Friday, April 22, 2011

Aprile 22 (notice I changed to Italian? I am so proud of myself)

OK. U.S. Airways lost our luggage. At the lost and found in Milano, they tracked it down and said “perhaps tomorrow. We believe your luggage is in Frankfurt.” We called our casa owner to tell him we would be late (like tomorrow) because we aren’t driving to Castiglione Fiorentino in the dark. We stayed at the Holiday Inn, Milano Litane for the night and finally got a much needed shower. Of course, we are still wearing the same clothes we started with some 30 hours ago. Yuck.

After a much needed rest, we had a wonderful Italian breakfast (ovita, sausage, cold cuts, fruit, and breads) and took our rental Fiat for the drive to Castiglione Fiorentino. (You realize that Fiat means fake? The car is btw probably Chrysler’s salvation).

We have decided that to drive in Italy you drive seriously offensively. Offensive driving here means a horn and judicious (make that a lot of) use of brakes. It also means ignoring lanes. Lane markers are simply aiming devices. You drive where you want pretty much and use of a blinker is also optional. Diana is getting very good at driving Italian style. You simply go. Passing is expected even in the narrowest of roads. For people who sit and lazily enjoy dinner and/or coffee, I am convinced that driving is their true emotional outlet.

My son, Lucas would find driving here absolutely normal. You tailgate, pass when you want and cut everyone off. A driver’s dream. I love you Lucas. But, driving is not your strongpoint.

Italians call accidents Incidenti. We were behind two incidenti that held us up a total of two hours, mostly in tunnels south of Bologna. (Judicious use of horns was apparent even when it was clear we weren’t moving…period. They used horns in the tunnels even when clear that nothing was moving. One man next to us napped in his truck).

So my question is “If a rollover accident (which we sadly witnessed) is an incidente” what do we have to see to get an accident? Is this anything similar to a pharmaceutical company having “adverse events?”

So for something to be an actual serious problem, like Vesuvius blowing up or World War II, there must be a series of incidenti that become serious accidents

We have been driving since 10:00 a.m. local time and it took us until 5:30 to get to Castiglione Fiorentino. But, the drive was definitely worth it. This is incredible scenery and architecture! The light has its own “flavor.” Even in the mist of morning it is magic.

After 10 hours of driving we arrived in Castiliogne and the area is stunning. We are absolutely blown away by the ancient architecture of this town. We met our host Rosanno Griolini and he showed us the casa we are staying in. Bella casa! We arranged to meet him for dinner and dined in a converted wine cellar from the 14th Century. We ate wild boar, insalata, salami, prosciutto, fromaggio and local wine. Dessert was a sweet biscotti dipped in cognac. Whew!

Our house is about 10km of narrow winding mountain roads from town to our casa in the “sticks.” It was built in the 1500’s and is a typical Tuscan farm home. According to Rosanno, four families lived in this one home in the past. It even has wild boar and deer that come every night and dig up the grass. We are absolutely enjoying the area and quiet atmosphere. All we can hear in the morning are roosters crowing in the distance, a few barking dogs, an occasional cuckoo bird and birds chirping. This is truly an experience I wish you could all enjoy.

The house is surrounded by olive trees and Tuscan cedars. In the distance is a beautiful view of the mountains of Castioglione. Diana has to get used to hanging clothes on a line. The Europeans are very energy conscious (make that $$$ conscious). Something we could learn from them.

For now, we rest…again.

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