|A funny thing happened a few years ago when I went to Italy: My life changed. Not in an everyday, everything-is-different kind of way, but in the following small ways:
- Wine. I used to hate red wine, partly because of my underdeveloped palate, and partly because of only being introduced to dry, oaky California stuff. In Italy I had wine with almost every meal, and all of it was pretty decent. I found out later that almost all Italian red wine is good, regardless of variety or price.
- History. Something clicked in my brain when I walked up the stairs out of the subway station
and was greeted by the Colosseum. It's hard to grasp how long ago 2000 years was, but seeing it and touching it helps a little. All of the history I'd seen up to that point in my life was a century or two old. The Roman Empire was a millennium or two ago.
- Europhilia. Prior to traveling, I was a staunch Europhobe, perhaps even anti-European. They had their socialism and their losing wars, I had something different. But visiting a place and having a good time there really helped broaden my horizons. What with the wine and history, as well as the architecture and nice people, I learned Europe isn't all that bad.