Day One in Tropea is drawing near an end and it’s been an experience. We’ve drunk too much wine, been mistaken for being the wives of senior citizens from Florida and discovered n’ duja.
Right now Layne and I should be enjoying dinner at some restaurant owned by the family of a guy who runs one of the Italian language schools in town. Layne, whose Italian is pretty impressive, begins one-on-one Italian lessons in the morning and I think I’ll take a week-long intensive course in a couple of weeks. (I need a week or two to do nothing.) We figure if we’re nice to the guy whom we met with today, he’ll give us a discount at school. But right now Layne is passed out from all of the wine. I was too until my alarm went off, signaling it was time to get up for dinner. It took all of my energy to get up from my wine-induced nap and take Lucy, who was sleeping comfortably with Layne, out for an evening stroll.
I doubt we’ll make it to dinner. It’s not as if we haven’t eaten and drank enough today. We were out of the apartment before noon, anxious to see Tropea, after arriving close to midnight.
Not that we let a late arrival keep us from hitting the town. No sooner had the realtor lugged my 70 pound suitcase up 73 steps and his friend hoisted Layne’s sizable bag above his head and done the same, that Layne and I hit the piazza for a nightcap. There is only one piazza in town and it’s just a block from us. We were happy to find it was alive so late on a Sunday night. Groups of Italians mingled outdoors in the cool air and American music entertained us. We took seats at one place and ordered a carafe of red wine and food — a panino for Layne and a plate of French fries for me. The choices were slim at that hour.
It wasn’t too long before an attractive Italian man from a nearby table tried to strike up a conversation with his admittedly bad English. His name was Pierro and let’s just say I hope to write more about him later for he was much more enjoyable to look at than our wine was to drink. Nonetheless, we polished off the wine.
There was a lot more wine on our agenda today. My how had I forgotten how much wine I can consume in Italy before sundown – and how to take a shower in a country where shower curtains don’t exist.
This morning, Layne, who lives in Rome, took a shower first and when I went in the bathroom after her, there were just two or three drops of water on the floor. After my shower, it looked like Hurricane Katrina had blown through. Water everywhere. But I do have a very long bathtub so maybe I will stick to that.
Not only do I have a great bathtub (most of you know how important that is to me), but a partial sea view from the wrap-around terrace and a nice view in general from all three bedrooms.
There’s no lavatrice, or washing machine, but that was fine with me once I found out there was wireless internet in the apartment I’ve rented for a month.
The apartment was pretty much what I expected having seen photos online. Very bare bones and a lot of wasted space with long, wide corridors. Pretty tile in the kitchen and bathroom but furnishings so sparse they would seem luxurious in dorms at USC. But the bed is comfortable, the water is hot with good pressure and everything seems to work just fine – for now. I don’t even mind the 73 steps to my front door in this fourth floor walk up.
No sooner were we outside today that we encountered two elderly American men with cameras around their necks wearing white socks, tennis shoes and shorts, one in a Hawaiian shirt and matching caps, looking at a map. Frank and Rick, or Francesco and Ricardo as they wanted to call themselves, were from Sarasota, Fla., and staying in a nearby town. Their guide had dropped them off in Tropea with a map and they were exploring for a few hours. While the four of us chatted – they were most impressed with Layne being a lawyer in Rome – an Italian man walked by smoking and handed us fliers to a restaurant around the corner.
We parted ways with the senior citizens and eventually Layne and I decided to check out the restaurant. We were shocked to find out that Carmine, the guy who had given us the flyer, thought we were the wives of the old geezers! “We can do better than that!” I said, not bothering to speak in Italian as I have been doing to the locals.
Although we questioned Carmine’s intelligence (that’s him above with Layne), we did take him up on his suggestion to try n’ duja, a spicy sausage mixed with pepperoncini and pepperoni, with our bread. There it is below.
Our lunch dragged on for a couple of hours because we had a huge jug of wine to consume, a starter, pasta, dessert and grappa. And to think, the jug Layne holds below arrived full to the brim.
And I had to eat all of my ravioli scoglio.
After lunch, we explored the town some more, stopped for another glass of wine at a nearby bar then made a trip to the mercato to pick up staples like dishwashing liquid, water, toilet paper, paper towels, Martini bianco and, you’ve got it, bottles of wine. We rolled the dice and took the butcher’s suggestion for the hygiene-challenged olives left in the open air in a less than clean area rather than the ones in plastic containers. They were tasty!
Back at the apartment, we enjoyed sunset on the terrace and munched on mortadella (not Layne, who turns up her nose at swine), olives and nuts I brought from St. Tropez. We washed it down with another full bottle of wine, which knocked out both of us.
It doesn’t look like Layne will get up so I think I’ll call climb back in bed even though it’s not even 11 p.m. We’ve had a lot of wine today and tomorrow is another day. Undoubtedly, one filled with wine.