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Older photo from internet source.

I didn’t know I would be returning to Scalea. My last trip here was so perfect that I thought the memories would last me a lifetime. Even though my personality is to experience new things, I love the comfort of familiarity, too. When I like a dish in a restaurant, I order it over and over. When I love a place, it is hard to change destinations.

Other than the difficulty in getting from there to here, this seemed the place to travel with my sisters. Add a cherished travel buddy and her long-time friend and it has shaped into an easy-going old girl trip in a town that is rife with old girls.

The emotional perks of returning create another level of enjoyment. Although there is the sadness of those friends no longer here, I am surprised and gratified by the number of people who recognize me. It is lovely to be greeted on the streets and at businesses.

P1000429On our return to one of my favorite old haunts in the Centro Storico, Antica Trattoria, a Taverna,

Antica Trattoria, a Taverna in Centro Storico.

Antica Trattoria, a Taverna in Centro Storico.

the chef who had watched me from the window on my first visit, greeted me cheerfully. He remembered when my children and grandchildren ate there. It warmed me to know that somewhere here shares the memory.

Walking on the street in Scalea a few days later, I noticed a man blocking the sidewalk. As I was wondering how to gracefully pass, he greeted me loudly. “Ciao!”

He grabbed my hands and gave me a robust kiss on each cheek before reminding me that he is a friend of Vincenzo, the man who, with his wife, has made my life in Southern Italy easier by guiding me, protecting me, and introducing me around Scalea.

From the grocery store clerks to the man on the street in Verbicaro (My Dream Village), IMG_0674 IMG_0675I have been welcomed by old friends and new contacts as a return visitor. It’s rewarding and interesting when my travel mates love the places I love. New experiences layer onto the the past ones, enriching the weave of this tapestry of travel.

It feels good.