I am cozy in my room for the evening with some camomile tea the signora kindly provided me. It has been an interesting two days here in Padua. 1st off I'll say that my fancy iPhone 4G has done nothing for my street skills of getting around a foreign city. My bouncing blue GPS dot is sadly absent from the paper maps that I have been trying to interpret. Add my pathetic Italian language skills to that and you get a very discombobulated American. Now that I've finally learned how to navigate the city, I leave tomorrow for a short stop in Vicenza for the day and then on to Verona.
I think Padua was the perfect place to get acclimated and find my bearings. Though, I expect to get lost again. There were only a few places I had my heart set on seeing here and in between bouts of wandering aimlessly I managed to see them. And have a bit of wine and food. Of course being lost makes for spectacular people watching. Both times that I was lost beyond all hope I was saved by an elderly man. The first came out of nowhere on a bike and said "Ciao Bella, I help you" He pointed out my place on the map and in between his broken English and my minor understanding of Italian he told me the piazza is the biggest and most beautiful of all the piazzas in Italy, with all the italian gusto he could manage. That or he was making quite an inappropriate pass at me The second spoke zero English but could understand where I wanted to go and he walked me there. So sweet! I imagine the larger cities will not be quite this accommodating. Gotta get street smart before Venice.
The Basilica of St. Anthony was the most amazing structure I have ever been in and I spent several hours just staring in awe at the art, architecture and the relics of St. Anthony( his tongue, jaw and vocal cords) I also attended mass where my hair did not catch fire, shocker I know. I shall stop there again tomorrow before I leave to have one last look. If any of you have read Pillars of the Earth, it gives you a perspective on what it would take to build a church like this.
I know all you girls at work want to know about the Italian men. Well, All I can say about American men now is WTF! The Italian men make you feel beautiful and wanted with every gesture whether it be sitting down a cup of tea for you or blowing you kisses from their Vespas. Another 19 days here and I may come back thinking I'm Venus! No one has been rude enough to pinch grab or slap my ass , Robyn and Bridgette! Too bad I'm leaving tomorrow because the darling bartender at a cafe across from the basilica speaks great English and his two Golden Retrievers wind in and out of the patio tables visiting the clientele who don't seem bothered by the dogs at all. And he says such sweet little Italian phrases to them. Sigh...
The flight did in fact have the typical effect on my ears and sinuses but I'm fighting it. If my ears and fever are back tomorrow I plan to spend a day resting and medicating in Verona and skip my extra day in Venice. I've done everything the doctor said and I actually think it helped some. After all I was in flight for over ten hours and I'm not completely bed ridden. The afternoon naps help. everything slows down mid afternoon and people have a rest and food. Today I spent that time near an open air market and gigantic park that was littered with ancient statues and fountains. I rested on the grass with a small loaf of olive bread and huge freshly picked moscato grapes. La dolce vita!
My itinerary as requested: solo - Padua 2 days, Vicenza and Verona 2 days, Venice 1 day, meet up with tour group Venice, Florence, Rome 3 days each, Solo again Sorrentto 4 days with day trips to Capri, Naples and Pompeii, Rome 2 days. This is a link to the Rick Steve's tour itinerary http://tours.ricksteves.com/tours/italy/venice-florence-rome
Wish me and my imaginary blue bouncing dot luck in Verona!