God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Sheena, Cracker and Palma

Now you wonder who or what these three are—right? So, I’ll tell you about them—three of my special friends.

This is Sheena.

This is Cracker AKA Mary Pace.

This is Palma.

And, with them are their chauffeurs—Terry, Tommy and Brad. In Sheena's picture, Terry is standing next to me--we switched men for a while.

But, first, a diversion: I have mentioned my favorite travel website before—Slow Travel and its companion message board Slow Talk. This duo was started by another friend of mine, Pauline, 6 years ago as a fledgling hobby. Now it has become the premier website for people planning trips to Italy—a source where travelers help fellow travelers. This means the information is honest, on-track and reliable—hard to find in these days of hype and hyperbole.

Because of Slow Travel, our year here in Italy has been enriched immeasurably with opportunities to meet people whom I have “met on the boards” —people who became my good friends without ever having met in the conventional sense—live and in person. The astonishing fact is that not one of these real life meetings has been a disappointment. Ken and I can honestly say that we have found enjoyment and camaraderie in each meeting—which usually includes enjoying a fine meal together—lunch or dinner. I have written of several of these people in the course of the last 365 (well almost) days..

Sheena, Cracker and Palma are the most recent treasures. With each of them, conversation and laughter came easily—just as I anticipated they would. We were “old friends” who finally met—a paradox isn’t it? Each of us shares a love for this country with which we have no real ties.

We return here after trips to other places—this is our kick-back, “I’m at home,” corner of the world. Is it the food? (well, yes), the culture? (by all means), the people? (most definitely), the shopping? (ask Palma), the unmatchable beauty and its diversity? (absolutely!), its history (of course.) The lure of the ancient draws those of us from Canada, Australia, the USA—new countries with little history. We become mesmerized by a land that counts a 250 year old structure as new.

But, my friends carried with them touches of the new world—taking precious suitcase space to bring treasures—Trix, Fruitloops, Skittles--and vanilla for cookies. Yes indeed, our countries are making cultural and cuisine contributions to the world and history marches on.


Barbara said...

Jane, the internet and SlowTrav have definitely expanded our world, and made our lives so much richer in the process! And to think that I resisted Art's suggestion to get a computer for such a long time! Thank goodness I finally gave in...or we never would have met...never would have moved to Italy!

Jane said...

I sure am glad that Art won that one! See you in a couple weeks.

Judith said...

Me too! Me too!

I thought of calling you, Barb, during a slow moment in my cooking near to you, but there ended up no slow moments.

Jerry said...

Jane - great post! It is amazing how much slowtravel and the internet have expanded both our travelling options as well as our social life!

Jane said...

Jerry, you are so very right! Of course, our visit with you ranks right up there with THE year's highlights. Loved the Canadian maple syrup!