To paraphrase a quote from a book I'm reading: "It's never too late to discover the person you longed to be." And so it was, that at the advanced age of almost 80, I found the girl who always dreamed of going to Europe.
I found her as I sat at a little table at a sidewalk cafe watching the citizens of Rome amble down the narrow cobblestone streets; laughing, gesturing, involved in the most spirited of conversations, even when to recipient was a cell phone. She reveled in the spirit of that great city--vibrant, relaxed (the city shuts down from 2:00-4:00), chic. I was literally immersed in beauty all around me from the enormous cathedrals to the tiniest balcony overflowing with geraniums and greenery. Italy is an overload for all 5 of the senses.
The girl, in her wildest dreams. could not have imagined to majesty, vastness, splendor of the Vatican. Miles of magnificent art by the world's masters--Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Donatello--icons, sculptures, paintings, jewelry. A panoply of color: gilts, rich reds, deep blues, lush greens meet the eye. Each section in the acres of art merits careful study, but there is not time.
In spite of its brevity, a visit to that great artistic feast uplifts the soul, and feeds the spirit, however.
Coming from a culture which considers 1900 ancient history, I am stunned by the antiquity of my surroundings. Castles and walled cities date to the year 1000, the Colosseum to the year 7; I walk down a tree- lined street which lies on the Appian Way where triumphant Roman Legions marched. The girl who longed to visit Europe should have paid closer attention in history class.
For the girl desired to experience other cultures, Italy teaches that people everywhere are much alike. She meets kind, caring, helpful people in shops, inns, restaurants. A group of 8 women of my age board the train at Milan, headed home to Florence, after a day at a spa. They are laughing, giddy, obvious friends. A conversation with them reveals that they are clones of my friends, the Dorks; we could blend together seamlessly. In fact the only rude, boorish person we met on the entire trip was a fellow American.
What did the girl who longed to see Europe and her elderly self learn from this journey? That dreams do come true. That age should not be a barrier to adventure. That it's never too late to follow your heart. Oh yes, and that it IS too late to become a Blogger. This is my last attempt. As we world travelers say: "au Wiedersehen","au revoir", "ARRIVEDERCI". Love to all, Mom, Barb/G/GG