Plane tickets registered in our names and a few suitcases filled with our personal belongings, we left our dutch apartment feeling like living in Europe never happened. With our luggage safely stored in the plane below us we flew over the Alps and began another adventure, one we had dreamed about but didn’t know would happen all at once.
We landed in Venice, a place so similar to the land we just came from filled with old buildings and endless canals, we started our month long tour. We walked hand in hand skirting around other tourists trying to find shelter from them and the hot sun. We ducked into tiny streets just big enough for one person to go down at a time and found refuge in shade and small cafes where the cooks only knew Italian. We spent 24 beautiful hours touring and walking around Venice before we stepped onto a speeding train to take us to Milan.
We walked around Milan soaking up the architecture where we looked sky high to view all the tiny details of the Duomo and Galleria, enjoyed walking into haute couture fashion houses, and sipping on overly priced lattes to quench our thirst. In between the tailor made suits and designer fashion I kept on willing myself to remember these moments. How when he intertwines his fingers in mine it makes my heart race, that with just a look he knows how much I want him, or how the light makes his eyes a shade of green that reminds me of a lake at springtime. After walking through the city streets we returned to our boutique hotel filled with white italian linen. We settled in by unpacking and slipping into the modern shower together to wash away the sweat of traveling. Skin against skin we held on to each other as the hot water washed over us, a welcome relief to both of us that there were no pressing issues to attend to but to just enjoy each other.
After spending a couple days wining and dining and enjoying all that Milan had to offer we journeyed to Lucerne in a plush white Italian sports car that whizzed us through the Alps. As we stood by the lake looking towards the mountains he pointed out places he remembered visiting before and told me stories of his first tour through Europe. With hungry stomachs, we hiked the side of a mountain and enjoyed an apéritif on a roof top terrace overlooking the city before we continued our journey west. As night started to fall we pulled up to an old flat where I was introduced to a French man who shared many stories of a time when he and Adam lived in Japan together. Geneva, surrounded by water tall mountains and fantastic food reminded me of Vancouver. We toured the city with the local and felt right at home in the lazy summer city.
Soon we said good-bye and see you soon before heading towards the French boarder. Before we crossed we spent the afternoon in cable cars mounting the most famous peak in the Alps, Mont Blanc. As the cold slowly left our body we found ourselves back in France where we were introduced to an amazing community of people who had gathered to celebrate a wedding. We prepared our gear and then for a day were swept up in the love and promise that vows are made under. Too soon we gathered our suitcases again and piled them into our car as we headed south to greet the Mediterranean ocean.
Desiring rest and time away from the sun, we spent moments curled under our blanket and then letting cool water stream over our bodies. We wandered around Marseille in the late evening and shared bottles of fine French wine and pasta filled with fresh seafood. We stood high above the shore and overlooked another city with red clay roofs and watched the azure ocean sweep it self against the boats below.
We then drove the coastal road towards Cannes where we spent three blissful days relaxing in the morning light on white sand beaches, sipping chilled rosé on our flat’s terrace, and falling asleep early to wake early to repeat it all again. Tourists and people with more money they know what to do with line the star studded streets and we feel completely at ease walking into the same stores and tanning on the same beaches. We people watch with lattes in our hands and see luxury vehicles pace the strip time and time again. We stop into real estate houses to look into luxury flats to rent in the future. We talk of returning and working remotely so we can spend days overlooking the beach and entertaining ourselves on oysters in the evening. Along the strip we point out designer and luxury items, and then, when the timing feels just right I walk away with a beautiful elegant, timeless and chic black leather hand bag I had been coveting for years. We purchase raspberry and crème brûlée macarons on our walk home to toast with.
We head back towards Italy where we spend his birthday walking along the coast line amongst cities built upon hills along the shore. When the sun becomes too much we dip into the Mediterranean where I sing him happy birthday between swells. We feast that evening on pasta dripping in tomato sauce and fresh mussels. We spend a day in Piza where we quickly take the obligatory photo and continue on our way to Florence where we instantly fall in love with the buildings.
We spend time admiring David and da Vinci, eating gelato out of cardboard bowls, and wander the city until we find the best latte in town. One evening we make our way through the darkened streets to a modern restaurant filled mood lighting and a white and grey interoir. He tells me he saw the interior and knew I would love in instantly, and I did. We are taken care of by the chef who takes takes great pride in his work and explain each dish on the menu and helps us pick which dish would be best for our pallet. We settle on a few items from the menu and also a few dishes that he requests to create just for us. We indulge, gasping with every bite over the flavours and his mastery at combining the perfect spices. Beef Tartar wrapped in a rice flour, white truffle oil dashed over linguine and seared mushrooms, a medium rare steak between fresh from the market portobello mushrooms, and a lamb over curried rice. We toast to another beautiful evening with dishes we would remember forever with Vin Santo then slip back into our hotel room where we quickly fall asleep with bellies full.
We drive to Bologna where we again take time to rest and slowly walk through the city. Even though the city is filled with people wanting to experience all it has to offer the locals have left to enjoy a holiday of their own. After dropping off our sporty car we catch another fast train back to Milan where we visit now familiar streets and cafes. When the night descends upon us we reorganize our luggage for our next part of our journey.
An early morning wake up call we take a plane from western europe to eastern europe where we are greeted with hugs and four kisses on the cheek. After over a year since we had seen his family last we spend time with his family in Warsaw before taking a train south to Krakow. With his mom as company we walk the old city square, visit an old salt mine with the largest underground cathedral, and then spend time in silence as we tried to understand what truly happened at Auschwitz.
When our last remaining moments with his family slowly come to a close we walk along the river bed preparing ourselves for the journey ahead where a season of living abroad ends and we return to a familiar life filled with dinners with family around and friends just down the street to call on. As we board the plane with memories of our month long tour and living in Europe trailing behind us, he slips his hand into mine and whispers “We did it, and it was amazing!”.