Falling In

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It was no coincidence that I saw Eat Pray Love over the weekend. It was just what I needed. A gals night out. Epiphany after epiphany. One hunk of hot gorgeous man. Healing tears. And so forth. (I'll be the first to admit that it's been a couple years since I've read the book, so the translation from book to film might have been a little off. But really, who cares?) It captures the essence, which, to me, was the most important element of the experience.

You see, I'll be traveling to Italy in a couple weeks.
Yes, Italy.

In preparation I've already loaded up with three Rick Steves' travel guides. Seriously, who does that? Really. Do I need three guides for one country? Apparently, yes.

Last night, I came across a few passages from Bill Bryson's chapter on Rome in Neither Here nor There.

Rome was as wonderful as I had hoped it would be, certainly a step up from Peoria. It was everything Stockholm was not— warm, sunny, relaxed, lively, full of good food and cheap drink.

I walked through the gardens of the Villa Borghese, up and down the Spanish Steps, window-shopped along the Via dei Condotti, admired the Colosseum and Forum, crossed the river by the Isola Tiberina to tramp the hilly streets of Trastevere, and wandered up to the lofty heights of Monte Gianicolo, where the views across the city were sensational and where young couples were entwined in steamy embraces on the narrow ledges. The Italians appear to have devised a way of having sex without taking their clothes off...

Having said this, Rome is not an especially good city for walking. For one thing, there is the constant danger that you will be run over. Zebra crossings count for nothing in Rome, which takes some getting used to.

I love the way the Italians park. You turn any street corner in Rome and it looks as if you've just missed a parking competition for blind people. Cars are pointed in every direction, half on the sidewalks and half off, facing in, facing sideways, blocking garages and possible way out would be through the sun roof. Romans park their cars the way I would park if I had just spilled a beaker of hydrochloric acid in my lap.

Even the litter didn't greatly disturb me. I know Rome is dirty and crowded and the traffic is impossible, but in a strange way that's part of the excitement.

Italians are entirely without any commitment to order. They live their lives in a kind of pandemonium, which I find very attractive. They don't line up, they don't pay their taxes, they don't turn up for appointments on time, they don't undertake any sort of labor without a small bribe, they don't believe in rules at all. On Italian trains every window bears a label telling you in three languages not to lean out the window. The labels in French and German instruct you not to lean out, but in Italian they merely suggest that it might not be a good idea. It could hardly be otherwise.

Meanwhile, I'll be doing my best to blend in; looking somewhat fashion savvy amidst all that pandemonium.


  1. You're going to ITALY??!! I'm so envious! Italy is amazing.


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