Thursday, June 12, 2014

Cose Preferite

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!


jojo cucina cucina said...

The New Jersey couples we met were David and Margo and Paul and Bertha. We all exchanged email addresses after our dinner and Margo gave me a phone number 'in case we ever make it out to New York'.

Bertha made me feel better because she also talked about having traveling anxiety in Italy.

The Norwegian couple i like is Lasse and Ellen. (Not sure of their friends' names.) Lasse actually looked up my Norwegian maiden name and said there were many people with the name Aslak Lauvrak which i my grandfather's name. He tells me Aslak is an uncommon first name. The spelling of my grandfather's name is different from my father's because of a mistake on my dad's birth certificate.

Brian bought 8 regular size bottles of olive oil in Montecantini because it has the Benedetti name. I'm worried about how we get them home. Maybe i can talk him into giving one to Lasse and Ellen since their own their apartment and can leave it here.

jojo cucina cucina said...

My iPad won't let me scroll to correct my favorite meal to say wild BOAR pasta. Today we went back to Montepulciano and it was so much quieter because the tours weren't there. I love that drive on the little narrow country roads. It is so beautiful. I so wish I could have gone running on some of these roads but I would probably ...most definitely... Have been road kill the way some of them drive.

I probably shouldn't have read that book Me Before You that Bethany recommended. I really liked that book a lot but it was about a guy who got hit by a motorcycle, became a quadriplegic and wanted to kill himself only he couldn't.

Amanda said...

I love these blogs, Jo! It sounds like such an amazing trip. The stuff you don't like is the same stuff I wouldn't like, so I totally get it. It's almost as good as taking a vacation myself! Thanks for sharing everything!

jojo cucina cucina said...

Thank you Amanda! I think you and I are similar in many ways and traveling is likely one of them. An international trip is an amazing vacation but it is not exactly what you call a relaxing one.

Today is our last day in Cortona and as i type there is a major storm going on outside with lightning and thunder and wind and big big rain. The first inclement weather we've had here. It's kind of cool. Glad it didn't catch me while we were walking up that long hill to Cortona as we were planning!

We leave in the morning for Florence and stay two nights, getting up at 3 in the morning to catch our flight on Monday.

I've loved it here, but i'm ready to go home. I know that sounds stupid to a lot of people, but right now we are struggling with packing and making stuff fit. And it's not because I brought my pillow! It has something to do with limoncello and 8 bottles of olive oil.

Also we need to figure out how to pay the parking ticket Brian got in Camucia when he took off on his own yesterday.

We have met two different groups of people (aside from the family of 6 people who i spoke earlier about who are here that we connected with because of Brian's relationship through work with the woman( and i have emails addresses and will send them a photo and a message.) They were so nice.

This has been a great trip. No bumps in the road to traumatize me from ever doing it again either! And it's really fun to end our last day on a major storm!

pearl said...

Thrilled that you've had such a great time! I'm researching Florence right now because we have a day there on our trip in August. When we went before it was temps in the upper 90's and mobs of people and Bud was having a horrible reaction to some medication he was on - searing headaches. We spent most of our sightseeing time resting in the shade of cathedrals. Probably same heats (and mobs!) this time, but we'll be better prepared.