Only three delights?
I had made a decision to record three delights a day while on this trip with the women to south of Italy country. Today I have to say that many many more come to mind. And so, here is the list …..
I was picked up from our hotel in Naples to go to Pompeii. Some of us had to go in a car. I decided that would work best for me. A beautiful air conditioned Mercedes arrives. I am seated in the front and enjoying some Italian accented words with the driver. Piacere.
Pompeii is more than I expected. Our tour guide Niño tells story after story and then pictures had meaning. Stories are a wonderful way to share this information. The day was hot and sunny, despite the weather forecast for rain. This has been an amazing three plus weeks of sun and heat. One story of a woman covering her head and she was pregnant, so trying to protect her unborn child from perhaps the heat or ash from the volcanic explosion. So powerful …. Takes my breath away. Niño explains how the casts of the people were made. We see the actual colourful,frescos on the the walls of once, this great ancient city. Niño had asked me to walk with him, he being of small stature, and I tall and with my large brimmed white and black hat which everyone could see and follow. I was a leader of our group.
We walk a distance through the new city of Pompeii to a restaurant that is enchanting. Under the trees shading us from the hot sun … At a table set for twelve … And all items on the menu are possible gluten free. Yes … Out came the most amazing large fluffy bread rolls … Huge! And dipped in local olive oil and balsamic mixture …. Followed by an extremely tasty pasta rolled around spinach and topped with tangy rich tomato sauce. Eyes rolling back in my head … Is this really happening? Five women say “I want what she is having”. Local sparkling white wine, local sparkling rose … Sitting once again beside Francesco as he explains about the wines of the region and the foods in the area. I ask for and receive large light green round tasty olives! I feel normal eating here, not like a high maintenance person requiring special care. I feel special also and as a leader in the group, I am feeling appreciated and included.
As we pull up to the agritourismo …. My breath catches in my throat. Trees heavy with lemons, some yellow and ripe … Some still green and smaller …. This place is a magical home. We get our luggage and walk through the grove of trees …. Not a short distance, and rough with large stones on the path, not unlike the ancient streets of Pompeii from this afternoon. Again as we approach the home building I am overcome with gratitude for the beauty of this place. We rest a moment and then the rooms are assigned …. Debbie and I – who I thought had to share, are given a room far more grand in space than imaginable with separate sleeping areas, shared bathroom and the most magnificent view of the ocean. This place is spectacular. I think if I did nothing but be in this room for the week it would be enough! I cry and weep openly for a few minutes … Sheer joy and gratitude. Can this be happening to me?
The view includes the lights of the city of Naples across the bay, Mount Vesuvius, a well placed and very old tree with a long trunk and branches with greenery only on top, grove of greenery on the farm as far as I can see to the water…. The sunset marks the slowing down of the day and I stop to take a long look.
Dinner at eight pm. Several courses … This was a feast even more spectacular than the last. It started with antipasto, grilled eggplant, tiny bright red juicy marinated tomatoes to place atop hot fresh baked gluten free rolls. The gluten free people sit together at the end of the table for ease of serving and to avoid contamination of other foods. Brilliant idea! Four of us …. Olive oil made here tasting subtly of lemon drizzled on the bread. Oh my. A large serving of risotto topped with lemon zest … The aroma of fresh lemons fills the large dining room and I put my nose down to inhale the delight. Oh my …..Then a local white fish prepared in some tasty way, never experienced before … Firm and unique, warm, and satisfying…. A small portion accompanied by potato, peppers, sun dried tomatoes (my favorite dish so far) and lettuce drenched in lemon juices and olive oil …. Heaven! I have been craving vegetables and greenery, tomato and flavours from this region. My cup runneth over … The local wines …. White, red …. More more. And mozzarella cheese made from the milk from their one cow … Is unlike anything I have ever tasted before. The texture is light, smooth and made with love. I can feel it. Our server is describing with pride each course, to Francesco who is then interpreting for all of us. The moment we have been waiting for … The limoncello in a small shot glass shared with a dozen guests. The room comes alive with laughter, cheers, well wishes and then appreciation for this very special day, these people have opened their homes and hearts to our North American group … We take it all in.
Each moment more breathtaking than the last. Today I will hang around the agritourismo while others are going to Walk of the Gods. And tomorrow the island of Capri ….. The next day we have a cooking lesson and make limoncello and home made pizza! Then drive the Amalfi coast on the Friday …. Unbelievable place. Magical …. This is a travel dream come true!