I didn’t post a lot during this trip because Ida was posting every day on Facebook. But I think I should add a few more comments, because I myself like to look back occasionally and relive the trip.
So we left Alfedena on Wednesday late morning after saying goodbye to my friend, Anna, who is the concierge at the Hotel Alisma. Being the off season, we were the only people in the place, but she treated us with homemade torta for breakfast and took good care of us.
The trip to Rome takes about 2.5 hours and is an easy drive (except driving in Rome, which should be a prohibited activity on the planet Earth). Nevertheless, we unloaded the car and took a cab to the hotel, a small, nondescript place centrally located with a friendly staff. First stop was Piazza Navona for some gelato and picture taking. Who can resist a great piazza with statues and fountains?
Thursday and Friday were filled with food, wine and shopping. Because this was Rachel’s first time in Rome, she and Lindsay took off to see the big sights. Ida and I headed for the Pantheon, which coincidentally is a favorite stop for both of us. For me, it has a powerful energy as soon as I walk in. Needless to say, after our visit, we ate food and drank wine and met this lovely couple from Canada who were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.
Thursday evening we had dinner with my friend, Cristina DiPalma. She is an absolute delight and always makes my trip to Rome so memorable. We ate at Trattoria der Pallaro, a no-menu eatery. Paola is the owner/chef, and you eat what she cooks. And you’d better like it or you may end up like J. Caesar. Great fun, great food, great time!
(I’ll be adding more to this commentary. Stop back.)
Today was filled with friends and fun. We walked through the town and stopped to say hello to some old friends and make some new ones. Zia Adele (not really my aunt, but we don’t tell anybody) was our first stop, and she invited us in for a fun beverage that put us all in a happy mood. She is so kind and gracious, it always makes for a highlight of my trip. Her daughter, Amelia, happened to stop by, so it was a great reunion.
Next stop was at the home of Lorenzo and Domenica DiValerio (no relation). Fortunately, their daughter, Pilar, was visiting from Milan. Pilar speaks English, so this was an easy visit.
And then there’s Beniamino, my huggable friend. He makes every day happy.
In the evening, we had last call with Giacomo Campana, who runs the local coffee shop/bar. We made a new friend there. A woman, Giulia, heard us speaking English, so we all started chatting. If we stayed here another week, we could probably run for office.
We arrived in Alfedena on Monday afternoon after a long drive from Bologna, during which we discussed whether or not aliens might have built some the of things we were looking at to whether or not we would have Abe Lincoln or Mette Midler over for dinner. The good news is… we all got here still liking each other.
Our first stop was at Bar Audifena, which is the local stop for everything social. Whether you want a coffee, a newspaper, a gelato, a bottle of water, a drink, a card game or a play at the slot machine, you’re covered. We took adavantage of many of the offerings. Also met a new friend, Felix, the bartender. We’re just starting.
Saturday morning started early (4:45 a.m.) because we had a 2 hour drive to Valtournenche and we had to get into town before they closed down the roads for the parade. Needless to say, the drive through the mountains was great. After checking into our hotels, we headed out to the local cafe to meet up with everybody and wait for the cows. There were 9 of us in our group and most likely the ONLY Americans in town. The atmosphere was joyous as everyone waited to hear the cow bells. The locals, dressed in traditional costumes, entertained us like it was Mardi Gras. And then we heard the bells coming. Those cow bells were like a symphony. We loved every second of it.
Ida and I landed in Milan on Friday afternoon. Ida is catching a ride with my cousins, Jeff and Sue, and heading directly to Valtournenche, which is a little village at the Swiss border near the Matterhorn. I took the train to Milan to meet up with Lindsay and Rachel and rent the car. We’ll be meeting everyone in Valtournenche on Saturday morning for the annual cow parade, when they bring the cows from the hillside through the town down to the lower pastures for the winter months. Looking forward to Saturday. More to come…
One more week and we’re off to Italy. Trying to get a few more words under my belt before it’s wheels up. I certainly know enough to get a room, get dinner, get directions and GET WINE. I think we’ll be OK.
Just booked my flight for September. Traveling this year with my co-shenanigator, Ida Zecco, and Lindsay and Rachel. Also on the hit list are Jeff and Sue Smith.
This one is going to be memorable!