Monday, 3 November 2014

Soft Landing.... Beautiful Orvieto you have stolen my heart!

Finding my soul again...
I woke early Sunday morning because I couldn't sleep.
Headed downstairs and found a cappuccino machine.
And I headed to the monastery gardens and found beautiful precious quiet.
Only the sound of sweet Giovanna, our head nun clipping roses, sweet birds and bells ringing in the distance to keep me company.

This is more me...

My humble room with an incredible view

We arrived after 9pm Saturday night and we were feeling fragile and exhausted and the Monastery San Lodovico was pretty empty and Renee, Dottie and I were literally on opposite ends from each other... and feeling a little afraid.

But nothing like seeing Bill and Kristi and sleep to bring perspective.
Orvieto is gentle and kind and so welcoming after the harshness of busy cities.
In many ways - it felt like coming home... familiar and safe.

Train strikes and early departures...

So when we left Venice to head to Florence, we discovered when we got to the train station - it wasn't as easy as hopping onto the next train out.  Why??? you might be asking yourself - well because the next two trains to Florence were actually full booked.  That's why!!  And so realistically one should give yourself a full day to travel if you haven't booked in advance... which on this trip proved wasn't the safest or surest bet either.  So after seeing the incredible Academia we decided we wouldn't make the same mistake about leaving Florence and heading to Orvieto on Sunday - we would book early and know exactly what time our train would be leaving.  

So after meeting up with Dottie for coffee - we all headed to the train station to book our tickets and I wasn't too keen on the Kiosk machine booked ticket - I wanted to speak to a human... and I'm so glad we did.  When we got to the teller - he told us there was a train strike and there would be no trains to Orvieto on the Sunday (so glad we didn't book our Sunday tickets via the kiosk machine).  The train station was crazy - but we didn't have any idea it had to do with the train strike.

We rushed back to our Monastery to chat to Bill, Dottie, Misty and the others to find out our plan of action.  We confirmed the train strike.  We all headed back to the station to find out if we could book a train to Orvieto on Saturday instead - which we could.  We booked and headed back to pack and checked out and basically rushed out of Florence.  It all happened in a whirl and before I knew it we were back at the train station waiting for the next train out.  The station was manic and stinky hot.

Feeling a little dejected that Florence had eluded me.  So close but hardly close enough.  I didn't even get to walk (my favorite part about visiting these incredible places).  Of course I didn't get to see the Birth of Venus or any of Botticelli's works.  And I wanted to do some shopping for the girls here before I got to Orvieto.

In hindsight.  It's my biggest regret about this trip - that I didn't get that extra day here.  And that I delayed and deliberated on buying things for the girls and I didn't get to go into the Duomo!  That being said - the queues to get in were relentless and I'm not sure we would have had a chance - but there was still Sunday morning.  I guess that is all part of the adventures of traveling that you can only control aspects of things, where others, circumstances are completely out of your control.  But one thing is certain - you have to embrace what comes and move along swiftly with what doesn't.  And you have to trust that everything is exactly as it should be!  Who knows maybe I will get a chance to come back and maybe it will be even better... 

But for now I will cling to my precious finds... and let them be enough for now!

Beautiful Orvieto and precious San Lodovico here we come...

The Beautiful David... in all his glory!

 It was the last "Summer" weekend in Italy and it was Heritage weekend too.  Which meant entry to the museums were virtually free but it also meant the cities were packed.  I don't find this easy at all.  Being an introvert and finding comfort and restoration in quiet spaces - city crowds take their toll on me big time, physically, emotionally and mentally... 

Venice was busy but Florence - wow just felt harder and a little harsher.
The crowds and queues relentless.  But I was absolutely desperate to see The David and the Birth of Venus.  It was a pre-requisite from my girls that I see at least these two attractions.  But I was starting to feel like it wasn't going to happen for me.  So we woke early and Renee and I forfeited breakfast to be standing outside Academia bright and early - we stood for about an hour and an half (if I remember correctly) it wasn't too bad.  We met a delightful couple in front of us and we chatted our way in!

I do love this aspect of travel... 
the one on one convo's you end up having with interesting people along the way!

I was almost giddy with anticipation as we got through the doors.
To walk in and look down the incredible hallway to behold this!
It took my breath away!  I was emotional and I was afraid to talk!

In an instance - I understood what all the fuss was about.
The sheer size was breathtaking!  Not to mention the skill!


To me this picture is so symbolic.
I could hardly believe that little "me" was standing here (literally and figuratively so).
How large and impossible life and dreams might seem and how we diminish ourselves because they seem too big.

How I have longed to see things like this in my lifetime. The greatest gift for me is to show my beautiful girls that they too can stand here.  And one thing I know... is that we try give our children everything humanly possibly but the greatest thing I want to give them - is the notion of dreams but even greater so, to never diminish themselves to think it's impossible but to pursue them wholeheartedly.