Narni, Friday, September 28
We have just spent five days sharing our new little corner of Italy with Heather and Judy, two good friends from England. Finally, I was able to see Orvieto and not just the inside of an Orvieto kitchen; it is a beautiful city with an absolutely astonishing cathedral perched on the peak of its hill. But, as lovely as it is, I wouldn’t want to have my base of operations in Orvieto. Too many people just like us!!
One of the best things about staying in Narni is that we haven’t heard very much English spoken and we haven’t seen a single tour group led by an umbrella waving guide. Having a steady diet of Italian seems to add a very special feeling to a place and it makes me feel, strangely enough, more a part of what’s going on even though I might not understand what that is.
We finally ate at one of the local restaurants, Il Pincio, and had a delicious meal. Anything that begins with a plate of broiled, smoked scamorza cheese, sprinkled with truffles and ends with a plate of delectable, crumbly, anise cookies has to be good. And when all of it is lubricated with some very nice local wines it is almost too good to be true. All of our other meals we have taken at our home away from home. It’s just so darned pleasant to sit on the terrace and eat that we haven’t been very motivated to eat out.
Heather and Judy headed off on their walking vacation this morning (in their Chevrolet, they have quite a way to go before they actually begin walking) and Michael and I have been pulling things together in anticipation of our departure tomorrow morning. This activity causes me to begin thinking about the trip. So, here are a few thoughts sparked by our last couple of weeks in Narni:
– They have a mosquito here that is very fierce. The owner of our apartment told us that they are called tiger mosquitos. I can’t figure out why because they don’t have stripes and, furthermore, have left me looking like a leopard; completely covered in spots.
– Sometimes it is best if some discoveries are made late in ones trip. For example, the brioche with cream and nutella at the pasticceria on the Piazza Garibaldi. Even elastic waistbands couldn’t have saved me if we had found those during our first week.
– A smile and an attempt at communication is almost always rewarded. I have been a very good patron of the fresh pasta emporium at the top of the street from our apartment. The same lady has waited on me every time I’ve been there. After three lasagnas, two batches of raviolis, and one pile of plain pasta, I am a temporary regular. Today, as I paid for my fourth lasagna (look out elastic waistband), I told her in my halting Italian that we were leaving tomorrow morning and that I wanted to thank her for all of the wonderful pasta. She told me to wait a moment and went in the back and came back with a paper cone filled with “confetti,” the lovely candy covered almonds, chocolate, etc., that they have on their counter for their customers. Hugs and smiles and hopes of returning.
– Slips of the tongue can be so very appropriate. Upon seeing the mummified nun in her glass case at the duomo here in Narni, Michael exclaimed, “oh, she hasn’t withered well!”
– Once you have sex on your mind, it’s difficult to shift it. One of the big supermarkets here is Conads but once someone referred to it as “Gonads,” we were off to the races with silliness. You can imagine what the village of Stifone (stee-foh-nay) was called. Or, how about the recommendation in the pamphlet for the Marmore waterfalls that tells one to “wear waterproof protection in the “tunnel of love”? We were giggling more than a busload of junior high boys.
I guess it’s time to strike the tents and head for home.