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Report 1008: 'I Vincitori' Learn to Get Lost in the Hills and Valleys of Italy

By Marian from New Jersey, Spring 2006

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Page 4 of 15: Paestum and Pasta (Tuesday, 9 May)

photo by MarcS

Paestum, Temple of Athena

This is to be our first "culture" day so we head out toward Paestum, in the town of Capaccio Scalo, north of Agropoli. Without too much trouble, we find the excavations (we are getting good at this now) and head first for the museum. I had read here on Slow Trav that the museum is open only in the morning, and I imagine us spending maybe half an hour there. But it is large and chock full of interesting exhibits, so we spend much longer.

The weather has turned warmer, the sun is out, and the excavations, while not crowded, have more people than we’ve seen anywhere so far. It’s May, so there are several school tour groups. These buildings are fantastic; even though I’ve seen more ancient reconstructions (as when I volunteered at Megiddo), these are in very good shape, and beautifully proportioned. Three structures are at the site, dedicated to Athena, Hera, and, probably, Apollo (although this last was first described as a related to Neptune). I am filled with awe to be in the presence of these ancient structures.

We are now becoming hot and tired, so we think about a place for lunch. An attractive restaurant adjoins the site, “Il Nettuno”, so we stop for lunch there as the easiest alternative. The food is quite good, the service rather unfriendly. It is, after all, a tourist place. As Cheryl points out, this is the only restaurant we've been in where the waiter simply puts our wine on the table, without bothering to pour it.

Now we are no longer hungry and thirsty, so we go back to looking for an internet caffè. Aha! We see a promising business on the main street, near the parking lot. Someone is just coming by to open it, after the riposo. It is some sort of computer business, but the man there does not seem to understand what we want. So he telephones someone else (his son?), I speak to that person, and it turns out that this business will have internet access dopo domani (“after tomorrow”). And so it goes.

We stop off in Agropoli, and do in fact find an internet caffè (Hi, Slow Trav friends!). Then we head back toward Perdifumo, searching fruitlessly for a supermarket that would carry filters for the American coffee pot. As we approach home, we pass the pasticceria across from the Pizzeria La Ruota, and find they have wonderful dolci. We plan to eat at La Ruota this evening, so ask the woman who runs the place (she is British, as it turns out), but she tells us that it is open only weekend evenings. Ah well. We will plan to dine there Friday evening.

So, should we head out for dinner tonight? The weather is turning horribly rainy so we decide to stay in and cook in the wonderful kitchen. We have fresh red peppers, green beans, onions, garlic, a jar of eggplant in some sort of sauce. We make our own sauce from these ingredients, stir in some local wine, and pour it over the giant penne we have bought. A salad, a grating of grana padana, ecco!

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