Lazy summer days, flip flops, reading a book until you fall asleep. Is this for real? Life in Italia hurtles by at breakneck speed during the summer. The Italians LIVE for summer, the socializing, the dinners, the festas, the concerts, the film festivals; they all tug at you and say, “Come on! It’s summertime!”
And we’ve been doing our best to live la dolce vita.
On Sunday, at dawn’s early light, we were out hunting for ‘ginestra’ or the yellow broom flowers that usually cover the hillsides this time of year. Sunday was Corpus Domini, the Catholic holiday that involves the ritual of decorating the streets with flowers.
So, you work all morning, decorate the streets, stand up, we all admire our creative genius, sigh, and then watch a procession, including a marching band walk over your carefully designed and executed floral murals.
I’ve made peace with this wacky, Tibetan sand painting exercise. It is beautiful to go out and cut flowers in the early morning; literally filling up the back of the pick up truck. This year was more of an adventure because most of the blossoms were finished, so we literally had to go from place to place, on dusty back roads chasing down fresh ginestra.
I climbed so high, up a very steep hill that I had to crab it back down, whilst making sure I didn’t lose a single branch or blossom. This is so par for my course. I’m famous for climbing up rock cliffs and then being too chicken too jump into the water. Or climbing too high up in a tree without being able to come down. You’d think I’d learn.
As soon as the priest and his procession had passed by, we jumped in the car to head to the Ligurian coast, to Porto Venere. It’s a tiny promontory on the Gulf of Poets, right around the bend from Cinque Terre.
Warm breezes, cold cocktails,
exceptionally good people watching,
delicious black pasta with sweet shrimp.
What more could you ask for?
Monday morning, we were back up at first sunlight and heading to the container port in La Spezia to pick up Jeff’s motorcycle. I have to say, it’s stressful; to be in a little convertible, next to HUGE shipping containers, and realizing we could be crushed like ants at any moment.
Fortunately, his bike was patiently waiting. A bit dusty; but ready for the road. There was a little drama when we realized there wasn’t a drop of gas in the tank...which meant more driving around huge containers, until we found the benzina station. And there was certainly more drama riding home on the Autostrada; me in my car, and Jeff getting reacquainted with his bike.
We stopped for lunch at a trattoria on the Tuscan/Umbrian border, and when Jeff parked the bike, she looked completely happy and at home.
After we arrived back in Montone, and showered off the road dirt, it was time for a simple dinner and bed. Is there anything more homey than good Umbrian sausage, roasted with potatoes, onions and a blistering hot chili pepper from our garden? Not to me.
We toasted our good fortune at discovering the gorgeous Porto Venere and skirting death on the A12...and drifted off to sleep before we could say Buona Notte.