Italian Shade

Me and the arty shot

I recently went on an incredible trip across the beautiful country Italy. Expect a boastful blog post soon regarding my spiritual awakening and personal growth and experience as I travel from city to city like a real life Eat Pray Love. Or the old school movie where Sabrina went to Rome. Anybody?  To be honest it was a fantastic holiday and I felt truly comfortable in the cities I visited alone, almost more so then when I had company. Shade at Niamh who I met up with in Rome.  Before I could get truly comfortable and start to develop any high brow thoughts about how cultured and grown I was, the world has its own little ways of putting me back in my place. That’s right, at my most self satisfied moments Italy truly put me back in my place. In two different scenarios in particular. Salty bitch.

My first day in Venice, was inspiring. The city with its intrinsic canal system connecting the tiny islands combined with the beautiful arched bridges had me enthralled. The gothic crumbling buildings, both residential and state mixed together very closely, it truly felt like jumping back a couple of hundred years to a time long forgotten. I didn’t feel alienated being alone. I felt alive. Inspired. I spent the day getting lost walking through the ancient streets. There was a storm at mid-day. Even this was charming to me, I got soaking wet. Usually this would leave me screaming ‘My hair my HAIR’. Instead I took photos where by later I added black and white filters and felt uber smug about my arty shots. Later that evening, I sat by the grand canal. The sun was shining, boats were darting up and down. I felt really calm. I had my book in my hand. I was reading with my legs dangling above the water as it gentle sloshed below. All was good. I felt truly at peace.  A boat sped out of the canal adjacent to where I sat, caused a huge wave in the water, this crashed into the side of where I sat causing a cascade of water to come over the edge and soak my entire lower body with dirty canal water. My first taste of Italian shade. 

From Venice, I took a train to Florence. the scenery that rushed passed the window was spectacular. In no time at all I arrived.  I made my way through the bustling city, to my accommodation which was conveniently located right behind the Piazza Della Signoria. The heat was scorching the cobbled streets. I dropped off my suitcase, after a quick change, left, to explore what I could. Top of my list was the Uffizi Museum. It was home to the iconic painting 'The birth of Venus' by Botticelli  which I held in such high esteem in my youth. The line notoriously can take up to 2 hours to gain entry. I was in the city until the morning and it was already 3 o clock. I simply did not have the time to wait. As luck would have it, a tour guide came up bellowing out about a english speaking tour that was starting at 4pm. This was destiny I felt.  I bought my place on this tour. Joked with the rep who had the same name as myself  - left to get a bottle of water and choke down a ice cream to fill the hunger in my stomach as this tour itself would take 2 hours.  Side note, the ice cream and water came to 13 Euro. Ridiculous. I came back at the recommended 3:50pm time to be introduced to our tour guide Gabrielle. She in turn introduced herself to use one by one, asking our names where we came from. Singapore. Canada, America and Norway. She gushed and awed. Adding little stories and personal notes of interest she had in these countries. Her joy felt genuine and was visible all over her face.  We truly were all united in our interest in the iconic art held in this significant renaissance museum.  She then came to me. Where are you from?’ I am from Ireland’.  Her smile dropped. ‘Oh, thats not very far away.’ and she turned. Shade. 

Alright Italy. you dusty bitch. I take the hint. I will never get above my station again. 

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