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STORIES & POEMS
Stories and Poems
It would be our first visit to Italy. After so many years of yearning to visit this lovely country, we were now on our way by coach. We travelled through France via Lyon, right down South along the coast, seeing Nice at the foot of the beach below. Soon we were passing all those Italian villages, which lay in valleys. The route followed over many viaducts, still along the coast line.
Our destination was a small village near Remo in the North. Of course we were looking out to see the flowers, we thought were growing all over the hill sites, but we could only see glass houses and in our ignorance, we imagined that tomatoes were grown there. Wrong!
We realised later that beautiful flowers were grown in there, which were sold in the markets and were surely sent abroad. We had never seen such lovely specimens before. Even the stalks were almost man-high.
Arriving at our apartment, we found it to be very special, lots of room everywhere and a very spacey kitchen. The weather was ideal, not too hot. We had chosen to go in April, which has the right temperature to wander about.
From our apartment, we saw after dark, not too far away on a hill, a little white church being lit up all around. I suggested we should have a walk up there and have a closer look. Being lit up it must be a special church.
Next morning after breakfast we crossed the lane in front of the apartment and went along a pathway through a meadow, which seemed to lead right up to this small mountain. From there also a path went straight up to the top by the church.
I had noticed that many wild flowers grew on the meadow we had not seen in so many years. I can remember during my schooldays, when passing by train the many fields in Germany. There the fields were sprinkled with poppies and blue cornflowers. It looked so pretty. Now the fields are being sprayed with nasty poisons, and all the wild flowers have disappeared. There was also something else I liked to watch: the oat fields. The oats have a softer top than the wheat and bend easy with the breeze. It resembled the waves of an ocean, changing directions with every movement of the wind.
Arriving at the top near the church, we realised that next to it and behind the church was a little village, taking the whole top of the hill. A small road led right around the village, until one came back at the church. Walking along this small road, we saw entrances into the inner village, where more small cottages stood. Like in Mountalto di Castro, which we visited another time, the place was quiet and serene. It seemed like a place from a fairytale.
We walked a few more steps, when my friend Margot stopped and said that she heard boots trampling in this small street and doors being smashed in and heard people screaming. Margot has this gift inherited from her mother. They can see things from the past. We hurried away from this spot to reach the bend, to be away from Margots vision. There, all was quiet again. An elderly man sat on a bench outside his little house. A lovely sea of red and blue flowers was hanging over the walls on each side of the street.
Then we came to the church. As we entered, we had such a surprise. The church looked brand-new inside- and out. It had been painted white, and in each, of a golden fancy frame, were the most beautiful paintings. We lit a few candles and had a talk to the priest who had been walking up and down the aisle when we came in. He thanked us for buying the candles. He said we were the only Germans who ever did this. He told us that the up-keep of this beautiful church depended a great deal on people helping out. We asked him about the paintings. He said that the church had been built in the 18th century and the paintings had been done by a Painter from Genoa.
Then I asked him if anything happened in the war years in the village. And he told us about the terrible happenings, just as Margot had described to me a few minutes ago.
The soldiers were looking for partisans. Everyone old and young was hauled out of their houses with much shouting, and people wailing.
The soldiers must have known the partisans. Most of them were young men. The soldiers lined them up and shot them. The priest was one of them, who were shot. He was injured, but feigned to be dead. He told us that he prayed all the time to the Holy Mary and still thanks her for saving his life. This was the reason for him to become a priest. This story Margot and I cant forget. It is such a moving story.
We left the church to find refreshment, because it was getting rather hot. We found an Ice-Parlour. The Parlour was quite large and had huge windows at the back. I nearly reeled back when looking out. Half of the building hung over a cliff, with a wooded valley down below.
After a while, we set off to go back to the apartment. Margots feet started to ache in the heat. She took her shoes off and walked bare-foot down the street, this time going home through the town. Soon Margot noticed that the asphalt had melted and she arrived home with black soles. She sat in a deckchair on our balcony, and I took a photo of her showing her black feet, never to be forgotten!
This little outing was a real adventure. We were glad to have heard about the terrible happening, who else could have written about it. How people must have suffered, in each occupied country!
Another adventures outing was, when we were invited to a childrens dance show in the nearby mountains.
We were taken one evening by coach up the steep mountain road. There on the right, the cliff fell down into the valley below, and on the left the cliff went right up to the top. Then we came to a hair-bend. The coach had to edge carefully around. Soon we came to the Restaurant, where the show would be held. There was food and drink. A punch had been prepared and after the show, dance music was played. We all enjoyed it very much. Now it was time to return. Two cars were sent with us, one in front and one behind the coach, with lights blazing to guide us inch by inch around the hair-bend. I had the terrible vision of the breaks not working properly, but all went well. I think the few drinks we had helped to overcome our fear.
We made a trip to San Marino and visited a perfume factory in France. Then before going home, we went to Monaco. There we saw for the first time all the video cameras everywhere. Drop any litter, and you will be napped, and no eating in the street! I thought, good, learn some lessons!
We visited the church where Princess Grace had been entombed. Her daughter Caroline came in at the same time, to bring flowers for her mum.
After, we went to the Palace. I was surprised how small it is. There was the Throne Room and the bedroom Louis the XIV had slept in. I could not tear myself away from the marvellous painting of the Prince Rainer family. They all looked very beautiful.
As a last treat we could walk into the Casino, and we played on the armed bandits. On the Roulette table sat just one Japanese woman. Margot told me that she had won.
Coming home, we had a lot to talk about and looked at all the photos we had taken and the postcards we had bought.
Each time we travelled to Italy we had a wonderful time and enjoyed the friendliness everywhere.
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