“Some Final Thoughts!” “Italian Post Scripts!!” My God!!! She’s just been in Italy, birthplace of Verdi, Puccini, Rossini, Chef Boyardee (okay, strike that last one); Italy, if not the home of opera at least its next door neighbor. Doesn’t she know that it isn’t over until the fat lady sings? And, in this case, the fat lady is me, Buster, a chubby, fuzzy teddy bear and now it’s my time to sing (the other voice you might hear is my buddy, Andre Segovia, chiming in with his two cents worth).
Well, she finally let us out of the bag after the big, artsy-fartsy watercolor class was over!! Guess she didn’t want her new friends to know she travels with a small menagerie. (VV responds: Not true, I just didn’t want to risk getting paint on your coat; it’s not as if I can just toss you in a washing machine to clean it up.) Although to judge from her bug bites, she might have done us a favor by keeping us in isolation. Actually, our week in the bottom of the bag wasn’t too onerous. First of all, her new bag’s bright red color cast a rosy glow on everything within; talk about viewing the world through rose colored glasses. Second, her mom’s genes really came into their own at the BA Business Class Lounge at Heathrow and she stashed so many packets of the “free” cookies and snacks that we could have lived quite comfortably in the bag for the entire month. But enough of this bag talk!! Who wants to talk about accessories when one can talk about the entire ensemble?
We knew that the Narni part of the trip was going to be a complete success from the moment we entered the apartment. Okay, I exaggerate, we knew it from the moment we entered the guest room and saw her, Paolina, the resident polar teddy bear, curled up on the radiator. Who knew there were polar bears in Italy?
Although she will never take the place in my heart occupied by my French princess of last year, Paolina was a great sport and a heck of a lot of fun. On those days when Andre and I were left at the apartment while the people were out and about, Paolina showed us all of her favorite places. She was particularly fond of hunting dust bunnies under the beds. It was good sport because those little suckers can really move but, ultimately, a trifle disappointing since a mouthful of fluff has nothing on a good digestive biscuit or slice of fruitcake studded with plump sultanas.
Our best adventure, however, was going down to the secret garden. It was dubbed the secret garden because it took Michael and Dave almost a week and one consultation with the owner to figure out how to get into it. Nothing could have been easier, really; just a long descent down a slightly dank, slightly dark, fairly narrow stairwell carved out of who knows how many archeological layers. It was a bears’ playground, filled with semi-obstructed caves and niches, boards to climb under, crumbling bricks to climb over, cobwebs to whack through. We had to keep our ears open and our eyes peeled, though, to have time to scramble back up into the apartment and onto our respective shelves before the people returned from their adventures. I don’t think Virginia even noticed the few filaments of web that clung to my fur after some of our expeditions.
But we weren’t relegated to the apartment for the entire two weeks we were in Narni. We got to go along to Carsulae to check out the Roman ruins and we were particularly impressed with the chariot ruts still visible in the Via Flaminia. Those Romans really knew how to build things. Of course, they also were big on bear baiting and other such horrors, so, I guess I can’t wax too enthusiastically about their practices.
In Orvieto, we were included in the post-cooking class feasting, which was wonderful, but also unfair as we then went shopping and, although there was a store devoted exclusively to bear attire, I had eaten so much that I was unwilling to try anything on. And one does get so VERY tired of the same old ribbon day after day after day. The good thing about our window shopping was that we all went away from it walking to the beat of the “YMCA” by the Village People. Must have been all those uniforms.
Our excursion to the Rocca di Narni was informative; we learned the distinction between a rocca (fortress) and a castle. Might turn out to be handy when watching “Jeopardy” some winter evening. And getting to perch on the business end of the super cross-bow certainly got the adrenaline pumping. I think we’ll stick to chasing dust bunnies.
My proudest moment of the trip came during the festivities celebrating San Michele in Narni itself. There was a table sponsored by the Narni sector of the animal protection society. I was happy to donate € 1 to their cause (it isn’t all cracker crumbs at the bottom of a purse, you know). This was the first charitable contribution I have ever made and, they’re right, it is better to give than to receive. (VV: All you have to do is ask.)
The only startling part of the entire trip occurred on the very last day when we were visiting the Part of Monsters . . . those things just about scared the stuffing out of both of us. We have never been happier to be tucked back up in the security of a Baggallini.