Day One in Rome must have been a bit of an adjustment for my sweet, patient, globetrotting friends. From the second I clunked out the door my eyes were filled with the spectacle of light and texture and the astonishing age of ancient stones – and I did not want to miss a single inch of it.
Our street, Lisa, Paolo and Max
I probably took 45 minutes just to get to the end of our block – and not only because of the cobbles (have I mentioned the cobbles??) I couldn’t roll five feet without stopping for photos, and I’m pretty sure that is not the usual rate of exploration for my friends. But no one rushed me, and in fact we all found our rhythm – Max ranging ahead to scout, Paolo a bit ahead subtly directing Vespas and cars around us, and Lisa – well she was behind me. I have a feeling she didn’t mind too much (after the shock of slow wore off). I’ve seen the photos she took, and they are amazing.
So we snailed, and discovered, and uncovered details that quick movers might miss. Like the lions on the lintels.
And street art.
So the poor scoot, made for malls – not battlefields, ran out of battery and one of my fears was faced on the first day. I don’t know why I worried, Max was a skilled and careful pusher and we made it back. I was perhaps a bit shaken and stirred, but so incredibly full of wonder, I couldn’t have cared less.
Never will I forget the first day I was somewhere else, somewhere so far from home… somewhere as amazing as Italy.
It was all very fine, in fact extremely exciting, to wake up in Rome at 4am, have coffee with my companions and leap out into the day… Jetlag! World Travellers have Jetlag, and it is a breeze!!! One evening nap, that was all. So I think, It’ll be the same when I get home – a couple of funny days maybe. Easy.
Well, I have been corrected. I had Grand Designs of catching up on all my posts, sketching reams of drawings, and beginning scads of paintings – all in the first week back. Instead, I wake up at 4am, wander around my sweet warm home in a grog, and turn into a bobblehead at 7pm every night. Nothing can keep me awake, not even a bright crackling fire or pups squashing me, not coffee, tea, a nice glass of Malbec or even the opening game of hockey season. Oh well.. at least finally today I managed to pull out an ink drawing I did from the bell deck at the Masseria and as I added colour, my mind flew back to Puglia.
Cool October breeze, some sun and some rain, I’ll take it easy and soon enough I’ll be back to normal. I still can’t believe I did it. Drowsy weirdness is a tiny price to pay for such an adventure, mine forever now.
And, the good thing about being sleepy all the time – – my dreams are filled with Italy. Slowly, my blog will be too.
“The patron saint of armourers, artillerymen, military engineers, miners and others who work with explosives because of her old legend’s association with lightning, and also of mathematicians.”
Thick with humidity, the skies unleashed torrential, awe-inspiring rain, thunder and lightening. Our first morning, we woke at 4am jet-lagged, and realizing we would have to move to a more accessible apartment – 500 year old (or more?) Roman steps too daunting. But we had to wait out the storm, and it was glorious. Lightening even struck right in the square below our open window.
But Santa Barbara loomed above, protecting us. We laughed, drank espresso and ate sweet, fresh pastries gathered by Paolo (during a tiny window of less rain) and the dismay of wrong lodgings faded away, replaced by excitement.
Do not even ask about the Zebra.
At exactly the right time…sun…and the streets dried in minutes. Off we went, just around the corner – home Rome with a lift.
Nope, not business class. But Ladies on Scooters with Escorts get assistance to bypass every huge meandering line of poor sweaty people just trying to get checked in or through security. Hours of misery. Max reminded us, and sure enough it was like the seas parted. As good as Gold.
I was nervous to leave the scoot at the plane door, but in we got.
Lisa and Max – Paolo is in the other isle seat across from me. I am well protected.
All was well, and my scooter awaited me in Frankfurt – but then the Mis-Adventures began. After a four hour layover, we again boarded – this time to Rome…
Lufthansa Captain: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have landed and are at the Terminal – but the person in control of the docking mechanism is not here. they say it will be a few minutes. (pause) I don’t know what “a few minutes” is in Italy.”
Sure enough, no scoot. A Tall thin paramedic angel named Francesca pushed me for miles in a wheelchair and the intrepid Paolo finally tracked it down. In one piece.
Off we trooped, found our pick-up, had a fight with him, made up, and sped out to the city – – and my eyes, bleary eyes, grew wide with sights of Roman walls, tall pines and earthy coloured buildings – all troubles were forgotten when we arrived in Campo de’ Fiori…
I have been talking about sketching in Janet and Robert’s garden for awhile now, and we made it happen today. I rattled over the country roads and up a steep drive on my beast of a ShopRider, basket full of sketch stuff. I thought I might spend a couple of hours, drawing the clusters of grapes on the arbor, but it turned into a most wonderful afternoon – the three of us gathered around a still-life of freshly picked things, either from their garden or a local stand.
We had food and a shade umbrella and the blue sky was streaked with horsetail clouds.
Five lovely hours we all sat and drew, the murmur of India Runner ducks in the background.
So delightfully peaceful.
Even though my mind is moving toward Italy, I haven’t ignored this beautiful coast summer. I have spent pleasant hours on my pretty back deck, enjoying my flower filled pots and O’Keeffe inspired wall art.
I scooted to the Roberts Creek pier and had a fine 2 hours of sketching the copper roofed house across the creek.
But the best day of all was when instead of going up the lane back home, I unexpectedly turned the shoprider down towards the lookout at the end of my road and started a sketch of the view. Suddenly, I heard a huge whooshing blow – a woman on the beach below started yelling “The Whale!! The Whale!!” so I peeled out to a more open point and there it was. Or at least there was the spray and a huge hump of a grey back, moving slowly, following the tide line toward Sechelt.
I could feel it – I’m sure.
A great day indeed.
That is what my friend Marlene told me, and I have been fully embracing the pre-trip.
I had to think of something which would hold my attention, and keep my excitement from spilling over into anxiety – because I know myself. I can get… squirrelly. So, I have made up a crazy project for myself. I am filling one of my beautiful Kim Oka encaustic journals with sketches of details from Renaissance paintings, mostly of those that I could possibly see in Italy – but I am using ballpoint pens. And a bit of watercolour. Thats it.
Then, I am scanning these sketches and printing them out as postcards, which I will take with me.
While I am casually relaxing in a piazza with a tiny white cup filled with thick espresso, or perhaps a nice glass of jewel red Chianti, I will write my Deep Thoughts on them and send them back home to myself embellished with beautiful Italian stamps. This lovely dream is keeping my hands busy and my anxiety levels manageable.
Two more weeks……….