Favorite things about Italy: in no particular order.
1. The smells. There is an abundance of honeysuckle across our balcony! It smells so good every time we walk through the courtyard.
2. The sound of their language. I so wish i knew how to speak Italian. I love the words for everything.
3. The food and wine, of course. Especially the pinot grigios and vermentinos. It took us a few days after extracting ourselves from the family that is here who keeps eating at the same restaurant. The wild boar papardelle and my seafood risotto are my favorites so far.
4. It feels so safe here. The driving can be a bit harrowing since the streets are so narrow, but i love that unlike home, there is no real traffic.
5. The smaller cities: Siena, Pienza, Montepulciano, San Gimignano and Cortona. We like to arrive before everything opens up when it's quiet. We walk around and take photos.
6. The photo opportunities. I get tired of taking the same kind of photos of the scenery and cathedrals, though i do take those too. There are so many opportunities to take photos of the people. Brian will often ask them if he can take their photo and they always oblige. Everyone is so nice.
7. I really like our apartment here. Our bed is nice and firm. We have a washing machine. And air conditioning and each of us has our own bathroom. And the pool is great too after a really hot day in the towns.
8. We really like talking to the Norwegian couples two doors down. They own their apartment . Each late afternoon when we get home they are outside on the open balcony (that is shared by all) playing bridge and drinking wine. On the right of is a Swedish guy who wears bright red pants and two doors on the other side is a young Italian woman who cracks me up because she paces back and forth for the last few evenings talking on her cell phone. And she will be on the phone for about 2 hours sometimes. She's quite passionate in her conversation. I wish i could understand her.
9. We had our favorite meal at the Grotto in Cortona last night. When i talked about the wild board pasta the gentleman next to us said he was sorry for eavesdropping but they were told there was no more of that pasta. However the waitress was confused because thankfully we did get to order it and so did he. That got us all talking (there were four of them from New Jersey). Because there is no rush through dinner here we ended up having the best conversations. They were maybe 10 years older and had done LOTS more than we had. It was clear the woman named Margo was in charge of the itenerary and she was a hoot. She reminded me of Rhoda from Mary Tyler Moore.
10. I love how clean most everything feels here - not much litter. I love the cobblestone streets and the flowers and the clothes drying on lines outside the windows. I love how the Italian people dress so nicely even when it's very hot. I love the old feel of everything - when i think of our ugly box stores and mini-malls , ick. I love the colors of the stones.
11. I also love the grocery store/Italian deli which is just a walk from our place. They know us there now and they have the best homemade pesto, antipasto meats, homemade pasta, yogurts, breads. And they are so friendly. We only eat one meal out when we are here because we buy stuff from there about every other day.
12. I am so glad that i came here for my first International vacation in my adult life!