Monday, August 1, 2011

Random Italy

One sees the posters on walls across Italy. They are death notices, a leftover from centuries past when news was routinely affixed to public walls.

Modern ones have taken to being illustrated with pictures of the dead, a practice I found quite startling at first, but we must move with the times. Change is the theme.Giovanni's wife Rossana, herself a doctor, puts up with me stealing away her husband every year for fun and motorcycle riding. She is more reluctant to let me play with Theo the wonder dog.

I was unfaithful to Cheyenne, I confess. Mea Culpa.It came as a horrible shock when we visited Bagnoregio and I saw a historic car show. That wasn't shocking, it was that an example of the second car that I ever owned, a Citroen Dyane, was among those on display. I sniffed and ignored the ageist mistake. This bubble car was identical to my sister's first set of wheels, in all respects except theirs was red. The twins are ten years older than I so the fact their first car was historic was entirely suitable, I thought.

Here it is, the irresistible Italian three wheeler of all time, the Ape.

On leaving our favorite pizza parlor in Terni, the weirdly named Ronnie Scott's, I spotted this do-it-yourself breath tester.

Take a fresh straw, stick it in the hole and blow after depositing your Euro. On the subject of food these potato chips were everywhere. I loved the slogan on the junk food...

"...they either go CRIK or they go CROK" when you crunch them. Advertising makes me crazy.Living in the Keys one tends to forget the perils of living in an economy based on agriculture.

In case you were wondering, combine harvesters go very, very slowly on public highways. Sunflowers, my wife's favorite plants, don't move at all but they do twist to follow the sun.

They were in full flower when we were in Italy.

Hunger comes and hunger goes. Appetizer dishes are a common item on the menu these days and this sort of modest plate is designed to kick off a meal for hungry people. Meat, cheese, onion ring (!) rice salad and a spelt salad, a new fad, and bruschetta with tomatoes and one with olives.

In the US, land of the obese they tell us, this would be a meal, but in Italy it's only a start. Then a plate of pasta, spinach Umbricelli in this case, with mushrooms and truffles:

Then a meat course and a pudding to end. It used to be one would get a bowl of fruit to end a meal but these days proper puddings are offered everywhere. This is panna cotta, a custard I never used to see on the table in mychildhood.

Life has changed in Italy over the years as it has everywhere, a fact I try to point out to people stuck in the Keys and who like to complain all the time about how their neighborhood has changed beyond recognition. Everywhere has changed and not always for the worse. And when inevitable change has worn you down it's time to remember that some things never change.
The sunset over Lake Bolsena for one. It's not Mallory Square but it will do.

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1 comment:

Chuck and the Pheebs said...

I think there's a DIY breath tester in the Whistle Bar. They become a challenge to see who can blow the highest # in Key West, not unlike your friends keeping track of the # of drinks one has on the back of your shirt via Sharpie.

As if alcohol poisoning were a badge of honour.