Though we are back in New York, this week’s thoughts will be carried over from last week, when we were in Italy. For starters, Thom’s only “Thaddendum” to last week’s thoughts:
On my having a cumulative two bottles of rosé at various pubs in London: “You had way more than two bottles of Rose, are you kidding me?”
Now onto the thoughts! Or as the Italians say, il pensieri:
- Thom decided to rent a car because it was more cost-effective and convenient for where we wanted to go (Tuscany and Cinque Terre), and because it was Italy, he reserved a Fiat. But when we arrived, were given a Ford C-Max, which is very un-Italian unless you speak-a Italiano like-a Thom does-a, with-a your-a arms-a-waving: “C-max-a!”
- Laughable as his Italian is, Thom enjoyed the GPS lady’s attempts at speaking Italian, which every time we made a turn, sounded, Thom thought, “like Satan.”
- The roads in Italy were very nicely kept, probably because everyone pays about 25 Euros in tolls every 200km, and Thom enjoyed the beauty of the passing lane, in which one should never linger and which he explained to me, since everyone else was using it correctly, is why “I haven’t yelled at a single person since we got here.”
- Our first stop was Montalcino in the province of Siena in Tuscany (a region, for those who didn’t know), and is known for producing a very good red wine called Brunello, made from the sangiovese grape. The plan was, of course, to taste a lot of wine and improve our current wine vocabularies of three words: “Mm. Tastes good.”
- We overslept, thanks to the wine and pasta at Il Grappola Blu and thick drapes in the lovely bed and breakfast Thom booked, Palazzina Cesira, which, funnily enough, was run by a man from New York together with his Italian wife.
- Instead, we tasted wine at two spots right in Montalcino:
- The showroom of a winery called Villa le Prata, where the owner herself presented the tastings with very generous pours.
- Enoteca de Piazza, a giant wine shop with less generous tastings that cost money (which are free if you buy the bottle you taste from), and which had a deal that went like this: Pick 6 bottles and ship anywhere for 20 Euros or 12 bottles and ship anywhere for free. Guess which deal we went with? We tasted a bunch but because we bought a bunch, didn’t have to pay for the tastings, which reminded me of my mom getting “free” rooms at casinos after playing the slots.
- Next stop was Cinque Terre, which Thom calls “Cinco Burrito”. We visited all five burritos. When I asked which was his favorite, he said, “I don’t know, I thought they were all kinda the same. The best part of all was having a beer, a wine, a few laughs.” I agree.
- Though “Cinco Burrito” was very beautiful, we were devoured by mosquitos because mosquitos enjoy beautiful places too. Poor Thom however, was additionally assaulted by a horsefly, which bit him inside the elbow and left a throbbing red lump. Thom vowed, should he ever meet the horsefly again, “to kill both it and three generations of its family, like the Koreans.”
- Thom’s last meal in Italy was an Italian Macdonald’s in Milan Linate Airport. “It’s quite good,” he said, “Especially the fries.”