The Watcher: Sicily continued IX

Campino Because I was a friend of one of their families, I was somehow not a stranger in Campino. It was a tiny village up in the mountains. Including the chickens, there were perhaps 150 inhabitants. Threaded between the houses with their thick stone walls and heavy stone roofs were narrow pathways and under passageways,Continue reading “The Watcher: Sicily continued IX”

The Watcher: Sicily continued VIII

Milan and family The train approached Milan. The land was flat, a strange jumbled chessboard of green and yellow. The corners of the fields were all square. The violence of the Sicilian sun had abated. But here too the wheat was already bleached and reminded me of Van Gogh with the red of the poppiesContinue reading “The Watcher: Sicily continued VIII”

The Watcher: Sicily continued VII

Taormina Again a town, and again, a people to discover. The soldiers on the bus from the railroad station to the town itself were singing the songs of the Alpine troops. Perhaps it depended on the time of year, but the doors of Taormina seemed perpetually closed, jealously hiding their life behind the stone wallsContinue reading “The Watcher: Sicily continued VII”

The Watcher: Sicily continued VI

Although Piazza Armerina was rather out of the way, Andrea insisted that we make a detour. Most people went there for the girls in bikinis decorating the mosaic pavement, so modern yet centuries old. But I discovered other things there as well. The male torso in the ruins left me breathless, so strong and beautifulContinue reading “The Watcher: Sicily continued VI”

The Watcher: Sicily continued V

Sicily, a land of contrasts: Agrigento The bare mountains around Palermo gave way to valleys and more rocks, a harsh wildness sweetened by the soft blush blossoms of the almond. There was a fierceness and a starkness to the land yet it was covered with flowers, stalks of pale stars, small white and purple blossomsContinue reading “The Watcher: Sicily continued V”

The Watcher: Sicily continued IV

Goodbye Monreale If Monreale were a village in the middle of the jungle, I should probably get along more easily. But here in such close proximity to culture, or signs of culture, it was too easy to expect of others the same careless acceptance of things learned long ago and now hidden as if behindContinue reading “The Watcher: Sicily continued IV”

The Watcher: Sicily continued III

Palermo puppet theater I was told that somewhere in Palermo there was a puppet theater. But it seemed elusive, hard to track down. I thought I could ask at the corner bar near the pensione. The owner knew me by now – a blue-eyed man with thinning wispy hair, sort of tired looking as SiciliansContinue reading “The Watcher: Sicily continued III”

The Watcher: Sicily continued II

Monreale One didn’t need the Pied Piper’s flute to be surrounded by children. A camera would do, but a sketch book was even better. People were sometimes suspicious of a camera –not sure what was being photographed. And perhaps still felt that a photograph took part of their soul. But they loved to watch theContinue reading “The Watcher: Sicily continued II”

The Watcher: Florence continued II

The days passed punctuated by moments of sun and of fog. Yet I was not as alone in Italy as I had been in Germany, despite relatives. Wherever I looked, there were long-standing friends, somehow soul mates, the pink and yellow toy houses in the hills, the rows of dark cypresses, exclamation points indicating aContinue reading “The Watcher: Florence continued II”

Boat On The Arno

A lonely boat floats on the reflections in the slow-flowing silveryArno. Every morning the man lowers his long-handled shovel into thewater, a proboscis feeding on the sand, then to be disgorged on thebottom of the boat. Behind him, many of the buildings, facades lost tothe all-too-recent war, reveal their innermost secrets. Upstream alatticework cast-iron arch, replacingContinue reading “Boat On The Arno”

The Watcher: Florence

A quiet car until Bologna. My fellow travelers were an interesting group, to be observed as they observed me.  All men and all Italians, except for a tall thin American. An older mustachioed man in an air force uniform, two fat, short typical businessmen, a young priest, slender like a reed, a small tired-looking man.Continue reading “The Watcher: Florence”