Well – I’ve been back in Orvieto for a week, and I have to say that I’m really enjoying it. I keep expecting that on one of these trips I’m going to wake up to find my infatuation gone and I’ll be left feeling that being here is “just OK” instead of FABULOUS. It’s always possible….but this particular visit seems to fall once again into the FABULOUS category.
I’ll start out, however, with a slight negative, and that is the usually incredible, drop-dead gorgeous countryside. As I was driving from the airport, it looked very, very tired….in fact, much more tired than I was…..and believe me – I was VERY tired after the normal USAir flight across the ocean in seats made for 5-year olds. The fields looked parched, the trees looked stressed, and about the only good looking growth was in the vineyards. I have always heard that wine is better if the vines struggle, and if that’s the case, this should be a bumper year for Italian wines. We’ve had one day of steady rain, so things have perked up a bit, but a little more water wouldn’t hurt the countryside. Still….potentially good wines means even this negative has a bright side…..
My piece of truly good news is that we weren’t robbed. Trips that start out with managing to keep all your possessions with you generally seem to have a better chance of being successful.
Next on the good news side was that my gas bill problem looks like it’s been solved before they got disgusted that I hadn’t paid my bill in a long time and turned off my service. On their own, they finally realized that all their inflated estimates were indeed inflated, and I probably won’t owe them anything for at least the rest of this year.
The weather’s been just fine, with very sleepable nights. Though I haven’t been able to get to all my favorite places or see all the people I want to catch up with, where and whom I’ve managed to fit in so far are great.
My friends Nancy and Kathy were with me for 4 days, and as usual, they managed to cram in what I would consider at least a week’s worth of activities. Jet lag seems to be totally unknown to them. I’m still trying to get over mine from a week ago, while they’re now off on a walking tour in Sicily.
The 3 of us didn’t have any terribly bizarre things happen I’m sad to say from a blog-worthy standpoint, but we did have what we agreed was a “mild adventure”. We were going to have lunch in a hilltop hamlet in Chianti and found they had closed off ½ of the parking area. In an effort to find a different parking spot, we managed to end up in the middle of the steep vineyards that surround the town, on a dirt road that had ruts so deep that I expected to see past victims trapped at the bottom, trying to claw their way out. We were ½ hour late for lunch, but fortunately, in Italy, that’s considered “on time”.
The final item for my first week is that I’ve signed up for SIX WEEKS of Italian classes. This is going to be a real test. Surely, in SIX WEEKS I can learn to get the correct “a” or “o” at the end of the word right at least 50% of the time. And it would be nice to be on a first-name basis with another verb tense, so my total would be more than 3. And let’s not forget prepositions ….. In past classes, they’ve always been the topic I would have learned if only I had stayed another week. Well this time it’s SIX WEEKS, so I’m going to beg Eva to make sure we address them by week 4. Whether all this will help me get out and try to engage people in meaningful conversations is another story. I’ll give you a report at the end of my SIX WEEKS…..in Italian.