THe glory of a story
Thoughts and threads of passion and experience that have woven the fabric I call my life. Sharing experiences, memories and ideas so that they are out in the world for you to find when the time is right.
THe glory of a story
We decided that as it was our last day at Maratea, we should head down to the beach.
It was an amazing hot day, and the wind was gone. We headed down a little after 10, and this time got off at the first beach, know as Black Beach...as the sand is completely black from the volcanic ash/stones that make up this part of the Tyrannean Sea.
Just as we were getting down to the beach, a young lady who had followed us down started talking to us in excellent English. Her name is Patrizia, from Rome, who is staying at an apartment at the resort that her dad owns. She was a wonderful conversationalist, and very helpful in understanding things about the language and culture we are uncertain of. We had hoped to meet up with her again to give her our card, as she had some wonderful ideas for language learning for our retreat, but sadly it was not to be! A beautiful lady!
We ventured into the sea, Cecil as always braver than me. As I got out to my hips, a big wave came in and swept me off my feet, rolling me around in the salty water. I panicked, thinking only of my glasses after my adventure at Lake of the Woods in June, and in grabbing and holding on to them, I could not get my footing before another, then another wave came and rolled me around. Cecil almost drowned out where he was, as he was laughing so hard, watching my butt end and legs rise up then disappear again in the graceful manner to which we are accustomed to seeing me! After the 3rd roll around in the water, I got to my feet and decided that maybe it was better to stay out. It later occured to me that I could have taken my glasses off and left them on the beach with my new 'Maratea' towel....next time. Some days I am just a little slower!
We went back and laid in the sun until early afternoon, then headed to catch the last bus back up before they shut down for the siesta. At our apartment I took a much needed shower to wash off the sand and leaves that were pasted all over me. I had stones dropping out of places no stone should hide, and realized how the water had truly rolled me around on the beach. We still laugh each time we think of it, as I'm sure the other vacationers watching do...I do leave an impression!
When we finally headed down for supper, 'Peter' the waiter/manager who has been so amazing all week served us for our last meal there. We have always found him to be wonderful at explaining dishes, customs and words, and have been very luck to have had him here for the duration of our stay. Later, we headed down to the stage to take in the entertainment provided, which we'd missed out on all week. It started with the kids being led in dance routines, as we'd seen earlier in the week. After that the young people that lead the afternoon dance classes performed a series of skits and songs for about an hour and a half. They must have been very funny...not understanding the language, we missed out on the storyline and the humor, but the crowd around us was laughing, and many of the children were doubled over..so I think much of the humour was directed to them! We returned to our room and called it a night about midnight, knowing that today will be a long day of travel heading on to Otranto...but excited for the next leg of our jouney!
Upon reaching Maratea, we grabbed the chance to go back to Rossofermo Wine Bar, the little side street wine cafe, for another taste of last night's Chardonnay as well as the gourmet beer that Cecil enjoyed so much with Keith. We decided to have our supper there, a selection of chewy salamis (which was really various dried meats, bacon and veal) with cheese, and a Capri salad. The meal wasn't our the best, but the location, ambiance and company was unsurpassed.
Sitting there, we both felt that we were sitting in a movie production of our life's most amazing moments, perched on the little red pillows, with the shaky wooden tables before us. Spending time talking with Grandpa Banana, who is a musician who has committed himself to returning to Italy twice a year, for the rest of his life and learning all he needs to to be able to do that. He has also played at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, so he was certainly familiar with our corner of the world! He and his wife were from San Fransisco.
Looking up the stairs that led to only imagined possibilities, then down the streets to the colorful rows of Italian dreams, all was perfect.
Before leaving town we found the perfect beach towels that would serve both our hopes for more hours enjoying sand and sun, as well as something that will always take us back to this place....and a couple of lovely, Italian cotton tunics that put my spirit right back in the center of Maratea every time I put them on. Great way to end a very busy and eventful day...that neither of us will ever forget!
The icing on the cake, was the full Italian moon shining down on us as we returned to our lodging. The makings of one perfect memory!
After another rainy night, we headed out for a tour with with Joe and Cyndy, folks we'd met from Iowa, to explore Joe's heritage. It was to be an adventure to find his roots in Belsita, Italy, to the south east of where we're staying and the town where his Grandmother had immigrated from.
The GPS systems here seem to continually be just far enough off that you miss 80% of the turns that need to be made to get where you're going, and today was no exception, so a ride that should have taken an hour and a half ended up taking almost 3. But, alas, we eventually did reach our destination, bouncing along in an older, yellow Fiat convertible, that has definitely seen better days.
Although Joe said it wasn't all that important to him to make this trek back to trace his heritage, the excitement on his face and in his voice at finding the town that his grandmother was raised in told a different story. Being as involved in Ancestry as I am, I can only imagine what it meant to him to pull into that little town and see the sites that were relayed to him as the cornerstones of the family history of grandmother's birth and upbringing.
As we piled out of the little yellow convertible, we found ourselves in what we imagined a little Italian village to be. No on understood our questions, as we asked of the where-about of the one cousin that Joe knew still lived there, although we knew by the huge painting of Elvis on the side of the building that we'd reached the right place.
Four bewildered gentlemen looked back and forth to each other and again at us, understanding none of our English, just as we understood none of their Italian. Finally one of the men, who drew on one of the strong, pungent cigarettes that are so common to the area, nodded his head and pointed to behind the building saying 'Anglisia...' motioning to us to follow him.
Out back, under a red and white sun umbrella, enjoying a 'Peroni' and waving a cigarette, was the local English Speaker, who just happened to be from Toronto Canada, enjoying his annual holiday in his home town. As we talked, he warmed to us, and let us know that cousin Tony was in Germany at his daughters, and we'd missed him. He told us that the man that had led us to him was going to be travelling to join Tony in a few days, as they enjoyed their card games together. This information allowed our friends to provide a note and a small gift from them, with their regrets for having missed him.
As we continued our conversation with the 'Torontonian' we thought how ironic it was that we traveled across the world to have a man from one province away translate all we needed to know about this never met cousin. He shared that he came here every year for a couple of months in the house he owned, and how he could not live here as it was too expensive. A point that still has us baffled, as much of what we'd experienced seemed cheaper than home.
After a beer at the local watering hole, and a red wine from a beer capped bottle that led me to believe that it was the product from one of the owners own grape vineyard, we continued our travels. We tried desperately to find the local cemetery, around back streets and farm roads, where grapes hung heavy, and olive trees abounded. A lone cow grazed in one yard, and in another a pen filled with laying hens guarded by anxious dogs let everyone know that the lost 'touristo's were there. We never did find the cemetery, and left town, just a little disappointed, but still happy to have found the place and seen what we had.
We headed back to the crossroads where we had a late lunch at 'Oklahoma bar and grill'. It was very difficult to figure out our luncheon options, with us speaking no Italian, and the staff there speaking little English, but eventually we ended up having a very satisfying lunch that included a starter of tomatoes/toast and potatoes, pasta dishes, one of tomatoes/basil and pasta, the other of pasta, beans and bacon...then at the end of our meal, two large tomate and Mozza salads. With the beer and wine, the bill still only came to 21 Euro. There was a rush to get the rental back to Maratea by 6pm, so we GPSed our way to the coast highway of SS18, that allowed us to see the beautiful colors of the Thyreanian sea, all the way up from Paola to Maratea, with only a stop or two to stretch our legs along the way.
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