Memories of my Trip to Italy

I remember my trip: tastes, sounds, textures, scents, sights

Slightly sour, sweet, fresh lemon flavour as I sip my first taste of agritourismo made Limoncello and the warmth as it slides down

Fresh gluten free cooked al dente penne pasta, topped with rich spicy red lumpy tomato sauce, chilli added for extra zip, large leaf of basil adorns the top. I lower my face to the table, about an inch from the red saucy dish, and I take a deep rich inhale breath and years of growing and caring for this land and this nourishing fragrant food fills my every sense. The nose is really the most powerful receiver of life experience.

Zippy rich flavourful Parmesan cheese topping pasta, breads, tomatoes greets the small bumps on my tongue, the saliva fills my cheeks and I can taste this rich flavour even with only a very small amount.

Beeps from automobiles and busses as they caution on coming traffic on the windy twisty switch back roads climbing and descending mountains to and from the sea on the Amalfi coast

Heat of the south Italy sunshine in late September, still hot during this season, without clouds to soften the sting. I can feel the tingle on my arms, my cheeks, shoulders as the rays in the air meet my North American pale skin, at high noon. I can smell the warm air heavy with moisture and scents of floral, sea salt and ancient earth.

The fresh cold sensation as my hot sweaty skin makes slow contact with the blue fresh water of the outdoor pool at the time share at Maratea. A swim cools my body temperature on such a warm day.

Smell the lemons in the air. Not ordinary supermarket lemons, but large round bright yellow still hanging rich in the deep green leaves that help nourish these ancient trees. Hanging heavy with fruit, a walkway from the roadway to the house, lemon after lemon share their scent for my human nose to welcome and savour.

Subtle taste of salt water on my lips from splashing around a bit, in the sea

Sharp stones, round hard shapes, coarse sand between my tender toes as I walk in to the cool crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea on the two coasts of Italy

The view. From the window of my room at agritourismo of the tree, the sea and reflecting me in the clear glass. I weep in the beauty and in gratitude for this trip.

The view. As I drive on switchback single lane man made roads to the top of the mountain where Maratea boasts the Christ the Redeemer Statue high above. My breath catches in my throat. The passengers gasp in delight and maybe a bit of fear and excitement as I drive them higher and higher to dizzying heights high high above the sea so very far below.

The view. As I stand on the small narrow balcony on the third floor above the streets of Napoli. I see a woman send a blue round bucket down on a rope to the street making a request for a friend to go to market and make a purchase and return the bucket home with contents satisfied. I hear the chaotic daily sounds of Italiano accents spoken loudly with accompanying gestures. Bicycles being ridden by determined locals, parking, ringing door bells announcing arrival. Clothes lines heavy with sheets, towels, and lingerie billowing in the gentle breeze, filling the space out from the solid brick and stone building structures and the next and the next.

Cool almost air texture of silk scarf vibrant colours of turquoise and golds, greens, blues, pink, peach, black and deep brown accents, large square shape and folded it drapes so nicely and gently against welcoming skin. So soft and light it won’t stay I place without a knot tied in its Center. On sale, it is purchased and begins the ride to my house on the other side of the world.

The scent of small leather change purses of shades of brown with metal closures snapped together, playing together in a wooden box tucked away and almost forgotten on the second shelf below expensive bags that invite the traveler to touch. I pull out the hidden box, Tutti on sale, and the frenzy begins. Noses gently pressed agains the soft textured prepared skins to breathe in the sweet rich fragrance known immediately as the real Italian item. Gifts are purchased.

Desigual designs, a store discovery in Naples and rediscovered in airports and shops thereafter. Black and dark green base fabric shaped with irregular edges and covered with bright vibrant pink, emerald, gold embossed with designer images and hand written words adorning otherwise somewhat ordinary cotton fabrics. Designs unique and attractive, messages that say I matter and I wear these clothes to make a statement! International global recognition later in line ups and queues at security marking that other women have found this store and fell to temptation of the exquisite uniqueness and bright vibrant colours describing authentic life style choices.

Cold rigid hard marble floors shiny black, almost white with gleam of shine making the surface like glass. With relief and warm bare feet I sense the solid hard coolness of this surface In contrast to the hot steamy sticky air of the south Italy, Naples, hot sun and warm breeze.

The sound of serene extreme silence, high atop the mountain where air is hard to breathe, and views catch in my throat, a slight breeze can be heard only if I listen carefully past my own breath.

The subtle twist of my ankle as I step down on uneven cobblestone surfaces, knowing that hundreds, thousands and perhaps millions of souls have walked this surface in many generations of years past. I can feel the toil of the workers who carefully placed these stones to mark their work. I can sense the ages below my feet.

As the airplane departs the runway and it’s heavy weight is pulled in to the sky by force not understandable by every guest on board, I can feel the energy of my own body shift as I close my eyes and internally mouth the calming phrases Ti Amo, Mi Dispiace, Grazie, Prego. Knowing my mind is calm and the safety of all is a certainty. Ears popping with pressure changes as the plane climbs further and further up and away from the pull of the solid earth below, past the white out of fluffy water droplets and back into the bright blueness of the future and heavens above. I leave Italy behind and begin my stretch and journey home.

Gratitude surges through me in waves. I feel love and belonging with my travel companions for our shared journey and experiences in this foreign land that has become friend.

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