The stories of my life on a little island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea ... and my occasional adventures beyond these shores.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

If Wishes Were Horses …

… And beggars were kings …
Then I would close my eyes and wish myself in Italy. I do not believe in reincarnation but every time I visit that country I get an uncanny sense of deja-vu. A feeling that I have been there before; that my feet have walked those cobbled streets in some other time. It is so hard to describe, that sense of familiarity coupled with a sense of mystery that there is something new to discover round the next corner.
But perhaps my imagination is too active and it is the fact that there is much in common between some parts of Italy and this small isle that  makes me feel that way. Like the smell of freshly-brewed espresso escaping from some hole-in-the-wall cafeteria. Or the weather-worn facades of buildings. Or maybe it’s the sound of the church bells drowning out the high-pitched haggling of women at the market … In truth I cannot quite put my finger on what it is and it really doesn’t matter.
Few visit Italy and remain unmoved. Whether it is the architecture, the history, the food, the fashion, the art or any of the hundreds of other things this magnificent country has to offer, I believe that everyone comes away with a piece of Italy forever embedded in their soul.
So, since I am dreaming of Italy, I will leave you with a few photos from our trip to Tuscany  last October. These photos are especially for Agnes because she expressed a wish to see the faces behind the blogs she reads :)
Tuscany 121 Tuscany 238 Tuscany 305 Tuscany 590 Tuscany 715 
So I have included a photo from  each of the places we visited. I agree with Agnes that it is nice to see who is writing and, although I think that the scenery is more interesting than I am, it makes a blog that much more personal when we share a little bit of our life with our readers. For after all, it is the readers that make the blog and I want to thank all those of you that have been visiting me for a while or who are new to this blog. I always look forward to hearing from each and every one of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to read my little scribblings. It means a lot to me.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Last of the Summer Days

Summer on a small island in the Mediterranean can be quite stressful. Both locals and tourists are out in droves and it is always difficult to find a quiet nook somewhere to just relax and find a moment’s peace. The heat has been kind to us this year – apart from two very hot weeks in August, the temperature was mostly bearable. And for that I am more than thankful.
End August 006
But now the days are getting shorter and the shadows longer. The sun’s rays are losing some of their  power and there is just a hint of crispness in the evening and early morning air. After weeks of bright blue skies, clouds are appearing overhead and we have had our first downpours. Maybe this year summer will make an early exit and let autumn work its magic on the land.
End August 021
For this is when nature comes back to life again over here. And I long to be back in the valleys and on the deserted beaches, searching for the wild flowers that will soon paint the landscape in a myriad different hues and hoping to learn the secrets of the wind as it whispers playfully in my ears.
Wild flowers 007

Friday, 17 September 2010

Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, Mirror,
On the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?
Tuscany 619
Why Siena, of course!
A reflection of a rather sombre sky and Siena’s Piazza del Campo in a mirror framed in the typical painted ceramics of Tuscany.
It’s almost been a year since we visited Siena and my feet are itching to walk through those medieval streets once more. There are places that charm you, lay their spell on you and bewitch you, making you feel welcome – not as a stranger, but as a long-lost friend that is returning home. And for some reason that I cannot fathom, that is how Siena made me feel.
For the time being, all I can do is dream about this Tuscan gem. But I know that one day I will return -  because a piece of my heart is still there, wandering those narrow, winding streets.
If you would like to read more about my encounter with Siena, please go here.
For more reflections from all over the world, visit James at Newtown Area Photo.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The Journey

Life’s a journey, not a destination (from the ballad “Amazing” by Aerosmith).
And I couldn’t agree more except that our life it a series of journeys, with stops and starts, ups and downs.
With straight paths. USA 698
And bends in the road.
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With diversions.
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And with paths which intersect those of others.
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Life is a journey into a mystery – an adventure that unfolds slowly every single day.
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This post was inspired by the train tracks at the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Train Museum,

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Quaint and Colourful Eureka Springs

                USA 748
I had been looking forward to visiting Eureka Springs as soon as we had planned our trip to the States. It seemed like the sort of place I would really enjoy. But when the actual day came round my son and I were all out of sorts and tired. I could probably have slept all day but it seemed ridiculous to miss the chance of seeing a new place just because I was feeling sleepy. So we went. And I did like the place – only now it seems as if I missed a lot of photo opportunities. But I will have to be content with the ones I did take and hope you too will enjoy a glimpse of this charming little town in the hills of Arkansas.
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Our first stop was at the Eureka Springs and North Arkansas railway station to ride a turn-of-the-century train.
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It was a trip back in time, made all the more special by a conductor with a story to tell and an ability to give a colourful flair to the history of the railroad.
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Eureka Springs itself is quaint and colourful. Steep streets are lined with Victorian-style cottages and manors, hotels and eclectic little stores selling art, crafts, antiques and specialties of the area.
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Since we visited a few days before the 4th of July, the town was all decked with flags and bunting.
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Eureka Springs is a really picturesque place and it is indeed a pity that tiredness and the heat got to me so much that I was not able to enjoy it to the fullest.
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But, perhaps, one day we will return to savour the beauty of a town that has not changed much in the last one hundred years.
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