“So—Which place that you visited was your favorite?”

I was expecting – and dreading – that question once my husband and I returned from our vacation in Italy. The only accurate and appropriate answer I could give would be the cliché response: “That’s like asking me which child is my favorite,” especially if my children numbered more than a dozen, instead of just two.

I was planning to go on a pilgrimage to Italy with my church a number of years ago, but because of a sudden health issue, I had to drop out of the trip a week before we were scheduled to leave. It’s been a dream ever since – for both my husband and me – to go to Italy someday.

The tour we signed up for was a two-week trip labeled “The Best of Italy,” and it took us from Rome down to Sorrento and the Isle of Capri in the south, to Venice and Lake Como – and even a short trip across the border into Switzerland – in the north, with stops in multiple cities, villages, farms, churches, cathedrals, and other locations along the way. We visited the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Trevi Fountain, and the Colosseum. We saw the ruins of Pompeii, the town of Assisi, the Pieta, the statue of David, the canals of Venice, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the American Cemetery and Memorial, and the medieval, hillside town of San Gimignano. We watched a woman making mozzarella, and a glassblower creating one-of-a-kind glass treasures. We ate pizza, pasta, gelato, and tiramisu, and drank espresso, cappuccino, and lots of wine.

That’s only a partial list of the places we went, and the things we did, but how could I choose just one as a favorite? Not to mention everything I learned about the culture, the history, the art, and the architecture, as well as the geography and language of a place I’ve never been to before.

Although I don’t consider myself a seasoned traveler, many of the people on our tour were, and our fellow travelers included couples, individuals, and families from across the country and around the world. So while we were soaking up all the wonders of Italy, I was also learning about – and from – people living in places like Australia, Singapore, China, Germany, and Canada. By the time our trip was over, they all felt like family. Maybe that was my favorite part of the trip.

I don’t know when my next travel adventure may be, or whether it will be someplace close to home or halfway around the world. But I do know that whenever and wherever it is, I’ll look forward to enjoying everything I see and do, everything I eat and drink, everything I hear and learn, and, most of all, everyone I meet along the way.

March 3, 2023
©Betty Liedtke, 2023

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