09.12.2012 - 18.12.2012 9 °C
"She's supposed to be his transitional person. She's not supposed to be the ONE". - Sally, in 'When Harry met Sally'.
I began our holiday already a little bit in love with the idea of France - a soft-focus, unrealistic, overly-dramatic love based on teenage fantasies, but love nonetheless. After ten days in Paris and Marseille I know I've barely scratched the surface, but I also know my attraction has deepened and I want more .
I wasn't ready to leave France but our schedule meant we had to, and I felt a little like I was leaving a lover while things were still good.
France had been an emotional roller-coaster and I was uncertain if I was ready to go through it all again in Italy.
Italy started well, with delicious, rich hot chocolate...in a roadside service station (I love stopping for fuel here!...because while we do many things well in Australia, good quality food and beverages in highway roadhouses/service stations/truck stops is not one of them ).
The trip to Venice was lovely,
...and although it's never been on my list of Places I Must Experience, I'm glad we went.
It was beautiful. There were many shiny, sparkly, pretty things in Venice.
It was fun
But after a day we were done.
So we changed our plans, checked out of our hotel in Venice a day early (ridiculously, this felt very rebellious), and arranged an extra night in our Tuscan villa (the advantage in travelling off-season).
We took a 'back road', which although still a busy motorway was a very picturesque route.
The extra night was worth it.
Three days of reading our Kindles, meandering through the grounds of the villa, buying groceries from the village shops, sampling local red wine, and eating cheese.
It was the perfect place to separate myself from France and gently ease into Italy.
I'm not sure what I expected in Rome actually. So much of the preparation was - for me - all about France. Rome was 'after France' and therefore not something I had thought a lot about.
Our accommodation is spectacular:
Centrally located, spacious, and well-equipped. It's been a comfortable place to hang out after each day's exploring.
After a day trip to Pompeii, and a morning tour of the Vatican (which I was expecting to like, but did not), we have reaffirmed what we always knew to be true; we are not tour-group type folk. We did the Vatican tour because it seemed like the best way to do the Vatican - skip the lines etc. We did the Pompeii tour because it seemed like the best way to fit in the 6-hr round trip from Rome.
In hindsight, we could have done both on our own as we have done everything else to this point. The tours created more frustration than they saved; we were unable to explore or reflect on our experiences without timeframes imposed on us (yep...at times we're all slightly controlling, and like things to be done 'my way'...which makes for interesting conversations when the three of us have different 'my ways' ).
That aside, we enjoyed the few hours we had in Pompeii.
Rome has exceeded my expectations. It's been fun to explore the old streets, the ruins and the Colosseum.
...and let's not forget the shopping (obviously the boys are looking good too, but note my awesome red jacket!)...
Italy has been good to me. I don't think it's 'the ONE'...but it was a relaxing and refreshing rebound .