Tuesday, September 9, 2008


On my first trip to Italy, I stayed in a hostel in one of those small fishing villages on the Ligurian coast. The hostel was run by three brothers and the wife of one of the brothers, an American woman who, like many others, had trekked through Italy, fallen in love, and decided to stay. I recall the horrible walk up, up, up from the train station. The weight of my backpack --admittedly full of too much guilty shopping conquests--made the sludge up the hill to the hostel door hot, unbearably arduous, tiresome.

On that particular visit, I met two women, each of whom, like myself, was traveling alone. One was an opera-singer in training. She lived in San Francisco and waited tables part-time in what I was told was a luxe-Italian establishment in the Bay. The other was a marine biologist, an avid kayaker, who lived, for a majority of the year, on an island.

Both women were considerably more mature than me both in age and life (I was, after all, only twenty-one and as bright-eyed as one could be), and, but for the fact that our lives' overlapped for a window of one day, in the same country far away from our homes, in the same small Italian town, in the same hostel, we would probably never have spoken. Somehow, time and opportunity conspired. Over great wine and conversation, we shared an amazing meal--seared in my memory forever--in one of the town's restaurants, where the boisterous owner insisted on serving all of his customers with a phone glued to his ear and what appeared to be a tirade of words coming out of his mouth.

Whenever I recall that meal, that time, that place, a sense of wonderment captures me. I have never been able to express it, not in words and not in the Kodak-throw-away-camera pictures I took on that trip, which I seem to have misplaced since then.

Stumbling across The Cherry Blossom Girl's blog entry about her holiday in Italy brought me back. Her pictures, for me, do the best job of capturing that time. In fact, her blog is full of many many pretty images.

source: The Cherry Blossom Girl

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