Posted by: Stef | November 6, 2007

Revisiting Italy


i found my travel journal from my trip to Italy in October 2003. i’ve lost most of my pictures from that trip when our computer crashed a few years back, and i love it how my first-hand, in-the-moment written accounts make me remember far better than photos ever could.

thanks to April Yap for letting me tag along and set up the exhibit of Philippine comic book artists at ROMICS (the comic convention in Rome). it was one of the best birthdays i’ve ever had.

to give you a taste of Italy (from my 23-year-old over thinking perspective), here are some samples of my journal entries:

ROME (sept. 30-oct. 5, 2003)

“My God, how great are the works you enable our hands to do!” (THE COLOSSEO)

“The toilet had weird fixtures– the faucet only had a spout, and there’s a pedal on the floor. I had to ask a waiter before i found it. And the flush for the toilet is this button up on the wall. weird.” (resto outside of the colosseo)

“I wish i can take this sight back with me just right now. pictures won’t ever do. i’ve touched the cold water, breathed the air mingled with cigarette smoke from the man sitting over me. but memory fails, the colors dull– the edges grow fuzzier day by day and the sound of the water will sound like any fountain i hear. I want it this way Lord. I want it this real.” (FONTANA DI TREVI)

“This place is like being underwater, except I can breathe– every movement is slow, graceful and everything sounds far away and you feel like you’re floating and carried– cradled.” (PIAZZA BORGHESE, on my 23rd birthday)

“Even the most stoic soul can be made to kneel in this place.” (SAN PIETRO BASILICA, i remember feeling so overwhelmed that i had to go somewhere to weep and praise God. if that place was so awesome, i imagined heaven to be a million times more awesome.)

“There are popes at the altar and this is a Catholic mass, but my God can be found anywhere.” (SAN PIETRO BASILICA)


“People are actually stopping to look for Alcala. Arnold Arre’s work drew a lot of interest.” (ROMICS)

VENICE (oct. 6, 2003)

“Venice just takes you in with its arms wide open and embraces you with its narrow streets and murky canals.”

“I’m sitting here at the edge of the water with the sun just sinking down the horizon. the wind is cold, i could feel the chill biting on my fingers. the waves are lapping just a few feet away from me. the sound is just glorious. the water just falling on to itself like steps in slow motion. the hum of the boats moving in and out of the canal. the moon is almost full and huge over the faded purple horizon. i love it here. it’s just a totally different world from rome.”

“Lying here on the floor of the piazza di san marco at the foot of the bell tower, the wind blasting cold through my light jacket. i’m listening to the three string quartets at each other sides of the square, competing for an audience.”

CORTINA (oct. 7, 2003)

“There’s really something about snow that makes you laugh out loud and feel so invigorated.” (in the picture: me, mr. suave the snowman, tim young)


FLORENCE (Oct. 8, 2003)

“I miss Venice. somehow, all my life i had thought i belonged in Florence, but this city feels alienating and crowded. i miss the intimacy of venice– its narrow streets and quiet murky canals. but the shopping does look like its awesome.”

Some random notes:

“Remember that steak naturally goes well with lemons.”

“When bringing canned food on a trip, always bring a can opener!”

“Chianti is such a good wine.”

“I was looking out at the stars outside and thinking to myself– this is a whole new set of constellations that we have here.”

“I’ve seen the moon at its full in Italy. It’s big and bright, just like the moon at home. Same moon I look at while in the roof in Imus, same moon that wakes me up in the middle of the night, same moon we stare at for an excuse to just be quiet together.”

“April and Jop are good travelers because they do research. It’s kinda cool to just sit back and let them do all the scheduling.”


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