Someone asked, what are my greatest memories in Italy? I thought long and hard, and in all honesty, it has to be the following:
Sitting on the embankment next to the Arno River in Florence, right next to the Ponte Vecchio, watching one of the hundreds of motor scooter riders buz into a place to park a little Vespa. The rider dismounted her scooter, removed her helmet, let down her hair... and as she joined the throng on the street, immediately she was transformed from a faceless rider to a descendant of Venus. no kidding... truly unforgettable.
Second fondest memory was spending the morning with Michelangelo's Florentine Pieta... unforgettable, but not quite as exhilarating as the beauty on the motor scooter........
Then there was the day I took the train from Rome to Napoli, walked from the station to the Bay of Naples where I caught the ferry to Sorrento. Got there in early evening. It was ccccoooooolllld (was in Feb) so I decided not to stay. From Sorrento, took bus to little town on other side of Amalfi (will find the name and write it in later.) Sheeeze, what a bus ride! After 10,000 tries by telephone I finally made contact with a hotel that was a Rick Steves recommendation (see what I mean about no planning!!??), that was in a little village on the other side of Amalfi. I followed the directions they told me on the phone. I actually walked down a stairway to the little village down below! When I got there it was really late, and still really cold. Wended my way through little streets that had been hollowed out of the cliffs. Finally I made it to the hotel... The room I was instructed to go to was up a few flights of stairs (it was allll stairs !!! I opened the door, and before my eyes was a large cave, just hollowed out of the cliff, plastered and whitewashed. It was a dormitory with several beds, but no one was there. I put my back pack in the room, cleaned up a bit, and decided to try to find a place to eat, I was STARVING. I started wandering through the streets that were carved out of the cliff.. most of which were totally enclosed, plastered and whitewashed. I finally came out on an open street. There was the perfect.... did I say perfect? PERFECT little Italian ristorante... all lit up, and comfortably filled with people. I walked in as if I was a weary vagabond and was seated at a table.... mmmmmmmmmm..... the perfect meal.. perfect setting. Miraculously enough, I staggered back to my little room, and fell asleep in total bliss~