GREECE, ITALY, AND SPAIN
We have visited Athens, Rome, Livorno, Cartagena, Malaga, and Cadiz in the last two weeks; quite a whirlwind of ports, cities, and countries. The Mediterranean is as beautiful as I remember. The water is a remarkable shade of aqua marine and the air leaves a light shadow of salt on the skin that is only identifiable when one licks their lips at the end of the day, perhaps trying to capture some of the remaining wine or food from a memorable meal earlier in the afternoon. The sun is warm and filled with a life force unique to the area, a force that has inspired nature to produce some of the best grapes and olives or wine, sherry, and oil in the world. This region of the world is also a wonderful place to practice, “The Art of Doing Nothing”. I believe this phrase was popularized in the now famous novel, Eat, Pray, Love and is a well known Italian saying. The abundance of cafes, the ever present afternoon siestas, and assortment of late night eateries and bars lend to an extremely enticing culinary arts scene and long hours of sitting, eating, drinking, conversing, and people watching. A wonderful way to experience a culture is through the tradition of food, drink, and simply sitting and watching the local world pass by. One of our favorite activities here has been enjoying local wine, apertivos, digetivos, café, and the fresh undeniably incredible food of Greece, Italy, and Spain. The hospitality, warmth, and enthusiasm of the locals in these port cities have been notable. These cultures take great pride in serving others and sharing the beautiful traditions of their countries. In addition the cities themselves are aesthetic wonders. The time, foresight, and thoughtfulness that have been put into planning, growth, and the preservation of these ever growing destinations are remarkable. Remarkable characteristics they all share are numerous public parks, plazas, and marble or cobblestone walk ways and streets closed off to cars and automobiles. People of all ages walk everywhere. The cities are generally clean and contain magnificent architecture dating back to antiquity mixed with new and modern design. Notable are the public fountains, displays of public art work, and cathedrals. All of these countries are most deserving of another visit with more time to delve into the language, history, sights, and of course “The Art of Doing Nothing”!