Monday, October 13, 2008

Italian Adventures in Overindulgence

I seem to have officially gotten over my jetlag this weekend, just in time to leave for a book fair in Germany today and start all over again.

As my brain is finally beginning to resemble that of a normal human being, I have been able to pull myself together to post some Italy stories. But because a brain resembling a brain doesn't work the same way as an actual brain, they will not be in chronological order.

4 of our nights in Italy were spent in Positano. It was completely different from any of the rest of the trip, much less walking and sightseeing, much more drinking by the pool (where 2 glasses of wine conveniently allow room for the contents of an entire bottle) and staring at the water from our balcony.

We took a ferry to Capri one afternoon and when we arrived at the marina, realized that Capri was actually way up a hill and that you needed a second form of transportation to get up there. We cabbed up and wandered among the crowds down streets with boutiques and other expensive shops. It was much like walking down 5th Avenue in New York City, and it was all very lovely, but we weren't completely enamored with it until we wandered off the main road and found the quieter backside of the town. Here we made it our business to get to know the beverages of Capri.

When we finally had to leave to catch the ferry back to Positano, we decided to take one of the shuttles down the hill. It seemed easy enough and one was leaving right then. The bright orange bus was pretty full, so Rob and I stood at the back. The engine started, and the driver, who didn't look like a sociopath, began careening down the hill at breakneck speed. He was clearly on a mission and the mission was this: maim at least one American retiree who is innocently meandering up the hill or the whole afternoon can be considered a failure. He did his best, and Rob and I held on tight as we negotiated the hairpin turns. I banged my head on the glass back door at one point, and I think I heard the driver cackling. The theme to The Godfather was playing in the background.

It really was.

We made it safely back down the hill (I'm sure the driver was cursing the lack of casualties) and took the ferry back, where we immediately started drinking again, I think. I don't really remember, but it's a safe bet.

Positano is also the place where any portion control we had been exercising in Venice, Florence, Siena, and Tuscany flew right out the window. We stuffed ourselves everywhere we went, but for at least a week, we did try to share entrees and generally not make pigs of ourselves. Not the case on the Amalfi Coast.

One particular day, I had a huge plate of gnocchi for lunch (with wine), waited maybe a few hours before we went up the hill to another hotel and had champagne, oysters, tuna tartare, and breadsticks, and then waited the length of time it took to walk further down the hill to a restaurant where we had another bottle of wine, pasta with lobster, grilled seafood, a wild strawberry tart, and glasses of the ever-present limoncello. As we left the restaurant, I looked around to see if anyone had left a spare wheelbarrow leaning against the side of the road. I didn't see one, so we just rolled ourselves all the way down the hill and back to our hotel.

1 comment:

Joe said...

A friend once asked if I knew why most young women in Italy are thin and attractive and most old women are round and hairy. I think you have part of it worked out. Though, of course, we saw many attractive women of all ages there. Italian women are beautiful. We saw a bit of Chicago's Columbus Day Parade today and many beauties...and a few round, hairy ones.
Are you having your party dress taken out or dieting in Germany?
P.S. Beautiful pictures!