2019 Italy

The start of something beautiful…

Life is full of surprises and so was this trip… It was in no way planned but happened spontaneously after what started with a number of frequent chats in January 2019. Not happy with my single life I was still a regular visitor of two gay chatsites in order to find someone to love, something that seemed to be a needle in a haystack…

But then one day I met Vladi in the virtual world, an Italian who has been living in Germany for most of his life. He certainly looked good but more importantly was the fact that he was a a pleasant, open and honest man with a good sense of humour, I got really interested into him.

But like the previous year I had planned a long trip to India. During that trip we chatted almost on a daily basis, somehow I felt there was a connection between the two of us, it turned out to be mutual.

After I returned from India there was still the bi-annual Marillion weekend to attend and some other pre-arranged appointments, somehow it seemed to be difficult to meet.

But then, on the 9th of April we had another long videochat. Vladi told me he would be going to Italy for a couple of days to pick up some of his stuff he left behind before he returned to Germany the previous year. I did not dear to pop the question if I could join but at the moment I thought of it Vladi asked exactly that. I did not have to think long about it long and answered with a heartfellt YES.

Two days later I met Vladi for the first time at my place and another two days later we were on our way to Vigevano, where Vladi used to live before his return to Germany.

The trip went fine and late afternoon we arrived. Next day we went to the city center. Vigevano already existed during the time of the Romans and was called Victumulae during those times. I was blown away by the beautiful city square and it’s surroundings. 500 years ago Leonardo Da Vinci used to live and work and here, something that was celebrated by a year of festivities. We had lunch at one of the terraces, a lunch filled with wine, laughter and a lot of joy.

According to Vladi one of the best gelato (ice cream) places of Vigevano was located in a shopping center so we headed there for our dessert. The liqourice ice cream was to die for so it was not surprising we returned here daily….

With Milano only about 35 kilometres away we could not fail to visit this intriguing city. We parked outside the city center and then took the underground to the historic center. First we visited the Milan Cathedral, the largest gothic cathedral in the world. Unfortunately there was a large queue in order to visit so we decided to leave that for another time.

Next to the cathedral was the famous Quadrilatero d’Oro (Golden Rectangle) Shopping Center. Goods offered over here were far to expensive for our liking but it was a great place to do some window shopping.

At one of the many terraces we had a wonderful lunch. Pasta e vino, what else….

Our final place to visit was the Sforza Castle. this castle was known as Castello di Porta Giova, from the name of a gate in walls located nearby. Later it was enlarged, until it became a square-plan castle with 200 m-long sides, four towers at the corners and up to 7-metre-thick walls. It was an impressive place and we loved to stroll through it’s adjacent gardens enjoying the surroundings and each others presence.

Back in Vigevano we returned to the ice cream vendor for a well deserved icecream, it had been a long day of walking after all.

Next day we first visited Ponte delle Barche in Bereguardo. It was built in 1931 as a provisional bridge, but it lasted till now. The barges that now sustain the bridge are made of cement, but the original were made of wood. The bridge follows the river load, it rises with the water level. Next to it was a lovely terrace, a good excuse for a glass of prosecco.

Our next destination was the Certosa di Pavia, one of the largest monasteries in Italy. We arrived during lunch time so first we went to a trattoria for a wonderful lunch sitting under wisteria that covered the garden terrace. We could not have wished for a more romantic spot.

After lunch we returned to the Certosa di Pavia. It was build in typical gothical style and had a great collections of stained glass windows, decorative sculptural works and fresco’s. I absolutely loved it and as preparations for the Easter celebrations were going on classical music sounded through the church, it caused goosebumps and a shiver down my spine.

Time was passing by quickly. Vladi and I were having a wonderful time and were thoroughly enjoying each others company. It was clear to me that I had found my soulmate. Once again I felt totally happy.

That evening we went for dinner in a local trattoria, together with Franco, our host. Food was simply stunning. After a wide range of antipasti a mouthwatering wild boar ravioli followed. Next was veal in white wine and by the time we finished that we could handle no more so we skipped desert. Fortunately there was still some space left for a tasty grappa.

Next day Vladi really wanted to leave Italy so late afternoon we packed the car and headed back to Germany. Early morning we arrived in Remscheid and first had a long sleep after what had been a tyring night. As Vladi still had leave we spent the next week together in Hillensberg. I introduced him to some of my friends during a wonderful evening where we enjoyed a cooking class and the rest…. well, that is history now.

Although we only spent a couple of days in northern Italy I had enjoyed every single minute of it. Italy was beautiful but without doubt the best of this trip was this wonderful Italian man accompanying me. My search had come to an end, this trip indeed was the start of something beautiful….