Saturday, February 05, 2005

Addendum re: Reliving "il gran viaggio" (7/3/02)

I had only a few minutes to compose and send that message about reliving our recent trip last night at the Madsens', and I have since remembered a couple of things I had wanted to add to it. The first was a quip from my wife, which drew laughter from all present. She said she was not quite sure what to make of a husband who loved Dante -- AND "Calvin & Hobbes." [Of all the remarks Sheila has ever made about me, this is the one I have enjoyed the most.] The second concerns a rather strange omission from the mass e-mails I sent out from Italy, and I am at a loss to explain how I failed to mention this; but in any event, I remembered the omission when we were reminiscing a few days ago about one of our fondest memories of Florence. Every morning at 8:00, three of the churches in the area -- one was the Duomo, I think a second was the Badia, and I don't remember the third -- would all peal their bells at the same time. But the bells were not synchronized, so after a few moments they would all be producing distinct sounds; and then they would sound continuously for about two minutes. I wish I had recorded it. Listening to those bells was a pleasant and comforting experience.

Most of the pictures in the album turned out well, and some even beautifully. Among the ones I took myself, my favorite was one of the Ponte alle Grazie, as viewed from the Ponte Vecchio. A very close second was one I took at the same time and place, this time facing in the opposite direction, west toward the Ponte Santa Trinita'. I don't think of myself as being much of an artist, and I can't believe I actually took those wonderful pictures myself. I am going to have both of them blown up and framed. I do regret that I did not take more pictures of the local people -- specifically of Sabrina, the young woman at the tourist center who had the smile that could light up a black hole, and the pizza lady in Bolsena. The other interpreters with whom I work have all expressed disappointment that I did not take a picture of Sabrina. And again, I can't explain why.

Anyway, the trip was an experience well worth reliving and reflecting on, and in my next life I will perhaps become a travel writer. This morning I ran into an attorney with whom I used to work, and the trip came up in the conversation as we brought each other up to date on recent developments in our lives. I lamented that the trip only lasted 13 days, and now is over. He said that he rarely takes his wife on trips, for just that reason; but I suggested to him that he should do so anyway, because the memories are permanent, and that, in the end, is what vacation trips are all about. (Incidentally, he confided in me that he is close to being burned out with the practice of law, and may soon be leaving the profession.)




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