Sunday, February 5, 2012

My Italian Adventure

Originaly posted April 2008

I just returned from a 3 week trip to Italy and New
York City. Below are some of the adventures I
experienced while traveling:

I'm writing from Florence. Wine is abundant and GOOD
coffee even more plentiful. I have grown accustomed
to a good balance of all. The walking we are doing is
keeping me trim. I plan on talking ballet class daily
in NY on the last leg of the trip.

In terms of art, the most inspiring to me were a few
Bertollini sculptures in the Academia of some amazing
poses, doing an extensive study of the similarities of
Titian's The Venus of Umbria and Manets Olympia (I
knew they looked familiar) and being moved to tears by
the 3 Rembrandt's that hang in the Uffizi. Realizing
I am intrigued by an artist Nattier I'm not familiar
with has left me with a project for deep research when
I get home, and lastly seeing Madame X in person at
the Met, along with a Zorn and a Klimt was astounding.
I will leave seeing the artwork of the Vatican and
Sistine on Easter weekend for another
discussion.....awesome not describing it enough..I
made a trip to the Florence Academy of Art to network
and will try to arrange a week to come back filled
with work here and to work with the artist I had
dinner with earlier this week. I thought of Adrian
(Gottlieb) as
I roamed the Florence streets. How he must have been
inspired while studying art here....

Muntepulciano brought us to the country of Tuscany.
It was here I got my best pix and had the most peace.
We had a new friend from Sicily, Frederico who was our
escort and showed us the wondrous magic of the Tuscan
sun sets....the ability he has to move the car in and
out of the Italian traffic was a life saver. Italians
are CRAZY drivers. He treated us to a Tuscan country
brunch with pure wine and fresh veggies and meat. We
found a few wineries with 300 yr old structure and
roamed the underbelly of the tasting rooms that house
HUGE vats of fermenting wine. I bought my share and
look forward to sharing it with my dear ones when I

Last night Frederico took Yvonne and I to an amazing
dinner and then to a very American club with a Beach
Boys tribute band. VERY American. During California
girls they dedicated the song to us....charming
Italians. My fake wedding ring keeps me
protected....along with my sunglasses to avoid meeting
the mischievous eyes of the Italian rogues. It still
is not enough as I'm accosted daily.

Tomorrow we venture to Sienna (arguably the most
beautiful place here) and then catch a train for
Venice later in the week. What wonders the Venetians
have for us will be seen soon enough....


Just got back from Sienna. I have to admit it was
amazing, though a bit touristy. I think Montapulciano
is the place that holds dearest to my heart when I
think of the Tuscan countryside. It was like being
away from the tourism I have seen run rampart most of
this trip. People milling around taking in all the
glorious sights Italy can offer at a breaknet pace.
The square in Sienna was beautiful, but all one could
do is eat a gelato, lounge on the 500 yr old
cobblestones and watch the birds vying for the
occasional scraps of bread dropped by the distracted
tourist and sleepy children they have in tow. I
wonder if it was the breathtaking countryside or the
privilege I got to see people utterly transform on
this trip. I was privy to watching two people in the
same moment embrace a strong feeling growing between
them. A romantic might say it was the beginning of
love, a cynic might say that it was simply the Italian
blood that coursed though one of their veins and that
if they actually got married it would mean something.
I like the argument of the logical person, It was not
a matter of love or longevity, it is the magic of
being in the moment at the same time and seeing each
other transformed by embracing what someone is
offering without fear. Transformation occurs when you
are enlightened. Vibrations are sent out and you
attract that which is a mirror image of what you are
feeling. Or perhaps attract that which
you are yourself. I had all of this in my head as I
watched my friend embrace her feelings. Our last day
in Tuscany, about to catch a train to Venice, I found
myself thinking about things in my life I wanted to
create. Those thoughts in my mind, we sojourned on to
Venice. One of the most beautiful cities in the
world, it is mostly a place of shopping and tourism.
A veritable floating Italian Disneyland. Still
romantic and awesome, it whispered stories of masked
balls and high romance and drama in its narrowed
archways and elegant step bridges. My favorite spot
was the Rialto Bridge at sunset. I got some amazing
shots of the graceful gondolas weaving in and out on
the Grand Canal with the sun kissed buildings of
Venice behind them. Our hotel was on the corner of
the canal. We decided to tug, drag, and slide our
bags up 4 flights of narrow and steep marble stairs to
get the view. It was magical. We did did go to Harry's Bar and paid 22.50 (the euro is reeeeeallly bad now) for a bellini and martini) to sit in the very spot Hemingway wrote and dwelled in his "Clean Welllighted Place" to get sustinance. The last night we were
in Venice we experienced a heavy rain storm complete
with bright lightning and roaring thunder. As we
drank a heavenly bottle of Proseco (Italian sparkling
wine) and leaned out of our windows overlooking the
canal, we watched the storm rage and the 3 of us
sorted out our own private thoughts. One of the risk
she might be taking giving her heart to a man from
Italy. one accepting, albeit begrudgingly (in her
whimsical way), that though her feet hurt on the trip
constantly and she fought fatigue, she came out the
victor due to the vigor and health Italy restored in
her. And me, thinking of a way to return home after
all I experienced and incorporate a deeper meaning and
growth into my life. To also be more committed to
inspiring others and leaving a mark of beauty in the
world in my profession and also my private life.

We touched down in NY after a 9 hr plane ride that had
me jumpy and looking for the nearest stiff Manhattan
Cocktail New York City could provide me. I love NY.
I also loved having Starbucks, internet, and a ballet
class right at my fingertips. As wondrous as my trip
to Italy was, I am proud to be an American and I
admitted to myself I needed my creature comforts. I danced in
NY at one one of the best ballet schools in the city
and fulfilled a HUGE goal. New York, unlike LA, is a town of
action, not words. I got the jist of this as I tried to fish American dollars
out of my wallet amungst the left over Euros in line
at Starbucks, I mentioned I was just overseas to the
annoyed Batista. I realized a simple "Have a good
day!" might have been enough:) In LA everyone has a story to tell, but in NY, they simply don't give a shit. They are too busy "doing". PERIOD. The food, nightlife,
and overall buzz of Manhattan thrilled me to the core
and I wished I could stay forever. I walked 2-3 miles a
day (with my Starbucks near to me a great deal of the
time) and lost myself in the energy of the city. It
renewed me and helped me grow as I saw another part of the
world and how other people live.

As I landed at LAX, I realized the world is a big place. I also realized that it is not what world holds for you, but
what you bring to it.

I also realized the entire trip was a tax write off............

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