It happens every year around this time. Christmas is over and January brings with it longings for travel. Specifically travel in Italy. To be honest, this has become a bit of a habit. Since 2005 (my first trip to Europe) we've been five times. I never really expected to get to see Europe at all. I don't come from a family that does a lot of travelling and when I was younger there was not enough money to consider it nor was there the time.
I think that trip sparked a spiritual awakening in me. I don't mean that in a religious way. I got to see the way people live in a far away part of the world. Regardless of the language barrier I realized that even with the cultural differences we have so much in common. And not just the people I saw but those who came before. All those men who built that gorgeous city over time we're also part of the connection I felt. Coming from the West Coast of Canada we don't get that feeling much. Where I live we consider 100 year old building really old. In Europe 100 year old building is considered new. On a trip to Volterra in Tuscany you can walk through the Etruscan gates to the city. These gates are believed to have been built in the 5th century BC. You can walk up and touch them. What an incredible feeling to stand in the same place and look at the same object people did 2500 years ago!
There are lots of good reasons why we waited until 2005 to make that first trip, but now that the barrier is broken going back is not a question of "if" but "when". I'd rather scrimp on lots of other things to be able to afford it. That first trip sparked a flame that has burned brightly ever since. Europe is in my blood. My grandparents are all European and I wonder what does the DNA have imprinted on it.
This May we will visit Rome for a few days before going back to Tuscany. We've been to Rome once before - just for a day and what a day it was. It was very hot (mid August) and I was walking around like a gawking tourist and nearly got in trouble. I was too friendly to someone who was talking to me and it turned out that his motives were not good. Luckily my husband was close by and I think we averted a pretty scary situation. This time, Im going to be a little smarter! Im looking forward to giving Rome another try.