Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Italian Experience: Volume 4

Fountain in Boboli Gardens

           Florence is a city full of curiosity and mystery. The streets wander as if seeking something lost long ago. The Ponte Vecchio towers over the Arno River, gracefully imposing a hidden beauty. The Boboli Gardens are tucked away within the city, shut off from civilization by the Medici palace. Upon walking in to the courtyard, large pillars taunt your eye to glance upward, but there is nothing to see but the roof of the building. After walking up a short staircase, the garden steals your breath with an almost never ending view. Although there weren’t very many flowering plants, there were beaucoups of trees and shrubs intricately pruned and hedged to give symmetrical shape and flow to the garden. The lack of bright and bold inflorescences within the garden allows you to realize that the color is not necessarily needed to appreciate the allure and sanctuary the tall trees give on a hot afternoon. 

The Eiffel Tower and the Seine River in the foreground
          This past weekend I was able to travel to Paris, France with a few friends. I had always wanted to go to the city of love ever since seeing the movie, “Midnight in Paris”. The view of the Eiffel Tower with the foreground of the Seine River is an image that will never be erased from my memory. I immediately fell in love with the city, strolling through the streets casually wandering past iconic landmarks. The serene ambiance exuded into the air and with each breath, you fell deeper and deeper into the chasm that is Paris. Although not directly inside the main part of the city, Versailles is a sight in itself. Upon turning a corner, your eyes levitate to the glimmering gold gates that withhold one of the most beautiful places I have traveled. The line to get inside the palace was longer than a witch’s dream, so we opted to peruse the garden for a while; “a while”, a term that really has no length of time associated with it. We wandered through the gardens of Versailles for more than three hours. The scale at which the gardens were built is humongous. Every turn we made opened up to a huge fountain, or piece of art that was beyond belief. Looking out away from the palace, the Grand Canal seemed so long that you could fall clear off the face of the earth if you fell in the water. The inside of the palace teemed with such intricate details that one guide said that no room hadn't been redone at least ten times to make it perfect. The hall of mirrors broadens your perspective of what a real room should look like. Standards were shattered upon walking in. You could get lost in the great amount of details that were considered for the palace; I could’ve stayed there the entire weekend, but I needed to see the rest of what this great city had to show me.
Apollo Fountain in Versailles with the Grand Canal in the background

          The afternoon found us leisurely meandering into Notre Dame. The archetypal bells echoed through the church, bringing an overwhelming feeling of the people of the past worshiping there. The stained glass begged for your attention, touting rich hues of blue and red, contrasting in harmony. The votives and incense burning in the worship service perfumed the air a heavenly scent of flowers. That evening we took the metro to the Eiffel Tower at night. When we got off the train, it just so happened to be midnight; my dream of wandering around Paris at midnight had come true. While eating a nutella banana strawberry crêpe with a pouf of whipped cream garnishing the top, the sparkling lights of the tower danced, producing a mesmerizing scene that was a perfect ending to a wonderful trip. Paris, je t’aime.

          Au revoir and ciao,

                    Keith Tamborello

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