LIFE/Madeline Merlic: The Lost Tiles

Around mid- October, my mother came all the way from California to visit me in Viterbo. I could not wait to see her and show her all around my new home.
On Friday October 21st, she drove up from Rome and with a lot of phone calls in which I tried to give her good directions on how to get to my apartment inside the city walls, she made it. I was so excited to see a familiar face in my somewhat unfamiliar current home. I felt like a kid again and not so much like a 22 year old senior in college.
We walked around Viterbo and I ordered café’s for the both of us; I wanted her to experience the strong elixir that is an Italian espresso shot. She absolutely loved it.
While we were at the bar, we discussed what we wanted to do the next day and we agreed that we would go to the town of Bracciano and see the castle there.
The next morning we met at San Sisto Café and discussed our day over cappuccino’s and croissants. The café was buzzing with mid-morning activity; parents and their children coming in and out of the shop, saying hello to one another.
Around 11 a.m. we set off in the rental car to Bracciano, taking gorgeous back roads that were covered by canopies of thick green tree leaves.
We arrived to Brocciano around 12:30 p.m. and decided to drive down to the lake just to look at it for a few minutes.
As we drove along, we saw a spot where we could pull over so that we could walk down to the water. When we got out of the car, we could see that there were two ducks rummaging through the debris that was at the lake shore. Making our way down to the water, the ducks looked at us with curious eyes.
Upon a closer look, I could see that there were many different kinds of tiles sitting in the water of the shore. It is looked as though someone had remodeled their kitchen and dumped the old tiles into the lake.
My mother and I began to look through the tiles and started to collect some in a bucket that we found at the shore. We both decided that we would use the tiles to create something when we got back home to California.
After a few minutes, we got back into the car and drove up the hill to Bracciano. We parked our car and walked around the part of the town that surrounds the castle. I took my mom to a simple bar for lunch and we ate hot sandwhiches and drank cold Coca-Colas with a view of the castle.
After lunch, we made our way up the castle and took about an hour to walk through it’s many rooms. The place was amazing, I would recommend it to everyone.
The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring, laughing and eating. It was a very lovely day that I will always remember whenever I look at my collected tiles from the lake.
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