Bautista: Itali sa Italy

NOW in Paris.

A little hesitant once more about what to expect. Third time's a charm, I hope. In Italy it definitely was. We missed out on a chance for a third some few years ago with Joy and opted instead to remain in Great Britain the whole journey of two months. It was a first for us anyway.

We dread past travels to France and Italy. There is always a bias for us for Germany. We have all declared it to be our home ever since. But this third trip charmed us. There really is a need to immerse Juan self in a country to really determine whether it is suitable or not.

Sicily is another story all together as I really did not know what to expect from it being our first. But for the rest of Italy, Juan cannot say the same of it. But landing in Milan has shown promise. The airport in Malpensa was an eye opener. Immigration was the easiest so far from all my Europe trips. A plus in my book.

We were met by the most hospitable Juan's. An hour's drive from the airport takes us to Monza, another first. A place I can only relate from Formula One in my Play Station. We meet John for the first time. He is relegated to give up his room in a one room apartment just for us. He is also assigned to cook for us and show us around. Of course, this is all arranged by Manong Roberto.

For months now, we have been in contact with him. We were only endorsed to him by my brother-in-law, Rommel. Other than that, we don't really know him except through Messenger in Facebook. He just went out of his way to pick us up and find transportation for us and a place to stay.

Lunch and dinner was also hosted by him and Manang Mercy his wife before leaving for Sicily, ‘yun lang. That friendly. He is in fact inviting us to Venice before leaving for home.

John, his wife and sister Delia are assigned to make sure we are OK. Indeed we are. The best hosts. They do take care of all our needs.

It will be a 10-day road trip for us back in the mainland of Italy. I'm a little scared. A will take a ferry from Messina then up north. A stop will be made along the sea for some packed lunch of adobo, which I prepared the night before. Gone in 60 seconds.

As we head on to our BnB, we get lost. We just couldn't find the place. It was a scam. Soon after, we found it. But only after a lot of calls and some added kilometers just to get there. We were met by the owner who was so concerned about us finding his place. A most hospitable gentleman. We were his first customers.

We went through all destinations the same. The most hospitable hosts are there every time. We try to find fault, it doesn't happen. We move from place to place and all we find are places that amaze us. Once more we blame the weather, the GPS for getting us lost. In the end, we find nothing.

All over Italy, we have tried to support that belief that there is nothing good to tie me in, in Italy. We have tried our hardest to dig deep and find reason, we have failed. Juan is now tied up. My hands are tied. I have tried to find that thing, anything in fact to make me change my mind about a place, Italy that is.

I end up going to places off the beaten path, supposedly where no Juan goes. I find beauty in everywhere we go. I forget about the heat, the long walks, finding parking space or even scoundrels or those with unruly behavior.

We are met with passionate people. Those that love their place. Love what they have and love what they do. They seem blessed with everything they were given. Don't get me wrong here, not everyone has a villa to live on or a big car to go from one place to another.

It is fact that they all have small, well tiny cars here. The Wigo and Mirage will be considered big here. They live simple lives. They have cappuccino in their local café, eat what is served by the restaurant. Buy what the market has to offer. They love their life.

Oh and the food is fabulous, the freshest of ingredients all found in the area. Everything is so authentic, away from what I am used to. Not to mention all the wine. Every region has something to be proud of. I will surely up my ante with the way I cook back home.

Oh I highly doubt that the French will do better. If they do, it will be another first. Another, threes a charm? It's unlikely though. I do have some memories to share to about this place where we are now. But this is my take for here, now.

I am just tied for now with Italy. There's nothing more I can say. My hands are tied. I am hostaged. So tie me up.
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