After just about four months, I have the map of Padova in my head. All the lovely, sampietrino streets… I can walk everywhere, but if I want, I can hop on a bus or tram and know where it's going and exactly when to get off. I can go to the train station and use the ticket machine (in Italian!) to purchase just the right ticket to get where I want to go as quickly and cheaply as possible. I know where to buy everything I need, and where to put all the trash and recyclables. I finally have some good tea and, most importantly, I have some really good friends. It will be hard to say goodbye.
At the same time, I am thrilled to be going home. I can't wait to be reunited with my wonderful husband and our furry friends. I left Connecticut with snow on the ground; now I can go back and enjoy summer in New England: biking in the forest, walks on the beach, shopping at farmers' markets, visits to local wineries with beautiful views, and Red Sox games at Fenway Park!
So what will I miss the most about Italy?
1. My new friends. I have been fortunate to meet exactly the right people in the right place at the right time. I have learned and shared so much, and enjoyed many memorable conversations and experiences.
2. The amazing food. Awesome fresh, high-quality veggies and fruits, homemade pasta, pesto genovese, pizza napoletana, and of course… gelato!
|Croante all'amarena, from Gelateria La Romana. "Ice cream" will never be the same.|
|Street market in Venice|
|One of the many, visually-tempting stores in Padua|
4. Spectacular mass at Sant'Antonio. I am not a churchgoer, but had to check out this amazing cultural event. People from all around the world visit Saint Anthony's Basilica in Padua. Sung mass on Sundays is standing room only, complete with spotlights, music, elaborate costumes, candles and smoky incense… kind of like a Broadway musical, but free!
5. L'Orto Botanico. One of those places to go and enjoy again and again, the historic, University of Padua botanical garden was my escape to nature within the paved confines of the city.
|L'Orto Botanico: A little green paradise in Padua.|
|Me at Prato della Valle, Padova's famous, giant piazza-park.|