When I was young, I once asked my mother where paradise was located. She told me that it was not a specific place but rather a place that is spectacular according to oneself. I did not realize that paradise was essentially one’s own ideal part of the world. At the age of 18, I was able to see my paradise. I had been looking forward to this trip for an entire year prior to graduating high school. When the day finally arrived, off I went, a little nervous, but with an unsurpassed feeling of elation, to Bergamo, Italy.
I flew there alone but I was glad to know I would meet a friend shortly after I landed. At the airport, I followed all of the passengers down the corridors, which is a generally good idea when you have no knowledge of where you are going. I went through the customs and came to the baggage claim. The trepidation I was experiencing vanished when the couple who was seated next to me on the plane graciously offered to help me with my bag. We talked as we waited for the carousel to start up and then gathered our bags as they were dispensed. They put my little suitcase on top of their own and rolled them to the exit. When the doors opened, I was delighted at the sight of my friend who was anticipating my arrival. I knew that this would be the most memorable week of my life.
I did not expect to go out my first night but on the contrary, I went to see the city. The old part of the city, known as Citt- Alta, is generally closed to vehicles at night but luckily, we were allowed to enter by car. However, we would have to park and walk once inside because, the narrow streets surrounding the piazza are not designed for driving. The city was just absolutely breath taking. I walked on the cobble stone streets, and gazed up at the wonderful, old dwellings then I went inside the Teatro Sociale, or Social Theater. It was awaiting much restoration but it had a rustic beauty. Near to the theater is Piazza Vecchia. This was perhaps my favorite place because it seemed to be straight from a fairytale with its large, lion adorned fountain and buildings with ornate facades. As I wandered about in amazement, I could not help thinking; I was in a movie or a dream. I felt as though I was blanketed in surrealism. This was only my first taste of the treasures that were to come.
The next day I awoke to the melodic sound of church bells. My friend’s family and I prepared for our excursion to hill where at the top, one can see as far as Milan on one side and the foothills of the Alps on the other. While I was not one of the brave people hang gliding off the hillside, I took pictures and savored some strawberry gelato. Our next place of interest was a tiny, round church. It was unlike any I had ever seen before. The quaint structure stood out in a vacant area and was constructed in the same place where a Pagan temple once existed. These places are so awe-inspiring that one could lose any preoccupations when visiting them.
Each day was filled with new places to see, pictures to take, and more gelato to eat. One of the most picturesque places I visited was the Lago di Como. I was able to spend nearly the entire day walking along, imagining what it would be like to live in one of the lakeside houses, and staring at the sun’s glittery designs as they danced on the water. An equally yet diversely beautiful area is Milan. The city is somewhat modernized but retains its classic, elegant architecture. This was quite a fun excursion because I went by train and then the metro. I was fascinated by the modes of transportation because I have traveled in such a way so infrequently. The metro brought me to a grand piazza where the Duomo is located. It was a spectacular site with an ornate facade adorned with scaffolding as it underwent restoration. I was even more stunned by the interior. The sheer enormity of the structure and the two massive organs behind the alter left me without words to describe them at the time. After visiting the cathedral and taking in its awesome beauty, I went to the Galleria. It was an interesting juxtaposition to see modern stores while strolling through a finely aged building. I was able to indulge my passion for shopping, as there is an abundance of lovely stores. Not all of the rich beauty of these two places could be captured in a few black and white photographs but they would assure me a small piece of it.
I could not imagine that anything could be more exciting than or as exciting as going to Italy. I soon realized I was mistaken because my day in Venice thrilled me beyond what anyone could fathom. When I arrived, I could not believe, in my wildest dreams that I was actually there. I remember being surprised at how little water there was. My previous notion was that one would have to go by boat practically everywhere. On the contrary, the area where one can walk is vast. The surrealism captured me again as I walked through the narrow calle.
My friend told me that our main destination was Piazza San Marco. I could not get a mental image of what I was about to see so I had no idea what to expect. When we neared the piazza, I was told to close my eyes and was lead to the perfect spot. When I opened, my eyes it was if I had woken up but I was still dreaming. I was captivated by the massive absolutely, incredible building in front of me. From afar, I thought the golden decorative scenes on the exterior were paintings. As I neared the building, I discovered that they were elaborate mosaics. I was amazed to see that the inside was completely covered with them. The floor was warped by the water under the city but was still had exquisite marble patterns. I followed several others up to the top where one can go outside and look out over the spectacular piazza. I then continued to walk toward the Ponte Vecchio. On the way, I looked in all of the shop windows at the beautiful rainbow of Murano Glass. I bought a few small pieces so I could color my world with a little touch of Venice.
I could not have asked for a better week. I feel as though my life was enriched because I was able to make such a trip and see places so wealthy in history and art. I now have an even greater appreciation for art and this journey has inspired me to live life with passion and seize every opportunity that I can. I know that by doing so I will someday have a beautiful home there. After all, I feel I everyone should strive to attain a permanent place in his or her own paradise.