Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Notes from Italia. For Andrew.

We arrived in Italy, in Milan, on Sunday morning at eight o'clock or so. Of course we were disoriented, having slept only fitfully on our eight-hour flight.

We rushed, as you do, through passport control and saluted to the well-uniformed and inattentive guards at customs and then hied to the rental car counter. There, we got a "free-upgrade" from a tiny Euro-car like a Fiat 500 to an Alfa Romeo Guilietta, a roaring sonofabitch of a coupe-like sedan with a six speed manual and a powerful diesel engine. Oh yeah, and an oil-warning light lit.

We roared down the Autostrada through the rain, down to Genoa, then through a series of small picturesque hill-towns because our GPS detoured us due to what it claimed was severe traffic. I have dreamed of driving an Alfa since I was a teenager and first saw Dustin Hoffman zoom with Katharine Ross in his red Spyder. My grey Guiletta did not disappoint. Though my wife of thirty years, lovely as she is, is no 1967 Katharine Ross. Who is?

And of course, I am no Dustin Hoffman. Though I steered our Alfa and we made it three hours later to a little town and a little hotel in Santa Margherita. We ate, as you do, and slept, and looked at the roaring sea which was still showing the effects of a storm.

Most Americans, with our scant knowledge of geography, have no idea of the various seas that subset the Mediterranean. Our town was on the Ligurian, a subset of the Tyrrhenian, of course which is an adjunct of the Mediterranean.

Yesterday, we travelled by small boat through Cinqueterre, stopping to swim in the bracing Ligurian off the coast of Monterossa.

We eat like kings, Ligurian kings, and sleep like Ligurian princes.

More as we head to Mantua.

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