mercredi 23 août 2006

Alain and I are now back from our one week trip to Italy. Actually, we have been back for a week now, I have just been too lazy to actually do anything.
We left Tuesday morning, the 8th. We got up at 5, left around 6:30. It took us about three hours to get to San Remo, and an hour to get through it. The drive was gorgeous, through the hilly Provence countryside. We drove by Cannes, Nice, and Monaco. I was surprised by how hilly it was. When we got to San Remo, we had to pass through the center of town. Which would be nice and easy if the Italians actually used the stoplights that have been installed. In theory, they are there and work. In reality, they just blink orange, proceed with caution. They figure drivers are smart enough to stop and let others cross to turn. So you just have to go. Correction, Alain who is driving just has to go. I just have to close my eyes and pray.
We finally found the house, which was miraculous since Alain hasn't been there for 15 years. Forget charming little Italian house in the countryside. It is now surrounded by apartment buildings. Years ago, a developer offered to buy the property, tear it down, build an apartment building, and give them one of the units. They said no. The house has been divided up into three units. It has a kitchen, small bathroom that was added on and is now perched over the walkway, and two bedrooms. There is no hot water, no flushing toilet (you have to fill up a bucket and pour it down the toilet after every couple of uses), and no shower. There is only so many days of sponge baths and washing of hair with cold water in a sink a woman can take before going nuts. That number is 2. We stayed a week.

The house is situated close to the "beach". And by beach I mean "field of rocks between sea and land". It is also close to the center of town, where we went at least once a day, mainly for ice cream. Besides sleeping, we visited towns in the area. The first was Bussana Vecchia, a village destroyed in 1887. One of Alain's great great something relatives was trapped in the church when the earthquake happened and had to crawl her way out. With that happy memory in mind, we spent the day looking at the paintings from the various artists who are now living there, visited a small garden, and had cappucino.

The next day we went to the beach at Arma di Taggia. We rented an umbrella and two chairs for the day, about 7$. We swam a bit, the beach was actually sandy. We had bought snorkel goggles and breathing tubes. I used them for the first time. After floundering around comically for awhile and panicking and ripping them off my head, I finally got a little used to it. Saw some striped fish. But there were jellyfish in the area, and since Alain had gotten burned the day before, I decided to call it a day. I think my problem is that I don't WANT to see what is down there. Blissful ignorance is right about my level. I don't want to see a whole bunch of spiky little critters that you might step on or jellyfish that can sting you. I am not an Ocean Person. In fact, I am barely a Lie On The Beach And Read A Trashy Novel Person.

Friday night Alain's sister Lucie, her husband Nicolas, and their daughter Manon arrived to spend the weekend. Saturday we visited Ceriana

It was about thirty minutes away. We walked through the old part of the town, which is about 95% of the town, visited the church, then had cappucino/lattes. The churches in Italy are beautiful and very well maintainted, compared to French churches. Surprisingly, a lot of them are now implementing electric candles (the ones that you pay 1 euro and light to say a wish, a prayer). Instead, you pay the fee, then either push a button, flip a switch, or screw in the electric candle. That must be less satisfying than lighting a real candle. Re-usable cheaper fire-safe prayers available here for only 1 euro! Come and get it!

The next day, Sunday, we visited Triora, a village even farther away. We had a picnic lunch then visited the town. It is known for being the village of the witches. Apparently, all the menfolk were sent to war and didn't come back so the women were left to fend for themselves. As women tend to do, the town and crops were run better than ever, and all of the surrounding manly villages started to get suspicious (and no doubt jealous that the vegetables were larger and better than theirs) and accused them of witchcraft. They were found guilty and, I am guessing, killed. Now of course the town plays it up and sells little witch figurines and has a witch statue in the center square. I liked this town less- it seemed colder and grayer. The weather wasn't very great either. We bought some ham and cheese and returned to San Remo.

Sunday night Manon wasn't feeling well so Lucie and Nicolas left to return home.
On Monday we packed up and cleaned the house, since no one was going to visit it probably until next summer. There is no heating in the house, so I imagine the winters are pretty cold. Besides, cold water sponge baths are tolerable in the summer but are less fun in January I am betting. That night we went to see the fireworks by the Old Port (for the holiday of August 15th). We woke up again at 5 am on the 15th and drove home. Ah, hot showers!

1 commentaires:

themikestand a dit…

Sounds like a great trip to me. At first, I thought perhaps you would be disappointed at every turn, but apparently things got better once you didn't have to manually flush. Let's hear it for fully modernized plumbing!

Oh, excellent pictures, too.

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