out in public.
I think one of the best ways to stay in The Floating City is on a boat.
It was a good home for a few days. It may not be the dreamy gondola ride down the canal you are thinking of, but if you've never lived in a boat before, I highly recommend you get it on your to-do list.
The boat deck made a lovely place to catch up on some computer work and eat fresh fruit from the market down the street.
The morning scooter ride down the street was always a fun adventure to get breakfast.
Nolie and I learned that the crowds and souvenir hustlers aren't really our thing though. We much prefer the small towns and neighborhoods where you can find the true culture and real people.
We decided to settle down in hills of the coast.
We hiked miles and miles along the coastline keeping our eyes peeled for fig trees or wild grape vines to snack off of. We stopped in each of the towns to learn that each of the colorful villages were quite unique in their own way.
The little house we stayed in had a kitchen where we enjoyed cooking our own food.
If I had to summarize Nolie and I’s routine for this trip it would be this - no matter where we are.
Going to the market to get grapes, bread, cheese, and maybe another fruit or yogurt
Maybe finding a quiet cafe to get a cappuccino and catch up on a bit of computer work. If we are lucky there
is a pistachio croissant included.
Walking and walking, going into another church probably, trying to find the quiet side streets, and all of the benches we can. (we even have a little cheesy theme song… Bench hunters….)
If we find a good looking pizza place we may splurge. But my favorite has been making another market run for bread and brie and finding yet another picnic spot that I call “my favorite.” (I have a lot of favorite picnic spots now…)
(this picture was taken on the forum of the Pompeii Archeological Site)
If we weren’t chasing the sunset then we are usually doing more walking or taking a train to our next to stay. (the Italian train system can be really tricky at times…I hope to write a blog post about navigating the train and bus systems here...)
With all of this Italian food in my system and rehearsals steadily approaching hikes just haven't been cutting it on an exercise level so we have been trying to do pilates or yoga more often.
Okay, so ever since Rome when we met Ivana at her restaurant she gave us her personal recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara. If we are staying someplace with a kitchen then we have been trying to perfect this dish. But sometimes we go out to an Italian dining experience whether it be pizza, pasta, or fish, it’s always an experience.
The story of Ivana's
We left Rome with our hearts at one particular restaurant called Al Padovano. Although, we really just call it Ivana's Place. Ivana and her husband and his brother own it. It was just a few streets away from our apartment. Nolie and I went here almost every night nearing the end of our time in Roma. The food is still the best I have had here in Italy and the atmosphere of the place was like being in the dining room of a cozy Italian house. After our meal, Ivana would treat us to a slice of her extremely good tiramisu and limoncello. We dined at different tables there each time sitting next to the same locals who went their every night as well.
Nolie, Me, Ivana, and Francesco.
Francesco would go around the whole restaurant singing or whistling happily.
Not in a home-sick way, but I am actually really excited to get back home. I have obtained great knowledge about how I want to shape my life when I return. Even from 5,893 miles away my calendar and schedule are filling up with more dance classes, rehearsals, and other opportunities.