It is the grey autumn of 2010 in Latvia, and after a long and hot summer spent working mostly, the urge to escape the everyday life has become crazy. Where to?!? … Egypt, Spain, Sri Lanka… maybe Thailand… Although the summer in Latvia has been really hot, the places where sun shines still seem the most inviting. I browse through several tens of offers, weighing options here and there, refusing from some and then returning back to them once more, but each of the offers has something, which makes me cross them out from the list of the real options.
By chance I notice an offer by Ryanair: a return flight to Bergamo (Italy) for EUR 24 only. These news are forwarded to friends like winking, and here we go, the further route is planned really quickly, hotels and car are booked, and the journey can begin.
After a couple hours of flight we already land in Italy. Although it is autumn there, as we get off the plane, a summer-like feeling takes us over – it is warm, +18 degrees and everyone is smiling. Right at the airport we pick up the car we booked in Latvia and set off to Milan. The former dream to go to the city of fashion has come true!
The charm of Milan hides within steps and beauty. Back and forth, up and down the stairs, across plazas, through stores, among people fashionably dressed. It does not matter whether you have squatted down besides the pigeons or you are gazing down on the city from the roof of the Cathedral – you see everything in photos. In the ones that travel through the social portals, in the ones that adorn the covers of magazines and in the ones that you are just about to take yourself. We wonder around without any rush, enjoying real Italian ice-cream and looking at our reflections in the window-cases of jewellery stores. And it doesn’t matter that the majority of what you see you cannot afford, because the most important is to enjoy. The faces of the people, that reflect this feeling of satisfaction, which seems to be there already since their birth, their clothes that are worn here in Latvia by the hosts of the most stylish teen shows, and their confidence – that this day has to be exactly the way it is. But tomorrow will take us to entirely different waters.
Venice greets us with spotlights shining through the dark, with waves and gusty wind. The hotel resembles a house of a rich aunt – only 7 small rooms, facilitated in a typical Venetian style – luxuriant, confined, sincere. In the restaurant around the corner fresh lobster is served to us, and this turns out to be the most expensive dinner of our journey. Worth it! The same as the-80-dollar voyage by gondola. Because the fact that roads in Venice are substituted by channels doesn’t mean that the locals don’t know how to steer. With an accuracy of millimetres and ordering their passengers – sit on the right, now you and you – switch places, now do not move, now feel free – they lead their vehicles under the bridges, and the spikes of gondolas are much longer than these bridges, they twine around the narrowest corners of crossings and afterwards slide into open waters with the same calmness… It is a strange world, where on every step you are faced by some bright mask decorated with feathers or fine-painted, allowing you to become a part of this romantic secret and to imagine yourself as anyone you’d like to be… Maybe I should return… in spring, when the Carnival takes place in Venice, which is entwined with stories full of emotions, when everyone can put on his or her mask, feel like a stranger among all the others but at the same time true… ?
Bergamo or the city up on the hill is our last stop. Here it is raining. Day and night, and day again. But it doesn’t matter! The trees painted by the autumn, the silence and even the flowers carved in wood by the hotelkeeper’s daughter seem to tell a tale of this city, which is created to be the home. This is the Italy, where high-heeled shoes do not belong. The Italy, where on the tops of the highest mountains and in the middle of the most beautiful islands instead of millionaire villas, monasteries rise throughout hundreds of years. Here, the school-bus is just as wide as the road it drives down. And people, who even don’t speak English that is well-known to the rest of the world, using just a few phrases and their smiles are able tell you, what else is worth seeing in this area, as well as that they will be expecting you to return – as to say – instead of Farewell – See you again. And when you are home again turning over the pages of your travel album, you will look at these pictures and you will still believe that they are indeed expecting you…
This is how the 5-day-journey along Italy turned out to be: interesting, rich in emotions and leaving a lasting desire to return…
See the journey in photos here 🙂