passare

I know you are starting not to trust me when I say this, but this post is going to be a short one…AND I am going to put 2 days together.
But for this….I really need to think…
OK..let’s see, Thursday morning I woke up at the farm, wondering what to do with my day. I have asked for tours of the farm, I am told they will tell me when they give one. I asked about cooking classes in nearby towns, I am told classes are suspended due to the festivals.
Like Zsa Zsa…maybe farm living is not the life for me….
OK…that being said though….give a a scooter, and the lay of the land, a house with a kitchen, a small town 5 of km away….and I think I would love it.
But, as Blaine would say, “It is what it is” and I is off to lay at the pool.

As I walk down to the pool, I am asked if I will be joining the dinner tonight. I decide one again to use that 35 euro and perhaps go into San Gimignano….so , “No grazie.”
I try to strategically place my time for lunch….I decide 1:00ish is good.
I enjoy another fabulous, “light lunch” which I think just means no PAAsta. Instead I ask for caprese, bruschetta, salami and prosciutto e un bicchiere di vino bianco. It was ALL wonderful.

When I return to my chaise at the pool…I am relieved to see it is still “mine”.
At this point I roll around my options for the remainder of the day. Then the clouds start rolling in. This time a bit heavier than yesterday. I sit at the pool until the wind and rain drives me to cover.

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I feel my decision is made for me and I sit and enjoy the view and watch the rain (again, much like being at Meeker…and when I embrace this, I am good).

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**side note** I do not know if you can see it in these last images or not, but the spot on my camera lens seems to be getting worse. I am not sure how this happened since the lens only opens when you are taking a shot…but it is getting on my nerves….so I am packing up the canon and going from here on out with the iphone camera**

As evening comes, I begin to get a bit hungry….problem…I declined dinner and morning is when they take the headcount…Lucky for me, I wrapped up a small piece of pecorino and a slice of bread in a napkin….that will have to do.

Time to start planning tomorrow’s exit. Sonia is to pick me up at 9:15, but I think if I could get her to come earlier I might be able to catch an earlier train. I am a bit concerned about a 7 minute gap in one of my transfers tomorrow.

However, the next morning, Sonia is unable to come early. So I worry and continue on.

Friday-

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These poor traveling pants…I hope I have not worn a hole in the seat that I am unaware of. By the way, above is the validation machine….with my ticket punched I head to the listed platform.

Once here, I am reminded that you can do anything at a train station in Italy; change clothes, make out,

20130720-090947.jpg Workout. I will say, this guy did get a few stares….even here!

I board the crowded train to my first scheduled destination; Empoli. I decide to sit with the luggage to help me with my exit.

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The next connection is the tight one, but I am up for the practice.

As I am sitting on a jump seat amidst the luggage, the mint green one rolls from one door to the opposite on a turn. Now, I did not tell you this earlier, but in Cinque Terre I got yelled at for touching someone else’s luggage. It bothered me for a good part of that morning….and I worked hard to let it go, so trust me without any further explanation…
So, I am sitting there as we bump along, not sure what to do. Then we come to a stop….the doors open, out falls the mint bag, onto the platform….I still sit….I DO NOT want to get yelled at again, in any language. One guy that saw it happen, simply stepped over as he exited…still it sat. Finally, and this is all in 1 minute or so. A girl, looks at it….looks at me….asks something…..I shrug….she shrugs….looks around, then tosses it back on as the doors shut.
CAN YOU IMAGINE….your luggage just falling out a train door and you never realizing it!!?? I can now.
A couple of stops down, as things thinned a bit…for just a bit….the owner of the bag came to retrieve and store with her. I SO wanted to ask, “Do you speak english?” and tell her the story…but as has been one of my goals here….I just deal with me.

I make the next connection without issue. Then in La Spezia, I board with the rest of Italia.

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This is a 4 hour 2nd class journey to Albenga, so I do my best to jockey for a seat and eventually I get one….in an actual chair.

During the next 4 hours, I finish the book I have been reading, look through an instyle, get hungry, enjoy a few sips of water (impossible to go to the wc on a 2nd class train with all my stuff) and watch the countryside go by.
During a portion of this leg, some 19-20ish American students are seated within earshot….gee how I have enjoyed NOT understanding the language…..

After La Spezia, we travel through Cinque Terre. Oh how I would love to hop off the train and go grab a frittto misto cone in Riomaggiore!!

Also, by the way, Genova has molto, molto, molto stops. That is one of the reasons this 2nd class train takes 4 hours….it stops everywhere!!!

And I arrive Albenga.
A little background as to why I am stopping here…..basically all I have there is I thought I would break up this longer travel day, and we had heard it was pretty….research.

So I arrive Albenga again with no clue where to head. Last night I tried to contact the hotel but could not find an email for them. So at the station, I had to turn on the cellular data for my phone. I have only done this a couple of times….but no way around this one.

I find the hotel on maps, follow the blinking, blue dot and viola….

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Let me choose one word to describe my hotel…..how about “basic”.

20130720-093126.jpg Yes the lighting this THAT giallo.

20130720-093234.jpg “Air Conditioner”
The lady at the desk understood my english perfectly until I asked if there was air conditioning in the room. “I-a no understand-a english-a well-a. speak-a slowly-a.”

20130720-093407.jpg Won’t be needing extra blankets…that’s for sure.

20130720-093444.jpg The all in one Garden, Terrace, Laundry Room.

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20130720-093546.jpg And the bathroom….lest you think I am getting spoiled…

It is almost 7:00 pm by this time, so I decide to not unpack….anything….leave my bags in the room and go for a walk.
Albenga is right on the coast…much like Cinque Terra…only…not much like Cinque Terre. But all in all still very pretty.
It looks as if another FESTIVAL is starting tonight….the vendors are setting up along the beach walk…let’s see, there were vegetable peelers, and hair adornments and lamps made out of coconut shells, cell phone covers…this is not Certaldo either I guess.

My hotel is a block away from the beach in the New part of town, so before the sun goes down, I decide to head to the old part of town.

20130720-094103.jpg Really old….Yep…another festival.

Truly though…these are so well done. It seemed the entire town (Vecchio) was involved and in costume. I did enjoy walking through and watching the preparations. I just did not want to get stuck here after the crowds hit, plus my walk back to the hotel was through a not so scenic part of Albenga.
So I will share some quick highlights.

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20130720-094353.jpg Loved this Medieval stroller!

20130720-094429.jpg Not too sure about me.

20130720-094447.jpg Not a care at all.

20130720-094507.jpg Really admire the details in preparation.

20130720-094551.jpg The town Baptistry.

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20130720-094633.jpg Now this was really cool, to walk up on a piazza and see these beautiful, fierce looking birds on their perches. It was just so fitting. I am sure the exhibition later would be interesting.

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Not sure if this guy is in costume….I think not and I also think he will be the one telling the festival goers to repent shortly….

As the crowd begins to swell, I decide I better head back and find a spot for dinner.
I chose a little place that I am sure is a chain of sorts, La Dolce Vita….fitting no?

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Although the food was good, another face to face encounter was what made the evening.
My waitress, Grazia, first was very patient as I decided which side of the restaurant I wanted to eat in;the pizza side or the fancier side. She let me sit down and look at both menus, coming by every now and then to give me her 2cents.
I chose the pizza side. Each time she would come by, she would want to chat a bit, advising about things to do, told me about the festival, etc.
Finally she asked where I was from. When I responded Texas…you would have thought I said Hollywood or something. She leaned back with her hands together saying “Takkk-sas! TTakkk-sasss! Oh my gosh-a…theeese-a eeesss-a fantastic-a I thheeenk-a.”
I just kinda sat there laughing and said, “Really?” She said, “What-a are-a you-a doing-a a HERE!??” Like this was the backwoods of Italy.
Anyway, we talked a bit more and before I left, I told her about Austin. She could not understand me well, so I wrote it down and told her to check it out.
When I got up to leave, she gifted me with one of their wine glasses, and a bunch of paper placemats….she also asked me to “Pleeez-a send-a me-a just-a one-a post-a card-a from Takkk-sass!” And she gave me her address.
With her hands together in a praying position, she told me she will hope and wait for my card.
Of course, the kiss/kiss followed and laughing, I went on my way.

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One thought on “passare

  1. Just back from LA catching up on my favorite summer read–your blog of course!!! How nice that the waitress was so excited to hear that you were from Texas. In LA when people heard we were from Austin they didn’t react quite like your waitress. Maybe they were like the people you met the other night, you know the ones that thought “Californians were more sophisticated than Texans.” By the way, Alex said to tell you hello and that you are very brave. I agree.

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