For the past three years, my Nan and I have been touring the cities of Italy. 2017 we spent four days in Venice (our favourite), 2018 we travelled to Rome and Florence and this year, we have just landed back from Verona.
We feel that we blend in with the elegant and glamours Italian locals; excellent sense of style, olive skin tone, generally a 10/10 etc. We also find that the Italian lifestyle fits nicely with ours, coffee and croissants in the morning, wine/aperol spritz by lunch to wash down a slice of pizza, mid afternoon wine stop followed by another fine Italian dining experience. Plus more wine.
Nan and I have a lot in common; a love for shopping, drinking, eating and talking. As you can imagine, Italy has the first three in abundance. The conversation is slightly more difficult due to the language barrier. Nan’s limited Italian limits her ability to talk to random passers by, this does not tend to stop her trying. If all else fails, I am her main audience and biggest fan.
Nan excels in her conversation skills, something which I had thought was one of my strengths. However, she certainly puts me to shame. I therefore treat these breaks as training camps. Maybe I will be as good as her one day.
We do find ourselves in some situations. Coupled with her persistent nattering, Nan suffers from Macular Degeneration which effectively results in sight lost over a period of time. I am therefore her eyes, her ears and she tends to be the voice.
It’s very easy to get lost abroad, particularly in Venice when you have a map in one hand, bag in the other, Nan in my right ear and a tour which was departing in less than 5 mins and google maps was saying you were 10 mins away. So there we were running along the canals of Venice, Nan noting that she would have brought her sports bra out of retirement had she known my intention to go everywhere 100mph and yet again we got to another dead end without a bridge to cross. Inevitably the tour was the other side of this particular canal. This was about the 5th dead end we’d come to whilst trying to find this particular meeting place. My navigation skills were questionable and my patience dwindling. At which point, Nan acknowledges that she thought we might be lost. My phone battery promptly died. No sh*t Sherlock. Fortunately we made the tour departure as I elbowed through the crowds in St. Marks Square with Nan in tow. Both hot and flustered. Not quite the elegant ladies I had in my mind, graciously strolling around the Venetian streets. As you see in magazines.
Rome was not too eventful, other than getting caught in a complete downpour. Neither of us had an umbrella or a rain coat. I was wearing a white T-shirt and obviously being on holiday, it’s Sunday attire. Classic. A generous man gave me his umbrella. Unfortunately the damage was already done and my dignity was a distant memory. Looking back, he would have been better giving me his rain coat, not that generous. Again, not the elegant, fashion icons I envisaged us to be. Free the nipple is a feminist movement, meant to make you feel empowered?! Anyway, we were getting too much attention, Nan and I went back to the apartment and used the hairdryer to dry ourselves and on we went with our day, heads held high.
Florence was beautiful, as were the waiters who we managed to sweet talk into providing us with bottomless Prosecco and Pizza. Gustrium Firenze are very welcoming and I would highly recommend checking them out if you ever venture to the city. Best pizza in town. The steak was also pretty yum.
Verona you were also pretty decent. In the other cities, the men try to give you roses. They then demand money for the pleasure of this. Nan attracts the rose bearers. In Verona, we attracted two gladiators who asked if they could have a picture with us. I assumed because we were two glamorous ladies (not that we look at all like tourists), gracing the Veronese streets and why wouldn’t they want a picture with us?! One was rather rugged looking. Not my type exactly but nan keeps telling me I am too fussy. They then promptly asked for cash. Romance is dead and my holiday romance was over as fast as it had started.
The last night we went for dinner. After a few Aperol Spritz, we decided a bottle of Soave was better value than a glass. The walk back was fun. Mainly because Nan doesn’t need any further vision impairment and wine doesn’t exactly improve this, her chosen footwear were some ‘very comfortable’ flip-flops which are great if you wanted to skate across the marble pavements after a downpour. So we linked arms and I attempted to carry us back (my vision was also slightly impeded). We lived the tell the tale.
Nan has requested Lake Garda next year where we can do wine tasting, pasta making and tours. I think she’s looking for a quieter life. Rather than the 20,000 steps/day city break where I drag her to the highest point to watch the sunset and up as many steps for a panoramic view. I agreed that would be perfect, we could go open water swimming, do yoga to the sun rise, venture out on some paddle boards and climb a mountain for sun set.
N.B. This is only a snippet of our holiday memoirs. After all, what goes on tour stays on tour!