Italy #5

On Monday morning, our bed and breakfast hostess, Anna, and her husband, Paolo, served us breakfast before we got our start. First on our agenda: grocery shopping. We headed back toward Cerreto and stopped at a supermarket. The employees were very generous in tolerating our lack of Italian. The town is so small that they probably knew who we were. In fact, a woman from the wedding recognized me in the checkout line and said hello--well, it sounded like that.

We shopped very economically, sticking with coke, water, bread, some fruit, a bit of filled pasta, and breakfast pastries. Kev's parents and other relatives, however, bought a great deal. Toward the end of the week, they were trying frantically to use up what was left. For lunch, Keven and I sat on the steps outside of our room and a little sandwiches made from fresh bread, tomatoes, mozzarella, and speck--ham from northern Italy that's been smoked with peppercorns and juniper. I LOVE IT.

Oh, backtrack. Earlier that morning, we'd gone to Silvia's parents' house to say goodbye. Steve and Silvia were preparing to return to London. From there, they would catch a plane to Johannesburg for their three-week safari honeymoon. While there, I used Paolo's computer to check my e-mail and learned that my mom, who had been sick, was on the mend. I was able to traipse through the week with that assumption in my head, which was a relief (although wrong, I later learned).

In the afternoon, we drove past nearby Fabiano and visited Grotte di Frassassi, a natural cave that was discovered in 1971 and is one of the largest formations in Europe. You can take the virtual tour here. That was pretty amazing. Italy contains a great many ancient relics, old enough to make this American's head spin, but contemplating geologic time is well beyond my capacity.

One of the nice things about spending as much time as we did with Keven's relatives is that I learned so much about them. I've known them for more than 12 years now, but the only time I see them is at reunions and brief visits during the holidays. So when Aunt Wendy made humorous cracks about the phallic nature of the stalagmites, I giggled. I was getting to know the real person, and the real person is just a teensy bit dirty-minded.

Because most restaurants in Italy closed on Monday, we ate pasta that night and generally relaxed. Pool time was had by all. It was an interim between the wedding festivities and the bulk of our sightseeing yet come.

Next time: Urbino! Italian motorway driving!

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