We just returned from our vacation in Italy, so my next few posts will not have anything to do with Hungary.
We left our apartment at 2:00 PM on December 22nd and our plane landed in Italy just after 10:00 PM. I was in a stupor during the taxi ride from Galileo Galilei airport to our hotel. Perhaps this was partly because we’d been traveling for eight hours and it was past my bedtime. But I was also trying to absorb the fact that I was in Italy. Fulfilling a childhood dream is always surreal and sometimes a letdown.
Italy did not let me down.
I caught a glimpse of the Tower as we entered our hotel. Although we were both tired, Jesse and I dumped our bags on the bed in our room and headed back out to get a better look at the Square of Miracles.
The Tower and the Duomo are so grand that they mess with your sense of perspective. At night, it seemed as if someone had glued cardboard cutouts of these architectural wonders on the horizon.
Up close, I was struck by how elegant the ghostly white marble of the Tower is. I also kept thinking to myself, “Wow, it really does lean!” Okay, duh. The Tower is famous precisely because it is off kilter. But I really appreciated the crazy angle when I stood next to it. After so many centuries, it seems as if it either should have toppled over or been straightened out.
The square was quiet and peaceful. We were bathed in moonlight, and the stars of Orion’s belt sparkled overhead. Even in December, the over-fertilized grass in the square looked like an emerald green carpet. Few tourists were out. One group asked us to take their picture and then wandered off, leaving us virtually alone as we wandered around the Duomo and the Baptistry. When our fingers were numb with cold, we finally headed back to the hotel. It all felt like a dream.