Jennifer Barrington is a great friend. By birth she is Australian and by marriage she is a Venetian with one amazing accent! Jennifer is a tour guide extraordinaire, a mixture of Australian storyteller (just like the Irish!) and the calmness of a zen buddhist monk who just goes with the flow! She imparts her unique perspective to both young and old.
Culture, art, music and culinary delights are all embedded into Italy’s unique DNA. Jennifer encourages her charges to be open to all that surrounds them. ” With a grateful heart see the magic in each moment.” At the end of their time together, each person shares some of the experiences held most dear…they range from finding the magic in the simple or what some previously would think to be mundane to the striking awe felt when connections to great art and architecture are made. It is Jennifer’s hope to instill in them not only a love for travel but the realization that those magic moments surround us wherever we are if we just open and see with eyes of wonder and gratefulness. (When I am having a bad day, I think of Jennifer!) Here are just some of my “magic moments” from my last trip in a short travel montage. With camera in hand, I went from the gentle rocking of the gondola, to the streets of Florence inviting everyone to dance, eat and celebrate…from Pompeii’s sacred paths to Capri’s giant rock formations amidst brilliant glowing waters of the Blue Grotto. I hope you enjoy it.
Years ago, I can remember being totally mesmerized when I heard the story of molten volcanic ash enveloping an entire city and its inhabitants. Approximately 2000 people living life were now preserved in their final moments for the ages. Mothers and fathers sitting at a table, little ones sleeping…these acts became their last on August 24, 79 A.D. EyeWitness To History.com relates an ancient voice from the past that reaches through time to relate these horrific events. The ash grew to be 16 feet and a once flourishing resort for the rich and famous of Rome with marketplaces, brothels, taverns, bathhouses and a 20,000 seat arena was totally silenced until 1748. The archaeologists found buildings intact, skeletons frozen in time, art and artifacts of every day life. Today, Pompeii draws thousands of tourists. One must past through about 15-20 vendors lining the entrance selling bottles of lemoncello, cameos carved from shells which may or may not be authentic and of course row after row of the famous winged penis which was the city symbol (who knew)! There was no McDonald’s in site though!! Despite all of the tourist trappings, every time I walk through Pompeii, it is truly one of those “pinch me now” moments. I wander through the homes, seeing mosaics and frescoes which are erotic and beautiful still visible after thousands of years. It is a bit surreal to come upon the few frozen remains still on display… the people who were so compelling to me years before. Many of the artifacts have been moved to the National Archaeological Museum in Naples and is so deserving of a visit. It is said that a third of the city still remains covered. In just a span of 4 years, I saw graves carved into stone that had just been unearthed. It continually gives me a reason to return so the story I heard sitting in a classroom may take on new layers of richness and intrigue.