Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Moving on

I awoke Sunday morning panicked as I was having one of the strangest dreams ever - so strange that I have no idea how my brain even thought to put such ideas together. Ahhhhh…but I had half an hour to still sleep. Wrong. For some reason my alarm did not go off and I awoke half an hour late.
Thus the scramble causes me to miss the bus I was hoping to catch only by mere minutes. Oh well the next was to depart in one hour. As I waited in line for the next bus, this cute, fashionable oriental girl in front of me lit up a cigarette right INFRONT of the “Vietato Fumare” sign (smoking PROHIBITED). You know that universal sign demonstrating a cigarette with a red circle and cross through it? The guy in front of her turned and glared at her with an annoyed look as the smoke was going his way. I was this ---------close to tapping her on the shoulder and telling her “vietato fumare” but truth be told the smoke wasn’t bothering me that much. Then in front of her buds three, what sounded like Polish, women. Again the guy in front turned and looked at them as so to say what are you doing? I even took off my sunglasses so I could glare at them if they turned around but they never did. I thought what the heck, they probably do this all of the time and don’t realise that they are doing anything wrong.
As it tuned out, I am glad I didn’t glare at the three women as the last seat on the bus was next to one of them. Same goes for the fashionable smoker, it turns out she was on the same route as me going to Montalcino and I just HAD to ask her a question regarding tickets for the bus because I was tired of waiting an hour and I could see she was in the same situation as me. She even asked if everything was ok once I got my tickets. I am glad I wasn’t a bag to the nice smoker and three ladies. As it has been written before, “Love thy enemy”.

Florence bid farewell to me by presenting me with a slideshow of her natural beauty. As the bus turned the corners of the parts of the city I have not yet discovered, Florence revealed to me her even greener side – far far away from the historic centre. There were sunny green meadows spread thick with brilliant yellow buttercups and specks of red poppies. The chestnut trees were blossoming with clusters of pink or white – the way the clusters stand they almost look like candles on a Christmas tree.

I had a long wait for my transfer in Siena and had to contend with a VERY creepy guy who kept asking me for things. First it was one euro, then a cigarette then for three other things of which I have no idea what they were. But I am sure one of the things he asked for was a roll of duct tape to tie him to the flag pole outside so he could leave me alone.

I finally arrived in the hilly town of Montalcino and had to take a connecting bus to Castelnuovo del’Abate. Being that Sunday is a ‘day of rest’ the bus to Castelnuovo recognises this day as such and doesn’t operate – much to my despair. Hmmm…this situation seems familiar!
A panic phone call went out to my Italian fix-it-all Marco and he fixed the situation. In half an hour arrived Lorenzo, owner of La Locanda Sant’ Antimo and the best place to get a bowl of Tuscan “Ribollita”.

Ribollita is a soup generally made of beans, cavolo nero (black cabbage similar to kale), Tuscan bread and olive oil. Many recipes call for other vegetables as I have experienced in Florence, but of all of the ribollita I have eaten THIS one is the best (but the worst lookingJ). Ribollita is the reason I am here – to see if I can somehow learn to make this “secret” masterpiece. When I enquired about coming over to learn, Lorenzo said it was a secret but I might get close enough to learn how it is done.

The locanda is nestled in the green Tuscan hills and is surrounded by olive groves and the grapes the make the famous Brunello wine. Nestled in the valley off to the side of this town sits the grande cream coloured marble masterpiece Abbazia di Sant’ Antimo (Abbey of Saint Antimo). Here you can listen to Gregorian monks perform their chants on a daily basis. Upon visiting the abbey you might get a viewing of the large cream coloured chiantigiana cattle which are beautiful to see.

Lorenzo, a strong built Italian with an angled nose, has a very strong Tuscan accent. So instead of pronouncing caffe it sounds more like haffe. A bit difficult to understand. He introduces me to his wife Theresa who works in the restaurant and two cute boys Franceso, 8 and Christian 5 and escorts me to my room. It is small and is in need of some white paint but the Tuscan wall border is beautiful and I have a view of the abbey!

I unpacked and I hope that whatever insect has it’s nest in my closet is dead because whatever it is I think it will look ugly. I proceeded down to the kitchen to see what I was able to help with.

Wait until you meet the staff!

1 comment:

universal elixir said...

hey....how is the supa coming along? are you learning all the secrets?