All text and photos © 2006 Peter Newbury.
Etymology: Middle English travailen, travelen to
travel light : to travel with a minimum of
Etymology: Middle English entente, from Anglo-
synonyms : meaning, significance, connotation
edited entries from Webster
|Tuscany! The word inspires reams of visions, of tastes, of sensations. Sun-drenched vines woven into living canopies, presiding over luxurious lunches. Siestas on a slow, hot afternoon, cool glass close at hand and cicadas chirping the heat’s rhythm to drowsy ears. Descending to calm, quiet caves to be seduced and romanced by the splash of wine into glass. This is the Tuscany so often written of, so often trumpeted. I now know another face of Tuscany. I’ve travelled open fields baking under a midday sun that gives no quarter to mere humans; explored houses constructed centuries ago, achingly abandoned and made more so by the surrounding active fields and dirt roads. I know a Tuscany peppered with long winding climbs where litres of water would not slake the heat but only serve to||augment the sweat rolling from my brow. I know a Tuscany, too, that rewards that hot, hard labour, those sensations of life. I’ve plunged into the soothing salty Mediterranean to whisk away that personal, portable sauna of sweat and heat. Towns with delightfully convoluted corridors and doorways have encircled me, leading me to where I began instead of an exit. I've sung in hewn marble mountain caverns so grand, so immense, that the scale goes beyond human comprehension, but not human endeavour.
I know another Tuscany of visions, of tastes, of sensations. One I will not forget.
It's hard to forget magic.
Tuesday, 27 June 2006. 6:30pm. SeaTac Airport, Seattle
I’m stepping into a British Airways 747 bound for Heathrow. Brother-sister team Kevin and Karen Winfield are delightfully letting me join their Tuscan Trip, a trip in pursuit of excellent food, long walks and the shortest horserace in the world. The only electronic technology I expect to have in my hands over the next two weeks is a pair of cameras and a watch so I don’t loose when I am… too much. This is surreal. It’s been years since I’ve had more days off than fingers on one hand; it’s been longer than that since I’ve been in London; and I’ve never been to Tuscany. Excellent!
Wednesday, 28 June 2006. Over the North Atlantic
The young man sitting next to me is, to my amusement, bravely, and naively, trying to initiate my conversion to Mormonism. We are in the midst of a long conversation about the meaning of life, but I get the sense he isn’t there quite yet. He certainly does not understand my references to 42. Why do some cultures insist on ‘saving’ people, even if only from themselves? I think I’ll leave him to his internal travels so I can doze and read the rest of this nine hour flight into submission.
Wednesday early afternoon. Heathrow Airport, England
This is the second time I’ve been through a 747 traffic jam at Heathrow. How many people are on the move at any one instant around the globe? Yikes. In the mini-bus transferring us between terminals a young woman looks like she is about to have a mental meltdown; I catch her eye. Arianna says she is okay, it is not heat or panic. She is on her way to Rome from Denver and is only hours away from seeing her home, family and dog for the first time in a year. Ah. Anxious excitement.
Wednesday late afternoon. Bologna Piazza, Rome
It was only a three hour flight from Heathrow to Rome – eternity for Arianna, the usual for me. Even though my backpack is somewhere else (we need to find it first, senoré, then we will deliver it to you), I have my cameras, the clothes on my back, and warm weather welcoming me to Italy. Also welcoming me are an excellent train system... and busy men offering hotel deals. No thanks. The Youth Station Hostel Rome near the Bologna Metro stop will be my base for the next couple days. This hostel room is nicely cool. I think I need a siesta!
Wednesday night. Bologna Piazza
I’m wandering the dark streets, absorbing Rome. Windows open to the night offer listening posts into life – cooking, laughter, conversation. No backpack yet, of course, so I am still in pants and long sleeve shirt. Sometimes I think I’m cold-blooded, wearing my 3 shirts, 2 jackets, thick pants and wool hat in Seattle. But I’m not in Seattle. I’m enjoying the warmth of an Italian night. A most pleasant walk, this wandering circumnavigation of my new world.