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June 20, 2015

Back To The Future

By Maryanna Gabriel

Where We Are All Going - Castle In Tuscany
Lady Di Number
It is slightly larger travel budget I am working with nowadays as I contemplate my return to Florence. Thank goodness for that. My daughter is exchanging wedding vows with someone tall, dark, and handsome. The family are all traipsing off to a castle because this is where one does these things apparently. My daughter will be wearing shoes with tiny scales that flip silver one way and gold the other. I will show you a picture when I get one. One could reuse the shoes for the gold anniversary so I suppose they are kind of handy. I was worrying about what to wear. I started researching on the internet about mother-of-the-bride dresses. I read that people observe the mother of the bride to see how the bride will look thirty years hence. No pressure . Feeling slightly ill and quite anxious I cashed out my life savings and for a bad while acted as a dress hoover making purchases that seemed right but later, upon reflection with a cooler state of mind, were not quite it. Finally, one very determined day after interviewing my friends about stores, I found the Lady Di number. It was perfect. Understated sophistication, formality with a hint of playfulness signified by the black polka dots with black piping, on a cream back ground. "I'll take it," I said and flashed my card. I have been sleeping deeply ever since. 

June 13, 2015

A Dark Night - My Journal In Sicily Continued

By Maryanna Gabriel

Back on the highway two boys were hitchhiking and my friend went up to them hoping they would be North Americans and Lord save us they were Italian, younger than us by about four years. The sun was going down, we all stopped hitchhiking and warily we banded together. I write.... they shared their food with us, beautiful artichokes in olive oil and bread. We relaxed a little but we felt uneasy. It was for good reason as it turned out. As we were bedding down one of them says I must sleep with him. My friend burst out laughing. The result was not good. The darkening night throbbed with uneasy tension as we
Travelling By Backpack At Age 21
listened to them whispering and seeing one of them sit up intently staring at us caused me to tighten my grip on the knife I was holding under my pillow. I felt helpless and ridiculous, and my fear grew. We dared not move, both of us suffocated in our down bags with the heat. The mosquitoes were terrible. Oh! for dawn. It finally came. Nothing happened. We were lucky. We were bigger than them physically which must have helped. My friend later shared she had her hand on a heavy object all night. We barely slept. To have come through all of this, I feel we have been watched over by a guardian angel...

Red  Tiled Roofs

When we finally arrived at our pensione in Florence the woman who rented it to us wagged an index finger and said in a thick Italian accent, “No boys, no boys.”  
We nodded our enthusiastic agreement. Little did she know! Safe clean sheets and a bath later we were thankful to be able to rest before exploring beautiful Firenze. I write.... church spires and towers rise occasionally like some fine ladies delicate needlepoint for the architecture is like that.. the red tiled roofs are many.. . a flood of happiness went through me.
And now, all of these years later, I am set to return. I fly to Florence soon.

June 4, 2015

The Gypsy Camp - My Journal In Sicily Continued

By Maryanna Gabriel

Gypsy Caravan

The truck had seen us go, for I had remembered it, and two men were getting out and coming toward us.... we were close to breaking point, we were exhausted from all the walking and tension, our nerves were frayed. I felt like screaming. I didn't of course and we coolly picked up our packs and faced the gypsy camp. How I wish we had some men staying with us so that we could have visited! My friend was really nervous about them but I loved it. Little brown naked children, trailers, beat up cars, tents, fires with stew pots on them, women with bangles, earrings, scarves, full skirts. I knelt before a woman who could easily have been a Hopi Indian and asked for water. She broke out into smiles and directed her daughter to serve us. About six rough- looking, dark-complexioned men ambled over and invited us to stay and eat. I wanted to, thinking we could stick with the women, but my friend made some excuses and she was probably quite right. We left the camp with the children running after us calling "Donnez ciento lire!." We waked about a kilometer and then we were back on the highway once again....