My passion filled life
Thoughts and threads of passion and experience that have woven the fabric I call my life.
My passion filled life
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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