For so many years, my thoughts of Italy lived within the realm of my dream world. I was filled with a myriad of hopes and wishes that eventually collided with even grander expectations. Steve, knowing my heart’s desire, made them all come true for me in an amazing quintessential experience that will be forever etched into my memory in a blaze of sensory glory. Bless him!
The possibilities for wanderlust are overwhelming and endless, but we chose to focus our journey on a tiny span of her southern coastline and traveled to the most beautiful place I’ve ever laid eyes on. Seriously! It …was … exquisite! I can barely find the words to describe the sense of childlike wonder I felt upon my first glimpse of this breathtaking display of God’s beauty as the Master Artist of Creation. He used His entire palate of colors, textures, vegetation, and seascapes for this rare and unique composition of Aqua Terra. No wonder this is a place of artistic inspiration, for beauty encapsulates one here and implores the soul to respond.
It is as if humans sculpted their villages and roads out of the mountains themselves. These sparkling jewels of a towns cling tenaciously to the rugged cliffs and threaten to slide into the sea. They belong to the land and are engulfed by it. Here, antiquity and modern have melded together in a way that pays homage to nature itself like no other. They all reside in the shadow of the sleeping giant, Mt. Vesuvius, which provides a constant reminder that it all can be taken away at a moment’s notice, just as it has before.
Here we found a timeless place of the ancients. It was a journey into the very soul of civilization. For me, it was the stark realization that we are but a speck on the cosmic timeline of humanity that has spanned the millenniums. Of course logically I know that, but here the feeling is quite visceral. It is in the air you breathe. Human structures and sophisticated remnants have somehow survived the onslaught of time. To see the evidence of unimaginable art and culture and innovation that predates us by thousands of years was nothing short of awe inspiring. It is beyond the realm of possibility to remain unmoved by such a magnitude of treasures…both natural and man-made.
Here, we also found a gregarious people, bridging a language and cultural barrier, to extend their kindness to strangers in a strange land. Their warmth was palpable and their good-will genuine. Again, I realize that all people are more alike than we are different when we let our barriers down a bit and seek to understand each other. I must forever strive to look for opportunities to pay that forward. I am so thankful that I was given the opportunity for this amazing experience. It has changed me, as travel often does, with its particular brand of education, in ways that I hope will manifest itself toward loving others better as we live out our lives together on this beautiful planet of ours.
“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” ~ Marcel Proust