Behind the Shutters
My husband the architect is enjoying taking pictures of buildings and landscapes. I am enjoying watching and listening to the tone and pace and the body language. I study how people speak and listen to each other. I watch the Italian women watch us: the nonnas watching the tourists from their windows where they have just hung their laundry.
Yesterday was awesome. Two of the eight of us decided to walk the trail between village one and village two. The rest of us took the train. There was some talk of perhaps meeting up at the next town but no commitment except to meet back at the hotel before dinner. As it happened the train was delayed 20 minutes because of a sudden down pour. Our friends were already on the trail. We had heard that it was treacherous and slippery when it was wet and that and that another section of the trail had actually been closed due to the rain. We began to feel concern for their safety. We borded our train for the 9 minute ride. The trail was supposed to take one and a half hours. At the next town from the train you take a bus to the up and up the road town. We were still using umbrellas as we waited and took the second bus up to town and climbed the narrow streets peeking into the lives of the liviers (as my grandmother used to call people who lived in a place). It was getting close to lunch time so we took shelter in a beautiful little restaurant where Vivio, a middle age Italian livier, took care of us. We ordered pasta for six and Vivio insisted that the local white wine was the best pairing.
We had 1 dissenter who insisted on a half bottle of the local red. Vivio did not try to hide his disgust with such a choice. As we waited for the food and sampled the wine which was wonderful, we talked about what may have happened to the other two. Someone mentionned that we would have to change our plans if anything untoward had happened on the trail and we all laughed nervously reassuring each other that they would be fine and just then the door opened and in they walked, soaked to the bone but safe. The chances of them finding us there were about 100 to 1. We were expecting to have lunch in the next town. We celebrated loudly in the small restaurant and ordered pasta for two more. We crowded two more chairs to our table for six and one of the hikers asked Vivio for an espresso to warm his bones. Vivio said NOW? Like our friend was crazy, like no one drinks coffee before a meal. Again the look of disgust. Reluctantly he made the coffee and threw it at our friend along with a glass for wine. The eyebrows raised even further when this same friend reached for the half bottle of red. He threw up his hands and retreated to the kitchen to return with the most wonderful fresh pasta we had had since arriving in Italy. It was wonderful – food, friends and wine.
We all took the train to the next village were we found dry clothes and a nice place for coffee. The skys were clearing so we all decided to stroll the 1 kilometre to the next lovely town. It was Glorious. The Via Amore. Lovers leave locks on the railings. The sea and the mountains come together. We wondered down into the town while the nonnas watched us pass. We bought tickets for the boat ride back and sailed by the towns again from the sea. Glorious sun after the ran. The end of a perfect day. We met people from Iowa and Melbourne, and many other places in the world all brought together by the rumours of the beauty of this place. It was an honour to share it with them.
The social anthropologist in me was amazed by both the liviers and the visiters and the interaction between and among each group. I will write more about that when I get home.
Today we drive to Gaoli where we stay in a villa for a week. The place is very close to the site where “Under the Tuscan Sun” was set. Today it looks like we will be “Under the Tuscan Rain”