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Report 1043: Luggage, Lattes and Lunacy

By Palma from California, Spring 2006

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Page 3 of 17: May 21: Limoncello, Cobblestones and Relatives

photo by Palma

Morning latte

At 5 a.m. the next morning I was wide awake. I stayed in bed until 6, then heard Ida downstairs. The first time Brad and I visited Ida in Florida, we woke up and Brad went into the bathroom. I grabbed my robe and started a pot of coffee. When I returned to our room two minutes later, the bed was made. Brad came out of the bathroom and I asked how he had managed to make the bed so fast? He said, “I didn’t make the bed.” Ida breezed down the hallway with her Swiffer and said, “I made the bed!” So I learned that day, not to pee until the bed was made. I quickly made the bed, threw on sweats and went to the bathroom.

When I returned to my room, though I had made the bed and neatly folded the extra blanket at the foot of it, the blanket was now stored in the armoire. I chuckled and went downstairs in search of the tiny espresso pot. I figured out how to make espresso in it, then boiled some milk in a pot to go in it. Not exactly a latte, but it would have to do. Ida pulled out all her decorative things from storage, I strung a couple crystal bracelets, and we were all ready to go by 10. The routine was as follows: Palma gets showered, dressed and out of the bathroom in 15 minutes, Gail was a close second with short hair, Ida an hour and a half with electric rollers, products and BIG HAIR. Ida has more electric roller sets than ANYONE. She has two sets at home, one in Italy, one set at my condo in Maui, one at her friend’s house in NY and one set in my guest bathroom in the desert… that I know of. When we met in Las Vegas for my 50th birthday celebration, she mailed me some to bring her there.

By 10, everyone was ready and we drove up to see Vico’s lovely church and just beyond to the circle in the center of town called simply, “Circolo”. This consists of one restaurant/bar/café called Buca di Baldabo. There is no other “business” in Vico. No stores, groceries, tabacchi... niente! We walked to Ida’s aunt’s house and met Lucianna and Celestino and their dog, Red. We spoke in Italian (though she knows some English) and she served us limoncello for breakfast. Celestino showed us his recent cinghiale hunt results hanging in the cellar, while Lucianna was proud of her beautiful garden with giant lettuce and beautiful tomatoes. She loaded us down with her jars of olives and pickled onions.

We walked up the very steep cobblestone streets that were difficult for me to navigate. I have one bad foot with a bunion that was screaming in half a mile. The reward was Sunday lunch at the restaurant. Since the owner/chef, Enrico, his wife, Giovana, and their beautiful waitress, Louisa, were aware of our arrival, they had a special table ready for us. Enrico is a third cousin of Ida’s, so we had special treatment. First came a platter of antipasti: prosciutto, pecorino, and bruchetta. Next we had two pastas: ravioli in tomato sauce and pappardelle in sugo di coniglio. Our secondi included cinghiale with olives, coniglio with capers, and porchetta with vegetables. I had my first half liter of wine and coffee: 20 Euro for the whole feast.

After dinner we drove to the “upper town” (more houses higher up the hill) to visit Ida’s Aunt Agnese. Her home is one of the highest in Vico and has a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and villages. She was delightful and charming with a constant grin and positive attitude about everything. She fed us chocolates and after dinner drinks. We returned home and I took a nap, sleeping like the dead in my happy food coma until 8 p.m. Ida and Gail had a salad for dinner, but I was still full from lunch and joined them only in a half-scoop of gelato. Ida’s kilo was almost empty. At 9, we drove back to Circolo and had coffee with Lucianna and Celestino. This was Vico's version of la passeggiata. I went to bed at 12, and read until 1.

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