Trip Start Jul 14, 2010
33Trip End Apr 26, 2011
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I can only assume we are in the middle of an Italian cold front because for the past few days the temp has been in the 70's and there has been the threat of rain hanging in the air and clinging to the surrounding mountain tops.
I was just setting my Ipod up for my exploration soundtrack when Gerald walked in the door four hours early. It was decided that instead of me walking to the base he would give me a ride, introduce me to the other important people in his command, and I would find my way back home. I loaded up my camera and backpack and we set out
Upon arriving at the base I was introduced to the rest of the command, got a cleaning job (yeah!!) and walked back out the door to go wandering. Unfortunately I walked right into a steady drizzle of rain. Yes, thats right, the one day I decide to really go for it, and traverse all of Gaeta on my own, it decides to rain.
Plan B: I wait on base for the rain to pass. I thought this would be interesting, you know get to know the sailors etc. Unfortunately it was worse than the flat!! Silence and an intense oppressive sense of uselessness and boredom weigh down on you in that place! I cannot imagine working there, and this of course explains a lot.
As soon as the rain stopped I took off back toward Old Town hoping to get a few shots that interested me the other night walking around. I passed my park, empty during Reposa, and decided to walk up one of the streets I hadn't traversed yet. This particular street heads upward toward the hill Old Town climbs up.
As I got to the first corner I took a second to turn around and look at the park from a different perspective. It was then I heard the sound of a car coming around the blind corner toward me. I quickly stepped to the side to avoid unnecessary injury and was taken by surprise when a truck full of Italian men stopped in front of me. They were so funny! When they saw me with my camera the driver kept saying "Photo, Photo" and pointing at him and his friend behind him in the truck. I couldn't help but laugh and of course took a picture of them acting like boys hanging out the truck windows
While I was laughing at my Italian "models" an elderly couple walked up the hill with a young boy. The elderly man asked me where I was from and I replied, Texas. He looked surprised and quickly said, "Houston?" I sure I looked shocked and replied that yes I had come from Houston. He proceeded to tell me that he and his wife had stayed in Houston 25 years ago. His wife seemed to be in a hurry up the hill so we didn't get to talk for very long but he did wish me a good time in Italy.
It was so great to make a connection with someone here, even if it was only for a second. I guess thats one plus of walking on your own, people are more comfortable talking to one person than two.
I continued my way up the hill and was surprised and delighted to see I had made my way to one of Gaeta's many churches. This one is currently under construction but you can tell it will be magnificent when it is finished. I was also greeted by more amazing views of the harbor.
Today there was an added drama to the landscape in part because of the front climbing over the mountains. The water in the harbor has taken on a darker hew than what I have seen since my arrival and the clouds throw shadows over the avenues and flats in rain dampened town.
As I walk up to the church another familiar smell settles in the air around me
The church stands proud on the side of the hill and is graced by a magnificent staircase curving its way in two directions to its doors, and by guardian saints. Workers are busily going about their tasks, walking back and forth, and calling to each other from the scaffolding obscuring part of the church's front.
Once again I am greeted by a new perspective of Old Town from the steps of the church and can't help but gaze greedily at the quaint flats, expensive yachts, and small cars zooming through the streets below me. Castle Gaeta rises to my right, the Italian Naval School below me, and the mountain town of Formia to my left across the harbor.
Its then I get a call from Gerald saying he was released early and asking me to meet him at my park so I tear my gaze away and begin to walk back down the hill. I am just passing the fig trees, marveling at their unique smell, when I see the grape vine. I don't realize what it is right away because its not often I see grapes growing on the side of the road but sure enough there they were...baby grapes!!!! I'm so easily impressed!
Well when I got down to the park I was expecting to see Gerald on foot ready to walk with me but no...he was driving and can't get out of the car because he is in uniform
All in all I would say I made progress and have some more ideas of where I want to go before I head off to Sweden! I do have to say that even though the rain did damper my picture taking the cool air is a much welcome reprieve from the heat and humidity!!