Sunday, June 19, 2016

The trip over

On Friday, June 10, we dropped Bela off at the puppy motel (a really wonderful place called Holiday Pet Lodge in Wallingford--the only place that would put up with him!) and drove to Newark Airport.

As drives to Newark Airport go, it wasn't awful. We were there with four hours to spare but Dan and Josh and Cathy and the girls were already through security when we arrived! For reasons I don't understand, we got to go through 'fast security', which actually was. Sitting around an airport and then flying overnight was no fun--but we got through it.

Groggy and disoriented in the Italian sun (though it never was 'hot' while we were there) Enrico picked us up in a Mercedes 9 seat car to drive us to Siena. On the way through Tuscany we climbed an endless hill up to a remarkable little village called Pienza where we bought some wine and sausage and enough cheese for the whole trip before winding our way to the 'villa'.

Dan made all the arrangements for the trip, including Enrico, and I had no idea what a 'villa' might look like. Turns out it was a modern, 5 bedroom unit next to the unit where the owners lived. Spacious and air-conditioned, with a pool for us and us alone and a 15' by 10' room with no roof, so you could be 'outside'/inside. Remarkably comfortable and well appointed. A great place to live for 6 days.

Siena is the most beautiful place I've ever been. Built on hills, as most cities in that part of Italy are (probably for defensive purposes back in the 11th and 12th centuries) it is almost totally the color of sand with red roofs. (Here we tend to build in valleys beside rivers--but not in Tuscany! Getting all that stone up on top of hills to build villages boggles the mind.)

We found a grocery store in walking distance--not a Stop and Shop or Kroger's for sure--but really well provided with cheese and meat and fish and pasta and wonderful vegetables and fruit and, to my astonishment, when I converted the Euros into dollars in my head, considerably cheaper than US stores.

Bern and I went to the store and we had an extended anti-pasta with salad and good, good bread (I don't think the concept of  'ok bread' or 'ordinary bread' exists in Italy) and butter so creamy I was tempted to eat it with a spoon. Morgan, Emma and Tegan went to the pool while we assembled dinner--they are all water sprites.

Then blessed sleep.

More later about the adventure in Italy.

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.