Well I 'm back from my trip to Italy to visit Melissa. It was very fun and we had a great time. It was quite different from my usual experiences visiting places in which the days are quite busy, filled with things that must be seen and done. I had been to Italy before and while we had things we wanted to do if we got to them at 11 or 3 it really didn't matter. It was more a matter of hanging out together. I'm really blessed that we enjoy each others company so much and hope I don't ever take that for granted. I got to have dinner with several of her friends over 2 nights and had a great meal at her family's home. Her friends are terrific and we laughed and had some great food. Her family is very nice, smart, interesting, and very warm and sweet.They seem to be crazy about her.
Padova is a fantastic city, very pretty. Small narrow twisty streets with no cars allowed, 2 incredible piazza's filled with people selling fruits and vegetables and people out on the streets night and day drinking coffee or wine. Next to the piazzas are two long alleys of tiny shops that only sell one thing; one only sells cheese, one bread, one olives...like being back in time. You feel very authentic as there are no tourists. I don't think anyone speaks english but since I was never without my personal translator that wasn't a problem.
Friday we went to Ferrera which is a very cool little town. The Italian trains are quite nice and very easy to manage, as long as you speak excellent Italian! Like Padova the part inside the medieval wall is forbidden to cars and filed with narrow cobblestone streets. Walking in heels is out of the question! They have a huge amazing castle (moat included that you wander through in and out of every room. Obviously they don't have law suits there as they let you walk down a 600 year old very unsafe cobblestone staircase into the dungeons completely unsupervised. No guards, just one or two little old women who point and grunt. Then off to bologna- a larger , very active city. Around 6:30pm every person living in the city comes out and just walks around and hangs out. It's unbelievable. The place is packed all night. On sat eve we returned to Padova and had (another great meal). Our meals were pretty simple. Plates of pasta and carafes of red wine. All good.
The north is definitely different from the south. You can see the people are well dressed, every woman has a large louis vuitton bag, and there is no cannolli.
Venice in the next post!