Through the passageway at the base of this Tower comes the lilting strains of many violins and the faraway strumming of a flamenco guitar. Bootheels may be heard tapping rhymically, accompanied by the sharp clicking of lively castanets. These sounds mingle with the echo of voices urging:
"Cross my palm with silver, kind sir," or "Luverly sprig o' fresh heather for luck, my fine lady?"Above the domed portal is etched only one word: "SASTIPE." Those who are not children of the blessed Sainte Sara might ponder upon the signifcance...but it is merely an ancient gypsy greeting which means "Good Luck and Good Health."
Follow the chirpings of the Romani Chiriklo...the Gypsy Bird...just a few short steps beyond this arched entrance into Romani Rise. By parting the curtain, fashioned from mutli-hued beads of crystal and jet, a body may be transported to another kingdom. It is a kingdom which abounds with song and sorrow...prophesies and promises. A place where fortunes are lost, won and made...perhaps even begged, borrowed or stolen, for the people who inhabit this area are not without their charming chicanery.
This is the World of the Wanderers...the Realm of the Rom.
Awaiting your arrival are bow-topped vardos (horse-drawn caravans to the non-initiated). Each has its own appointed path along the many-forked byways on the far side of the Tower. One will transport you down "The Open Road," an historical journey which chronicles the roamings of the gypsy nations from their original home in India.
Another will carry you into the sights and sounds of "Appleby Fair." By special arrangement, the cost of entrance has been waived. Feel free to visit the numerous kiosks and booths erected here. Learn the secrets of intoxicating elixirs...the meaning of the Tarot...and, when night falls, perhaps you might care to visit the Campfire and listen to the storytellers recount their gypsy legends. But these are only a few of the delights that "Appleby Fair" has to offer...and even more vardos await your pleasure, if you will but dare to penetrate the veil.
Before making your selection, however, you might want to stop at the "Shrine of Sainte Sara la Kali." Light a candle or make a small donation. It could prove beneficial to one who is unfamiliar with the lay of the land, to say nothing of offering some measure of protection...if you feel such is required.
A voice whispers invitingly in your ear: "Sastipe and welcome, stranger." It is followed by a soft chuckle and the glimmer of a gold earring.
"Enter. We are only humble gypsies here. What have you got to lose?"