Trip Start Jul 14, 2010
33Trip End Apr 26, 2011
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Before you go there, no I'm not homesick. I miss all of you of course but I'm not clamoring at the bit to get home just yet. I'm just getting bored! I have an adventurous spirit but not the adventure know-how, and of course my courage is not to a level where I can literally throw on a backpack and walk out the door with no plans other than to go somewhere new
So instead of attacking the day I decided I would start to making future travel plans (yep there's that word again) for my upcoming trip to Paris, then Blackpool. I sat on my computer for several hours trying to navigate/translate European travel sights and of course making no progress, after all it is a pity party kind of day. It wouldn't be truly pitiful had I found amazing deals to foreign countries in the first five minutes. The age old question of paper vs. plastic became "Plane or Train?" "AM flight or PM Flight?" "Rome or Naples?" Then of course there was the, "Why are all the sights in Italian???" Oh yeah that's right - did I mention that the World Wide Web isn't necessarily as World Wide as I thought? For instance - good luck getting regular Google here, and it took me two days to get my email to come up!
Anyway so around 1 o'clock I decided I wasn't going to sit in this flat one more second so I put on my walking shoes - still beautiful and white from the box - and went for a walk. Of course being 1 in the afternoon in Gaeta it was HOT and SUNNY - but that's okay because I'm a Texan and I can handle hot and humid
Right, of course, leads straight up a hill...that's okay though because Italy is the new word for diet! So I begin walking up the tiny sidewalk, past the Panificio/Pasticceria, (for those of you who can't read Italian, that means bakery and pasta shop) and smelled the wonderfullness of fresh baked bread...the Italian anti-diet. I continued walking up the hill admiring the differences in each set of flats. I love the different colors you see here! There are the muted colors you expect to see here but then there are the glimpses of the bright blues, oranges, and reds. The clothes hanging from the balconies give Gaeta an old world feel and add to the simplicity the city exudes.
As I was hiking up the hill I saw my first Italian playground housed in a group of flats. It made me think of when my mom used to take us to the park in Nederland to feed the ducks and play on the see-saws and rail road tie climbing towers. I remember being happy there and not having any worries about the world around me, only curiosity and a vivid imagination for all the things that might be
I was amazed to see the different views of the Mediterranean from just a few hundred feet from our driveway. I was able to get some snapshots from my little camera and a new drive to bring my Sony and get some better shots later. My mouth watered thinking of how much I would love to get onto some of the Italian rooftops overlooking the downward slope of the mountain that melds into the sandy beaches below. The small glimpses of the hillside were enough to wet your appetite for the vista without quenching the desire to see more.
I hiked up to the top of our hill, then took a left to the dead end. Parked along the roadway were some typical examples of Italian transportation - things that make the new Smart Cars look like Ford Expeditions. I am constantly amazed at how anyone could venture forth on these streets in something that small. Of course those who have seen me lately know of my recent bad luck with all things on four wheels so that might explain my incredulity, but then its Italy, and what do I know.
At the dead end I turned around and walked to the complete other end of the road discovering along the way that there is cactus in Italy
As I turned around and began meandering back I was greeted by the constant breeze here in Gaeta, that even in the heat and humidity, cools your skin, and helps you keep moving forward. It brings both the scent of the sea and the scent of the Gaeta, at times both good and bad, with it, and adds depth to whatever you are experiencing at the moment. The beauty of this place amazes me everyday and I cannot imagine what it must be like to have been born here. Do they appreciate the beauty that surrounds them or is it like our Piney Woods or Hill Country, and just something ordinary with no outstanding beauty for the locals? Do we, having been born in our home state, close our eyes to the beauty that surrounds us because we have been trained look past it in order to make it through the day? When is the last time you took a second, a minute, an hour to sit down and be still? Time to let your senses take over so you can see the beauty that surrounds you, smell the flowers growing in the yard, or feel the coolness provided by the towering trees around you? Do we spend too much time wishing to see foreign beauty while ignoring the beauty immediately around us?
As with my walk in Old Town my mind began to wander and I at once acknowledged both the blessing of my even being here and my frustration in not knowing my exact purpose in being here. I know in my heart I am not here just to sight see or relax on the beach, but the underlying purpose of this blessing still eludes me. I of course have never been the most patient of persons, but this trip is all about growing and learning new things so I guess I just need to sit still and work on perfecting that virtue.