Thursday, February 27, 2014

Arrivederci Italia

As our adventure in Italy comes to an end; I'm watching a lighting storm over Mount Vesuvius and seeing Naples glow in an erie light across the water from our room. I am reflecting on new friends I have met, cultural differences we have encountered and the most amazing food I have ever eaten. I am thankful for all of it!

Since Emma and I arrived we approached each day without a plan, just going out into the world, checking it out and taking what may come.  The driving was always exciting!  This is a country without any rules for driving.  You turn when you want, park where and when you want, pass on corners, tailgate and honk your horn when the feeling strikes you.  Although it may sound like total chaos (and it is) I never witnessed one accident, one incident of road rage or encountered any hostility behind the wheel.  Funny how it works.  In the states you would probably be beaten up or shot for driving this way, or at least given a ticket by the police.  Should you ever visit here and you want a real thrill, take a drive from Sorrento to Salerno along the Amalfi Coast; the most nerve racking and exciting time I have ever had behind the wheel.. Watch out for the buses!!  They don't stop.

The people are all so friendly and so willing to help.  We have been helped when lost and invited into peoples homes to break bread.  Emma and I were in Sorrento having a cafe outside, we were watching this guy on the street, he seemed to know everyone, laughing, shaking hands, hugging babies, waving at passerby's, all the while people were buying something he had in a bag from him.  When the bag was empty he would leave and then come back with more.  He would smile at us and I finally asked about what he was selling.  He spoke no english but  handed a bag to Emma, it was full of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese.  I asked him how much, he shook his head no, he would not sell to us. He put the bag on a chair next to us and continued to sell, laugh and talk.  We got up to leave and he handed us the bag, we tried to pay, he shook his head no, he smiled at us and waved goodbye.   Here is a picture of him, he did not give us his name.

I will never forget our good friends Enzo, Maria and Elio at Restaorante DA CARLINO in Peschici.  This truly was the highlight of my trip.  The kindness, friendliness and the most amazing food we ate in all of Italy!!  And they loved the banjo!! The next time I visit Italy this will be my first stop.  Should they ever visit America I will take great joy and honor hosting them and showing them my city.

Things I will miss; Rome, the most beautiful city I have ever been in, Siesta everyday from 2 to 4pm, all stores closed, giant fresh lemons and oranges hanging off trees everywhere you look, fresh fruit and vegetable markets, fresh seafood, stuffed barbecue artichokes sold Sundays on every street corner, the cliffs of the Amafi Coast and much, much more.

 CIAO!!  See you in Spain!