Inspired by Allen de Botton in Art of Travel, I started to draw some pictures along the way. The key is not the result of the drawing (who cares if I burn it afterward), it is about the process to spend time to appreciate what is before you. You spend half an hour really focus on the object before you and observe!
Here are some of them, with my note.
San Geremia, Venezia
This is a very unique church near our hotel in Venezia, Italy. The light comes from the west (right side). This is, maybe, my first drawing of observing the sun direction. The drawing is not quite finished yet.
Basilica of San Lorenzo, Firenze
This is another church. Is there anything outside churches in Europe? It is San Lorenzo Basilica in Firenze. The view, as you can see from this photo, is from the top of Firenze Duomo.
San Simeone Piccolo, Venezia
This is the third church, the one you see in your first sight after get out of the train station. A typical church – clean lines, and low key.
The Logical Sequence
The reason I grouped all the church drawing together, despite of its location, is to try to restore the logical sequence of travel. The problem (and opportunity) of travel is, it brings everything to you with no particular sequence, and as traveler, we can only comprehend a very small portion of it. It is just like a non-tech guy air dropped into computer history museum, or an non-art guy appear in the middle of Uffizi Gallery. The geographic sequence is the main sequence we travel. However, if there is anyway to link the pearls as a necklace does, it is more beautiful, and more meaningful. So I try to put churches together, no matter it is from Roma, Firenze, or Venezia.
To have that logic sequence in mind, we can also explore much wiser and more fulfilling.
Italian are born to be humorous. In many cities I visited, the traffic signs were changed a little bit. You can see the creativity of the people there. Unlike graffiti, I feel this modification of public property is humorous, decent, and not offensive. It even can be designed as standard signs to demonstrate the characters of the country. Enjoy some of them.
Below: Smiling Pedestrian This Way.
Below: Leonardo da Vinci not Allowed
Below: Heart Broken Road on the Left.
Below: STOP! I am Working Hard!
Angels Turn Right; Devils Go Ahead!
Signs like this are spread out all cross the country, from Milano to Roma.
Roma (or Rome) is definitely considered as one of the most beautiful cities. I was excited to spent a quick 24 hours in the city, with about half in Via Dei Condotti shopping street with the girls.
Sitting back in my reading room, and recall what I saw in Roma, and how I feel about it, I started to get stuck. I stayed in a hotel (Mercure) in the northeast side of the city near Plaza Bologna. I visited some famous places like Vatican, Trevi Foundation, Plaza Venezia, Colosseo, or Spagna steps. It was totally an eye pleasure trip, but I still feel there is a wall between me and the city. On the other side, the great meal with local Brother Xiaoyou near Santa Crocs Gerusalemme, and the ice cream fighting in the 100-year old ice cream shop seems more vivid to me, when we barely had consciousness after some nice wine. Why sight seeing is the critical part of the trip but memories with people are another big (if not bigger part)? What is the difference?
In planning the next trip, I would add more element of people interaction. Sometimes to put it with the local attraction as a good background or stage, but interaction, especially with the local, can greatly lift the experience.
In all the Italian cities, I automatically fell in love with Rome. Comparing the limited cities I briefly visited, the city I enjoy least was Venezia, a tourist city, followed by Milano, and Firenze. I felt Roma is more like Beijing, and Milano is more like Shanghai (no wonder Shanghai and Milano recognise each other as sister city in 1979.) There is a long history of both, but just like people joke of Milano when comparing it to Firenze, that Leonardo started in Milano and finally got his peak at Firenze, as many other artist during the Renascence.
A side note here: it is always easy to comment from outsider. Roma and Milano are equally close to me as a tourist, so I can comment a lot, but when the topic is Beijing vs Shanghai, I cannot make an easy decision to move to Beijing or Silicon Valley easily considering all the cost. That is ironic.
Rome is the last stop of my trip to Italy. Wendy and the rest of the team will continue their journey to Paris, and Naples. There is a quick sense of sadness when I said goodbye to Wendy and wrapped my luggage in hotel in the morning of July 1, 2012, and then headed to Roma Fiumicino – Leonardo da Vinci Airport, alone. (Note: That is what travel brings us. Just as drama SHOWS us what the life can be, travel put us into the shoes of the actors, and CREATES some scene like this for us to experience: The excitement of arrival, and the sadness of separation).
This is a way belated blog. I have been back from Italy trip for a month, but I barely wrote anything about it. It is the time to do some reflection on the trip, what I saw, what I learnt, about Italy or future trips.
I will create a new category called Italy. My plan is to finish it in one day, today, with all the pictures, and thoughts. I struggled a little bit about how to date the entries, because I typically don’t back date anything. Back dating causes two problems: 1. The entry are very unlikely to be read. 2. That is some small form of dishonest, because that is not the date the post was actually written but reader’s expectation is that. The attempt to back date it is, the whole end of June and early July was empty, and I should fill in the blank with what actually happened during that time for future reference.
Finally, my decisions is, I don’t back date. Being honest about when the event happens is more important.
Events (in Shanghai) that affect my life (and others')