Sunday, March 30, 2014

Arrivederci Amalfi

My week on the Amalfi Coast is over. In fact my month in Italy is coming to a close. I'm writing this on the train to Rome, where I'll spend one last night with my friend Jim and his family before catching the plane for Vancouver in the morning.  After 31 consecutive days of pasta I'll be eating sushi in my favourite spot with my family before my head hits a pillow tomorrow night. 

There are so many stories from my time here on the coast that every day I found myself thinking  'I have to write this down. I want to remember every detail!'.  Somehow now it's just too much. Hence the blank page above. 

But here are some of the highlights: 
-hiking through the valley of the old paper mills above Amalfi, 
-joining in discussions with the Youth in Action group in a convent in Tramonti, hearing about their projects and their lives in their home countries; places like Belarus, Greece, Georgia (no, not that Georgia, although shamefully I am singing it in my head every time she says the word) and Albania
-walking in the hills above Cetara with Senem where she shows me the old abandoned stone swimming pools, still filling with fresh water that flows through aqueducts from one to the other all the way down to the sea, eating fresh asparagus sprigs that she hands me after spotting and picking them on the hillside as we go
-listening to Gian Pietro tell beautiful stories about food and culture, experiences and traditions, with all his passion and enthusiasm, Senem providing the odd word that he doesn't know in English and I can't figure out in italian, all while he makes bread or rolls out pasta dough for dinner

The sketch above is the old tower on the beach in Erchie; a magical place that is twice as beautiful at night with a million stars overhead. I did this sketch sitting on the beach yesterday, right before I entered the scene myself for a head-clearing swim. I'll never forget this place. 

I will tell you all about these things and more over a Peroni, those of you who are interested, and if you're planning a trip there I'd love to give you some references. But, half the fun of a trip is the serendipity of it all.  So the best advice I could give anyone is just to go, wherever your Italy happens to be. I'm glad I did. 

Thanks mom, for thinking this didn't sound like a crazy idea.  And a big thanks to all of you who pre-bought artwork from this trip. I couldn't have done it without you. 

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