So I was finally in Italy, a place I had tried to imagine in my dreams for many years. No matter how many photos I saw or the endless surfing on the internet looking at where my family were from prepared me for the reality of the real thing.
Fresh off the train my cousin took me into the town of Arezzo. I was instantly amazed. This place is old I thought. My mind started wandering trying to soak in the history. In Australia we think 200 odd years of white Australia is old and all of a sudden I am looking at places that are several hundred years old.
Even the overcast skies and the spits of rain could not dampen my enthusiasm as I walked the cobble stone streets or Arezzo. The narrow streets surrounded by tall stone buildings amazed me. I could have been in the back streets of the Rocks in Sydney but I was in Arezzo and it was much older.
As we walked past a shop I stopped to look, my cousin said lets go in. Wow! I thought I knew what food was but this place was amazing. I had never seen a deli that had so much cheese, meats and other wonderful foods to look at. The visit to this shop also resulted in one of those funny moments that adventures often bring.
At this point I should say that I understand a lot more Italian then I can actually speak and I heard my cousin tell the shop keeper that I was from Australia. As I was looking at the variety of salamis and other meats in the window the young woman who was in the shop asked me ” Che tipo di carne si mangia in Australia?” (what type of meat do you eat in Australia). Well what a question. How do you answer it? I found myself thinking about our national cold meat. There really isn’t one is there? So I replied, “devon” Oh if that pretty young woman actually knew what devon was!
I quickly learnt that things are not really private in Italy. We went into the local Cathedral and there was a funeral taking place. I felt a little awkward but my cousin undeterred proceeded to show me around despite the fact this solemn service was taking place. It didn’t seem to worry anyone that we were there and I reflected on the difference between Australia and Italy.
So after a couple of hours we were back in the car. My stomach still had butterflies, my mind was still racing trying to take in what I was seeing and I knew that this still was only the beginning of the adventure.
You can read the first part of Marc’s story HERE