Impressions of Italy

Italy, wow! What a trip. We spent ten days in the Venice area of Northern Italy. I’ll probably have a number of things to say about my impressions in the next days. For one thing, it is so nice to see old, old buildings still being used and renovated so that there are beautiful downtown areas with ancient buildings housing chic, modern shops and restaurants. There are vital, bustling downtowns that have been going on for hundreds or even thousands of years. Yet one of the first places we visited because it was close to our hotel is a shopping mall on the edge of Verona and near it is a UCI cinema that shows American movies dubbed in Italian.

I must admit, I found it refreshing that the Italians are much more relaxed in their attitudes about sex and alcohol than what exists here in conservative, Calvinistic West Michigan. There have been protests about the posters at Victoria’s Secret at a local mall. In Italy, such posters abound as well as the presence of nudity in TV commercials. Here, there are cities that prohibit the sale of alcohol, and in the cities that sell it there are many restrictions. There, alcohol is sold most everywhere at a low price, often in “bars” that also sell coffee and snacks which we would more consider to be coffee houses. I am a spiritual person, but I also embrace sensual pleasures. I don’t think there has to be a dualism between the two. In fact, I believe repression and denial of sensual pleasure is unhealthy. God gave us sex, food, alcohol and so many other things to enjoy. Of course, I do believe in moderation and responsibility. Yet each person needs to decide what is best for them and those they are involved with and not let some holier than thou, life denying religion or government dictate what is acceptable.

I think travel and cultural exchanges are valuable. The more we can come to understand different people and know there is more than one way to live the richer our lives are.

Peace,

Steve


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