Friday, June 27, 2014

Last Day in Puglia....

We're packing up today, between the trips down to the beach. Yesterday was a long day, over six hours of driving, some of it over heart-in-the-mouth twisting, narrow roads through forested hills at almost Italian speeds. It was also a magically rewarding day, a visit to a winery arranged by my sommelier-trained daughter-in-law, with views and wine cellars and a sumptuous lunch and warm, warm hospitality...Joey (daughter-in-law) is going to help me write a post about that later...


Tomorrow will be a long day as well, leaving here about 7a.m. And driving the rental car back whence it came, about 3 hours' drive away, we hope, as we'll take a less scenic but more efficient route than we did on the way in. The car gets dropped at the airport, and then we find our way to the train station, apparently about 15 to 30 minutes away, depending on taxi, shuttle, or bus availability. I'm wearying a bit of weighing the variables, holding tension in my jaw, my shoulders, my neck, my diaphragm at each decision and each possible missed connection. Paul, fortunately, doesn't seem to be stressed, and even after his yeoman service at the wheel yesterday, will probably stay relatively unruffled tomorrow, guiding us to a gorgeous big-bodied red on a twilight table somewhere in Rome tomorrow evening.


We'll have passengers tomorrow, as we did yesterday: son and daughter-in-law are hitching a ride to the airport. They fly out tomorrow morning. A daughter, son-in-law, and toddling granddaughter will take a bus, then a series of trains, and meet up with us tomorrow night in Rome for one last dinner together in Italy before they fly home Sunday morning, hoping to be reunited with their misplaced luggage at a connecting stop along the way. Another daughter, son-in-law, and Little Girl will extend their time in Italy by a week, heading to more ocean, this time with a pool as well.

As for Pater and myself, we have two days in Rome. We're approaching them with no set agenda, no list of must-sees. We plan to wander, to sit at tables people-watching over our espressos, perhaps discovering the Trevi Fountain or the Colosseum accidentally as we follow the crowds with a gelato in hand. There will be all the delights of a new city with its layers and layers, and we will surely recognize scenes or sites from books and film and television (I have to admit that the penultimate episode of Angel will be a reference point for me, much more so than any classic movie. Such is my non-sophistication).



All this was running through my head last night as we parked the car in a hard-won spot on a narrow side street and headed up to the terrace where one little family had stayed behind, missing the winery tour in deference to a toddler's need for regularity of routine and guaranteed access to Momma. We found them watching the most spectacular light show . . . Far over the water, lightning sheeted the still sunset-hued sky, occasionally throwing up a fork or two for variety. there were oooohs, there were ahhhhs, there were puny camera flashes ridiculously competing with Mother Nature. We gave the young couple the huge bouquet of roses sent by the generous folks at the winery and toasted their anniversary with a glorious wine, one of six bottles also part of the anniversary gift.* And cheese and biscotti. Marvellous. It was marvellous. As the whole week has been. My mother's little legacy pot was well used. She would be pleased....

* A big shout-out to Giuseppe and Natalie at Tormaresca Wines. Thank you so much for your kind generosity. A follow-up post describing the meal and the wine, with photos of the beautiful estate, will be coming soon.




  1. Simply stunning and such warm, enduring family memories. Despite the travel machinations you have had a remarkable time! Enjoy your time in Rome, relaxed.

  2. It is a once in a lifetime experience and such a lovely one to share! Even the little girls will remember it forever. I hope that you and Pater have a relaxing, happy time in Rome.

  3. So beautiful, and evocative. I remember my family vacations, with my siblings, when I was little. And times in years past when we gathered at my mother's place in Santa Barbara, with Swedish step-siblings, the joy of us all together.

    But back to you:). That photo of the Little Girl warrants framing, I think:).

  4. Mater, The Eternal City is magic (also crowded and a bit chaotic! but in a good way). I highly recommend Gelateria del Teatro ai Coronari - truly the best gelato I have ever had. Grom is also very good ..... enjoy.
    Kris in Courtenay

  5. The joy in this post, although tinged with a little anxiety, is palpable. Warmth and beauty. Enjoy the last two days in Rome, wandering. Our daughter and SIL said that of all the European cities they've visited, Rome is their favorite.

  6. I've followed your travel journal closely, even though between marking papers, final exams and hundreds of meetings there was no time to comment on each one of your wonderful and evocative posts. I'm glad you enjoyed Puglia, and I hope you feel like going back some day, perhaps with a little bit more time to see lovely places like Lecce, Otranto or Gallipoli...
    I'm sure you are having a wonderful time in Rome. It is the perfect city for strolling. I was there last september with three colleagues and 28 students. Whenever there was a free moment in our tight sightseeing schedule, we would send the young people off by themselves to make their own discoveries, and so would we grownups. In general, excursions are hard work for a teacher, but this one was pleasure from beginning to end.
    So I wish you two more wonderful days and a safe trip home.


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