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Ten Days Under the Tuscan Sun and in the Shade of Umbria

Every year about this time, I take a week-long vacation with my daughter. Last year, we explored the Dalmatian coast of Croatia along the Adriatic Sea, with nothing but some simple beach clothing, sun tan lotion and a few guide books. This time around, with ten days planned in Tuscany, Umbria and Rome, I took an old laptop computer so I could spend every morning typing away on the keys to recall the previous day’s experiences.

My daughter, a budding photographer with an assignment from McGraw-Hill to take photos that can be used in educational books, took with her a Canon EOS 20D digital camera and a stack of memory cards. It was a pleasure to have someone with me who is forever recording the scene enabling me to be free to fully take in the landscape and the true-to-life experiences without looking through the lens of a camera.

We chose Italy for several reasons. First, we hadn’t been to Italy in a long time — about 8 years. Second, the air fares on EasyJet and Ryanair were really reasonable — about 105€ round trip for each of us. Third, I had a friend in Assisi that I wanted Erica to meet.

It was an aggressive trip — five different overnight locations in ten days, arriving in Pisa, flying home from Rome. There were many points along the way we wanted to stop and lots to see and accomplish. I rented a car, booked the flights and the hotel accommodations on the Internet, bought maps and a guidebook in Paris before leaving and tried to anticipate the little snags we might encounter along the way if I didn’t think ahead.

Erica took more than 1500 photos. I wrote almost 5000 words. It’s a long and perhaps winded tale of our ten days in Italy, of what we liked, what we didn’t like, what we discovered and what we didn’t discover. For those of you who love Italy, for all its assets and regardless of its liabilities, you may or may not appreciate my viewpoint without the usual “rose-colored sunglasses.” Italy is not perfect, as isn’t France, and it is possibly these imperfections that colored the excursion with real vitality, if not wonder.

My travelogue is peppered with Erica’s best and most poignant photos — at least in my opinion. Of 1500 images, there are too many that I’d love to publish, but we’ll let McGraw-Hill and Erica publish the rest in their books and on her Web site (http://www.ericasimone.com). Meanwhile, if you want to take a voyage with me and my daughter through Tuscany and Umbria, from Pisa to Rome, from your seat where you now sit, then click here…

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]

P.S. The heat throughout the week was almost unbearable and although we loved every minute, we sure are glad to be back to Paris, where it is 10 degrees cooler and can enjoy a quiet and beautiful Summer.

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