I told you I would tell you about my trip to italy and Sicily. I think my Christmas letter to friends and family tells it clearly and sends my wishes for all of you too.
My trip to Italy was fatasic. Rome, Pompeii and the major cities in Italy were wonderful but I really fell in love with Assisi and Venice. I also discovered I am too old for "tours". The pace left me exhausted for weeks after the trip. I want to see the rest of the world from the deck of a cruise ship!
The six days in Siciy were beyond anything I could have imagined. I planneda pilgrimage to look into Mt Etna for Daddy. He was a litte boy when he left for America and never got to look into the volcano. I planned to do that for him. Mt Etna is the most active volcano in Europe and too dangerous for tourists to go to the top. I went as far as the public is allowed. I was old fissures and lave beds from old eruptions. I saw as much as possible for Daddy.
My granddaughter researched things I wanted to see. In the process she found a cousin I didn't know existed. My husband and I found a driver to take us to Daddy's home town, Bronte, at the foot of Mt. Etna. After several hours he would return us to our hotel in Taormina. I called my cousin to tell him of our plans. He said the family wanted to meet me and have dinner for us. We should have our driver drop us off and he would take us back late that night.
We arrived at a small square in Bronte and called my cousin. In minutes we were meeting his Mother, Father and sister. I showed them a picure of the house my grandfather built that Daddy was born in. Daddy had taken the picture when he and Mama went to Sicily in 1983. My cousin knew exactly where the house was and drove us to it. We were taking pictures on the steps when neighbors came out asking what we were doing. There was so much going on, the young man who lives in the house next door came out. I told him my grandfather built the house and my fathere was born there. He said his family had just bought the house and aked if I would like to go inside. My heart jumped into my throat and the tears just burst out. I looked at my husband, and he was crying too. All we could do was nod and follow the young man up the worn white marble steps. I not only found my history, I sat in it and touched it. I have a picture sitting in the home Daddy left in 1913!
Bronte is a major producer of pistachios, so the family decided we had to taste pistachio gelato. Needless to say, it was delicious, as was the meal my family served that evning. One by one, the other sisters and their husbands gathered around the table. They speak no english and we speak no italian. Fortunately my cousin speaks perfect english and was our interpreter.
It was an unforgettable meal. Eleven people who did not know one another just hours before, gathered around a table filled with food and love!
I hope your Christmas will be as blessed and memorable as that wonderful meal in Sicily was for me.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year