Thursday, July 26, 2012

An Afternoon in Water

Once in Žepa

 The Serb army had just finished up their most recent killing spree in Srebrenica, as thousands - men, women, children, families and elders were fleeing for their lives from one village to another hoping to spare themselves the same fate. In a small village outside the UN 'protected safe haven', some villagers took the road that led into the town of Žepa only to be repelled by the oncoming column of Serb soldiers there too. At the entrance to Žepa, in obvious danger they then fled to the hills and into the forest to take refuge. Caught a short time after, the women and children were  put on buses and dropped off at the front lines. The survivors found their way to refugee camps in Bosnian held territory at Zenica. The men and older boys were taken prisoner and brought to concentration camps in Serbia. July 25th, 1995.

In Denver twelve months later visiting one of the refugee ghetto's on Beeler Street I bore witness to stories of horror and pain whispered in long sentences between terse puffs of cigarettes in broken English and halting Bosnian. I vowed then never to forget. In remembrance of my friends, the Ramic family along with thousands of people, like my parents and dearest grandparents who repatriated to countries not their own and lived to bear witness and eventually reemerge victorious, if broken hearted. Creators of new life.  Conquerors over death and destruction. Refugees. Survivors. 

Never forget.

"As in Srebrenica, Serb nationalist leaders offered to expel Muslim women and children from Zepa, but detain the men as "prisoners."Serb forces have blocked all attempts for aid workers to visit theSrebrenica men supposedly taken prisoner. 
  Serbs overran Zepa a few days after an emergency international conference called after Srebrenica was seized. The conference issued a warning to Serb nationalists that they faced serious consequencesif they attacked the third "protected zone" of Gorazde. However, no mention was made of Zepa; the international community decided to write off the town -- and its 16,000 inhabitants -- as lost,despite a UN Security Council vote pledging to protect it. Gorazde is the sole remaining Bosnian enclave between the Serbianborder and Sarajevo."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

La Vasca

The other morning I came to Bagno Vignoni as usual and the Loggia was roped off.  Obviously as curious as anyone else I went to see what was going on to find that the Vasca was being cleaned.

Two fellows in the middle of the previously mysterious watery square who were outfitted with yellow (official I'm sure) galoshes and oversize brooms were scrapping off the green algae from the bottom and the sides of the pool.

It looked like a scene from an old film, watching them go about their business as if they in an urban parking lot instead of one of the most visited plots in the Val d'Orcia. Two days later, the stone gleaming and the good luck pennies finally visible at the bottom of the pool, everything was back to normal.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lulu the Cat

At the farm house. Cats come to your door, singing low gutteral songs - brrrrmwahowao -  with birds in their mouth -  playing dead - still as mice. You nudge the cat head with your foot and the bird suddenly comes to life  - escapes the cat mouth & dives into the sky.

Lulu.  What a devilish cat.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Almost every day I take a picture of this beautiful farm that sits

across the Cassia - the main road-  from where we live. I love how it majestically sits there on top of the hill changing color every few weeks. Fresh, bright green to golden to pale wheat. Last week on the 4th of July it looked like this

the wheat tall and strong, ready to be harvested. It's where Ani and I walked early one morning at 5 when we admired the jumping deer and found fresh footprints of rooting animals. 

Today we went to the Marina an hour and a half from here to go swimming at the beach and meet up with Clara and Elena, our sisters.  As we came back over Montalcino we saw huge billows of black smoke in the distance. As soon as I saw it I could tell it was in our valley.  My friend said no, it must be some factory releasing fumes.  I had a feeling that this was not so - that indeed it was a huge fire. Always drama, she said. 

When we passed San Quirico, four miles from the house,  people were lined along the street in small pockets. Here and there they leaned over the short railings, reeling a bit as if unsure where they were. Cars went by slowly as if in a daze or lost. And then I knew it was close to us. 

Huge pillows of black smoke and fire to the east of the Cassia and the closer we got to our Casale the thicker the traffic got and I called the house. Yes, there was a fire across the road and the fire department had been called in Montalcino. Even though we were a quarter mile from home the dread got the better of me.  Rather than stay in the long que of cars, boxed in like a fish,  I turned the car around and back to San Quirico till we could figure out what happened.

It's still burning on the other side of the hill but seems to be under control now. I feel terrible for the farmers of that land. The wheat was heavy and ready to cut this week. They lost their whole harvest.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A few days before....

JULY 8-9, 1995: Four of thirteen observation posts abandoned by Dutch -30 Dutch taken prisoners by Bosnian Serbs

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sant'Anna in Caprena - Travels with Anima

Views of the outside of Sant'Anna in Caprena, where we arrived just a few minutes too late to visit the fresco's that the Monastery is so famous for. Oh, yeah - and the English Patient.

The Doors @Sant'Anna

Traveling back from a lovely day with our American friends, who have an amazing pad with pool and eye candy art in the hills overlooking Caprena, Ani and I stopped at the Monastery to take a peak and finally ogle the place where the dying Hungarian told that long story.
Fantastic complex, unfriendly managers. But whatever. Anima, with her great photographers eye took some nice pics as the sun faded into this grand orange door...


Ani's pics, my photoshop

photo Anima Hoitt-Ramadani

and this

photo Anima Hoitt-Ramadani


Anima Hoitt-Ramadani
..for more pics that don't involve me posing, see consequent post re Travels with Anima..