Aki Solomos

Traveler, writer, reviewer, all-round observer. I like anything cool & fast, but occasionally sit at a cafe watching the world go by.

TWO WEEKS IN TUSCANY – day 4: The Americano

P1030399Oct. 07, 2010

To my surprise, breakfast was light, to say the least -a small cup of yogurt, some tangerine slices, an espresso, and crackers. Well, so much for my eggs, pancakes, or French toast. I snuck some extra crackers when no one looked.

P1030797I took a long, much needed time to freshen up that morning (shower, shave, etc…). Whew! I haven’t really washed up for 2 days! Now feeling more like myself, Domenico drove my wife and I around to show us his watering holes before lunch. It seemed to be his daily routine: Espresso and crackers while reading the morning paper; head to the local cafe/store to chat it up with his friends about politics and any other news while playing cards or backgammon; then comes back home for lunch. La vita.

After lunch, we walked to the medieval town of Villa Basilica to take some pictures and explore its narrow cobblestone roads. Taking a shortcut -down the hill on narrow winding paths between old and new homes, I remember wondering to myself if they don’t mind us Americanos trespassing through their yards and driveways. I couldn’t find any cell or wifi service, and the local stores didn’t accept $USD or credit cards. I turned to my wife and stated, “This is gonna be an interesting two weeks.”

P1030402Coincidentally, we met a retired couple at the town square that were also from NY! They used to live in Queens of all places. Her father was a chief engineer at Steinway Piano. We couldn’t believe we wound up meeting them half a world away, in a small town that’s barely visible on any map. They were part of a tour group but decided to rent a car and go about on their own. I still can’t get over it -it truly is a small world.

P1030435The town square was fascinating. It had that ancient look, yet maintained enough to keep it from falling to ruin. If it weren’t for the parked cars and the occasional hints of modernization, one would expect to see horses, carts, and people dressed in renaissance clothing. The town’s fountain sat at the center of the square at the bottom of some steps. Across the street was a 12th century church that seemed to have stood the test of time. And all around the square, standing proudly, some having been built over six hundred years ago or more, were stone buildings and homes still being used today.

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Back at Pia’s, I was told to dress up as we were going to a family get-together. A three-couple wedding anniversary: my in-law’s, and two of my wife’s aunts & uncles. Although different dates on the same month, since we were all in Italy, it was decided to celebrate it together. Typical for an Italian gathering at a large rented hall, there were tons of food and wine. This went on to midnight –a very long dinner with endless courses: a variety of antipasto, pasta, different pasta, meats, breads, and cake.

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I had lots of fun there. A few of them even tried to communicate with me (Columbus’ situation came to mind). Looking back, it did seem funny -them talking in Italian with the occasional English word, and me trying to twist some Spanish words to make it sound Italian while using hand gestures. We had no clue what we were saying to each other. Toward the end of the evening, I finally understood enough to know what they were telling me -to join them on Saturday for something. I kept saying “Si, si, si!” to whatever it was, despite not having any idea what I was agreeing to. Well, it’s now marked on my mental calendar with a big question mark.

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This entry was posted on January 21, 2015 by in Tuscany and tagged , , , , .
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