24 May 2008

Italy part 1 - Sorrento e Pompei

Day 1 - 4:30 am our ride has not arrived. 20 minutes later our collegue drives like a banshee to the airport. We make the flight and sleep through it. The bus drives through Naples garbage piles and gardens. The garbage strike is a year old and the rich lava soil is good for gardens. We leave the city for the tiny continuous villages clinging to cliffs along the coast. The bus feels like it hangs out over the cliff on the turns. The driver sounds his horn on the sharp curves to warn on coming drivers. Scooters squeeze into a microscopic slice of asphalt between the bus and the sidewalks in towns. Breath taking views of the mediterranean coast fill up that vacation spot inside our heads.

We arrive in Sorrento and drag our luggage through hords of British tourists, a few American students, and lots of shops. Our hotel, Hotel Mignon, is quaint and just off the main drag of Corso Italia. Sorrento is a tourist town with shops selling the special lemon liquor and lemon table cloths and all things kitsch. I love it. The old city with the shops is charming. Tiny alleys with cheery balconies and curvacous street lights.

We see a lemon grove and go to an incredible pizzeria with a wood oven. They serve on the cooking sheet. We eat too much happily after only granola bars on the airplane. After a self guided walking tour of town and views of the sea from the high cliffs we have a nap. Oh yeah!

We weren't real hungery and Dar got spagetti in a snack bar that was good and I had an incredible salad with fresh spring greens, fresh mozzarella and prosciutto. Yummy!

We joined the Italians and tourists on their evening passagiata - a stroll around main street. They roll out pots of flowers to close the main intersection in Piazzo Tasso and make it a pedestrian boulevard each evening. We had gelato that was incredible- chocolate and lemon. I love lemon drinks and the lemon I got was like a sorbet but the chocolate was exquisite (Davide Gelateria)I could taste the darkness of the cocoa.

Day two was Pompei. A train ride and lots of jockeying with tourist groups. I slurped a lemon granita - a frozen ice thing on our way in. Tangy and a little sour, loved it. Pompei is huge. 20,000 people lived there at one time and it's just frozen in time. I was surprised at the paintings that had survived on the walls °frescoes.°

We just snacked on nuts and fruit and went for the expected two course meal for dinner. Pasta first course, I got veggies and fusilli, Dar got gnocchi and tomatoes. Second course, squid fixed in local style with tomatoes and swordfish with organo, tomatoes and garlic. Both good but we may have got ripped off a bit on tourist prices. We were too full for gelato which was disappointing and decided we will go places where we don't feel we have to eat two courses; it's just too much.

We joined the passagata before going to bed. This morning we are lounging on the roof of the hotel reading our books and indulging in relaxation. Dar decided he doesnàt want to do the archelogical museum in Naples after all so we will stroll, shop, and eat this afternoon. Gelato, pasta, pizza, seafood...oh yeah!

15 May 2008

20 years

Yesterday we celebrated 20 years of marriage - zoink! How is that possible? Now I have been married half my life! We have a big trip planned that we leave for next week. We tried to go this week but the office didn't want us to be gone before the dedication of the new building which is next Tuesday.

So on our anniversary - we went to work where they prayed over us since it was our anniversary. We came home and took our traditional photos on our day - we do that every year and have 20 now - except for the 13th year when the lab lost our film. It was quite chilly here yesterday. In fact this may be the first anniversary that I wore slacks for our photos usually I dress up more.

We went to a restaurant with a wood oven and a charcoal type grill. We arrived at the very Spanish time of 8:30pm. It was VERY Spanish but good quality of what we are used to here. We ordered artichokes with ham (more like prosciutto) roasted together, a salad, and cod stuffed red peppers to share. This was the appetizer and veggie courses and then Dar got lamb chops and I got a steak both grilled. We shared a sort of cheese cake with carmel sauce. We were stuffed.

Here's what we look like after 20 years. I'm too lazy to go upstairs and scan our one year anniversary picture for you to compare. So next week we are going to indulge ourselves in Italy. Spaghetti anyone?