Living Through the Pain

As most of you know, I had to make a very emotional stop in Ohio for the loss of my father. I wasn’t there long and I feel bad for leaving my family, but I had to duck out for my own emotional well-being.

So, Italy, Italy, Italy. It’s been on the top of my list forever, as I am part Italian and that’s the part that I most identify with. My looks, my anger, and my hand movement 🙂 I just never made it. Finally, I have.

They lost my luggage on the way 🙁 I had one pair of black workout pants, a jacket, and a dress that I wore on the plane. Another dress, one pair of socks, two panties, flip-flops and tennis shoes. So, I was living in that for a week. Washing every night in the sink and hanging to dry. Dresses for tops, which I do anyway.

My first stop was Vivo Equense by Sorrento and it was gorgeous. On a cliff alongside the ocean. Getting there, tho, was quite the journey and driving in Italy, itself, is an adventure. They dodge in and out, passing constantly, speeding and getting mad if you go the speed limit. A little scary, but it keeps you on your toes. My dad would have been amazed at my driving skills. One example of him helping. It was four hours along the ocean. Amazing views 🙂 Then, when I arrived, I had to go up, up, up around a mountain, on narrow roads, on the side of a cliff. Finally, up a even narrower drive to the B&B where I got my car stuck and had to have the B&B owner help me.

I got to the hotel exhausted and hungry. Ate a protein bar and crashed. My only day there I wondered around the town and awed at the views. One day was too short, especially after the drive, and the winter isn’t the time. But, now I know, and I’ll be back. Didn’t sleep all night. I think I’m still on Tahitian time. The next day I drove back to the Rome airport in the craziness, tired, and got rid of my car. (I can’t even imagine driving in Rome.) Hopped on a plane to the birthplace of my grandfather, Palermo, and took a train to my B&B, La Piccola Formica Charme Room.

La Piccola is fantastic. The owner is very attentive. I probably drove her crazy with my neediness. I was like a lost little puppy. No luggage, stressed from driving and navigating the train and tired from non-stop traveling for days. I needed a break and this place was perfect. It’s so hip and well arranged. There are snacks in your room everyday. Everything is fresh. It’s better than a luxury hotel. And the owner went out of her way to make sure I was happy. It took me a few days to figure out the security procedure for getting in and out. It’s a very difficult system for leaving and entering, but it makes me feel safe. Touch here, rub there, the code for this is…and the code for that is…Although I don’t think Palermo is that dangerous, but don’t know. It is the birthplace of the Italian mafioso after all.

The location was perfect too, a little away from the craziness, but close to the action. A short walk and your in the middle of the main street (Viva Vittorio Emmanuel) full of restaurants, bars, shops, the sites, etc. And the owner is gorgeous btw. All Sicilians are gorgeous. The hair, the eyes, the lashes, the physique, and boy do they dress. They don’t go out in sloppy sweatpants like Americans. They dress to impress. And the men: dark hair, dark eyes, fit, perfect build (defined but not too much) Suave!

The Palazzo dei Normanni (Norman Palace) is just down from the hotel and it is a long beautiful structure I must walk by everyday. It has a fantastic garden, or more like a park, you can walk through. It was the seat of the Kings of Sicily and is the oldest Royal Residence in Europe. It is now the seat of the Sicilian Regional Assembly.

Also down the way is Palermo Cathedral. It is the cathedral church of the Roman Archdiocese of Palermo. Dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and it is enormous and gorgeous.

I spent a lot of time trying to find a church near me that has masses on Sunday or announces they do. The one I settled on was Chiesa dei SS. Pietro e Paolo Apostoli a 1/2 a mile away. It was beautiful. . All in Italian, so barely understood, but I got communion. It helps learning a language tho, because I know the common prayers in English, so hearing them in a different language helps to understand a bit. It was the same with French in Tahiti.

My luggage finally arrived when I only had 2 days left, when I got back from church. Maybe it was the grace of God 🙂 It was like Christmas. I had so much fun going through all my things and discovering what I had packed.

Then, I was out and about again, lost. I find the best places when I get lost. I went to the ocean and was planning to eat at this place on the water, and at noon when they are supposed to open, the host announced it would still be 45 min. because of the rain 🙁 I’m starving and on the trek back thru what seemed like a farmers market (it was blocks of vendors) and in the middle I see an empty restaurant. The menu looked good so I stopped. I got there just in time, because shortly after, it filled up. The food was amazing. Best I had in Sicily so far – Fettuccine Brillano. Prices not bad. The bane was Grettas’s and was fantastic. Plus, I got there just in time to duck out of a downpour.

My last day, final croissant 🙁 and of course, I get lost going to the post office to mail all the Christmas presents I bought for my family. I finally found it and it was crazy busy. I took a number waited, waited, waited, waited, and it wasn’t even close to my number, so I left. I’ll try my luck in Rome, if I can fit the presents in my luggage ;(

I had a fabulous final lunch at La Tavernetta del Vicoletto. A little off the beaten path restaurant I had on my calendar (I don’t know where I heard if it), but it was fabulous and affordable.

The pain of losing my father is slowly dissipating with my adventures. Again, because I’m gone it doesn’t seem real. As I’m doing things I think: Dad would love this or Dad would be so proud of me. He’s gone in flesh, but not in spirit. He’s watching over and protecting me from above. I have another guardian angel, but I think this one may be a little more strict in guiding my decisions.

Off to Rome for a month to watch a pack of Rhodesian Ridgebacks and celebrate Christmas.

Buon Natale!

I have a thirst for adventure. Always Have, Alway Will. My tag line is YOLO (You Only Live Once) or in my case ++++ times, yet I continue to live my life to the fullest. Since, we're here for only a short time, I take advantage of everything that comes my way. I want to seize every moment, see and experience all can. I have been very blessed. So far I've had the opportunity to travel to over 30 countries, fought (in a cage) yes fought, lived through a tragic head-on collision with a semi, strut my stuff on a stage in 4" heels as a bodybuilding bikini girl. (I'll get more into those later) Yes, most would say I'm crazy, but I continue to push the button. My new, crazy obsession is to travel the globe taking on and conquering new challenges. I want to surf in Sayulita, Mexico, run a marathon in Greece, bungee jump in Macau, etc. (My bucket list is long). As I embark on my challenges, I plan to share with you my trials and tribulations leading up to these challenges, budget travel tips & tricks (I'm a very thrifty traveler), fun exercises to prepare me for the task ahead, new exciting things to see and do in the locale I'm in, restaurants to try, the people I meet, etc. Join me in my adventures :)