Monday, March 21, 2011

My March Break through Children’s Literature

Friday: Pearson International Airport (Toronto)to Rome, Italy

After spending the last couple of March Breaks just switching from teacher to author mode, and working through story deadlines, I decided to take a real trip this year!

I had this favourite line in my head as we headed for the airport: “Hooray, hooray! We’re on our way! Our summer vacation starts today” from The Bears’ Vacation (Yes, I know it’s only March Break, and not actually summer yet, but way before the Berenstein Bears got preachy and started pumping our book after book with moral lessons, they used to be funny. And they rhymed. And that’s the kind of thing that gets stuck in my head.)

And since getting things stuck in my head is commonplace for me, I ended up mentally linking each subsequent day of my trip with a favourite children’s book.

Saturday: Civitivecchia, Italy

The forecast for my Mediterranean cruise through Italy, Spain and France: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

Sunday: Sicily (Italy)

Our after-dinner entertainment was a group of Chinese acrobats who juggled hats, tossing them onto and off of each other’s heads…reminding me of The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.

Monday: Cagliari (Island of Sardinia), Italy

Full of delicious food after a lovely tour of an olive oil factory and a winery followed by a two hour dinner in the dining room. With so many beautiful places to see, and everyone giving me things to eat and drink – plus a bit of rough sailing on rough seas -- I’d have to say felt a bit like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland!

Tuesday: Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Ferdinand the Bull, who adored flowers in The Story of Ferdinand, would have loved the flower markets here. One of the loveliest cities I have ever visited. The sights and smells were heavenly!

Wednesday: Barcelona, Spain

So beautiful. But so much traffic. And I almost got killed by a speeding scooter as I crossed the road. Much like Mrs. Mallard in Make Way for Ducklings!

Thursday: Aix-en-Provence and Marseilles, France

Started my morning with the most delicious chocolate cream-filled √©clair in Provence, and finished my afternoon drinking un chocolat chaud in a sidewalk caf√©. Okay – it wasn’t Paris – but as group after group of children passed me on the streets speaking French, I couldn’t help but think of Madeleine.

Friday: Savona and Genoa, Italy
The crocodiles in the Genoa Aquarium, and
the reproduction pirate ship outside it – were reminiscent of Peter Pan!

Saturday: Back to Rome

Digging through my suitcase for a pair of clean socks, and feeling a lot like Harry the Dirty Dog. The only thing I really wanted to see here was the Coliseum. Not just for the beautiful architecture (and certainly not for its gory history ) but because I had heard that many, many feral cats live there. I saw only one. But she/he strongly resembled Sacha, a cat I adored for fourteen years. (Maybe a place that has seen so much death makes it easier for spirits to visit their loved ones, and it was her?) In any case, she/he completed my visit, and made me smile remembering the way she used to sleep draped over my shoulders as I wrote university essays, teacher’s college projects, short stories and even the early bits of Painting Caitlyn. I have other special cats in my life now. But thinking about Sacha, and a friend who passed away last year at the end of March Break, reminded me of The Tenth Good Thing About Barney.

Sunday: Home via London

…with thoughts of A Bear Called Paddington whirling amidst the suitcases and British accents!