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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Airport arrival plus our next day

We had a little trouble finding the rental office as we schlepped our bags around the building at the airport, but finally got the car, which turned out to be a little box with barely a trunk—not what Matthew ordered. But we said the hell with it since we were tired and had to get on the road for the 3 hour drive to San Vincenzo. It was already 4:00 and we'd arrived around 7.

We had no trouble with the driving or getting to our destination—used the map book Larry and Judith loaned us, but it was easy....and we're old hands at toll roads. We had no money since our ATM cards wouldn't work in the machine at the airport, so we used the credit card for the eu1.90 tolls.

Got in at 7 pm and into our apartment. It's fine—nothing fancy to be sure, but good enough. The kitchen is lacking, though it has a sink, good sized refrigerator, and 4 burner electric stove, microwave, but only a small espresso maker and no toaster or other appliance. We do have all the plates and silverware, etc, of course.

We ventured into town last night to find an ATM that would take our cards, which we finally found. It would only give us Eu250 and nothing more, which is fine for now. The town looks awesome with lots of great restaurants and shops. It's larger than I expected and definitely a resort town.

We tried for dinner in one place, but they were full till 9:30 and we didn't want to wait an hour, so we drove down the street and found a pizzeria called Charlie Brown (complete with pictures of the Schultz family characters on the logo). We shared grilled vegetables and a small salad, then each had a pizza. It's expected here that each person gets her own, so I had a margherita and Matthew had fruitti di mare (seafood). They were good, but not quite as good as his. But then again, we were here in Italy, so how bad could it be?  They're served whole, so you cut your own slices.

We slept like logs after an exhausting two days of travel—I kept falling asleep everywhere we went, including after dinner at the table, so we made it an early night.

Day 2: San Vincenzo

I already love it here! This resort has a bar right down from our room with a barristo who speaks a little English and makes awesome cappuccino. We stood at the bar, remembering from our first trip that it costs more to sit than stand, plus we had a delightful conversation with him as he worked. He had cornettos—Italian croissants—in the oven, so we shared one and had our coffees while listening to people come and go and chatter with him. We met some people from Canada who speak as little Italian as we do who arrived late last night after coming off a cruise. The barristo helped us with our Italian and we helped him with English. I suggested we skip buying coffee for the apartment and going downstairs every morning since it was so much fun and a better cultural experience.,

We drove into town to walk around, eat lunch, find another ATM, and go to the local grocery COOP, which is always an event. I left my hand lotion at home, so was trying to figure out what to buy when a nice woman walked over and read the Italian on the jar, then handed me what I wanted. Barely a word was spoken since she didn't speak English, but she pantomimed that I could use it everywhere but my face. We bought a few staples for the apartment, then headed for lunch since I was feeling woozy. I forget how much energy traveling takes and my head reminded me it was time to eat and drink more water. We each had salads—Matthew ordered pomodori, which was just what it said—tomatoes. No lettuce at all. I ordered the spinachi which was cooked spinach salad and very good. Then we shared a cutting board of cured meats and cheeses (think salami, prosciutto, and other delicious meats that I'd never touch at home--or just check out the picture that I so cleverly added..,,,meats, some cheese, that's honey in the spoon and maybe chicken liver on that piece of bread). After lunch, we headed for our first gelato of the trip, which we ate while walking around the town. We were searching out the restaurant Matthew had read about and made a reservation for 8 tonight. It's right on the beach with its own private beach and reminds me a little of Barbara's in ambiance. We'll be sitting outside tonight—something rarely done at Barbara's, especially in the evening!

This afternoon we were going to drive around to nearby towns, some of which have great archaeological sites, but we knew we'd be pushing the envelope if we did, so opted to get into swim suits and go to the pool for a couple of hours. I'm reading a great book for our book club, Pat Conroy's South of Broad, so was happy to relax with it in the sun.

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