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 February 2012

Wednesday Wanderings: A Piazza, A Bell Tower And The Rooftops of Siena

Tuscany 624-1
Welcome to Il Campo – one of Italy’s most beautiful piazzas. It simply will not do to call it a square because it is shaped like a sea-shell. Il Campo is the heart of Siena. It is here that people meet for a cappuccino or simply for a stroll, arm in arm, in pure Italian fashion. And it is here that every summer horses and riders risk their lives for the coveted Palio.
Tuscany 546-1
It was on a crisp October morning  that I emerged, blinking, from  the relative shade of Siena’s narrow, winding streets into the bright, sun-filled Piazza del Campo. Apart from its unusual shape, it is the tall bell tower that dominates the whole scene that makes this piazza stand out. Tuscany 549-1
Il Torre del Mangia is the second tallest medieval tower in Italy and, at 102 metres, it is an awe-inspiring sight. It does what it was built to do – convey an aura of wealth and supremacy while striking fear in the hearts of Siena’s enemies.
Tuscany 564-1
It was a long, strenuous climb to the top of the bell-tower, definitely not an undertaking for the faint-hearted or the claustrophobic – the higher we climbed, the narrower the tower got and the more the walls seemed to hem us in. But when we finally emerged, breathless, in the shadow of the bells, the view more than compensated for any inconvenience we had suffered. From here, Siena fanned out beneath us, a warren of streets and rooftops basking in the autumn sun.
Tuscany 587-1
The duomo of Santa Maria Assunta rose haughtily like an exotic tropical flower amongst a field of modest daisies, while below us, Il Campo was reduced to the size of a child’s handkerchief.
Tuscany 602-1
Tuscany 600-1
In the distance, the vineyards and olive groves for which Tuscany is so famous stretched as far as we could see. It felt so peaceful, so serene. Surely nothing had ever marred the tranquility of this beautiful place.
Tuscany 586-1
But then I glanced at the sombre bells and I knew that they  must have rung countless times to rouse the citizens of Siena and to rally them against attack. These ancient places have a troubled and chequered past. A past that this brooding tower knows very well. But those days belong to the realm of shadows and nothing troubles the mighty bells anymore except for the gentle breezes blowing in from the Tuscan hills.
Tuscany 584-1
Photographed in Piazza del Campo, Siena
October 2009
(Edited with Picnik)

Friday, 24 February 2012

Fabulous Fridays: Butterflies

Don’t you  just love them? So beautiful, so delicate. I like to call them nature’s ballerinas. Because that’s how they spend their life – dancing and flitting from flower to flower. So gentle, so exquisite.
USA 062-1
Our life is so much richer because of their existence. So colourful, so gentle. They are the souls of fairies. So whimsical, so ephemeral. 
USA 074-1
They are the here and now. So transient, so momentary. And if you’re lucky, really lucky, you will feel the gentle touch of a butterfly’s wings. So magical, so wonderful.
USA 054-1
We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.  ~Carl Sagan
Darin's USA 239-1
May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.
~Irish Blessing
USA 072-1
Photographed at
The Butterfly House, Chesterfield (MO)
December 2011

Monday, 20 February 2012

Nothing Lasts Forever But The Earth And Sky*

Almost 6 (37)
Sometimes I wonder what people living in 200 hundred years’ time will make of these blogs we write – always assuming that these blogs will still be roaming around on the world-wide-web in 2212. But let us presume that they are. It will make things so much easier for them to peek into our life-style and culture. They will have the details straight from the very people who were living at the time, complete with hundreds of thousands of images. The truth is, that unless we delete them, our posts will probably out-live us.  I was blog hopping last week, randomly pressing the  Next button at the top of this page. In those 30 minutes that I spend whiling away my time I came across two blogs that were written by women who had lost their battle against cancer. And although this was the first time that I was reading their words, I felt unbelievably sad. Physically they are gone forever. Yet their spirit lives on in the posts they left behind.
Almost 6 (29)
We all blog for different reasons but I think that we all crave a connection to other people with our same interests and, tenuous though they may be, friendships are formed. And when someone whose posts we look forward to decides that it is time to quit – well it is impossible not to feel a void. Unknowingly and unintentionally  our words impact each others lives and leave positive vibes for years to come. Suze, I don’t know if you will ever read this, but I wanted to thank you for the support you have given me and for all the thoughts you shared that spoke volumes about you. Many times I felt like you were voicing my own thoughts and it felt good to know there was someone else out there who had my same doubts and preoccupations (and who liked a lot of the same crazy  music); it felt unbelievably good. So, while I wish you luck with your manuscripts, I sincerely hope that one day you will return to Analog Breakfast. Because, who knows, perhaps our words, like the earth and the sky, will last until the end of this age and then all these of things will pass away.
Almost 6 (28)
* From ‘Dust In The Wind’ by Kansas.
The Sea, The Earth And The Sky
Photographed at
Dingli Cliffs
February 2012

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Wednesday Wanderings: The Eternal Enchantress

Malta & Italy 2003 080-1
There is a city on seven hills that has captured my heart, my soul, my everything. I could sit and write about her all night. I would show you her piazzas and fountains, her churches and ruins. I would tell you her story as the mother of an Empire. Or I could whisper her secrets, if you’re willing to hear.
Malta & Italy 2003 111-1
But no. I will reveal her beauty slowly, tantalizingly. Hoping she will charm you as she has charmed me. I do not believe in reincarnation, yet from the first time that I walked on the cobbled streets of Rome I felt like I had been there before. Each time I visit I leave a little piece of me in the shadow of her ruins, by the trickling water of her thousand fountains. And Roma herself has bewitched me completely and, like an insatiable lover, keeps me going back for more.
Malta & Italy 2003 115-1
Photographed in Rome, June 2003
Nine years … it’s been way too long …

Friday, 10 February 2012

Fabulous Fridays: Love

Valentine’s Day is just round the corner and it feels like love is in the air. Wherever I look my senses are bombarded with red hearts, red roses, red lingerie … red is the order of the day – with some pink thrown in for good measure. The day has, of course, become commercialised to the nth degree and the very word ‘love’ has become a cliché. So I guess I’ve become to Valentine’s Day what Scrooge was to Christmas.
                                                        Source: via Inari on Pinterest

But before I dismiss the whole shenanigan as the proverbial humbug let me just make it clear that I do believe in love. In True  Love. In the type of love that makes my spirit soar and my heart sing. And there are, of course, hundreds of thousands of quotes about love, in all languages and from all ages, yet my favourite one, the one that sums love up perfectly has to be this one:
                                                                         Source: via Yvonne on Pinterest

So here’s to the little things. To the little nothings that mean so much. To the simple ways of saying “I love you”
Like cuddling on rainy days …
                                                  Source: via jennifer on Pinterest

A kiss in the sand ….
                                                                   Source: via Amruta on Pinterest

Little nothings that mean something  …
                                                      Source: via Mary on Pinterest

Doing silly things together …
                          Source: via Catherine on Pinterest

Holding hands …
                                                                       Source: via Savina on Pinterest

Writing little love notes …
                                                Source: via Maggie on Pinterest

And I wish you all a love that will last till the end of your days.
                                                      Source: via Dana on Pinterest

Because LOVE really does make the world go round.

Monday, 6 February 2012

For Him

He’s growing. So fast. I selfishly wish I could stop him. Stop time. Stop the world in its tracks  For him. For that  mischievous, boisterous laugh. For the innocent wonder in those big brown eyes. For those magical moments that will never come again.  For him.  Just for him.
USA - December 2011 031
My little Mischief Maker turned 6 yesterday. It seems like it was not too long ago that he was a cuddly baby. Now he’s all little boy -  playing with trucks, planes and trains and running all over the house making all sorts of engine noises. There are days when I just want him to be quiet but then I remember that each phase lasts so little. I am trying my best to be patient and to enjoy every single noisy minute before it’s gone, leaving only the memory.
Since it was his birthday, my husband and I dedicated the past weekend solely to him – making sure he got to do the things he enjoys. His requests were pretty simple. He wanted to go for a walk to Chadwick lakes and then to Dingli cliffs. It was cold in Malta this past weekend, as it has been all over Europe, but down in the valley by the man-made reservoir that we call Chadwick Lakes, it was strangely calm and warm. Almost 6 (10)
The birds sang  in the bare branches of silver birch trees and the wayside was lined with pretty Cape Sorrel flowers. Almost 6 (15)
Almost 6 (20)
Above us grey clouds raced to their next destination. And, as we were about to leave, the pretty blossoms of an almond tree beckoned – the earliest promise of spring.
Almost 6 (27)
The looming clouds made the view from Dingli cliffs more spectacular than usual. Patches of sunlight were surrounded by walls of greyness. Almost 6 (32)
Almost 6 (36)
In one place rain fell; right next to it, sunlight broke through the clouds. It was definitely cold up here, completely at the mercy of the wind. Before too long the rain began to fall around us too.
It was our cue to get into the car and drive off. We had lunch at McDonald’s (where else?) and then went to the cinema and watched Puss In Boots in 3D. And of course, if you’re 6 years old, no birthday is complete without a chocolate cake decorated with the image of your favourite soft toy.Jason's 6th birthday 073
Thanks to my husband for patiently creating the mouse from icing sugar. I could never have done such a wonderful job.
Jason's 6th birthday 083

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Wednesday Wanderings – Ben’s Lake

USA 237-1
Some places just make me smile. This is one of them. This lake has no name, as far as anyone can remember. I call it Ben’s lake. Ben is, by marriage, my husband’s uncle. Although he is in his eighties, Ben still has a wicked sense of humour and a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. But I am straying from my subject …
The lake is a favourite haunt of mine whenever we visit the small town of Canton where my husband grew up. It is situated right down the hill from the house were my in-laws still live. So I often walk down there, cherishing the silence and the solitude. In summer I am accompanied but a host of insects and other little creatures (I prefer not to think of the snakes that might be lurking in the grass).
USA - December 2011 014-1
This time it was colder and my only companions were my thoughts. It is the perfect place to do some soul-searching or to just while away the time. Here, the memories of summer BBQs and carefree days seem to linger in the air. This place is timeless. I can sit on the swing and pretend I am twelve years old again. Or even younger than that. The possibilities are endless. Yes, the perfect location to build my castles in the air … to sleep, perchance to dream*
* Quote from Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet, Prince of Denmark’.
Darin's USA 385-1
Photographed in
Canton (MO), December 2011


Related Posts with Thumbnails