Blackbird posted on remembered vacations in her blog but before I get to that, riffing offa this notion I am posting on a vacation I am going to--knock wood--remember after Summer 2006. If the good Lord's willin' and the crick don't rise.
As you guys know, I am a rabid (for everything except menswear) Italophile. I also have eleventy gazillion FF miles on a certain airline which is stuck in Ch. 11 and, therefore, I'd like to use up those FF miles on the possibility that airline isn't around much longer. The best way to use up those miles in one fell swoop is to take a Big Deal Vacation. And what better vacation to take than Italy?Great cars, great roads, history, art, architecture and distant relatives who are dying to see my ragazzi*? Sure, I have way mo' relatives in Spain and Spain's history/art/architecture is almost as good as Italy's (and far less crowded) and tapas and pasta (ooh...see that? a palindrome...no wait, it's not a palindrome, it's the other one) are equally yummy...but, the thing of it is the roads are better and the cars are WAY better:
Granted, this one may not even be rentable and, if it was it'd only fit TFBIM and self and a coupla squashy duffel-ish bags. Still, a boy can dream, can't he? However, Italy (being that kind of place) is stuffed to the rafters with companies that rent classic (duh!) Italian sports cars including some that have four seats and an actual trunk where real humans may place real luggage.
Of course, such things may not be rentable with one's surfeit of FF miles, so we may have to--Maestro, violins, please--rent something ::cough, cough:: regular:
Yes, dear Internet, we may have to see the Italian landscape blurring past us, through the windows of a crummy ol' Alfa Romeo GT.
When it comes to Italy travel, there are two distinct sorts of people and they are not--some exceptions notwithstanding--incompatible. You have your Venice people and your Florence people. I'm a Florence person. You do whatever you want.
This is where we start.
Dig that dusk...magic hour indeed. The only way we'd get all four of us around Italy if we managed to rent an Alfa Romeo Nuvola. Which I doubt we would since, even in Italy, the people who run Hertz, Avis, etc. aren't completely mental. But, still, this is my dream so we'll go with that. After convincing Hertz/Avis/etc. to make a gigabuck car available for rental--and to take FF miles in lieu of actual money--we will be ready for a snack. Vin santo and amaretti. Espresso to keep us awake, after that.
And then we leave. ...and the other like minded tourists follow.
We hit the road. Even in Italy, you come across people who get the gas and brake pedals confused, or are Americans who have no idea what that third pedal WA-A-A-Y over on the left is for. So we pass them.
We see some cool architecture, well, we see as much as can be seen at 200kph with a wife and children screaming in terror. OK, maybe just the wife screaming in terror...the boys squealing with glee. Still it gets pretty loud.
All that screaming about the speed (pro and con) changes when we spot a sign in some small town's main drag.This place looks promising, no?We take one of each. All that driving makes us hungry. Something to do with adrenaline, I think. Apologizing to Willie Nelson, we're on the road again.
Passing the laggards at every opportunity.And we find ourselves here.Where we have rented a little farmhouse type thing (which you CAN do with FF miles, but you have to plan ahead and do a lot of that touch-tone two-step)People, naturally, are always drawn to this sort of scenery, including some of those people who didn't bother reading the car rental options clearly.But at least we let them stop across the road from us, and look at "out" topography before they limp off dejectedly.At some point we'll take the Italo-equivalent to the auto train and head to Milan, the St. Peter's of Alfa Romeo. An automotive pilgrimage, if you please. Obviously, I'm still in glassy-eyed-dreamer mode. Indulge me.
Hey! Wasn't that a "ristorante" back there?So we turn around.And we zoom back there.Obviously, this place is good, since everyone is heading there as well.And this is just the antipasti.Naturally, another day trip is warranted.The countryside is nice and verdant. Maybe we oughta picnic around here. Even in Italy, teenagers drive these crazy cars! (Imagine I am talking like Grandpa Simpson)
But this guy seems like a local, let's follow him....and then we hit rush hour, Italian-style.Let's see...we need some bread......some cheese......and some deli-type cold cuts......and, finally, a nice spot to chill and munch.Today, maybe we'll run into the village for some groceries. Let's go before the roads get crowded. Oops. Too late. Might as well fantasize the classic car rental place takes FF miles.We'll need to visit the greengrocer...What? We forgot the olive oil??Once more, into the breach.We get the greenest EVOO we can get.I can't believe I forgot to go to the butcher shop, also.Sorry, dear. I thought it was the other way.Yum. Totally worth making another trip.Let's get a few more things, just in case. The view from our kitchen. It makes me think that cooking under these conditions is the closest I'll ever get to unadulterated bliss while I'm on earth.
I can't wait to go, er, back!
* Oh, shut UP, you know who you are.
Posted by Joke at 12:59 PM
Badger posted at 1:59 PM, February 06, 2006
DH goes to Rome and Milan on business occasionally, but they always seem to send him in winter. Next time I'm going anyway.
Joke posted at 2:12 PM, February 06, 2006
Rome's not terrible in winter, Milan is, um, less "not terrible." Dude, go!
blackbird posted at 2:19 PM, February 06, 2006
You forgot the wine, get back in the car.
julia posted at 3:13 PM, February 06, 2006
My mother is going to Italy in April, for a month. I'm going to turn into Kermit soon....
BabelBabe posted at 6:33 PM, February 06, 2006
Badge - go anyway! We honeymooned in Italy in February and it was still wonderful!
Joke - There's a little restaurant in Florence called Ce Che Ci, or something like that (I'll look it up for you): GO THERE.
And please, will you eat some gelato for me?
When the boys are a little bigger, I am lobbying to return to Italy. I spent not nearly enough time in Florence. We wound up spending the bulk of the week in Venice because it was our honeymoon and it was also Carnivale. Which was nice and romantic and beautfiul, but Venice is kind of...creepy...but Florence - Florence expands the heart.
Poppy Buxom posted at 8:47 PM, February 06, 2006
Joe: Holy shit, you weren't kidding when you said this was your slow season. Got free time much?
BabelB: I heard about "Una Trattoria Tipica ... i Che' Ce' Ce'" in Thomas, Anna, The Vegetarian Epicure, Part II, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1978) p. 236.
Not that I'm an obsessive geek or anything.
And everyone: What have you got against Rome, which, as far as I'm concerned, leaves Florence sitting in the road.
Joke posted at 11:29 PM, February 06, 2006
Rome is for the next installment.
BabelBabe posted at 4:12 AM, February 07, 2006
No, no, I adore Rome too. The pizza (shrimp! on pizza! the best pizza I have ever had! sold by the kilo!), the spinach crepes at that little restaurant by the Vatican - can't remember its name, the Sistine Chapel, that giant wedding cake edifice to Victor Emmanuel II, the Trevi fountain, the little sidewalk cafes and beautiful women...I want to be Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday...sigh...
We discovered CCC thru the hotel concierge, but turns out it's mentioned in quite a few books too - I found it in RWB Lewis' The City of Florence which is highly recommended reading by the way. I can't really remember what I ate there - I was drunk most of the time in Italy - but I do remember watching the woman over H.'s shoulder, cutting up with knife and fork an entire little squid, sitting in its own ink, with its tentacles pinned to the top of its little head, and consuming it with gusto.
Sarah Louise posted at 8:58 AM, February 07, 2006
Poppy Buxom posted at 10:43 AM, February 07, 2006
So far Sarah Louise wins the comment contest. It reminds me of the way I react to some of my children's highest flights of fancy.
Sarah Louise posted at 8:10 AM, February 08, 2006