" Long boots, high heels,
black coats to the calves,
cat-eye-frames, silk scarves,
poise and sensualness,
chilly breeze blowing through the face
entailed with the cigarette puffs "
It was last winter that Milan, Italy had me captivated on a study-abroad program.
I was lucky to have 4 days off in a week at academy so, I took every chance to travel across other parts of Italy too, not leaving the museums and galleries I roamed for hours in Milan.
Let's pretend the clock ticked backwards, it was the first weekend - a few of my friends and I were on the bus to Florence over joyed and excited for our first trip. This was were I met Patricio ( he always reminds me of Hozier ) in the hostel's common area and we decided to catch up on a little walk ditching dinner which ended up being a crazy night that had us spotting Clet Abraham's iconic sign-board graffiti across every street possible in Florence! Somewhere this 'adventure' totally makes me forget the Boboli Gardens and the amazing city view from it, not to miss the Ferragamo museum. Next up was Pisa with it's leaning tower and the list met an end only after four months. The historian in me got filled up till throat with all the Roman sagas Rome carries even then the Cacio e pepe pasta wouldn't stop haunting my tastebuds till date. Venice, Murano and Burano had me lost in their magic just as the legendary phrase - " If you don't get lost in Venice, you ain't doing it right ".
Meanwhile lost, we played hopscotch with little kids, drew on the street borrowing coloured chalks from them, having the best of times wandering. Are there enough times when we let a moment seep deep down the veins rather than obsessing over gadgets or watch the sunset absorbing the last of it's warmth leaving doors open for the cold night?
I never saw myself traveling solo but the Dora in me was set for a short solo backpacking trip to Lucca! Cycling through the narrow crowded streets on a weekend is in itself an adventure to catch! The city is small and can be toured entirely on a bike which was fun with my host Stefano, being the kind hearted and generous person he was, he offered me one of his bicycles. ( he still remembers the aroma and favour of the biryani we prepared together )
A local took me to Viareggio - a beach town, for an amazing day lying on the sand soaking sun.
Traveling solo surely brings solace but that's not what my soul seeks.
I have always looked for inspiration and clues around me to proceed in life. It is sometimes misguiding too but that's how I know what I don't need.
The last weekend had me with a heavy heart and to mend it, there wouldn't have been a better place than Livorno, calm and serene.
I still wake up with dreams of pizzerias, flee markets, the people I met and Milan !
It's beautiful how a cultural difference can broaden up the way we see life. Not only that but, it brings in an entirely new set of people, thoughts, ideas, floods your mind with creativity and so much which can not be explained verbally. In just four months Italy gave me people I'd count on throughout life! Interacting with the surroundings with a conscious self is what I learnt. After-all the world is not a harsh place always - all it demands is a smile from your heart and the spark that you've got.
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