Those who know me know I love Italy. The people, the atmosphere, the vistas, the food, the wine, the caffè cappucino, lungo, macchiato. I love it all.
On my last trip, though—the one I got back from but two weeks ago—I discovered something entirely new to love.
Before leaving for my all-too-brief Italian adventure, my editor asked me to prepare some ancillary stuff—pages of addenda, acknowledgements and references that I described in a prior post called The view from here.
Eager to get to it, I imagined having time, during my travels, to get some ideas down. What I didn’t relish though was the thought of dragging a computer along, nor was I keen about writing for hours on my mobile phone’s diminutive screen. The solution? An old fashioned one of ballpoint pens and a notebook—the kind made from paper and cardboard (screen and keyboard definitely not included).
Let’s face it, I’m old enough to remember an epoch when no one had computers. But that was decades ago, and I now approached the thought of writing on paper—no built-in formatting? No editing tools? No spell-checker or thesaurus? How prehistoric!—with some trepidation.
And yet, as it turned, out, writing on paper was a kind of cool, retro experience, like listening to Aqualung on vinyl.
Or… Perhaps it wasn’t so much how I was writing as it was where I was writing.
What I mean is, how could low-rent writing tools in any way temper breathtaking million-dollar views?
Hard to grumble about anything when sitting there, right?
Being an early riser, it took me no time to settle into an easy routine of writing first thing in the morning, usually from that balcony overlooking the bay of Naples and the historic town of Sorrento.
The crisp breezy winds, the fragrant air, the melodic intonation of the Italian language and, of course, that incredible view—what a view!—inspired me, every morning, to scratch away with my ballpoint pen until a pronounced blister appeared on my middle finger (yeah, I hold my pen kinda funny).
But that didn’t deter me either.
Because I knew another inspiration awaited me.
After putting in my hour or two, an easy stroll to the hotel’s dining room rewarded me with breakfast of un caffè e cornetto, and basket upon basket of fresh delectable fruit.
Is there a better way to start the day?
Or end it, for that matter.
Because, I’d finish the day off pretty much the way it had begun; sitting, late at night, savouring, and recording to memory, the sights and sounds of that magical experience.
Ah, Italy. The perfect place for lovers of history, romanticism, la dolce vita and, as I recently discovered, writing.