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Report 1043: Luggage, Lattes and Lunacy

By Palma from California, Spring 2006

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Page 8 of 17: May 26: Barga, Escalators and Lobster

photo by Palma

Lobster Feast

I tried a new approach to morning. I got up at 7, but instead of being first to shower, I caffeinated (three lattes) until my turn in the bathroom at 9:30. We picked up Zia Agnese for a ride up to Barga, a charming medieval town in the mountains of the Garfagnana. Barga has steep, narrow curving streets and gothic archways. I came around a corner and saw a sight that filled me with joy… ”Internet Point”. I could check in with my friends on ST! I told the others I would either be there or in the café next door. They headed on to the duomo and I logged on. After posting a greeting, I read the boards for half an hour. I deleted 107 emails from AOL, and sent my sleeping husband an email in Italian. All this for 50 cents!

I wandered to the caffé, filled with little old Italian men. They jumped up to give me a seat and my huge latte cost 1 Euro. They were quite surprised that I could understand them, and carry on a simple conversation in Italian. I had a delightful time chatting about Italy, where I have been and what life is like in California.

Ida, Gail and Zia Agnese returned and chose a trattoria for lunch with a beautiful view. We had pizza and sodas at Café Capitaz. Agnese had Margharita, Ida had tonno, Gail had “roughage” and I had prosciutto crudo and mozzarella. We wandered on to a gelato caffé where Agnese treated us to gelato or cappuccino.

On our way home, we drove to a Le Clerc (like an Italian Costco). The only way in was two huge escalator ramps without stairs, so the carts could go up. I bit the bullet and went up, and bought some risotto mixes. I was shaky about going down, so I told the group I would meet them outside, and rode down, to get it over with. I bought a coke and was sitting on a bench smoking a cigarette when they came out 15 minutes later. At the top of the escalator, I could see Ida laughing and whispering something to the others. When they were half way down, she gave the signal, and they all raised their arms and yelled “Wheeeee”, like you do on a roller coaster. I returned the signal with additional gesture by my middle fingers. I am usually a good sport about teasing. I can take it, dish it out, and often laugh at myself. Today I felt attacked. IMHO, paranoid, compulsive people with many phobias of their own should not ridicule others. Earlier in the week, when Gail teased Ida about one of her irrational fears, I said something about all of us having different comfort levels with different things, so let’s not judge each other.

When we got back to Vico and dropped off Agnese, Gail and Ida decided they needed more exercise, so they went for a hike. I had some down time to relax, de-stress, and rest my weary, sore feet. I was very proud of all the walking, climbing and stairs I have done each day, without Brad by my side for an occasional arm to grab. I am really missing him today: his smile, support and positive outlook. Thank goodness Agnese was with us today. She is a sweet woman with a wonderful warm laugh.

I changed into warmer clothes and we went up to Circolo for the best dinner of the trip. We had requested fresh seafood and Enrico did not disappoint us. We started with huge fried prawns in a fabulous sauce. Then out came platters of tagliatelle in an olive oil, garlic and lobster sauce, with two lobster tails each. We thought the platter was for the whole table, which would have been plenty, but two identical platters followed… one for each of us. Then came the platter of fried, tender calamari in a light breading with vegetables, and my own half-liter of vino bianco. What a great meal (31 Euro)!

During the last course, Ida received a cell phone call from her husband, Bill, with some very sad news. He and their son, Chris were on their way to take their Dachshund to be put to sleep. Skittles had been ill for several months; so this wasn't a complete shock, but how sad to have it happen while she was in Italy. Ida was very concerned about how Bill and Chris were dealing with it, as they were closest to the dog. She asked them to call back when it "was over". We lingered over coffee, waiting for the news, talking about happy memories of Skittles and comforting Ida. Bill called back, and we returned to the house with some time for journaling before bed.

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