I have been struggling a little to get into the groove of this book and many a nightly hour has been spent considering the whys and wherefores. I know that A Little Bit of Italy does not contain the overnight train journeys, numerous countries and cultures and desperate hurtles across countries to make a connection that were evident in A Tale of Nine Cities, but still I visited some magnificent places.
Reading through my journal, looking at the photographs and carrying out the research to make sure I’ve got my facts straight, I remember just how wonderful these cities were. Venice, a floating enigma; Milan with its beautiful Duomo; Siena, an almost perfect medieval town set in the beautiful Tuscan countryside and Rome. Rome, where there is almost too much to see. Rome, the complete and utter assault on all your senses. It was an incredible journey, so why am I finding it so hard to write about it?
The answer came to me last night. The reason I find it so troublesome – I was not happy. Whereas with Nine Cities I had been travelling with a friend that I could not be more found of (despite some rather violent outbursts), A Little Bit of Italy was taken in the company of someone with whom I was in the last throes of a relationship. Throes? The last choking, bilious vomits of our relationship were strewn across this trip. So I need to address these issues. I need to make light of them, turn the murderous look and desire to dash him from the height of the Duomo roof onto the piazza below into a moment of humour (though there is the concern it might descend into bathos).
So that is my intent today - lighten my heart. I found a quote from Ernest Hemingway, “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.” Very good advice. I am going to put it as the ending quote to my book, it is the perfect summation.