The First View: Italy from a Height

It seems only fair that I start documenting my experiences from the true start, and that would be a few thousand feet above sea level, my head glued to the window, my reading forgotten, and all my panicked thoughts of “what if I don’t enjoy this” completely banished by the beauty beneath me. I highly recommend flying in from the north of Italy, simply to witness the grandeur of the mountain ranges: the Alps and Dolomites dominate the north Italian views, an epic challenge awaiting on the horizon. That said, although I have not witnessed them personally, the Apennines run almost the length of Italy along the Eastern side, meaning not just the north but the majority of the country will struggle for a view untouched by peaks: you would be unlucky to travel here and not witness a mountain range, and I highly recommend that you check your geography so as not to avoid them.

I was fortunate to witness them in full glory: the clouds that had surrounded us since England were finally broken by snow-capped peaks, eventually deteriorating altogether, allowing limitless views of the mountain trails, highland villages and – even more impressive – the vast expanse of Lake Garda at their base.

If I was going to get travel sick it was at this point, as it was then the plane had to turn in its course for Verona; yet despite a slight churning in my stomach, I refused to take my eyes away as the clear blue expanse tilted towards me. If we were only a thousand feet lower, the wing would glide through this rippling surface in a scene usually reserved for 3D cinema. I stared avidly, trying to match it with the google earth images, estimating where it was I’d be living, and honestly having only expletives to represent my enormity of emotion. By the time we landed, all my fears of the airport process were numbed by the experience, and the security of an Italian officer with a dog only added to my sudden acceptance that I was in a foreign country: I could not be scared, or sad, because I was here now so may as well face it. And what sort of idiot would be sad about living by the beauty I’d just witnessed?

P.S. it was a good job my fear had been numbed, since the Italian way of driving would have terrified the person who left England. Apparently merging without indicators is widely accepted here, as is use of the horn for any circumstance.

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