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italy 2011
Addio Italia
(Farewell Italy)
Well it’s all over. The culmination of 12 months planning, saving, reading all things Italy. We are back; had the first day back at work and started returning the myriad of phone calls that have banked up after 3 weeks holiday. Soon we may  ask – did it really happen. I suppose the 800 or so photos on my iPhone and the same on Bob’s camera may be adequate proof that in fact we did just have an amazing Italian escape.
Whilst this blog traditionally is devoted to continence issues, I’ve discovered the beauty of writing your own blog is that there is no one to tell me not to write about my Italian (and Swiss) holiday. So here goes.
It all started 12 months ago when my daughter sent gorgeous photos back from her backpacker experience. We had travelled to Europe 27 years ago spending 9 weeks ‘doing ‘ Europe- and even back then Italy was one of our favourite countries. After freezing in our campervan around the more northern European countries we drove into Italy and literally defrosted. The warm sun was intoxicating and definitely coloured our opinion of Italy as one of the great holiday destinations. This time deciding to follow our daughter’s preferred locations, which we had not previously been to – we visited the Amalfi Coast, Lake Bolsena, Cinque Terre, Lake Como (yes we did seek out George Clooney’s residence and found it) and Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland. Each of these places was truly spectacular – gorgeous scenery, electric blue-coloured water, amazing food and
exceptionally friendly  people – many of whom spoke very good English.
The history of Italy is mind-blowing as well. Our first two days in Roma, where you walk amongst the ruins that are thousands of years old, really brought home how young Australia is. We loved the architecture of the Italian villages, but decided there would be little point in being an architect in Italy (Bob my husband is an architect and my son is studying architecture) as there are very few new buildings constructed, in order to keep the brilliant heritage look and value of historic Italy.
There was lots of walking in hilly Cinque Terre and Lauterbrunnen, mercifully allowing much eating and drinking at dinner at night, without too much guilt. The food was a natural high point of this holiday. The Italians really know how to eat well – pizza, pasta and gorgeous Tiramisu and of course the need for a daily fix of gelati. Restaurants and cafes abound and for the most part were very reasonable – and it became a habit that I had to take a photo of each meal to help remember and therefore be able to replicate it at home once the holiday was just a distant memory.
The other value of travelling abroad is to reinforce the good things about home. Holidays are great but they also highlight some things that we take for granted when we live and work so hard at home. The thing that struck me most about our holiday was how many men and women in Italy smoke. Many people complain about the perception that Australia has become a sort of nanny state– with laws about where and when you can and can’t smoke; that you cannot burn off in your back yard; workplace health and safety regulations about fencing and hand rail heights etc. But after almost developing a smoking habit from inhaling so much passive smoke and having the magic view of Amalfi almost obliterated from the multiple back yard burn-offs in the local region, I have come to realise how wonderful our laws are in helping to keep our air clean and our working and living environments safe.
The other thing that became apparent when we were there is how much we love the beaches of Queensland, particularly Noosa. Tip-toeing across the pebble beaches of the Mediterranean and lying gingerly on our towels, made us realise the truly relaxing euphoria of a golden sandy Aussie beach. My advice to the PR consultants trying to promote Australia to the world is concentrate on the beaches. Have an advertisement showing Italian children diving on a Mediterranean beach to play ball versus Aussie kids on our beaches – Band-Aids for the gravel rash for the Italian bambinos would bring home the point!
Enough of this holiday blog, it’s back to work and to get us in the mood for an important continence issue here is a reminder for a Trivial Pursuit night on Saturday 22nd October, at 7pm that is being held to raise money for Prof Judith Goh and Dr Hannah Krause’s fistula work at the Kagando Hosptial in Uganda, Africa. Email Jacinta, our wonderful, tireless secretary of CFA QLD at to  get
details as to how to organise your table of 10. It is being held at Bulimba State School, Oxford Street, Bulimba for a cost of $20 per person and includes supper. There will be a presentation by Judith and Hannah on the night about the amazing work they do.