Tivoli,
31 August 2017

Italy seems to be everyone’s favourite country. People love the bureaucracy, the nepotism, the overtly corrupt politicians, the lack of equality and women’s rights, the still living at home when they’re 35, waiting for the parents to die so they can take over the house because no one can afford an apartment, the Italian men’s strange habit of hanging on to the umbilical cord well into middle age, the blatant disregard for being on time…

Well, maybe people don’t love all that. But they dream of a villa in Umbria, late night dinners in charming cafes in narrow alleys, feeling the warm sun on their skin and the salty sea wafting to their noses. The hilltop villages of Tuscany, the Amalfi coast, the ancient history all around, the culture, the art, the swarthy Italian men (forgetting the mamma obsession for a moment), the food, the wine…

In short, everyone and their cousin loves this place. It’s practically a cliché. So I want to be nonchalant about it. Meh… it’s OK.

But right now, after getting up at 3am to catch a flight, an 11.21 km walk on dusty country roads in 32° C, the sun beating down on my weary shoulders, burning my unprotected face, the too tired to eat, but there’s a nearly empty glass of limoncello in my hand… damn if I don’t love Italy too.