I could wax on about Italy and the wonders of this country of gelato, Caesar, fashion, aqueducts and pasta. It truly is a wonder… beautiful lands, wonderfully romantic language, relaxed pace, delicious wines and a willingness to fully embrace the world’s people. I feel I was able to see some remarkable sites, meet interesting people and delight in the culture.
However, in continuing to play catch up on my Tour de France knit-a-long, I am going to express my love for the City of Lights first. Paris: a truly remarkable city. I went for the first (and sadly only) time when I was 24 as part of a short two week backpacking trip with my friend Tina. I was the new recipient of a masters degree and was set to embark on my first position in “the real world.” Before that, Paris called. My most memorable moment in all of Paris was our second trip to the Eiffel Tower. We had gone during the day but determined that a night visit was also in order. On the first elevator, we started talking to an American couple riding with us. As it turns out, they had just gotten engaged! (Thank goodness this was before Tom Cruise ruined that romantic spot for me by offering a circus proposal to Katie Holmes there.) They had been together for about 15 years and were totally committed: raising children, living together and supporting each other in every way. Their children wanted them to marry. And so the man picked the Eiffel Tower as the spot where they would make yet another commitment to one another. This couple, with their beaming faces and excitement for a different but equally committed future, are forever linked with Paris in my mind.
As I think of the Tour during this KAL, it strangely does connect back to my Italian adventure. My friend Katy, whom I traveled with, approached the owner of the winery we visited about a possible job. The owner, Luigi, was equally enthusiastic and it looks like this very well might come to fruition. Katy is dating a cyclist, who would love to move to Italy and ride the hills of Tuscany each day. And, so my friend might become an expat and create a whole new reason for me to visit Tuscany. (And, PS, she wrote a funny blog entry on being a cyclist's partner...)
Even though the Tour de France is tied to France, in a small way it will remain connected to my Italian adventure in my mind forever. As much as I lovingly remember my time in France, Italy has changed me. And I am the better for it.