June 19, 2013

the mediterranean - pisa

The ship pulled away from France and headed towards the motherland of the entire trip...
Italy.

Livorno.
On a Sunday morning you would have thought the only inhabitants were the cruisers on our ship.
The sun decided to stay in bed too and let some gloomy storm clouds do their job.

We sat in a small cafe that smelled of fresh pastries and strong coffee.
The smell and taste of food soon became synonymous with my only connection to the outside world.
The bitter taste of cappuccino and creamy foam never tasted so good when it came coupled with the realization that I could indeed wake up the other side of the world with the simple stroke of the keyboard on my phone.

Sure.
You go on adventures and travel to get away from the world you know.
But.
Sometimes.
You want that world to be there.
Experiencing it with you.
So you do what you can.

Our bus to Pisa was filled with tourists from every imaginable place.
The rain greeted us to town as we maneuvered our way through countless alleys and streets.
Our only guide on the horizon being a tower that wasn't quite standing straight.

After numerous offers for less-than-working umbrellas from the street peddlers...
follwed by our soon to be favorite line...
"no grazie"
We made it to the Pisa complex.

Pisa taught me a few things:
- always always ALWAYS travel with a umbrella
- cobblestone streets are a much prettier alternative to paved
- limoncello brings a whole new meaning to 'puckering your lips'
- i could eat pistachio and limon gelato every day (and I did)
- european architecture is beautiful but european architecture gone wrong is breathtaking
- mozzarella and ricotta cheese should always be in the two main ingredients in pizza
- i will never acquire a taste for bubble water. ever.
- serving portions are beyond normal size if they are related to the words pizza, pasta, and calzone
- there is something really fun about pretending you speak another language fluently







arrivederci...

June 18, 2013

the mediterranean - marseilles

Everyone should travel.
It's really as simple as that.

The world we live in is full of different.
Different from the familiar.
From what you know.
Different good. Different bad.
Experiencing the different is what make life worth living.

Seeing that, yes, the sun really does rise when you're a thousand miles away from your home.
Knowing that there really are flavors your mouth has been waiting to taste your whole life.
Feeling the age, the history, the beauty of a place with your hands and not just your eyes.
Smelling the sweet fragrance of olive oil, crispy baguettes, and wine as it fills the streets.

Different is simply that...
different.

As I lay here all tangled in my bed covers while jet lag continues to plague my sleeping pattern, 
I think back to the week and half of different I just experienced.

Four countries.
Eight cities.
A lifetime of memories.

For the better part of my life I've been declaring that my dream vacation would place me in the center of my college art history books.
Europe.
The mediterranean specifically.

That dream became reality as I boarded a cruise ship two weeks ago and set sail on the adventure of a lifetime.
Everyone should travel...
but every art teacher should travel to Europe.

After setting sail from the port of Barcelona, Spain...
we headed for France.

Marseilles, France.
Marseilles taught me of a few things:
- sometimes the way we imagine books (specifically the Count of Monte Cristo in this case) in our head actually do exist in reality
- i want my life filled with fresh cut flowers whenever possible
- not all of france is speckled with steep blue roofs
- it's entirely possible for a language to literally sweep you into some romantic daydream simply by it being spoken
- coffee really does taste better here
- it is every bit as romantic and beautiful as we Americans have stereotyped it to be









next stop...
Italy...