No, not snow flurries, though the night-time temperatures have signaled that fall has arrived in le Marche. Leaves are changing color into brilliant yellows and reds in the nearby mountains but day-time temps are still pleasantly warm (thought we did have a few days of raining chill in Umbria and here in Ascoli). What we've been experiencing instead is quite a flurry of activity.
My two cousins, previously unknown to me, arrived a couple weeks ago for a trip south into the wilds of Basilicata in search of our family ties and heritage. We had an incredible, almost unbelievable, trip that I'll detail further later. We had a wonderful time and before the week was up I felt I'd known them all my life instead of having only met them recently. A wonderful experience! We also shared a beautiful villa overlooking the Gulf of Salerno that we didn't want to leave.
The day we departed from Agropoli, my sister and uncle arrived in Rome and we high-tailed it to the Eternal City to meet up with them. We spent a few days bopping around Rome before heading to Umbria for a few days in a lovely agriturismo house, sight-seeing around Citta della Pieve, Assisi and Todi. Malfunctioning car parts prevented our planned round of Orvieto, truly an adventure in the rain to lose one's windshield wipers whilst driving on the Autostrada, then try to find a meccanico to fix it. Turned out the car was too new for them to have it in stock (if it's so new one questions the maintanence by the rental car company, no?) and finally, after one meccanico rigged the driver-side wiper to function un po', we made it back to Citta della Pieve where the wonderful Fiat dealer took the wipers off a new car in the showroom and fixed our broken car.
Other than that adventure with various mechanics (I described the wiper as "being broken and going away" because I didn't know the words for "the dang thing broke and flew off while driving at 120 in the pouring rain") we enjoyed Umbria, and especially the lovely town of Assisi. We drove them to Ascoli for several days of hanging around, exploring our region, eating a lot, laughing a lot, and taking a day trip to San Marino. It's the nutshell version, of course. We returned them to Roma for their last night, where wonderful Uncle Dean, always having connections and brilliant ideas, set up rooms as the plush Hotel Intercontinental for the night, where we were treated in a manner to which we'd like to become accostomed (but cannot afford to!). Dinner with friends and family rounded out the evening and we regretted saying goodbye yesterday as they left for the airport. It was fabulous seeing them.
In the midst of all this touring about, I'm also trying to work on three articles, outline articles for my newest project of writing a newsletter for a vacation rental company, and still outlining with Giorgio the cookbook project. This is in addition to the mountain of laundry to tackle, the nearly-bare cupboards to fill and the floors to mop (always a chore here, as you have read in previous posts). All I can say is, it's a really good thing I don't have "a real job". Who has time?!
copyright 2006 Valerie Schneider