Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Allontanarsi dalla linea gialla

There are times when I think Italy is the most glorious, pleasureful place in the world and I would be lucky to live here forever. And then there are the moments when Italy kicks me in the ass and I'm ready to board the first flight home. This weekend provided prime examples of both.

Perhaps my Italian lamenti would be cut in half if I refrained from taking public transportation, but alas, it is unavoidable. Between train strikes, hour + delays, lack of air conditioning and seats, and poorly labeled bus schedules, it was as if the annual convention of The World's Most Annoying Transportation Nightmares had rolled into town. Here we are, on our way to Ancona, squashed into an un-ventilated corner of our dilapidated train, perched on suitcases next to the bathroom, feigning contentment:

But then of course, we were greeted in Ancona by some of the nicest people I've come across in a long time. From the owner of our pensione to every bus driver in town, people were so kind and went out of their way to assist us.

And of course what would any trip to the sea be without a bucketful of seafood? The pasta of the house with clams and oysters had me singing praises, as did our platter of grilled fish.

And then, after a gorgeous bus ride through sprawling fields of sunflowers, or girasoli (literally: sun-turners), we got to enjoy the beach. This area of Le Marche houses the national park Conero, and the protected water was wonderfully pure. I spent lots of time submersed in the cool sea, relishing the relief from the harsh summer weather. And as I floated atop the salt water, soaking up the sun and listening to the rocks clinking on the sea floor, I had never felt more at peace.

"Prey-go, prey-gooo!"

Gio, Kevin, and myself

On the way home our train ended up being 85 minutes late, but at least we had seats and air conditioning. Still, the man across the aisle from us felt stick and ended up vomiting, so that knocked a couple extra points off our comfort level.

I tried my best to hang on to the memory of floating aimlessly and carelessly in the water, and even after saying good-bye to Gio for the last time before her South African adventure, I was still able to maintain a certain level of serenity after this weekend. So while the practical side of me was ready to abandon this mission for the functionality of Amerricuh, the optimist in me has decided to hang on to any remaining threads of la dolce vita she can get her hands on.

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