“The Last Leg” of the
Where’s Weinberger Odyssey of 2012
It seems like a lifetime ago that Don dropped me off at the Philadelphia airport for the ” prima gamba” (first leg) of my trip to Montepulciano. After those fabulous two weeks at ilsasso.com, I went on to Amsterdam to meet Don, Betty, Lee, for the “secondi gamba” of biking and barging through Paese Bassi (Holland). “Gamba Terzo” was the almost one month which we’ve now spent in Italy.
Today began with saying “ci vediamo” to la Donna Giorgio at http://www.bbcasamario.com/_Old/default.asp?Lingua=E
It’s really a superb little b&b, halfway between Bevagna and Montefalco. again, piove, piove, piove (rain) as we drove toward Fuimicino and our favorite hotel near the airport. . .
Upon arrival, I was happy to see the man who helped me nearly 6 weeks ago when I inadvertently made the incorrect reservation. . . .”prednatazione errata.” “Te aiutarmi,” (you helped me) I reminded him, and he gave me a warm smile. I was doubly pleased when it was time to check in and he didn’t need my passport number. . . I’m in their system!! What a great feeling to be recognized in Rome at a hotel. I’m starting to feel like a regular!!
We love the restaurant at this hotel, so after getting to our room, we went to lunch. We ordered a meal we had last time we were here, the “antipasti” of mixed seafood. The waitress told us that it was a rich meal of dishes, and we assured her that we knew it. But we were surprised when they wheeled a cart of 9 dishes to our table. . .
We feasted on mussels, clams, baby squid, cuttlefish, two types of sardines, crab, a variety of seafood salads, and a bottle of sauvignon blanc. And then we made a reservation for dinner!! After all, it IS our last night in Italy.
While Don returns the car to the airport, just 10 minutes away, I have some time for reflection. Often while driving along these past few days, we play games of naming things from the trip in alphabetical order or in categories, like “best meal,” “most surprising place, ” etc.
So here are a few, in no particular ranking, except for number one.
1. Travel is a trade-off. We love to travel, but we love our family more. Who would have ever guessed that Cat’s mother would become ill and pass on during our time away. Should we have stopped the trip and gone home? I’m still not clear on that, but we kept on with the trip. On countless occasions I found myself with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. I’ve lit candles and said prayers in every church, cathedral, and duomo for Rosalie and her family. Travel is a trade-off.
2. Most surprising event/ aha moment. . . lunch at Osteria da Gemma, Roddino, Piemonte. Also, the funivia almost one mile up on Lago di Garda (and we thought it was just a dinky tourist ride).
3. Second most surprising event. ..feeling the earthquake of 2012.
4. Best meal. . .haha. . . It’s a joke. . .can’t choose among Gemma, Trattoria nelle Vigne, Antica d’ Porto ( today’s lunch), L’alchemista, lunch in Bevagna, Gattivecchi in Montepulciano, Montforte d’ Alba, breakfasts at all of our b&bs, Albergo la Marianna on Lake Como.
5. Biggest disappointment. . . Deruta ceramiche museo closed for the THIRD time.
6. Biggest affirmation. . . . In the words of the Beatles, ” People are the same wherever you go.”. In my own words, ” You attract who you are.” The inexplicable kindness of hosts and hostesses, the smiles, the warmth, the assistance, the generosity. . . . We are all connected. Here’s our last, most wonderful hostess. . . Speaking only Italian, we communicated perfectly!!
7. Most important learning, which I actually knew before I left, but now I REALLY know. I will wear one pair of pants and take one skirt. Period. One pair of earrings, one bracelet. Period. A few tops, a sweater, leggings, two pairs of shoes. Period. Remind me of all of this next time. Period.
8. Biggest personal gain. . . .I can no longer say, ” I’m no good at languages” because I’m making good progress with Italian. Once again, it’s a matter of opportunity, and the old saying, ” It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”
9. Biggest decision as a traveling team. . . .one month, or at the very most, 5 weeks is our limit. Both reasons for being constant companions and for being away from home and family.
10. Smallest sweetness. . . The flowers high on top of Monte Baldo, blooming brilliant purple in the high, thin, cold Dolomite air.
11. Soul-satisfying view. . . Fields, hills, and roadsides of poppies. . . .and the poppies Don picked for me and gave me in Verona. . . “for giuletta. . . ”
12. International reminder. . . Americans are the loudest tourists. Period. You always ask someone if they’re Canadian first, because, sadly, few want to be identified as Americans. What can we do about that???
13. Most beautiful smell. . . .jasmine on walks in Cadenabbia, poppies in Anna’s garden, wood-burning pizza ovens at night, fresh earth after the rain all over Italy.
I’ll stop for now. After all, we have a bottle of wine to finish before dinner tonight!!!