This morning (Sunday) I left Ascoli saying arrivedeci to good friends Daniela and Diane (my house-mates) and Guiliano, the proprietor of my morning cafe. It was bitter sweet; these people became quick friends in such a short time. Yet, I was ready to move on.
Yesterday (Saturday), Diane, Daniela and I spent the whole day & night together. There were special events in town as it was "Family Week" and so we had a few activities on our agenda. First, of course, was to visit my local cafe and have coffee and a chocolate croissant. Once Diane and Daniela joined me we were off to the Saturday weekly Mercado where we could mosey among the booths of the farmers and then saunter onward to shoes, clothing, etc.
Diane bought zucchini blossoms to fry up for dinner and Daniela bought her ration of peas for the week (some fresh eggs as well). Diane also knew of a cart that sold really good roasted port and so we found it and purchased some for lunch with our blossoms....is your mouth watering yet?
Oh, yes, we were also on a mission to find me an inexpensive black strapless bra! Yes, this was my new need. Remember in my last post I mentioned I bought two tops made in India, well they are both off-the-shoulder. Quite flattering, I might add. I did not intend to purchase the strapless bra in Italy but, here we were at a retail market and why not.
This mission was a bit comical because the booths that wold the bras were manned by men. So, Daniela was going around the market asking these men if they had any strapless bra's for me! All said NO, until we finally found one who said yes. He never did ask me my size, he just looked at my boobs, proceeded to look at his stock of sizes, found the size that he believed to be mine and handed me a black strapless bra. Now the trick was, how to try it on (there are no dressing rooms in these markets), so I did what any American tourist woman would do, I tried it on "over" my shirt (which was fitted enough so I could really tell if it fit or not). Well this man had a well-trained eye and was spot on. Bravo! and it was only $9.00!
With more walking and browsing around, we all made out way back to the flat where we prepared our lunch. Sooooo, good. This pork was heavenly (sorry for those vegetarians reading this blog), and Diane whipped up a egg batter and deep fried the blossom, I made a mixed salad and one could not want for more. We had some red wine as well.
Before heading out again later, it was my big day to pack the gorilla. I was dreading it. I first started by laying everything on the bed. At one point Daniela came in thinking she was still back at the Mercato! Slowly and gently I placed all my belongings back in the suitcase so I was completely packed by the time we went back out again.
***Getting to the bus station to catch my bus to Rome was a preoccupation for a while until I worked out all the details. Diane was going on a hike at 8:45am, I had a taxi come at 9:00am and so Diane, Daniela and I carried all my belongs down 4 fights of stairs around 8:30am and then went to our cafe to wait for the taxi. Had I not had the gorilla, walking to the bus station would have been the option as it is literally 5 minutes away. But, I just couldn't do it so I contribute to the Ascoli economy by paying a taxi driver to drive me 5 minutes down the street.***
Around 5pm, we made our way to Piaza Popula as my language teacher, MariLena was partaking in a childrens play in the courtyard and I wanted to be there to support her. The weather began to get pretty dreary but we stood outside while MariLena and her troupe of actor friends put on an outdoor performance for the children in the community. She was so happy to see me there and I got to meet her fiance. We left after about 20 minutes as it started to rain (again) and headed for a cafe. We all wanted ice cream now.
So after walking around a bit and "bumping" into Georgio (Daniela's kinda boyfriend) and dodging the drops, we all went into a cafe and indulged in ice cream and pastries. Delicious. I had profiteroles.
Our next activity would not be until later so once the rain let up we strolled more and then made our way back to the flat but first had to purchase a bag of the meat-stuffed fried olives which is a trademark of Ascoli...mmmmmm. The plan was to bring them home for a snack later before heading back out at 9pm. My appetite was strange yesterday and so my olives could not wait as I ate them on our walk home..oh well.
Daniela went out with some friends while Diane and I hang out. At 9pm, we went back out to one of the beautiful churches where a German youth orchestra was performing. Great acoustics, smiling Germans and generally a lovely evening. Diane knew some people in the audience and it reminded me again how I wish our time had overlapped more. She is so in tuned with this community, I would have enjoyed my time more I think. Oh well, this is the way my experience was to be.
By the time we left the Church around 11:00pm, it was clear sky, warm and balmy and a beautiful evening in Ascoli.
So upon waking up this morning I was grateful to leave my friends on a sunny, warm day.
My bus arrived on time and made it's 3 hour drive through the hills and valleys between Ascoli and Rome. I had already booked my hotel which was only 2 blocks from the bus station and just few more from the train station. I'm using Rome as my headquarters for planning....
So, the Hotel Katty was easy to find and is clean and simple. Checked in and grabbed my map so I would get to know my bearings and began to walk. After some lunch of lasagna and veal parmesan, I decided a good destination would be the Spanish steps. And so I walked for about 4 hours while also searching for a street vendor where I might purchase an inexpensive smaller travel bag. My plan is to leave the gorilla stored at the hotel in Rome and use this smaller bag for Sicily and Bologna. Also, it will save me money when I return to the states as I won't get hit with that whopping $200.00 for an overweight bag....I'm still pissed off at that.
Sure enough, my walk brought me to where many street vendors were and I began to get a taste for what type of bags were available, size, cost, etc. The further I walked, the less expensive the same bag became. By the end of my 4 hour walk, I had decided on a style, size and cost and made my choice. Returned myself and my new small travel bag to Hotel Katty, picked up a few bottles of water and decided it was time to shower.
Plan to have a quiet night in Rome, will be easy as I blew a fuse with my American hair dryer and I'm presently in the dark....wonder if the entire hotel is?
Michael, didn't I do this last time we were in Rome????