Eldest Abroad, Days 8-10

Oh dear. So far, Italy is not a hit.

However, I’m not that surprised. When Mom and I were stuck with the group, we weren’t too crazy about it, either. Italy from a tour bus is all kinds of suckage. Italy is meant to be meandered through in pairs or trios. It just isn’t a herd kinda joint. (But then, I suspect no place is. The ground view is always more interesting.)

Saturday they crossed in, leaving France and E’s amour behind, so I’m sure that added to the disappointment. I didn’t talk to her, but she told the spouse that she found it dirty and just generally sort of crappy. They saw Pisa, didn’t get to climb it. I did find out that they did some big restoration effort and un-leaned the tower about 10 years ago, so it’s roughly back to where it was 200 years ago – which explains why I remember holding tight to the side and not recognizing the decreased angle in current pictures. Anyway, people can still climb it in small groups, but it didn’t happen with this bunch.

Florence was also anti-climactic. Honestly, I didn’t really get Florence when I was there, which I think makes me some sort of knuckleheaded. Sigh. But again, I think I could like it if I went back and just hung out, though personally I’d rather go to Venice.

So now the poor tyke is stuck in Rome with the rubes in a “crappy Detroit neighborhood” so she can’t escape the hotel and poke around on her own. They spent the day in the Vatican, and the Sistine Chapel impressed her, but she got mad at all the people disregarding the “no Flash photography” signs, as well as the fact that no one did anything about it. It is frustrating when you know what the light does to the art. She’s happy with a rosary that she picked up. Tomorrow they’ll do the ancient stuff, but I fear it will be as big of a disappointment as the rest given the herd of charging elephants.

Why am I feeling sorry for someone on a European vacation? I just wish it were magical and that she could truly get a feeling for the cities she’s in, esp. given how expensive the damn thing was. E is sensitive, smart, and extremely appreciative of history and art – and here she is with a bunch of kids who could give two shits, and will grow up to be tourists who do all the tourist crap but never know what it’s like to dissolve into tears over an obscure Rodin sculpture that you just sort of bump into in a small out of the way museum that hardly anyone goes to. But that’s ok. I’ll take her.

 Oh, she did get in one dig. While they were in the Vatican, an announcement came over the loudspeakers in Italian. Some dopey teenager said to her, “Excuse me, I don’t speak fascist.” E shot back, “Yes, you do. You speak English.”

Snap.

(On the down side, this seems to have naturally led to the kid having a very annoying crush on her as he follows her around trying to convince her that nothing runs like a Ford. I pity this poor schmuck.)

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