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)。




古老城市和浪漫之都的威尼斯,野外的大自然都是我们无人打扰地长途漫步的好地方。天气太热的时候,我们就躺在树荫里,在露营地边的湖里我们打水仗。 所有这些令Barbara身心得到完全的放松。她只需要完完全全地做回自己,不需要担心任何事情。



那是一个美好的假日。我们多希望能有更多的时间。我发现了很多的照片, 在这些老照片里能够看得出一切。



第二天我们出去游玩了一天。我们回来后,临近的人告诉我们有三个意大利男人在露营地打听Barbara.一天后他们又来了,我猜想他们看到Barbara和我在一起,他们没有试图和Barbara联系。从那之后我们没再见到他们。这次旅行中Barbara老把这件事当笑话来讲。她常常会把我拉到一个小巷子里,嚷道 "快躲起来,意大利男孩子来了!"

(thanks to Natalie for the translation)

1979 Italy 1

1979 Italy 2

1979 Italy near water


1979 venice 1


1979 Venice 2


1979 camping playing around with boat


1979 camping


1979 rough walk up mountain





Pictures Barbara made of Venice

1979 italy 6


1979 italy 7


1979 italy 8




# RE: Italy VeniceYvonne 2011-02-22 02:51
Thanks for sharing this precious memory to us! It’s really a happiness to have such a romantic holiday in one’s life. Rob, you are a lucky man. May I ask who made the pictures of you two?
# Venice-I have been thereanonymous 2011-02-22 09:22
Hi Rob, I have been to Venice with my husband for only ONE DAY (arrive in the morning but had to leave at about 5:00pm) because we were on a PACKED EUROPE TOUR for 3 weeks (6 countries total). I did not have enough of Venice. I want to go back again in the future.

I am sure glad u & Barbara had this 3 wonderful weeks together. It is such a touching love story. I don't think her relationship with Kent Tong will have such special moments. Hongkong is a materialistic world, very money conscious.
You never know. When things did not work well in Hongkong, Barbara might have thought of you. Remember, she could not share it with anyone!
# RE: Italy VeniceMei Ling Fan 2011-02-22 14:26
Hi Rob, thanks for sharing this wonderful holiday of you and Barbara. As I'm reading I could imagine the fun and precious time the both of you had. As you said pictures does speaks for itself and it does. :-)

The last 3 pics taken by Barbara is beautiful. Could I save the pics for my computer wallpaper? Thank you.
# RE: Italy VeniceBarfan 2011-02-27 01:46
"It was a nice holiday. One we hoped that we would have many more times."

# photoguest 2011-03-06 05:52
Bob, thank you for posting so many interesting stories. I have a question. How did you take all those photos? It looks like you hired a photographer to follow you around. The hiking pictures from an aerial view in particular, did u pre-set the camera, then went off to hike, then come back? I am just curious.
# RE: photoRob 2011-03-06 20:46
Strange, I get many questions about who took the pictures. We just ask people who were around to take them. Nothing special. We liked the pictures to be natural, therefore we tried not to look straight into the camera at the moment the pictures were taken. It sometimes worked.
# RE: Italy Venicehey 2011-03-07 13:09
haha, you are right that we can ask anyone to take pictures of us. But you have to understand that it is unusual to take photos of you in the jungle. Very few people ventured there. That's why many people asked you questions about how to take pictures of you.
# RE: Italy VeniceHannah 2011-03-10 02:18
I think these photos here are some of my very favorite of you and Barbara. I love the way natural way the photos are taken. I still find it almost amazing that you kept them for so long. The photos are taken like looking into your life and story from afar. Just amazing. I love them. It was definitely a fun time for you both. Thanks again for sharing Rob.
# RE: Italy Venicehey 2011-03-11 14:23
Rob, whose idea for candid photos? U or BY? Oh yes, whose idea to go hiking often? U? Only you and BY went hiking?
# RE: RE: Italy VeniceMei Ling Fan 2011-03-11 15:19
Hey, Rob has answered this question. It's under the 'food' chapter.
# RE: Italy Venicehey 2011-03-12 14:45
Oh yes, i am sort of blurred. Ok, Rob, can you pls tell me whose idea to suggest candid photos? U or BY?

I really love the way the candid photos are taken. It really tells stories about you and remember events very clearly.
# RE: RE: Italy VeniceRob 2011-03-13 10:20
I try to avoid the posed pictures. If Barbara was given a chance she would pose for a picture. But I tried to distract her at the moment the picture was taken.
# RE: Italy Venicehey 2011-03-13 13:27
Your candid photos are truly priceless! I really love it very much. :) Sorry for repeated words. :P
# Italy VeniceMelanie 2011-10-16 02:51
She always had a big smile when she was with you,which I don't see in any picture when she was in Hongkong.
She was so happy to be with you around, but certainly not happy even though she was well-known in Hongkong.
# RE: Italy Venice 意大利威尼斯 1979thup 2012-09-17 02:12
it was so interesting to read your memories with Barbara..
keep writing...
# ThanksKarin 2012-09-17 08:54
Thanks for taking the time to update again. We really appreciate!
# RE: Italy Venice 意大利威尼斯 1979Ben 2012-10-16 17:37
I'm curious about who took the photos above for you two, especially those taken from a faraway distance ? seems another one of your firends do the job? but never reminded in your writing!
# Romatic cityMartin 2012-10-17 16:21
I have been to Venice once. A romatic place.
# RE: 34. Italy Venice 意大利威尼斯 1979Fei 2012-10-22 03:20
She's innocent. That's all her fault.
# RE: 34. Italy Venice 意大利威尼斯 1979D 2012-11-12 07:45
Quoting Fei:
She's innocent. That's all her fault.

Well, she was only a teenage at that time. She didn't have much of life experience then. She might have been a bit naive but she certainly not deserve such comment!
# PhotosCLY 2014-10-16 04:41
I had the same questions looking at the photos. How did you ask someone to go up a hill to take an aerial photo for you? And how did you ask the person to go far away across the street and snap while both of you were coming out through an arch? Amazing! I wished I had such people to take such photos for me. As if there's always someone way ahead of you and watch out for the right moment to take pictures of you. I even feel like I'm watching a movie :-) I'd like to do that the next time I go on a holiday but I don't think I can convince a passer-by to go the 'extra-mile' to take a picture for me.

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