Last week I shared with you some photos from the first half of our Italian honeymoon. I promised you some more, and here they are.
With long days that started early and ended late, there was little time or energy for romance. I hoped that would change with our Friday trip to Venice, my favorite Italian city. Aside from the smell of salt water and the sea food, I have a love affair with hand-blown glass. I couldn’t wait to add a piece of Venician glass to my collection.
Romance, however, went to shit. Literally.
While eating mediocre gelato (and even it being “meh” it was still amazing), Chuck became a toilet for a pesky pigeon. I’ll never forget the sound this poop made when it hit his arm. I thought the entire day was over.
Thankfully, after wiping him down with some handy wipes given to us by a very nice woman, washing up in the bathroom, buying a shirt with an anatomically correct Vetruvian Man and drinking half a liter of wine, a crisis of crankiness was averted.
While I still loved Venice, the crowds made it almost hard to enjoy. It was probably no more crowded than any other city we visited, but with it being even more compact than the rest, it was hard to get around without bumping into anyone.
Saturday, after a ride in the Tuscan countryside, we arrived in Siena. Walking through the gates of Siena was like stepping back in time.
While Italy’s ancient history is visible throughout the country, there was something about Sienna that really reminded you how old the country really is. It also made America’s history seem so unhistoric. I love the historic districts in Raleigh, but after seeing buildings that are 500 years old, a home built in 1904 doesn’t have the same affect.
Telling you we ate well in Sienna doesn’t even describe it. Our guides, my cousin and her boyfriend, picked an amazing restaurant, with an ancient wine cellar that was hand-chipped into the natural stone foundation. While only 10 feet underground, the temperature dropped 20 degrees after only a few steps, making it the perfect temperature and condition for the storage of wine and cheese.
Our trip came to a close on Sunday with some shopping in Florence and a party at my aunt’s in our honor. After a week of using my menial Italian to get around, my brain was tired and frustrated with my inability to communicate.
It was made worse by my inability to communicate with my family, particularly my cousins. I understood enough to know that they were talking about how my mother didn’t teach us Italian because my father didn’t know Italian, but that she should have taught it to us because we are Italian.
I began to feel ashamed for letting my own embarrassment keep me from learning it despite having a mother who is a native speaker, a grandmother who lived with us for years without speaking any English and five years of high school instruction.
“I have no excuses,” I told my cousin who is in the process of learning English.
I’m not one of those Jersey Shore kids, who are sad and sorry examples of Italian Americans (and unfortunately in Florence when we were and we had the even more unfortunate experience of bumping into them TWICE). I AM Italian. I hold Italian citizenship, I can vote in the elections, my immediate family – not distant second cousins – calls Florence home, I grew up with real Italian traditions and customs, but I could not express my sincere gratitude without a translator.
It’s a feeling that most people don’t have when they return from their honeymoon, but then again, most people don’t spend their honeymoon with family.
Though, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was an amazing experience and I already want to go back. I want to explore all the smaller Tuscan cities and towns that aren’t overrun with tourists and that only the locals have heard of.
It was a wonderful vacation, but a honeymoon it was not.
If I could offer any advice, it would be to make your honeymoon as relaxing as possible. After a year of planning followed by the actual event, you are mentally and physically exhausted. While I was so happy that we saw all that we did, I feel like we missed out on the romance and the relaxation that generally comes with a honeymoon.
The day after we arrived in New York, we packed up the car and headed back to North Carolina and all I wanted was a vacation from my vacation.