Saturday, April 07, 2012

Buon Pasqua Da Italia!

I have this new jogging spot in Rome. It's in a huge park full of greenery with a big pond filled with ducks swimming in the middle. What I love about this park is that, unlike the sidewalks, there aren't business men, old ladies and excited tourists in my way when I'm trying to tone my legs. What I also like is that Italian men can't honk their horns at me, because there are obviously no cars in this park. It's a 10 minute tram ride away from Largo Argentina, and on 
No tears? No tears my ass.
my way there, I noticed an interesting billboard. The advertisement was for some kind of rich, dark, and exotic European chocolate bar. If I'm understanding Italian correctly, the ad promised that eating this chocolate would help me find true love. Really?
This caused me to reminisce on a childhood memory of when my sister and I used to take baths together. Before you squint your eyes and wonder what chocolate and childhood bubble baths have in common, just wait for it. This one time she dared me to "wash my eyes" with shampoo. It was one of those L'Oréal Kids shampoo bottles that come in a million and one colours. Anyway, the kids in the commercials were smiling and laughing as the apparently harmless suds ran down their faces and into their opened eyes. Since they could do it, why couldn't I, right?! I went 
Happy Easter from Vatican City!
 ahead with this little experiment of mine, and it did not end in laughter as the commercial promised, but rather a curling shriek of horror mixed with pain followed with a symphony of howls and tears and ended with a beating of my sister. 
The moral of this story is to not trust advertising, especially if said advertisement is about chocolate or shampoo. The reason why I'm telling you this is because this advertisement reminded me of what's slowly approaching - EASTER! It's kind of sad that chocolate is what reminded me of this festive day, but c'est la vie. Easter in Rome is the holiest of days, and is packed with tourists galore. The other day, a friend and I went to the Vatican just to sit back and watch the lineup. We were perched 
on top of some steps and spent the whole day watching the thousands of people who were 
The beautiful living room. To die for.
trying to squeeze their way into the centre of the Roman
Catholic church. A lot of these tourists were missionaries and it is Easter after all, but all I could do was shake my head. Of course the Vatican is worth seeing when coming to Rome, but these people were lined up all day. In my opinion, there is so much that Rome has to offer, and that you're wasting your time by standing in line for five hours just to say, "I went to the Vatican at Easter." 
So how exactly did I spend my Easter, you ask? In Tuscany! On Thursday, the family and I drove to the Tuscan region to spend Easter on the seaside. 
I fell in love with the house immediately. The whole interior had white washed walls and open windows to let the warm sun shine through. The dining room was simple, with a large wooden table
and iron black chairs. All the doors were arched and the whole house had accents of blue from paintings, books and throw rugs everywhere, giving it a Greek vibe. The living room had plush white couches with blue and orange cushions on the floor to sit on Indian style. Books about art, wooden sailboat models and photos of the family occupied the bookshelves while a floor length window beckoned on the opposite side with a view of the sea.
Tiny shops and homes dotted the street below and there were dozens of house and sailing boats parked in the harbour. I saw an old couple together on a rowboat, and it kind of reminded me of that scene from The Notebook. A grassy, steep hill (volcano?) was off to one side of the town, where
Pure bliss.
a proud castle was perched on top. There were palm trees everywhere, and I couldn't possibly think of a better place to spend my Easter holiday. On Friday, we went to the beach. For lunch I had a pomodoro e mozzarella panini on a beautiful deck with white wicker and purple cushions overlooking the Mediterranean. The kids were preoccupied playing with their cousins, so all I really did was listen to the waves crash and read one of the English novels I stole from one of the bookshelves. There's nothing I love more in life than a good beach read.
After a while, my host dad came running over and was very excited about something. "This is perfect!" he says. "MichElle, here. I found another Canadian." He was dragging this tall, red headed
girl over to me whose name was Esther, and she was currently living in London. I even had my small guidebook on London in my beach purse, and so she recommended some things to do and helped me understand the map a little better. I asked her where she was from in Canada, and guess what? She's from Nova Scotia! I don't remember the name of the city she's from because it's really small, but what a small world it is after all. Of course I told her how I'm moving there in September and that I'm going to King's for journalism. Well, it turns out that she has a friend who goes to King's, and she's going to give me her name as soon as she gets a chance to get on the computer. We got on really well and it was really refreshing to talk to someone from home. She told me how she's hoping to backpack through Asia and eventually wants to buy a boat to sail around the world. In other words, this girl is super cool and I found myself getting a bit jealous. I want to go to Asia! I want to sail around the world on my own in a boat! Everything about this holiday was perfect, except for one teensy tiny little thing... I am constantly lecturing my friends and family about the importance of wearing sun screen, and I completely forgot to bring a bottle with me when we went to the beach. Italians hardly ever wear sunscreen, so it was no surprise that no one had any. Of course, as we spent the entire day there, I could a terrible burn. I feel like such a hypocrite, not to mention I'm in pain. Besides that, it was a fantastic Easter.

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