I don't know how Barbara managed it, but she was allowed to go on summer holiday with me for three weeks. We wanted to go to a warm country. Barbara wanted to stay near an historic city and I wanted to be near some a nice nature. We decided to go to Italy near the ancient city of Venice. Hoping we could find a camping with some the nice countryside.
We went to my my parents first, stayed there for a week. We went by boat to Holland. This timewe hired a sleeping cabin just for the two of us. After staying with my parent we went with their car to Italy. Barbara didn't dare to drive on the continent as the steering wheel was on the 'wrong side'.
This was one of those holidays that everything went as we wanted it to be. We found a camping next to a lake, not to far from Venice and in a lovely wild nature area. We spend our time walking through the countryside, playing games at the camping, messing around on the lake with the rubber boat we brought along and of course visiting Venice.
Barbara enjoyed the historic and romantic city of Venice. Barbara especially enjoyed the little backwards alleys with the little shops with beautiful fragile glass sculptures. She couldn't take her eyes of them. Venice gave Barbara a kind of endless energy. Many hours we spend there walking hand in hand, trying to keep in shade, admiring de seemingly never ending stream of historic buildings.
Being together for three weeks without having to worry about anything was unknown to us. No family to hide from, no distances to travel before we could see each other. No obligations, we just did what we wanted when we wanted it. We didn't go out in the evening, not even to go and eat somewhere. We happy spending our evenings playing games and chatting.
The ancient charisma and romance of the city of Venice. The wild nature area to make long undisturbed walks. The very hot days where we only could just lay in the shadow under a tree. The water fights we had in the lake by the camping. All these things made Barbara completely relaxed. She could be her complete self without having to care about anything.
This Barbara was at one moment cheerful, full of energy and sometimes she was very boy like in the rough-and-tumble games we played. At another time she was very girly in picking flowers to decorate the tent or she could be very tender and caring. Like the moments we lay in the grass in the shadow, me with my head on her lap and she stroking my face and hair with her hands while singing softly Chinese songs to me.
Sometimes she felt insecure and became fragile. At those moments she just wanted to be held, listening to the sweet words I be whispering to her, and then, after a while, that smile would re-appear again.
It was a nice holiday. One of those we hoped that we would have many more times. I found a few pictures; I think they speak for themselves.
I wonder how often Barbara thought about this holiday while she was leading her busy and demanding life in Hong Kong.
A little anecdote from that holiday.
Barbara and I were doing some shopping in the village near the camping. Somehow, I can't remember why, Barbara was walking around on her own. Three local young Italian guys started talking to her. Most young women who have been to Italy probably know their routine. They all have the same approach towards women, I think it genetic, there must be some kind of Italian gen for this. They started asking Barbara questions like 'What is your name?', 'Where are you from?' Where are you staying?' All being very friendly, smiling and laughing. And of course Barbara being a polite person, answered the questions and she might have given them her smile (and you can imagine what effect must have had). It was just a short conversation and soon Barbara joined me again.
The following day we went out for a day tour somewhere. When we came back our neighbor on the camping said that there had been three Italian guys on the camping asking about Barbara. A day later they came again, but I guessed that they saw me with Barbara and they didn't try to make contact with Barbara. After that we never saw them again. Barbara made a continues joke of this during that holiday. Often she would suddenly pull me into a hiding space like an alley and call out 'quickly hide! young Italians!'.
When I told this story to my partner/wife she said 'how stupid could Barbara be! Every young girl who goes to Italy for a holiday should know that if an Italian guy starts to talk to you, she has two options. Either ignore him or be rude to him. If you react friendly that guy will follow you the whole holiday like a stray dog, until he gets what he wants'.
和上一年一样我们先乘坐夜船到我父母家，这次我们也租了一个小客舱。 然后我们开我父母的车去意大利。 Barbara不敢开这车，因为方向盘在"错的一边"（英国车方向盘在车右边，欧洲大陆方向盘在车左边）。
(thanks to Natalie for the translation)
Pictures Barbara made of Venice