Such Sweet Nothing
Words, whispers and sighs Shrieks, sometimes
181177 Curiosities served
2012-03-07 5:32 AM
a pleasant identity crisis...
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I really wanted to blog today, because it marks my two month mark on SEP, in Paris. And there is so much, so much to say... where shall I begin.
I travelled on my own for the first time ever. Not a school trip, not under watchful parental eyes, not even with my siblings and not with friends. Just me, the luggage and my camera mostly. I didn't know if I would like it. Heck, I didn't know if I would survive... And of all places, I picked Italy. Honestly, the decision was based on romance, the very idea of the cities of Venice and Rome... I hadn't really considered that they would be dangerous locations for a first time solo traveller- that came after I had booked the tickets and rooms. And I really should have considered the language barrier- but like I said, I was simply swept away with the idea of these cities... It wasn't anything pragmatic that led me to these destinations.
It was very pleasant to find out that I could manage myself travelling alone; and I realised, I really do love travelling on my own. The solitude fits me. I enjoy the endless wandering. The stopping whenenver, wherever I want, the isolation, privacy, quiet of it all. It gave me lots and lots of time to think- and what places to do thinking in. I rather like this part of me, the part that can and likes to travel alone, as strange as this sounds.
As to Venice, here's what I wrote on the city:
2 March 2012, Friday, 6AM: "So, I'm in Rome, writing about Venice. There are so many things I could say, but the main feeling I get from Venice is that it is a tired old city, mainly tired of the tourists. I tried to do the thing where you don't walk around with a map in your hand, looking like a blinking 'clueless, rob me' sign. But I found out there there was really no need. Tourists are the main group in Venice, almost everyone is one. So even though I was alone, I never got the sense of loneliness because the path was well-trodden and I simply had a hoarde of fellow travellers.
But like I said, Venice is tired of tourists... I would call it a hate-hate relationship, perhaps too strong but less strange than dislike-dislike. You can sense it in the service personnel- the sianness of their attitude. You can sense it in the multitude of schemes errected to milk tourists dry in small fees at attractions. If you are an aspiring tourist of Venice (as I was, just two weeks ago), know that it is an unrequited love. But I really did have a very pleasant trip there..."
And that's all I wrote on Venice. Haha. I loved the prettiness of it all. And even though as I said, it's a tired old city, as a rule, I love old cities I'm finding out. You can feel the history just walking down the streets, something excites me about it. Palazzo San Marco was an awesome day; and I'm happy I escaped to both Murano and Burano for glass, lace and a different sense of Venice. And everything was achingly beautiful, in an old, wanting to just waste away way. I'm glad I went, very glad. It's a dream fulfilled.
Rome on the other hand, I never dreamed what it would mean to me... talk to me about Rome in person. My first sentence is likely to be unfinished. Because there are simply no words for what I experienced in Rome and how I feel about and for the city. London never struck me as Rome did. Even Paris did and does not. The mindblowing amount of art, the gelato, the coffee, the weather... I left a part of my heart in Rome, I am sure. I feel a bit jealous that I'm not there on exchange instead and if I only take one more trip for the rest of my life, it would unquestionably be this city.
Again, from the travel journal:
5 March 2012, Monday, 8.09AM: "I was really super emotional last night, at the thought of leaving Rome. Of course I've felt versions of this before as other holidays ended and thoughts of never returning cannot help but filter through your mind. Rome has been so good to and for me. (Currently, I'm sitting in Dagnino, nursing a good cup of coffee and some very fantastic pastry) Everything was amazing- the coffee, the pastries, the pasta, the weather, the arrrrrrrt...
Day 2: Rome has been... the dream of St. Peter's Square, Bernini's epic colonnade finally come true, the one church in the world that came closest to moving me to conversion, the breathtaking climb up the most famous dome in the world and the breathtaking view from up there, around 5 hours wandering around one of the bestest, most mindblowing museumes in the world, art history right in front of me, an indecent proposal in a little-known room, the Castle of Angels
Day 3: the Roman ruins and the Capitoline Museums. The photos do it no justice. The ruins are truly atmospheric (a verb that means nothing unless you experience it yourself) The Capitoline was more fangirling over art... and the Colosseum! I could go on and on...
Day 4: The Pantheon- the most amazin building in the world. Piazza Nuova, the Gesu, San Luigi for my favourite painting in the world- The Calling of Matthew by Caravaggio, lunch of amazing ravioli with red wine sauce right outside the Pantheon. The sinfully rich Granita di Caffe, expresso shot from St. Eustachio, more San Crispino gelato... painfully gorgeous blue skies for my last day in Rome.
[I've been... reading Aristotle on pleasure. And he claims that sensory pleasure is clearly related to the idea of novelty... and that after a while, things which use to stimulate pleasure cease to do so or do so in a diminished intensity. I don't know if that is necessarily true for Rome for me...)
They say if you throw a coin into the Fontana di Trevi, you guarantee your return to Rome. I was hoping hard and I'm still hoping hard now."
I feel.. overwhelmingly lucky to have experienced both these cities... in my youth and as I said, on my own. St. Peter's suggests the word blessed to me. And in a way, it's appropriate... I have done.. nothing to deserve this per se. Just... right family, right everything else that nobody could have foreseen precipitating this, all of this. I am out of words for it all.
What's the identity crisis you might ask.
A service personnel asked me in Venice: "Do you speak English?" To which I replied "Oui, je parle anglais". Stunned silence. Facepalm moment, greattttttt way to demonstrate your fluency in your first language. And I say merci to people who serve me in Rome- what has happened to me and who am I.
Two months in France- finally got the visa settled. Nightmarish experience really... I miss the efficiency of where I come from, deeply. A shit load of work to get through- life as usual, just in another country.
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