Please select a language you
want to receive our newsletter in:
Like so many travellers before me, a trip to Italy in 2003 changed my life. At the time, I lived in the mountains, with cold, snowy winters that seemed to last forever. Dreams of an Italian villa, lingering over a cappucino, the warmth of the sun on the terra cotta terrazza, wandering through a village market for the day's provisions and a gelato as reward, kept me going through long, dreary days. It would be the trip of a lifetime, I thought as I planned it. Plus, I was alone in the world, living apart from my family and with few responsibilities. I could travel how and where as I pleased.
The trip began in Paris, as all European trips should. I took the overnight train to Venice, my first stop. I shed my winter clothes, my winter cares and wandered the Cannaregio area. Priceless art from Titian and Bellini and Tintoretti, decadent palazzi falling into the sea, the romanticism of Venice all beckoned. But, for some reason, I wondered vaguely which piazza it was from which that the movie character Indiana Jones emerged and uttered "Ahhh, Venice". I didn't find it. I got hopelessly lost instead.
The rest of my Italian trip was much the same. I set a typical tourist's agenda--must see this, must visit that--and instead ambled without purpose, thinking to myself, "Imagine, I am walking where Caesar walked." Or "Surely, Michelangelo stood in this exact spot". I sipped cappucinos in countless caffes, I consumed far too many gelatos, and I ordered gnocchi at almost every dinner. I know I saw David, and the Vatican, and Pompeii. I admired duomos and climbed campaniles up the ying yang. I cycled the hillsides outside Siena one day, but even then, I had no map or plan; just a general sense of direction and the certainty that what one must cycle up, one gets to coast down. I missed a lot. I admitted to myself, that a companion to share it with, would make the trip perfect. But when I stepped outside my rented cottage in Umbria, onto old stone steps warmed by the morning sun, I felt my vacation was all it could be.
Two months later, back in the cool lushness that is a coastal mountain summer, I shoved into the player my Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade dvd, ready to revisit the Venice portion of my trip. I didn't recognize the church or piazza in the scene where Indy searches for clues to the Holy Grail, and my mind meandered through the rest of the movie, similar to my unplanned wanderings in Italy. I paid scant attention until the very end, when the explanation of Dr. Jones' name is given. "We named the dog Indiana".
Perfect, I thought. This movie is so old, no one will remember. A month later I adopted a lively Irish Setter puppy with the curiosity and instinct of a treasurer hunter. I named her Indiana Jones. She is my first and most important priority, my constant companion, and my joy. While I still spend many hours aimlessly wandering, it is along mountain trails and coastal beaches, rather than 14th century Europe, and I am never travelling alone.
It turns out that everyone remembers the movie, and when I tell people her name, they quote the line "We named the dog Indiana".
Become a fan of our Facebook page to get the latest information from all around Europe.
Tweeter updates from all over Europe.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Visit our gallery on Flickr and discover the charm of Europe.