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From the backroom of the travels

     My father used to arrive to Italy with crowds of tourists who besiege this beautiful country every year.
     Sometimes alone, sometimes not.
     In his appearance inconspicious, but thanks to his baggage visible. He was carrying his big cover with papers and canvas.
     He called it a "blok"("a notebook"). It was always made-to-measure in Slovak National Gallery passe-partout work-room, I guess. It was a heavy, not a big though, suitcase where one had to cram a box of colours, which was used as an easel as well. That was an import from the USSR, known there as an "etudnik". It was just a minimum of clothes (when I started to travel with him, my clothes were placed there too) in it, the rest of the space was filled with tins and Hungarian salami. Then in Italy, some wine, cheese, onions and grapes were bought. We used to eat out of small brought-along plates in small guest-houses and hotels, always close to a railway station.
     Later after 1989, when he was not at the mercy of granting visa and foreign currency and the disgrace of the border crossings, he used to live in rented flats with home appliances, finally tins could be left at home.
     Those were already the last years of his, it was Sicily and Cefalù only. The rented flat had to have a terrace with a view over the old town and the sea. He made his drawings and paintings there.
     Daily routine on the journeys was strict. In big cities - galleries and museums were visited. Without a break. Sketching and painting done sometimes. In townlets by the sea - some painting in the early mornings, then swimming and sunbathing. In the early evenings again painting, drawing, sketching and searching for new motives.
     That used to be always in the autumn, because of postseason prices, less tourists and more grapes.
     He returned home not only with an everlasting wish to get back, but with a packet full of drawings, aquarelles, pastel paintings, oils of which we all still can be delighted at home or at exhibitions.