We were treated to a special wine tasting at one of the local wineries on Wednesday.

We had five different kinds of wines; 2 whites, 2 reds, and a dessert wine. This ended up being less of a tasting and more of a drunking for most people.

Regardless, it was good.

I believe I'm going to be bringing back more of the white wine -- and I'm figuring out how to do it, because it costs 100 Euros to ship, which is ridiculously expensive, but for 3 Euros, they give us a package that can be put safely in our suitcase...then the scenario becomes how to get it in along with everything else.

Joy.

Currently, I'm trying to reconfigure my trip a little bit due to the Garbage Strike in Naples. Though it would be an interesting experience...I don't know, what would you suggest? Comment away.

I liked Florence better than Rome. We went to the Uffizi and the Academia, where we saw some of the world's finest art (in fact, 25% of this is housed in Florence), including Michelangelo's David.

This was an especially interesting experience for me.

I struck a conversation with a stranger from Mexico, who came to Italy to see the country on a 5 day vacation with his family. After discussing the blessings of seeing a foreign country extensively at my age, he discussed his disappointment that so many came in shorts and a t-shirt...girls coming like "Britney Spears."

In his eyes, this is the cradle of Western Civilization, and coming in no less than Church attire is disrespectful to the innovators that the rest of us have tried to emulate for centuries.

You know, he's right.

I think many of us take these locations for granted as tourist locations, but these are places where some of the world's greatest thinkers and innovators have walked. But now, far in to the future, the commercialization of the area really trivializes these facts.

In the corner, his father of 84 years was looking at David. He last saw the statue 30 years ago, and is now dying, knowing he will never see the statue or birthplace of western civilization again. He looked at it solemnly, in little rush to leave. Earlier, the stranger mentioned to me that at our age, we "gulp everything in."

Indeed, the world is our oyster, a place eternal that has no confines. But then I look to the man in the corner, to see the weight of the world in his eyes, as he observes something beautiful that represents all of humanity.

I wonder what thoughts were going through his head as he scanned each detail, far more meticulously than the rest of us. I wonder how many people have come throughout their lives to have the same experience, as they near their death.

As they got up to go, he rose very slowly and serenely, as he saw David for the last time. With his cane, he walked out as though he had achieved something -- what, only God knows.

I'll never forget the look in his eyes.

Ciao,
James