Sweet Nostalgia…

I’ve been catching up a little bit with some old friends in Italia… and I can’t begin to explain how much I miss them. My last few days in Italia before I left for Greece were hectic and all the back-to-back traveling sent me riding on a whirlwind. I never ended up writing about the second half of my adventure. I’m a bit disappointed… because now I’ve lost all those details that would make the experience come alive… but I’m going to try and recount what I can remember.

After I decided I was coming home… I got busy scheduling my last few jaunts before heading home. I arranged to stay with Davide’s parents in Parma before I left for Greece… but I also squeezed in a weekend trip to Bergamo, the city that I first came to know as “home” in Italia… what, three years ago now?

I had kept in contact with Diego the two years between my visits. I met him on my first trip when I was living with Giovanna Bonicelli during my one-month study abroad program. We met at an Irish pub… I was out with my American girls… and, I admit, yes, we were out perusing for Italian men! I’ll go ahead and touch on this trip first… then move on to what I began writing about.

The American girls and I, there were four of us… well, one girl was actually English… we met Diego, Marco, Alex, Roby and Giorgio at an Irish pub in the center of town, not far from the train station. It was Alex who first made his move… he’s the biggest trouble-maker of the bunch. I’ll admit, we were all disillusioned young college girls swooning over these young Italian men. It’s amusing to think about… Of course a couple of the guys spoke English really well… which was necessary. We certainly couldn’t speak Italian yet. We spent a wonderful evening with the boys and ended up wandering the 5 or so miles home at about 2 in the morning in a foreign Italian city we were still getting to know. The adventure had begun.

The next night my roommate and I were invited to go with Diego, Marco and Alex to La Garda. All we new was that it was about an hour and a half away. Better judgement would compel one not to go… of course we went! The car ride in and of itself was bliss… the boys would rattle off their magical Italian. At this point, all we knew were the very basics… hello, goodbye, where’s the restroom, etc… I was swooning over their beautiful voices speaking that beautiful language. Such a dork! It was late when we arrived in La Garda… a glance to my left, and I could just make out this grand, mysterious lake shimmering beneath the moonlight in the dark Italian unknown. We passed by an entrance for an amusement park. Then we pulled up to this chic, lively strip with ultra-Eurpoean style bars. I don’t think I’ve yet to have as fancy of a drink as I had at the swanky bar we stepped into. I can’t remember what it was…

We headed to Le Terme next… yeah my roommate and I didn’t really know what we were in for. The boys led us through a slightly rolling landscape lit with moonlight and covered with lush, green grass that felt soft and padded like carpet under your feet. First my ears were greeted by the sound of water… then I slowly started to make out the ponds and lakes scattered around us. A second look, and I realized many of them had various fountains spraying mist upon a few wanderers here and there in the water. It was actually fairly cool out and I thought: “are they crazy? It’s going to be cold.” But the boys assured us it would feel great. A tentative dip with my toe and I was certain too. The ponds and lakes were all heated. I immediately sank into the water and waded over to one of the fountains and simply let the warm and inviting water wash over me in the dusky moonlight. MMMM…. I felt like I was getting movie star treatment. Then the boys called my roommate and I back over… they had a little picnic set up for us with fresh Italian-baked bread, cold cut meat, cheese so pungent that a mere whiff makes you salivate… and of course il vino. Ummm… Wow! That’s all I was thinking. What did I do to deserve this??

After a moonlit picnic full of conversation and laughter we all headed to a larger lake. This one had smaller hot tubs scattered throughout that sat just a little higher… but the best part was the grotto… hot water spilled and trickled from various crevices in a lightly lit cave… it felt like paradise. Italian men sure knew how to treat a woman! But, that made me a little skeptical… just what were these boys after… hmmm?

…but my skepticism was disproven. The boys were absolute gentleman. When the park closed late into the night (or early into the morning), we packed into their car… I held onto the feeling of that warm water under the starry black night and drifted to sleep. My roommate and I awoke at our arrival at Giovanna’s, and we quietly crept into our beds… safe and sound.

Those boys then became a part of our crew for that short month we lived in Bergamo. And with my return two-years later, Diego was just as amazing as I had left him…

…yeah that experience was pretty spiritually and passionately alive.

To Be Continued…

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