Love, Italian Style
Late March/Early April
I think if you ask any woman, "love" is like a second language to an Italian man. And with love there is no language barrier. Young and old in this country will look you square in the eye and for one brief moment make you feel as if you're the only woman in the room...and it happens even if you're wearing spandex bike shorts and a helmet that does nothing for your hair.
It's all confection, this flirting, and it all began my first day in Italy. It was in a cafe half way between Bari and Alberobello. I stopped with some cycling friends and over cappuccino I got a wink. This wasn't a lecherous wink...this was a wink that seemed like fun. It was a wink that made me want to stay awhile. It's been like this throughout Italy for me and for every female cyclist. It seems "love" is spoken here--and often. The art of love is genetic and it's historic--just visit Pompeii.
It's our eighth day of cycling and we are on our way to Pompeii by way of the Amalfi Coast. The Amalfi Coast runs from Sorrento to Salerno...a narrow stretch of road that turns at impossible angles. There are mirrors posted at corners, warning you about oncoming cars. Buses as wide as two lanes honk their horns to let you know something bigger than you is about to round the bend. Many of the cars parked in the towns along the Amalfi Coast don't have side mirrors....they've been knocked off after two cars have "kissed" each other when they've passed...another kind of "love" Italian style.
By late afternoon, we've made our way to Pompeii. Our group is staying in a campsite across the street from the Pompeii ruins. Pompeii was smothered by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Archeologists found a well preserved city--a glimpse at what Roman life was like two-thousand years ago. Let me tell you, some things haven't changed.
Should you visit Pompeii, part of the tour will include a walk through a Roman brothel. On the walls are frescos--the unspoken language of love. Like I said, some things haven't changed.
At our campsite across the street is a row of bungalows. They are neat and clean and the only thing they lack are frescos on the walls. A parade of cars and couples circle the block waiting for their hour in a bungalow. What is past is present and will no doubt be the future.
What are the odds it all began with a wink?
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