I was very pleased to be able to visit this festival last year. It was unlike anything else I had ever experienced. I did not even know what to expect at all. I received the invitation from a neighbor of mine who spent some time in there are growing up and has some experience with the festival in days past. Of course, when I got the invitation I didn’t even know if he was serious, but after further conversation he explained in great detail that he wanted me to experience it because it was always one of his most enjoyable event. You see, it had been years since he was able to go back for the festival. Having worked the past year on his jewelry crafts – especially his sterling silver rings with cubic zirconia crystals placed in gorgeous settings. He had been working diligently for several years to perfect some of his ring designs using pure cubic zirconia within precision settings using very fine detail. Many of his cubic zirconia rings are considered collectible art and he always impresses whenever he shows his work. That’s how some of his exquisite cubic z rings made it into the displays at SterlingForever. So he was hoping to show some of his amazing cubic zirconia rings and jewelry designs to the festival crowd without having to pay for a booth, but I convinced him the cost was worth it. He was finally in the position because he had saved up the money and was actually able to get the kind of free time that a trip of this scope requires and the $250 charge for the booth was affordable.
He went on to fully explain that I would have to take a full 3 weeks off in order to travel there and back, as well as have plenty of time in between just to enjoy the slow pace and “authentic lifestyle”, as he called it. Luckily he gave me 3 months to prepare for everything I had to get done. I immediately went about requesting the time off work as I knew that would likely be the determining factor of whether or not I could go. I also started to save the money that I would need to sustain my lifestyle through that vacation, as well as finance my trip. My neighbor & good friend actually purchased my airline ticket & explained that he had a place for us to stay for the entire time we would be there but there was still plenty of reasons I needed to have some funding if I wanted to go. I would likely want to enjoy the festival, as well as eat and drink in a more gracious style during the few weeks I was going to be there.
I was rather surprised at the brazenness with which people were smoking cannabis or marijuana, or maybe hashish. Unlike the US, with the few exceptions like Colorado and Washington where possession is legal, and maybe places in laid back California or cool New York have I experienced adults of all ages just lighting up and enjoying themselves. Apparently, people grow cannabis in the yards as any other type of plant, along with the tomatoes, zucchini, beans, and flowers. I was also told a number of villagers use it medicinally for a number of ailments.
Once we arrived I was so pleasantly surprised by the quaint feel to the town. Some of the buildings must have been hundreds of years old. The structures were still in great shape, don’t get me wrong, I just loved the motif. The people there were so very different from the people I knew back home. They were all so very friendly. It was easy to find entertaining ways to spend my time, even though many of my favorite pass times were no where to be found. I’ll tell you what, it was not easy financing, planning or executing this trip even with the help of my long time friend, but it was worth it all when everything was said and done. I highly recommend the experience for anyone who can possibly pull it off.