Sunday, 8 July 2012

La Bella Italia

I’m in the middle of my holiday in Italy but I couldn’t resist giving you a sneak peak of what I’ve been up to. Although, to be completely honest, it’s not much. I’ve been dreaming of a holiday where I didn’t do anything all day, except lie on a beach reading a book and drinking cold beverages. For the first part of last week, my so-used-to-London-coolness-and-rain body was so shocked by the unbearable heat and humidity levels that my brain was very close to melting inside my skull. I couldn’t even manage reading! On the plus side, on day three I already had an amazing tan.
Things picked up after that, now (day 8) I don’t even notice the heat anymore. I’m in the middle of Beautiful Darkness (Book 2 of the Caster chronicles) and I must say I absolutely love it! The first one, Beautiful Disaster, drew me in so much that I finished it in a day. It’s beautifully written and that’s the main thing that made me love it, because the whole love story between an ordinary character  and an extraordinary character who are inexplicably connected and have the same dreams and visions, and the main character has to choose between the Light and the Dark has been told many, many times before. But this book is so well written that you forget about that and are fully engaged in the story. The authors have managed to give an unique spin to an old tale and have described the world Ethan and Lena live in so vividly that the reader teleports to the small town of Gatlin in the middle of the American South on page one and stays there during the whole book. At some point I think I actually smelled one of Amma’s pies…
OK, enough about books! I’m in Italy after all!
Italy – the land where timetables are as accurate as the weather forecast; where you can’t wear anything but a sleeveless dress because it’s so hot and humid that your jeans have to be surgically removed; where you can’t buy a proper cup of tea but is completely acceptable to have a strong espresso at 10pm; where you can’t find a supermarket open during the siesta hours but can but high-heeled sandals at 11.30pm…
 I’m in love with this country ever since I first visited it a few years before.
Italians are so relaxed and laid back that you can’t help but relax with them. The beach here in Lido di Jesolo is one of the best in Europe – it’s 11 miles long. Basically the whole resort is a beach and two very long streets. The main street becomes pedestrian zone after 8pm and it’s the longest pedestrian street in Europe. Along the whole 11 miles there are shops, restaurants with live music, pubs and cocktail bars and it’s full of people all night long. We go home at about midnight, but for some the night has just started. Even that late, the thermometer in the town center reads 30 degrees Celsius and all the shops and bars are open till much later.

On Wednesday we went on a boat trip to Venice (Jesolo is just 30 minutes away from Venice) and the two big islands of Murano and Burano.  It was one of the best trips of my life! If you’re going to Venice you should definitely go by boat! Sailing to the heart of the city along the Canale Grande is such an amazing and beautiful experience! Venice is everything you ever thought it would be – hot, humid, crowded… But it’s also wonderfully charismatic! To get the full experience of the city you need to get lost in it. Seriously, put your maps in your pocket and just walk. All the small streets lined with bridges and canals and secluded shops and restaurants will enchant you forever. Take your photos at San Marco and get out of there! It’s not what Venice is about. If you can, stay overnight. Venice at night is out of this world! Just imagine all the lights reflected in all that water…

The island of Murano is famous for its glass factories. Murano glass is one of the most expensive glass made in the world today. Everything is made by hand by the glass master and to become one you need to do an internship with a glass master for 15 years! It’s easier to become a surgeon, in my opinion. We went to an actual factory and saw how the glass figure were made – the glass master transformed a very hot lump of glass into a horse standing on its rear legs in about 5 minutes with such skill that everybody was left open-mouthed. I have some rings and bracelets made from Murano glass and I always get a lot of compliments when I wear them, so I jumped on the chance to buy some more straight from the factory shop. The town itself is nothing spectacular, especially in the heat when you just want to hide under some shade and never leave it. It’s a small town with lovely Italian style houses and many canals, just like in Venice.

The island of Burano is famous for its lace – each piece is made by seven different people – and its colourful houses. Every house is pained in a different colour and each colour represents the surname of the family living in it. Again, it’s full of small canals and lovely bridges but the colourful houses bring something very unique to this island. I loved it and couldn’t resist buying a lace scarf.

So this is what I’ve been doing for the past week or so – sunbathing, shopping, boat trips… And practicing my Italian – the locals are very helpful when it comes to slow talking tourists.
Ciao belissimi, a presto. Bacioni da soleggiata Italia!

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