When we landed back in Montone, the party was already in full swing. It was a kick to catch up with our Italian friends: the winter was long and wet, the spring has been cold and wet. A few of our transient comrades were already here, a few more arrived as we touched down. Of cocktails and comrades we have plenty!
Our very first evening in Montone, we were introduced to Catherine Faris and her husband Bryan, by our friend Tom. They husband produce excellent quality olive oil in Puglia and within 5 minutes we realized we knew and loved many of the same people. Montone is like a wide mouthed funnel: collecting, drawing and mingling all sorts of people. Forget playing the Kevin Bacon game, we never get past two degrees of separation.
Go visit Catherine’s blog, NuovaStoria...you might already know her, if not, introduce yourself!
In Montone, many evenings begin with an aperitivo in the piazza at The bar. We really only have one bar and that’s the Aries, although now we also have an enoteca. So complicated...do we meet at the bar or the enoteca? We love the Antica Osteria people who have the restaurant in the piazza, and want to support them, but their enoteca is outside the walls of town, and sometimes its more fun to sit in the piazza. Its not an easy decision, I tell you!
Then there is the uncertain pause while we decide whether we should go our separate ways for dinner, or end up with an impromptu gathering in our kitchen. It's civilized and communal. We’re never quite sure how many will be at the dinner table until we all sit down. The same thing happens with our family in Snowbird. I suppose, if you cook it, they will come. It's not about fancy, it's about communal.
Within a day or two of our arrival, John and Libby showed up from Portland. They are our orto mates, and they started planting the vegetable garden probably before they unpacked their suitcases.
Sadly, our weather gods are in a foul mood. They give us a moment of sun and a day of rain, followed by a cold wind. My sandals are dusty and neglected; my rain jacket, scarves and wool sweaters are on the top of the pile. But, looking on the bright side, I don’t have to worry at all about getting a pedicure ‘cuz my toes are buried inside warm wooly socks.
The good news is that Umbria is uber green. The flowers seem to be unmindful of the rain and are just going ahead and blooming. They appear to have more confidence in summer arriving than we do.
The tomato plants, on the other hand, are stunned by this chilly weather. It seems unlikely they will ever reach to the top of the stake poles, but we’re betting they will have a massive growth spurt as soon as we have some heat and sun. Fingers crossed...trying to be optimistic!
----end of Part 1....coming next...”Of Bells & Balls and All Things Missing”----