The Acropolis had been on my list of places to see for a very long time. The danger of being disappointed was therefore much greater. There are, however, places that are larger than life and the Acropolis is one of those. The site, which dominates the city, has everything to impress, despite the inevitable erosion showing in its majestic constructions. The moment was all the more moving because the democratic values originating from this place seem to have been floundering lately.
For the grammarian that I am, the emotion also came from the fact that ancient Greece is also the birthplace of Western grammar. The era when philosophers explored the faculty of language, reflected on the parts of speech, and saw the noun as representing substance, instead of being a SN, and before becoming a mortally boring matter for generations of school children who have never reconciled with his “rules”.
It was worth waiting Greece !
What I liked:in Meta, Luigi, Rosaria (best pizza), bells and roosters that punctuate time, going to the cliff to admire the view, Antonietta (the coolest nonna). In Naples, I loved the energy of the city that overflowed, observing the students of the University. In Pompeii, immersing myself in the life of a city from the past, remembering that art is a visceral need of humanity (and perhaps the only thing that can save humanity), hearing an opera song. On the Amalfi Coast, the view from the road between Sorrento and Amalfi. Seeing dolphins having fun following a small boat from the road. Seeing how the Italians seem to constantly portray small moments of everyday life: the woman who protested strongly to the ticket seller for minutes, and then goes back, as an encore. The elegance of female cops (which gives almost want to become one).
What I did not like: Leaving Meta after a week, I already felt at home. Sorrento, far too touristy. Capri: too many tourists, too, although I can see why it once attracted people. I find myself in the awkward position of the tourist understanding why the citizens of Venice protest to reclaim their city. The nonna who counts his money behind the counter and is not very nice with her granddaughter doing all the work.
I am now on route to Sicily. And many claim this is a different country (anyway, this is what an Italian friend of mine in New Zealand claims).
I nearly did not go to Pompei, after watching a very boring documentary re-enacting the last days of the city. But, at the last minute, I told myself it would be stupid not to go, while being so close by. I discovered a city, large streets. beautiful houses, a refined lifestyle and a taste for art.
To find, in the temple dedicated to Isis, a quote from Apuleius, in Metamorphosis. A text I studied in Latin, when I was at university. Then I thought about my time at university, how time is flying and how life always end up so different from what one thought would happen.
Then the joy of discovering the theatres, the permanence of humanity’s love of art. An emotion completed by a guide who feels the need to demonstrate the quality of the acoustic with a little opera song. Perfect day.
Naples it’s life coming out of everywhere : streets, windows, cafés. Perfect day, including the opera singer.
In Sardinia, I liked: The sweetness of Santa Teresa di Gallura, its clear waters, the bell ringing the passage of time and seemingly slowing it down, the rock formations of Capo Testa, hearing the Sardinian language Crossing Sardinia from north to south and discover its rugged and mysterious landscape. Discovering a small university town on top of a mountain in the middle of forests. The apartment airbnb overlooking the beach rena bianca (I want it, I want it , I want it). Discovering Cagliari, its energy, meeting Enrico, the airbnb host. I feel almost at home already on the second day when the greengrocer, who sees me for the second time, do not look at me with suspicion and wishes me a good day. The stones of Sardinia.
I did not like: the wrong bus timetable from the tourist information, in Santa Teresa (note to self : write a post about the ups and downs of public transport). Walking under the scorching sun with twenty kilos of luggage in the hills and come across the cousin of the airbnb hostess who did not show up (note to self : write a post about the ups and downs of airbnb). The lady at the tourist information Cagliari (note to self : write a post about the job description in the tourist information offices). Loosing photos of the city from the ferry going to Naples.
Cagliari in the south of Sardinia, it is Italy, but otherwise. Very few tourists, it vibrates to the rhythm of the mixture of cultures in some streets where it is like in Africa. The port city is bustling with cruise ships and ferries, it is moving from early morning to late at night, except for the nap time (photo).
In Corsica I found a superficial French influence, a deeper Italian influence and ultimately a strong Corsican identity.
What I liked: hearing the Corsican language, going through Corsica, feeling its impenetrability in its mountainous landscape, admire its clear waters, walking in the citadel of Bonifacio.
What I did not like: the lady of the tourist information office in Ile-Rousse